James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eaton, 22 February 1802

From William Eaton, 22 February 1802

Leghorn 22d. Feb. 1802


Information from Tripoli up to 9th. Jan. states that no captures had been made. The Bashaw is sending away his corsaires to different ports in the Morea for fear of an assault from the Americans. Discontentment in his interior has arisen to insurrection. Famine distresses his capital, and he is destitute of resources. He has actually made overtures of reconciliation to his brother in Tunis. I shall defeat this project if I arrive at my port in season—shall depart hence in three days. Have waited hitherto for a passage.

My indisposition has not mended since my arrival here, though I found relief at sea. Am persuaded that nothing but pure air and exercise will save me from consumption. This cough has troubled me eight months.

In my letter of 3d. instant I complained of the agency of Jno. Matthieu of Naples. In the persuasion that some consideration will be given to that complaint I now take the liberty to recommend as a suitable person to be charged with the agency of the United States at Naples, in case of a more intimate intercourse, Frederic Degen Esq. a respectable merchant, by birth a prussian, perfectly acquainted with our language, a gentleman high in the estimation of the public characters in Naples, connected in business with Purveyance and Degen in Leghorn—in principal a man—and in sentiment and in heart an American. Not one of these qualities is to be found in Matthieu. I have mentioned Mr. Degen because I do not suppose the office, simply considered, holds out sufficient encouragement to engage a citizen of the United States of adequate talents to the trust—and because I feel a necessity in the measure of a more respectable establishment there than that which, from unquestionable document is considered a representation of the character of the U. States.

I shall touch at Naples and recieve that Government⟨’s⟩ answer to my proposition of 9th. of January. I have the honor to remain Sir, with perfect respect your mo. Obed. Servt.

William Eaton

Index Entries