James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 22 November 1805

From Thomas Jefferson

Nov. 22. 05.

The inclosed barbarous Italian would require more consideration to be perfectly understood than I have time to bestow on it.1 I believe Mr. Wagner reads Italian. If he does, a good translation should be made; and it sets up such serious pretensions as that I think we should give it to Eaton & desire him to make a statement of what passed between him & the Ex bashaw & such a one as we may communicate to the latter with our determinati⟨on⟩; on it.

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML). Unsigned. In Jefferson’s hand.

1The enclosure was probably Ahmad Qaramanli to Jefferson, 5 Aug. 1805 (printed in ASP, Foreign Relations, 2:720), stating that William Eaton had promised him a pension should their joint attempt to overthrow his brother Yusuf fail, that Isaac Hull had then sent him a ship loaded with supplies, that he and Eaton had conquered Derna but had been refused further assistance from the U.S. Navy after word arrived of the treaty Tobias Lear had signed with Yusuf, and that Yusuf was refusing to return Ahmad’s family as promised. Ahmad said that he and his retinue were living in Syracuse, Sicily, on two hundred dollars a month and that he felt abandoned “by a great nation”; he asked Jefferson for mercy and justice. In a 1 Sept. 1805 letter to the American people, Ahmad noted that after paying the expenses of his thirty dependents, he was left with $1.50 for himself (Knox, Naval Documents, Barbary Wars, 6:263–64). For the secret agreement between Lear and Yusuf Qaramanli allowing the latter to hold Ahmad’s family for four years further, see Lear to JM, 5 July 1805, n. 8.

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