John Jay Papers
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To John Jay from William Bingham, 12 February 1785

From William Bingham

Feby 12th 1785

My dear Sir

I Send you the Copy of a Letter of antient Date, as I have some Reason to believe that the Original miscarried—1

Accounts have recently been received of the capture of another American Vessel, by a piratical Cruizer from the Coast of Barbary; this has occasioned Such an Alarm, that the Premium of Insurance, even from the Ports of Britain, is advanced 100 p% on American Vessels—& from the Ports of the Mediterranean, no Insurance can be effected—

The Nations of Europe who were jealous of our Competition in the Carrying Trade, will encourage this hostile Disposition, on the part of the Barbary Powers—If some conciliating Measures (for vigorous ones will have no Effect) are not Speedily adopted, to stop the Progress of this alarming Evil, our Shipping will be excluded from an Intercourse with the Mediterranean, & with the Coasts of Spain and Portugal, which was formerly constituted one of the most lucrative Branches of American Commerce—

I have lately exerted myself to procure the best Information, concerning the Manner of treating with these piratical Powers, so as to render our Arrangements permanent & respectable;—I will duly communicate to you the Result of my Enquiries—2

I am not altogether decided when I shall return to America—I am at present inclined to think, that I Shall Stay another Year in Europe—

Please to address any Letters you may favor me with, to the Care of Mess Le Couteulx & Co Paris, or Mess J Strachan J Mackenzie & Co London—3

I request you to deliver my best Compliments to Mrs Jay, in which Mrs Bingham joins me, & to believe me with the Sincerest Esteem & Respect Dr Sir Your obed hble Serv

Wm Bingham

PS. It is expected Monsr de Moustieres, will replace Mons de la Luzerne—but no Minister will be nominated untill the latter is provided with an Embassy—

ALS, enclosing copy of Bingham to JJ, 16 Oct. 1784, NNC (EJ: 13031). Addressed: “His Excellency / John Jay Esqr / Minister of foreign Affairs / Trenton ^New York^”. Franked: “FREE”. Endorsed.

1Bingham to JJ, 16 Oct. 1784, JJSP, description begins Elizabeth M. Nuxoll et al., eds., The Selected Papers of John Jay (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2010—) description ends 3: 615–17.

3See JJ’s reply of 31 May 1785, Dft, NNC (EJ: 7480).

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