James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Simpson, 13 May 1802

From James Simpson, 13 May 1802

No. 39.—

Tangier 13th May 1802.—


I beg leave to enclose with this No. 38, and to acquaint you, notwithstanding His Imperial Majestys first Minister, (who was appointed to transact busyness with Mr. Wyk, on the late Swedish Embassy), assurd him the intention of sending Wheat to Tripoly, would for the present be laid aside, in consequence of his and my representation of that Port being in a state of Blockade; yet we have continud to have proofs from time to time, of that scheme never having been entirely given up.

In attention to this, both Mr Wyk & myself remonstrated to the Minister under 25th. last Month on that subject, but hitherto neither of us have received any answer.—Yesterday I had certain intelligence of the Governour of Rhabat having receivd His Majestys Orders on the 6th. Inst. for sending a Schooner to Dar el beyda immediately, to load Wheat for Tripoly, & that an English Brig had been Chartered at Gibraltar, in consequence of orders from this Government for the same Voyage.—

Frequent representations on the distress of the people in Tripoly for Grain, I know have been made to Muley Soliman—whether his well known Charitable disposition towards all Mussulmen in want, may have induced him to endeavour at sending these supplys of Wheat (for he gives it gratis) or if it be done as an aid in their present Contest, it is impossible for me to say.—I am well aware how delicate a point this is to speak decidedly upon, without farther proof than I am yet in possession of, but I conceive it equaly my duty to say I realy am of oppinion if Muley Soliman could give effectual aid to Tripoly in its present Contest for obtaining Subsidies from Sweden and the United States, he would do it.—

And I equaly beleive should other Terms be granted Tripoly, than was established by the former Treaty, this Government would be very ready to make a fresh attempt to get quit of that of 1786 with the United States, and plead that circumstance as a president.—I have lodged at Gibraltar for Commodore Truxton ample information on all these subjects, & also acquainted the Captain’s of the Frigates on this Station, what appeard necessary respecting the Vessels destined for Tripoly.—

On the 2d Inst. the two Frigates were launched at Rhabat. I am assurd they are pierced for 26 Guns each on the Main deck;—if so they must be much crowded, for no Ship of a suitable length, and draft of Water for that force, can enter any of the Ports of this Empire.—Nothing that I yet know of has been done towards obtaining the small Cruisers, it was said His Majesty intended to station at this Port.—

The Heirs of Alcayde Abdelmalek have been endeavouring to obtain from the Emperor the House I mentioned to be in hopes of buying, which has prevented the Treaty for purchase being closed. I have still adhered to the price I offered of four thousand ducats, and do not intend to go beyond it, as I trust I shall get it at that. His Majesty having had undoubted proof that a very powerfull Tribe, inhabiting between Fez & the foot of the Atlas, had made offers of their assistance to two different Princes of the Royal Family towards dethroning him, he lately went with a very powerfull Army against them, and last night advice was receivd here from Fez, of his having attacked their Villages with great Slaughter & very trifling loss to his Army; which if true will put a stop to all farther danger from same quarter.—The Sickness raged on the Coast of Riff has not spread into this Country, but by all accounts it has run to the Eastward, and reached Oran.—I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

James Simpson

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