§ From James Leander Cathcart
15 October 1804, Leghorn. “This day I was honor’d with your very acceptable letter of the 11th. of June1 & am extremely happy that my conduct has been approved by his Excellency the President, the good of the service was my sole motive, so far as I was concerned I have been successful & my procuring the Gun & Mortar boats at Naples2 I presume has at least facilitated the reduction of the Bashaw of Tripoli to reason.
“The enclosed are copys of letters received with yours from Messrs. Barron and Eaton,3 I don’t subscribe to the latters opinion as I have been always disposed to let the Barbarian chiefs alone while they remain friendly to us but when they infringe existing treatys to chastise them for their arrogance & thereby inspire them with a decided dread of our arms; the Mercury of Newyork arrived last night in which I intend to take passage, provided the good of the service prevents my return in a public ship for I am persuaded from the friendship which the Commodores professes for me that nothing less will prevent them from accomodating me.
“A continental war it seems is inevitable and I am of opinion is absolutely necessary to restore the ballance of power in Europe; the Pope sets out from Rome to crown his sacred Imperial Majesty Napoleone on the 3rd. of November this is reversing the order of things & does not well accord with the opinion form’d by his holiness when this same Napoleone turn’d Mussulman in Egypt; what a flexible faith the little man has acquired! he is notwithstanding a great general & profound politician; but I thank providence that since we have taken possession of Louisiana there is between us and him a gulph! if their was not, I don’t think we have any occasion to fear him, but the Bey of Tunis wisely observes that a fly in a mans throat al’tho it may not choak him may make him cough!!!
“I have not the least doubt but the Emperor of Morocco intended to act as I had the honor to inform you I suspected he would in mine of the 30th. of November 18034 & that he acts under the influence therein mentioned is an incontrovertible fact; the arrival of the Squadron will no doubt prevent him for the present & I think Come. Barron has acted judiciously in leaving the Congress & Essex to watch the motions of his piratical squadron until they are dismantled.”
Adds in a postscript: “I omited to observe that the $4000 for which I placed a credit in Malta Tripoli Naples & Leghorn subject to the order of Come. Preble & Capn. Bainbridge for the use of the Officers & crew of the Philadelphia has not been drawn for, you will therefore please to debit me with that sum until final settlement.”
RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Tripoli, vol. 2). 3 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Cathcart.
2. For Cathcart’s actions in procuring gunboats from Naples for Commodore Preble, see Knox, Naval Documents, Barbary Wars description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers (6 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1939–44). description ends , 4:31–33, 50, 92.
3. The enclosures (3 pp.; docketed by Wagner, “recd. in Mr. Cathcart’s 12 [sic] Octr. 1804,” DNA: RG 59, CD, Tunis, vol. 2, pt. 2; printed in Knox, Naval Documents, Barbary Wars description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers (6 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1939–44). description ends , 5:2–3) are copies of Samuel Barron to Cathcart, 7 Sept. 1804, reporting his arrival at Malta, his intention to proceed to Tripoli where he feared that it was too late in the season “to bring the Bashaw to terms,” and his concern that the emperor of Morocco might be considering war against the U.S. in retaliation for being denied a passport to ship wheat to Tripoli; and William Eaton to Cathcart, 7 Sept. 1804, stating that he was with the squadron ostensibly as navy agent, “but for the special purpose of reviving” the plan of using Ahmad Qaramanli against his brother, and expressing his regret that affairs with Tunis were so well ordered that Eaton could not gratify his “righteous resentment against that Regency.” Filed with the enclosures is a copy of Cathcart’s 15 Oct. 1804 reply to Barron.