Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Tobias Lear, 14 July 1803

To Tobias Lear

July 14. 03.

Th: Jefferson presents his friendly salutations to Colo. Lear, and prays him to give the best conveyance he can to the inclosed letter. he wishes a pleasant voyage & happy issue of his peacemaking mission: and the rather as the purchase of Louisiana will require the aid of all our resources to pay the interest of the additional debt without laying a new tax, and of course call for the adoption of every possible economy.

PrC (DLC); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure: probably TJ to Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis, 13 July.

peacemaking mission: TJ signed two commissions for Lear, one on 10 June as consul general for the city and kingdom of Algiers and another on 19 July as commissioner to negotiate a treaty of peace with Tripoli (both in DNA: RG 59, PTCC). In instructions for Lear dated 14 July, Madison explained that the consular position at Algiers was designated as consul general, and the consuls at Tunis and Tripoli made “subordinate” to it, to reflect the special relationship of the United States and Algiers relative to the other North African states. Madison informed Lear that the annuity to Algiers was the only payment required by “written obligation,” but “usage, equally imperious,” required a biennial present, which Richard O’Brien calculated to be $16,000, as well as gifts valued at about $20,000 on the introduction of a new consul. If Lear found that James L. Cathcart had not concluded a peace with Tripoli, Madison instructed, “the President has thought fit to entrust” those negotiations to Lear. The secretary of state also informed Lear that ships’ passports for the Mediterranean had been counterfeited, prompting the U.S. government to issue a newly engraved form for ships’ passes. In a postscript, Madison wrote that the “universal toleration in matters of religion established in most of our states, and the entire want of power respecting them in the general government, has, as we understand, induced the Barbary powers to view us more favorably than other Christian nations, who are exclusively so.” The government recommended that Lear “avail us of this fact and opinion, as far as it can be used to lessen the unequal condition of the intercourse between us” (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 5:175-9).

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