James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Leander Cathcart, 20 June 1803 (Abstract)

§ From James Leander Cathcart

20 June 1803, Leghorn. No. 6. “Since the date of the enclosed communications to our Consuls in Barbary1 nothing has transpired either to confirm or to contradict the report” of Smith’s capture.2 Hopes it “may turn out to be a similar one to that of Mc:Niels engagement.”3 Has heard nothing “official from our squadron.” It is reported that “some powder caught fire by accident” on board the New York, killing two or three men, “& that Mrs: Morris has been safely deliver’d at Malta.” If the reports are true, “it is a very fortunate circumstance that the fire did not communicate to the magazine & I cant help thinking that neither the zeal for the service nor its activity would have been impeded or injured had Mrs: Morris been left to propagate her species at Balls town or Morrisina.” Encloses “a copy of the treaty & an Italian translation”4 which he left with Commodore Morris: “if he burns the Cruisers of Tripoli as he ought to do, it will be sign’d, and ratified unless Mr Smith & prize arrives there first which is hardly possible, for how two large vessels can escape the vigilance of three Frigates & a Schooner if properly stationed is to me incomprehensible altho I have receiv’d a nautical education & follow’d the sea as an occupation ever since I was eleven years of age & it is at least presumed that the whole of our squadron is at this moment before Tripoli.” “I have nothing to observe worthy your attention.”

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