Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Montgomery, 15 October 1787

From Robert Montgomery

Alicante, 15 Oct. 1787. Acknowledges TJ’s letter of 10 Sep. and will follow his advice concerning the consulate. Has just received a letter from Algiers, dated 29 Sep., which states that the plague has subsided and that the people go about their ordinary business; has also been informed that the crew of a Russian ship, captured by the Algerines, has been ransomed through the mediation of the Dutch consul: the captain for 3,000 Spanish dollars, 2 mates for $2,000 each; a carpenter and boatswain for $1,500 each; 10 men at $1,000 each; plus “Regency Duty” of 16 per cent; totalling $23,200. If this report is correct, this is so much greater than “anything ever paid before the Spanish Peace, that I fear our Poor Country men will be Obliged to look up to the universal Redamer for their first relief.” Lamb arrived in Boston about the beginning of August.

RC (DLC); 2 p.; endorsed. Tr (DLC); in Short’s hand. Recorded in SJL as received 31 Oct. 1787; copy enclosed in TJ to Jay, 3 Nov. 1787.

In DLC: TJ Papers, 17: 2897 there is a memorandum in TJ’s hand summarizing the figures given here by Montgomery for the ransoming of “the Russian crew taken last year” and converting the dollars to livres, showing that the average cost was 8,117 livres per man; in this memorandum there is also the following: “See Memoires secretes that 313 captives cost the two orders de la Merci et Les Mathurins 630,052₶ exclusive of the expenses of quarantine, clothing, transportation. This is 2012₶ = 383 Dollars each. Article Sep. 11. 1785” (undated, but evidently written early in 1788, perhaps in calculating the amount necessary to be included in the loan negotiated with Adams at Amsterdam in Mch.; see note 3 to Enclosure I, TJ to Jay, 16 Mch. 1788). There is also in DLC: TJ Papers, 33: 5719 an “Extract of a letter dated Napoli pmo 8bro. 1787,” in Short’s hand with a note by TJ, showing that the Court of Naples had redeemed 297 slaves at a cost of 299,539 ducats; the note by TJ stated that “the Ducat of Naples is nearly 4 livres” and calculated the cost of the slaves at “4032. livres each.”

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