James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Omar Bashaw, 12 April 1815

12 April 1815

To His Highness
the Dey of Algiers

Your highness having declared War against the United States of America, and made captives of some of their Citizens, and done them other injuries, without any just cause, the Congress of the United States at its last Session, to repel this act of aggression, authorized, by a deliberate and solemn act, hostilities against your Government and people. A squadron of our ships of War, to be followed by others more formidable is therefore sent into the Mediterranean Sea. It will carry with it the alternative of Peace or War; peace, if it can be obtained on terms honorable and advantageous to both parties; War, and vigorous War, in a contrary event. It rests with your Government to choose between them. We cannot doubt that your Highness, contrasting the miseries of War with the advantages resulting from a friendly intercourse, will be disposed to return to those amicable relations which had so long subsisted between our two Countries, and thus meet the views of this Government, whose leading principle is peace and friendship with all nations. But peace to be durable must be founded on stipulations equally benefical to both parties; the one claiming nothing which it is not willing to grant to the other, and on this basis alone will its attainment or preservation by this Government ever be desirable.

On these principles, the Commander of our Ships of War, has authority to put an end to the War, should you be in the same degree disposed to avert the calamities attending a prosecution of it.

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

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