James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Appleton, 28 September 1801

From Thomas Appleton, 28 September 1801

Leghorn 28th. September 1801.


My last respects were under date ⟨of⟩ the 25th. Ultimo, Via Baltimore, and those previous ⟨to⟩ the 9th. of July by the way of Paris which Contained ⟨di⟩spatches from Mr. Cathcart I am Apprehensive have ⟨no⟩t reached your hands, as the Courier was robb’d ⟨an⟩d assassinated at Nice. A short time since the ship Columbia, and the Schooner Raven both belonging to Citizens of the U: States, were seized under the pretext ⟨of⟩ their being the property of british subjects: on my ⟨a⟩pplication to General Murat Commander in Chief ⟨of⟩ Italy, he ordered the Vessels to be released, and the ⟨p⟩apers restored unexamined: indeed Sir in all instances where I have either requested a favor, or demanded Justice for any individual, I have found the greates⟨t⟩ promptitude to Confer the one, or the other.

With respect to the Affairs of Barbary, yo⟨u⟩ will necessarily have much more Correct informat⟨ion⟩ from Como. Dale, than I Can possibly give you. It is however a circumstance, highly satisfactory to find that no american vessel to this time has fallen into the hands of the Tripolines. It w⟨as⟩ peculiarly fortunate that opportunities presented to Mr. Cathcart to forward me accounts of the progressive steps of the Bashaw, and thereby enab⟨le⟩ me to give information in all the ports from Sicily to London. No recent event has occured in Italy from which any rational Conjecture Can be made of its future destiny. The Cisalpine republic ⟨is⟩ in some parts governed by the french military, ⟨an⟩d in others by Municipal men who exercise the ⟨m⟩ost despotic power. In Tuscany we have a King; but who in truth is little Known beyond Florence ⟨w⟩here he resides. In short Sir it is General Murat ⟨w⟩ho governs Italy; and no french Officer will either ⟨ob⟩ey or receive a mandate, but those which originate ⟨from⟩ their General. What is now termed Etruria ⟨ha⟩s heretofore paid such enormous sums to the ⟨di⟩fferent masters who have Alternately governed it: ⟨an⟩d at this moment supporting a french army of [. . .]000 men, that beleive me little remains to ⟨sa⟩tisfy the desires of the new sovereign, or even to ⟨su⟩pply the indispensable expences of his person.

No Consul at Leghorn has yet presented ⟨him⟩self to the Sovereign as they wait orders from ⟨thei⟩r different governments on this subject. I submit to you Sir to determine if a new Commission address⟨ed⟩ to the present Authority may not be requisite. His ti⟨tle⟩ is Loudovico the first, King of Etruria.

On the 23d. insta: Commodore Tornquist Commanding the Sweedish Squadron in the Medi⟨ter⟩ranean, Called on me tendering the services of any of his Majesty’s Ships to Convoy all american vess⟨els⟩ which may be in this port at the time of his departure, and who might be desirous of protec⟨tion⟩ against the tripolines. There is a Circumstan⟨ce⟩ which as it is merely personal demands my apolog⟨i⟩zing for thus trespassing a moment on your time.

Nearly four years I have Occupied the place I now hold in Leghorn. The Affairs of the U: Sta⟨tes⟩ with the regencies of Barbary, have always be⟨en⟩ objects to which I have given the most unremit⟨ting⟩ Attention. The information I obtained and gave At different periods, in a particular manner to the Consuls at Algiers and Tunis, (at times when they were menaced with chains) have drawn from them letters to me expressive of the real services I had rendered. With Tripoli I became the first ⟨a⟩cquainted with the well-founded Apprehensions of Mr. Cathcart, and I may with much truth say, ⟨t⟩hat there is scarcely a seaport in Europe, (and even ⟨s⟩ome in Asia Minor) to which I have not sent ⟨ci⟩rculars apprizing them of the danger which ⟨t⟩hreatend the commerce of the U: States, in the ⟨M⟩editerranean. I enter Sir into this detail ⟨w⟩hich would appear Ostentation, were it not in some ⟨me⟩asure a justifyable reason for requesting the ⟨pre⟩ference as Agent for the Navy of the U: states. In addition to which, it may not be perhaps unnecessary to observe, that it is a rule here, and hitherto without exception, that the Consu⟨ls⟩ Are the Agents of the Navy of their respective Nations. It has in this solitary instance been otherwise, and the house of Messrs. DeButts & Purvia⟨nce⟩ are charged with the affairs of the Navy.

I beg that you will beleive, that the pecuniary emo⟨lu⟩ments which might Arise, have the smallest share in this my request; but as it has ever been Considered in this port, as a charge inseparable from the dut⟨ies⟩ of a Consul, it will therefore have that tendency which a deviation from the Usage and Custom of the place will most necessarily produce. I sub⟨mit⟩ these Circumstances for your Consideration, and wheth⟨er⟩ it shall be granted or rejected, I shall be satisfied with your decision. I have the honor to be with the highest respect, and Consideration Your Most Obedient Servant.

Th. Appleton

Consul for U:S.A


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