Adams Papers

John Lamb to the American Peace Commissioners, 20 May 1786

Madrid may 20th. 1786

After many little Disapointments, I arivd at Algiers the 25th March and within the term of three or four Days I found that the whole amt. of the money in my hand belonging to the publick would [not] purchas the people who are the unfortunates in consequence of which I dispatchd. Mr. Randall so that your Excellencyes might have the earlyest notice of our matters in that Quarter: in a short letter to your Excellencys I stated our matters accordingly mr. Randall saild the 29th. or 30 [march.] with my desire to him to proceed with all posible Dispatch,to give the earlyest notis that was in my power, but [when] I came here I found Mr. Randall was in Aranjuez I recd. a line from [him] at nine next evening in consequence of which I wrote him, and Desired him to Proceed. he answerd. my letter, the three letters I here in inclose so that your Excellency’s will naturally excuse me for the Detention.

[margin note]Mr. Randall is the bearer of this therefore I have not inclosd. his letters it seemes he has been unwell [/margin]

On the 3d. Day of april was admitted to an Audience with the Day. but he would not speek of Peace, set the Slaves a most Exorbitent price, far beyond my limittes. The Seventh I had a second intervuw, but still he was of the same mind. a bout the Seventeenth, I had the thurd and last, intervuw. He fell sumthing of his first Price, and I here inclos the Last Price, which is inormous. as Your Excellencys will see, my next vews were to have an acquaintance with their principle minister <with one of their principal men> whih I soon brought to pass by sum presents[ to] this Ministers confident [and he] was our interprater he told me it was his greatis Desire that our peace might be made with their Regency and that for his part he would use his utmost indeavours for the purpose. but until the affaires of Spain were settled, could be little done on our matter. And further told me not to mind the little Putoffs by the [Day] nor the enormous pric askd. for our slave. that the pric that was set on our people was ondly [to] Put a more modist face on the pric that they intend to make the Spaneard pay for their People, and advisdd. me to go to Spain and wate untill they had Done with Spain, and that I might rest assured that he would at all opertunitys write to [me.] I begd. him to write to Mr Carmichael. he Did. I begd. him to give me a free pass to come to Algiers and to go when I pleasd. he likewise [Did], but told me that if the letter was exposd that he had wrote Mr. carmichael, he should lose his life, and when I returnd that I might expect the same. I had several intervus with this minister and the above is the purport and substanc, Excepting that they had an intire rite to make peace or war without the Voyce of the Grand Segnor, and that they were under no controls by the Ottoman port. he told me that it would not be long after my arival in Spain before he should let me know what steps it would be best to take, and when for me to return if I was orderd back. and as I found it was of no consequence to Tarry longer their untill I had further Orders took his advise, and Returnd, their is no Doubt but I shall here from him soon: after wating in Spain a long time for the influence of that court, was obligd. to leve [madrid] without my wishes on that for I got no letter alltho Mr Carmichael took the utmost pains. about four or five Dayes before I left Algiers I recd. Two letters from Mr Carmichael inclosd. in one of those was an open letter from the court of Spain In faivour of our mission to the That Regency and Directed to Count De’Expilly. but Previous to the [reception] of the letter he Told me if shuch a Letter came to him he could not make any use of it neither Did he. the reasons he best knows. but this is sure that he cares verry little about our peace in that Quarter: the letter I carryd. from france was of no consequence. if your Excellency could procure a letter from the court of France and Directed it to the Day with their Desires to him for a Peace with the United States of America it would give Greate wate but such a letter I Dare say would be heard to be procured: the treatement I recd. from the french consel was Polite indeed he paid me Greate atention. mr. Logie Likewise recd me as an oald friend: and Declared to me that he had no orders to counter act my mission. from his court, which I am Sure of so I left the Packett in [the] hands of Count De’Expilly who hath imployd. her for Spain untill [I call for her] and have the Counts receit for the vessele: Thought Proper to leave my owne stores which I carryd. over, in Algiers and left them with Mr. Woulf whome is a verry honest Good Gentleman, and [I believe a] friend to our Cause in that Quarter. And by the desire of Count De’Expilly have left the care of our unfortunate People Likewise in his hands, Together with Four hundred Dollars to Pay their Past Expince, and buy them such things as will make [them] comfortable which [money] I am sure will be frugally Expended. I shall wate your Excellencys further orders at Alicant. hopeing that my conduct may be aprovd. of And am with Due Respect /Your Excellencys Most / Obedient Humbl / Servt.

John Lamb

NB The Plague is within the limites of the Regency of Algiers. in consequence of which it will make Verrey Long Quarantines in Spain. the vessel tha[t?] I have bought for the conveniancy of our bussiness I believe will be order’d to me here to Proforme Quarantine. To purchase this vessel was unavoydable as I could not get to Algiers well without

I here Give your Excellencys an acct. of the Prices of our unfortunate people and it as followes Viz

3 capts a 6-M Dollars Each Pr. head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18000

2 mates a 4 M Ditto Each Pr. head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8000

2 Passengers 4 M Ditto Each Pr. head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8000

14 Saylors a 1400 Ditto Each Pr. head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19600

Numbr21 amounts To The enormous sum of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53600

Eleven Pr. cent to be added according to custom—5896

is Spanish milled Dollrs.—59496

So that your Excelencys sees how far beyond your Expectations the sum amts: which renders me incapable of acting untill further orders. the price the Spaniards are Giving for their people is little short of what is chargd. us and they have Eleven hundred men & Sum upwards in Algiers it will cost Spain more than one million and one half of Dollars for their slaves ondly, the Peacse of Spain and their Slaves will amt to more than three millions of Dollars. I have ondley to add that their Cruzers will in all Probability be at Sea by the Tenth of June. at farthest. I am of Opinion that if we follow our Pretensions for Peace this summer that they will hear Proposals, but not at the price we Expected, nor by the open way we first went to work. if France will Give noth[ing] but Seal’d letter, we had better have none: to fight those People the first year will cost us more than half a million Pounds Sterling. I have by Experience of a long Dait a Perfect knowledg of the cost of armd. Vessels and at the Distance we are from those people and foreign Ports to make use of. It will be a heavy Tax on us, and without the least Prospect of Gain. I hope I shall be Excusd. in speaking my minde so freely, it is out of Zealus Desires for the Good of the Country I belong To. and it is my Opinion that for a less Sum than the first year would cost us to fight, we can make Peace, and if we intend it at all now is the ondley time to Persue, as the way is Seemingly open for a Tryal. I hope there is no more of our People will be so unhappy as to fall into those peoples hands this summer. and [in] that Case, in a measure [it] will discourage them of their Expectations: Spain is our Sure friend in our Peace with Algiers: but they have not finishd. their Peace at Presant. we shall have their assistance at the conclusion of their peace with Due Respect As above.

J. Lamb

I have no Objections of there being a Tryal made at Constanti[nople] but it will be of no Consequence as to Peace with Algiers. as the Count mentions in this letter, his Vews are to have Mr. Woulf appointed in our peace with Algiers and Mr. Woulf is a verey Good man. but it is well to take time before large power is Given Strangers. The Count keept me as much in the Dark as he could, on all acct: my advise [is] if we should arme against those people to unite our selves with those Nations that are not at Peace with Algiers, and that will lessen our Expence much on the Ocation.

PCC, No. 87, I.

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