James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Peter Kuhn Jr., 16 July 1805 (Abstract)

From Peter Kuhn Jr., 16 July 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Peter Kuhn Jr. 16 July 1805, Genoa. “I have the honor to confirm my respects of the 28th Ulto1 and on the 30th in the morning arrived in this Town the French Emperor with the Empress and a Numerous suit; his residence here was only of Six days during which some magnificent entertainments and rejoicings were given; he seemed to grant particular attention to whatever might contribute to the future happiness and prosperity of this new acquired Territory, but instead of continuing his residence for some time in Italy, as was expected, he is, in consequence of some expresses receiv’d, return’d to France, and goes direct to the Army in the North. The Arch Treasurer LeBrun remains here, and is particularly charged with the organisation of these new Departments.

“By the most recent, and best grounded political reports several new changements seem to be imminent in the actual state of Europe such as the Union of Switzerland to France, and that of the Republic of Ragusa to the German Empire; other alterations are likewise talked of, but not with sufficient foundation to be mention’d as yet.

“A Vessel arrived at Leghorn in three days from Algiers brings the intelligence that the wild Arabs having made a sudden invasion from the mountains have renderd themselves masters of that City after having put to the sword all the Christian Slaves, and pillaged ⟨t⟩;he houses of all the Jews established there; some hundreds of these unfortunate people have been able to escape, but the slaughter has been considerable.2 The Bey is now in the hands of these Wretches, who have not yet murder’d him to find out first where he has concealed his treasures.

“In adherence to my instructions I have to acquaint you Sir that no American Vessels have been at this port within these eight months. The last was the Matilda Mathew Strong of Philadelphi⟨a⟩; in the Month of September, and as I do not find by the papers deliver’d me from Mr. Wollaston that he had ever made any report thereof, I think it my duty to inform you as per enclosed particulars.3 I hope that before many months expire the American flag will make often it’s appearance in this port, the blockade whereof never was but nominal, and by the new political changement can not even be considerd under that predicament. No Vessels of War whatsoever appear in this neighbourhood except the French, and they are constantly manouvering in and out of this port to exercise their Seamen.”

RC, two copies, and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, CD, Genoa, vol. 1). First RC 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner. Second RC marked “Duplicate.” For enclosure, see n. 3.

1PJM-SS, 9:500–501.

2In late June 1805 Naphtali Busnach, a Jewish exporter who had great influence over Mustapha Dey, was murdered by a Turkish janissary, after which the janissaries invaded the Jewish quarter of Algiers, killing or driving into refuge in the consulates hundreds of the residents. The dey himself was killed several weeks later (Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnok, eds., Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2d ed. [22 vols.; Detroit, 2007], 4:316; Garrot, Histoire générale de l’Algérie, 614–16; Playfair, Scourge of Christendom [1972 reprint], 235–36).

3The enclosure (1 p.) is an extract, dated 16 July 1805, of the 29 Sept. 1804 entry in the consular register recording the arrival at Genoa of the ship Matilda, “of & from Philadelphia,” owned by Vanuxem and Clarke, consigned to Filippi and Company of Genoa, carrying a cargo of sugar, coffee, cocoa, fish, tobacco, and rum, and returning with a cargo of “Wine, oil, & Brandy for Messma [Messina] & America.”

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