James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Tobias Lear, 4 September 1805 (Abstract)

From Tobias Lear, 4 September 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Tobias Lear. 4 September 1805, “On board the U.S. Ship Constitution Tunis Bay.” “The bearer of this, Sidi Soliman Mellamella, goes to the U. States, to present himself before the President, as Ambassador from His Excellency the Bey of Tunis; as his Credentials &ca. will fully shew. He has been Ambassador from this Court to Naples and Genoa, appears to be a Man of Correct observation, and much liberality of sentiment.

“My public dispatches, which accompany this, will fully detail all Matters here. I give this to the Ambassador, by his particular desire, as a personal recommendation.1

“If any proper person can be found in Washington, who is acquainted with the Manners & Customs of these people, it would be desireable that such an one shou’d see that they are accommodated, as much in the Style of their Country, as the difference of Climate & circumstances will permit; as I know they will be very backward in expressing their Wants or Wishes, least they might not accord with our ideas of the propriety of things.

“Mrs Lear unites with me in every good & friendly wish for Your good Lady and Yourself.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, CD, Algiers, vol. 7, pt. 1); letterbook copy (owned by Stephen Decatur, Garden City, N.Y., 1961). RC 1 p.; docketed by Wagner, with his note: “Introductory of the Tunisian Ambassadr.” For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (1 p.; in Italian; undated; translation printed in Knox, Naval Documents, Barbary Wars, 6:226, where it is dated 14 Aug. 1805) is a copy of Hammuda Bey to Lear stating that in order to convince Lear of his peaceful intentions and friendship for the president, in case Lear and Rodgers did not intend to treat with him without new orders from the president, he proposed to send a distinguished person to the U.S. government to explain everything and remove all difficulties between the two countries. He added that if Rodgers would receive his representative on board his or any other ship of the squadron, the ambassador would be sent immediately; otherwise the bey would send him in a ship specially chartered for the purpose.

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