James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eaton, 19 August 1801

From William Eaton, 19 August 1801

Tunis 19. Aug. 1801.


By letter from our Chargè Des Affaires at Tripoli of 27th. ult. we are informed that the Commodore Dale appeared before Tripoli the 26. that the Bashaw proposed a truce, but that his proposition was rejected.

By the Danish Commodore I learn that the Raguse Brig, Ben Venuto, Captain Gio. Jercovich, which I dispatched express to the United States on the twentieth of April last, was in Malta late in June. He has forfeited his freight; and if ever he arrive in America, it must be optional with Government to take advantage of this forfeiture or not. I hope this information may arrive in Season to forelay the imposition that Ragusee will contrive in order to Secure his freight. It appears that he was discharging from his Vessel, by a kind of retail, sundry Articles of merchandize which he must have taken in at Mahon, where he also entered and lay ten days. At Malaga he did not discover himself to the American Consul: a Sufficient circumstance of itself to justify a Suspicion of Secret fraudulent intentions on his part. It appears from the private Journal of the Captain of one of the Danish frigates that he purchased tobacco of Jercovich on the 6. of June.

Inclosed is a Certificate of the discharge of the Grand Turk’s Cargo. I Have the honor to be, Sir, with perfect respect your most Obed. Servt.

W. Eaton

P.S. 20. Aug. Persuaded that it is my duty to submit all my transactions for the inspection of Gov. I herewith forward copies of my communications to Comre. Dale. They carry in their text all the apology I can offer for the presumption. In an Italian Gazette of 8. inst. I see the publication of Exhibit A. The measure has taken full effect at Tunis—and, if the steps I have taken to advise the Comre. succeed, must have all the Success it promises in respect to our operations at Tripoli. It is hoped and believed that a punctilio will not be permitted to obstruct its operation. Operate as it will it can effect no injury but to an individual.

William Eaton

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