James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eaton, 10 September 1801

From William Eaton, 10 September 1801

On board the United States Ship President, road of Tunis Sep. 10 1801


The ship having carried away her foretopmast put in here yesterday to refit. By the operations of this squadron it is quite percievable that Govt. have very much mistaken the character of these Barbary States. Offices of humanity are by them construed as the effects of cowardice, moderation is diffidence, and civility a duty to their character as a superior race of being. The Dane appeared here last summer with a squadron. Sundry of his enemy fell in his way whom he permitted to pass in conformity to his orders. In return he obtained of this court the epithet of An old midwife and conditions of sacrificing half a million of dollars for peace. If the U. S. desire to evade similar conditions they must through more force, more energy and more decision into their operations: temporizing with these people will not do. I have the honor to remain Sir, with the most perfect respect your Obed. Serv

William Eaton

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