Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Notes on a Cabinet Meeting, 18 January 1802

Notes on a Cabinet Meeting

1802. Jan. 18. prest1 the 4. Secretaries and Atty Genl. agreed to offer peace to Tripoli on eql terms2 to continue tribute to Algiers. to send 2. frigates & schooner3 immediately. if war with Tripoli continues, 2 frigates there constantly & one for relief. 400,000. D. to be appropriated for the whole naval business of the year, including navy yards on which little is to be done, & 500,000 to pay contracts due & becoming due this year.—exn of French treaty to be retained by Exve.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 112:19297); entirely in TJ’s hand; follows, on same sheet, Notes on a Cabinet Meeting of 11 Nov. 1801.

On his arrival at Tripoli with the U.S. frigate President in July, Commodore Richard Dale refused the request of Yusuf Qaramanli, the bey, that they negotiate a peace on the spot. Dale insisted, through an intermediary, that Yusuf explain his reasons for declaring war. In reply, the bey expressed dissatisfaction with the first and twelfth articles of the 1796 treaty between the United States and Tripoli, which made Algiers the guarantor of the treaty and the arbiter of disputes between Tripoli and the U.S. In April 1802, instructing James Leander Cathcart about a possible negotiation with Tripoli, Madison told Cathcart to do away with the articles of the existing treaty that mentioned Algiers. Those sections of the treaty, Madison wrote, had given Algiers “an embarrassing connection” to American relations with Tripoli, and, “by wounding the pride” of the bey, had added “the force of another passion to that of cupidity, in slighting his engagements” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 3:135–8; NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 1:531–2, 552–3; Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , 2:364–6).

1That is, “present.”

2Preceding three words interlined.

3MS: “shooner.”

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