James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sidi Suleiman Melli Melli, 25 August 1806

New Port R. I. Augt. 25th. 1806

I have the honor to inform your excellency that on the 20th: Mr. Cathcart received a letter from the Honble. Secy. of the Navy, informing him that I could not be permitted to leave America previous to my paying 3860 Dols. This expence I have been informed has accrued in consequence of changing the cargo from one vessel to another, & thereby becoming subject to duty.

As this change has taken place by your order I trust the Government of the United States will pay what expences may result in consequence of said order.

I left Boston on the 21st. on my way to Washington, but on my arrival at this place concluded it would be best & most expeditious to write you on the Above subject. What I have allready stated was not my only reason for undertaking this journey to Washington.

I am sorry to inform you that Mr. Cathcart’s conduct has not been such towards me as the Government of the U. S. would approve; he is frequently drunk, & at such times is wanting of common respect towards me; he has not only spoken disrespectfully of all the Barbary Powers, but has insulted me by abusing my Master the Bey of Tunis.

I have also to add that he has imposed upon me in pecuniary affairs; In the first he caused me to pay him as Commission $500 on goods that I purchased myself.

In the next place a coppying machine that was presented to me by the President he insisted upon having, & lastly the sum allowed me by government he detained from me four weeks, nor until I gave him two hundred dollars would he pay me. I have only to add If your excellency should receive any letter from him to my prejudice you will not give it Credit I have the Honor to be with Profound respect Sir your obt. St.

Soliman Mella Menni

DNA: RG 59--CD--Consular Despatches, Tunis.

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