James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Appleton, 10 July 1802

From Thomas Appleton, 10 July 1802

Leghorn 10th. July 1802.


On the 8th. instant, I was informed, by the Danish Consul of the arrival at Algiers, of two armed tripoline Galliots, as you will observe by the inclosed translation of ⟨his⟩ letter. Many American vessels being on the ’eve of their ⟨de⟩parture, I have lost not a moment in communicating ⟨thi⟩s information, that being thus Apprised of their danger ⟨t⟩hey may take those precautions so essential to their safety.

On the 9th. instant I received a letter from Mr. ⟨O’⟩Brien Consul at Algiers, a Copy of which I now inclose you. ⟨Si⟩milar ones I have forwarded to all our Consuls on the European ⟨si⟩de of the Mediteranean. The continual hazards our Ships ⟨en⟩counter in these Seas, arising from the Captains being ⟨to⟩tally uninformed, whether the barbary powers are ⟨fr⟩iendly or inimically disposed towards the U. States, has ⟨in⟩duced me to submit to your Consideration, if this evil ⟨co⟩uld not be greatly lessened, were it enjoin’d on all ⟨M⟩asters of American vessels, entering the Mediterranean ⟨to⟩ stop at Gibraltar a Sufficient time to inform themselves ⟨i⟩f Danger exists, and where? This mode can occasion ⟨no⟩ delay, as the time they remain there, will be taken from the Quarantine, they are held to perform here, while the advantages which would result from it are too evident to require mentioning.

No important political circumstan⟨ce⟩ has transpired in Italy, since I had the honor of addressing you, under date of the 1st. June unless the form of Consti⟨tu⟩tion that Buonaparte has established in the Ligurian republic, should be Considered by you as Such; I now theref⟨ore⟩ inclose you a translation of it. Continually are we told that a Port must be found for the Italian republic, and that this will be the issue, I Cannot for a moment ques⟨tion.⟩ Though there now appears no one undisposed of, yet the opinion hourly gains credit that Leghorn will probably be preferred. The Continued ill state of health of the King is such as would Seem to require the naming a Successor to the throne, or otherwise by changing its form preclude the necessity. In ten days, he has been as many times attacked with epileptic fitts. In a late edict, he announced, that in Consideration of the rare personal mer⟨it⟩ of the Queen, she should in future have her voice in t⟨he⟩ weekly Councils of State. In Short she is to be consulted, on all matters of importance. On the 3d. of June at Rom⟨e⟩ the King of Sardinia abdicated his throne in favor of his brother the Duke of Aosta, reserving to himself an annual pension of 30,000 Crowns, together with the regal titles. The King of the two Sicilies is very shortly to enter Naples in all the majesty of triumph, and probably equal preparations for no Conqueror, since the decline of the roman empire have appeared in any part of Europe. Triumphal arches with every emblem of Victory will Celebrate his return to the Capitol. However in public he may Conceal his enmity to the french, he secretly gratifies his Vengeance on those who are suspected of entertaining principles unfriendly to despotism; at least there is fair ground to presume so, since they frequently disappear, and are heard of no more.

The emperor at Vienna has re-established all the monocal institutions which had been suppressed by Joseph and even the order of Mendicant friars are declared not without their use in Society. I forbear any reflexions on the unexampled vanity of Some, and the Weakness and Superstition of others, who at present govern in many parts of Europe, or of the incalculable evils which must necessarily arise, when the church is once more to preponderate. It will suffise Sir that I should inform you of facts, and in doing this my duty and my inclination most perfe⟨ct⟩ly agree. Suffer me Again to request your Attention to ⟨tho⟩se parts of my preceeding dispatches relative to the Navy Agency for the U.States in this port. Accept the Assurances of the high Consideration with which I have the honor to be Your Most Obedient Servant,

Th. Appleton

Consul for U.S.A.


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