Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 22 July 1802

From James Madison

Washington July 22. 1802.

Dear Sir

On consultation with the Secretary of the Navy, it has been concluded that the public service will be favored by sending the ship the General Greene, with the provisions & gun-carriages destined for the Mediterranean, instead of chartering a private vessel for the occasion. It has occurred also that as the period at which an annual remittance to Algiers will become due, will arrive before the ship will get to that place, it may be found proper that another thirty thousand dollars should be sent as an experimental measure for avoiding the stipulated & expensive tribute of Stores. Should the substitute be accepted, it will be a saving to the U. States. Should it be rejected, time will be gained for the other remittance. I have written to Mr. Gallatin on the subject, and requested him to make preparation for having the money ready in case your approbation should be signified to him. You will recollect no doubt that if a letter from you to the Emperor of Morocco, should be decided on, as a companion to the Gun carriages, it must be forwarded in time for the sailing of the Ship. May I ask the favor of you to leave it open for the perusal of Mr. Sampson, that it may serve as an explanation & instruction to him in the case. The ship will probably sail from this place1 in about 20 days from this date.

I observe in the papers that one of the Commissrs. of Bankruptcy for Philada. has been taken off by the fever. I have not heard lately from Mr. Wagner, but think it not improbable that the vacancy will attract the attention of himself & his friends, and that it may be properly bestowed on him, if no particular claim to it be in the way.

With the most respectful attachment I remain Dr. Sir Yrs.

James Madison

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 25 July from the State Department and “Barbary affairs” and so recorded in SJL.

PROVISIONS and other supplies for American naval forces operating in the Mediterranean typically were transported in private vessels chartered by navy agents in the United States for the occasion. They were thereafter deposited at Gibraltar and placed under the charge of the American consul, John Gavino, for distribution (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 , 1:485, 499–500, 511–12, 548–9, 629, 639–40; 2:59, 191–2, 197, 254, 276).

GUN-CARRIAGES: James Simpson, the United States consul to Morocco, had agreed to arrange in Lisbon for the construction of one hundred carriages for cannons for the sultan (or emperor) of Morocco, Mawlay Sulayman. Simpson’s understanding was that the sultan would pay for the gun carriages, but late in 1801, Sulayman let it be known that he wanted the United States to make him a present of the equipment. As Simpson pointed out to the Moroccans, the 1786 treaty “of Peace and Friendship” between the two countries, signed during the reign of Sulayman’s father, Sidi Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, contained no stipulation regarding presents or payments from the United States to Morocco. The consul reported to Madison, however, that Sulayman was demanding presents and diplomatic overtures from European nations, had ordered the consul of the Batavian Republic to leave Morocco for failing to meet those expectations, and threatened to do the same with Simpson. Sulayman, Simpson believed, hoped to find an excuse to abandon the treaty of 1786 and make a new arrangement with the United States. Although the treaty did not require annuities, the United States had made a payment to Sulayman in 1795 as an inducement to confirm his father’s treaty and gave him presents when Simpson presented his credentials as consul in 1798. Simpson advised Madison that if the United States determined to make a present of the gun carriages, “I would with due submission, beg leave to recommend a Letter being sent by the President to the Emperor on the occasion,” particularly as “no direct Communication whatever, has been made to His Majesty on the part of the United States” since 1795. In a reply to Simpson in April 1802, Madison noted that the Moroccan ruler’s dissatisfaction was “unexpected” and could have dangerous consequences. Madison asked the consul to assure Sulayman of TJ’s regard for him. Due to the sultan’s evident “anxiety,” Madison informed Simpson, the president had determined that the United States would indeed make a present of the gun carriages, which would be “sent from the United States as soon as they can be compleated, and an opportunity can be provided.” The gesture, Madison noted, was to be “a means of conciliating” the sultan “as much as possible for the present, without countenancing expectations in future.” TJ might accompany the gift with “a friendly letter to the Emperor,” Madison noted, “but on this point it may not be necessary to say any thing.” Before Simpson received those instructions from Madison, he wrote more dispatches indicating that the sultan still seemed to be looking for a reason to abrogate the treaty and that Sulayman might send wheat to Tripoli despite American and Swedish protestations. Some of those communications from him arrived at the State Department on 19 July (Simpson to Madison, 8 Jan., 20 Feb., 19 Mch., 13 May 1802, in DNA: RG 59, CD; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 2:378–9; 3:141; 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 , 1:251, 509; 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 , 2:185–227).

For background on the ANNUAL REMITTANCE TO ALGIERS by the United States, see Vol. 34:115 and Vol. 36:667n. TJ and Madison hoped that the dey, Mustafa Baba, would accept annual payments of $30,000 in lieu of the maritime stores stipulated by the 1795 treaty between the countries (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:430–1).

In his letter to GALLATIN on 22 July, Madison informed the secretary of the Treasury of the plan to send the provisions for the Mediterranean squadron, the gun carriages for Morocco, and the annuity payment for Algiers, which would come due on 5 Sep., by the General Greene. Madison suggested that Gallatin begin to get THE MONEY READY for the annuity payment pending TJ’s approval. Madison expected the frigate, after it sailed from Washington, to stop at Norfolk to take on the provisions (same, 414).

MR. SAMPSON: James Simpson.

1Preceding three words interlined.

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