James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Robert Smith, 23 January 1806 (Abstract)

From Robert Smith, 23 January 1806 (Abstract)

§ From Robert Smith. 23 January 1806, Navy Department. “I have the honor herewith to conclose [sic] for your information a copy of my letter to Captain S Decatur jr and Doctr Go Davis,1 with their answers relatively to the Tunision Zebeque and prises captured in the spring of 05 by the fregate President.”

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 45, Letters to Secretary of State). 1 p. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures (DNA: RG 59, ML; 6 pp.; docketed by Wagner as enclosed in Smith’s 23 Jan. 1806 letter) are copies of (1) Smith to Stephen Decatur and George Davis, 22 Jan. 1806, (printed in Knox, Naval Documents, Barbary Wars description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers (6 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1939–44). description ends , 6:351–52) asking for all the information they had on the seizure of the Tunisian xebeque and its prizes and specifically if Tripoli was visibly blockaded at the time, if the Tunisian commanding officer had previous knowledge of the blockade and had been warned away from the port, if he was taken while trying to enter the port after being so notified, and if the xebeque carried the usual passports; (2) Stephen Decatur to Smith, 23 Jan. 1806, stating that at the time of the seizure, Tripoli was in a state of actual blockade, that the ships were seen heading for Tripoli harbor when stopped, that the captain was informed of the blockade and told that he would not be permitted to pass, that he again attempted entrance, that he was again ordered off, that he refused to comply, that because of this and the irregularity of the ships’ papers they were seized and sent to Malta, the crews being sent in the Essex to Tunis, where the dey placed the Tunisian captain in chains for having attempted to violate the blockade; and (3) George Davis to Smith, 23 Jan. 1806, stating that the Tunisian captain had been notified of the blockade, that he had insisted on entering Tripoli saying that no American force would prevent him from entering, and that he had two sets of passports, neither of which corresponded to the actual description of the ship, for which reasons it and its prizes were seized. For the seizure of the ships, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (11 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 9:482–83 and n. 2, 10:83–85.

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