Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Carmichael, 13 August 1789

From William Carmichael

Madrid 13 Augt. 1789

My Dear Sir

By a Letter which I received last week from Governeur Morris, I am informed that your Excellency is still at Paris. In consequence I take the Liberty of inclosing to you the accompts of the disbursements made for our Captives at Algiers No. 1–2.—I transmitted to Mr. Jay the first accompt in June 1787, but have not been favored with an answer. On the 11th Inst. I received the second accompanied by a Letter from Monsr. Las Heras the Spanish Consul at Algiers advising me that he had drawn upon me for the amount at sixty days after sight. I shall endeavour to get clear of this embarras as well as I can, yet I cannot refrain from remarking, that it is cruel to expose me and the credit of the United States in this manner, when a resolution of Congress authorising me to be responsible in their Name for this or a larger sum, would have enabled me to discharge these advances made in the first Instance by the Ct. d’Expilly from Motives of Humanity and finally authorized by Mr. Lamb with the approbation of your Excellency to what I had done previous to that Gentlemans arrival at Algiers. I intreat you to have the goodness to transmit these accompts to Congress, for at this Moment there is no immediate opportunity of Conveyance from the Ports of Spain and that you would also favor me with your Sentiments on the Subject, for I cannot desire further advances to be made without having it in my power to announce a term for the payment of those already made.—The Algerines have sent their principal force against the Russian Corsairs in the Archepelago. They have now but 3 small cruisers at Sea against the other Christian powers.

The Inclosed Copy of a Letter I received this day from Cadiz inclosing an extract from one from the Emperor of Morrocco will show your Excellency on what terms we are with that Sovereign; Perhaps a letter from Your Excellency to Mr. Chiappe on this occasion might be useful, for the Emperor wishes to be considered in the most respectable light by Foreigners.

I have no official Letters from America since the Month of Septr. 1788. This Silence gives me a double motive to regret yours.—The revolution where you are excites here a greater degree of attention, than can be conceived by those who form their Notions of the Spanish Nation on preconceived prejudices. The wave doth not break with all its force, but the Undulation is felt, perhaps it may be wise and prudent not to erect a mole too suddenly to counteract its force. You will learn with pain that the Cte. de F. Blanca has been for some days indisposed. He is the Atlas that Supports the Monarchy at present.

I have already written to you in America on a supposition that you had left France; I in these Letters intreated you to represent to our Government the necessity of having some Allowance made me for the extraordinary expences, I must, if I act as others, incur at the Coronation. I have no answer on this Subject to my official Letters. In my opinion Nothing can be more absurd than the expence incurred on similar occasions But My opinion cannot decide that of the Public or determine the Conduct of others. I wish to have yours. You will pardon the Liberty I take in Solliciting it, but be assured it will regulate entirely my conduct.

As you often see the Ct. de Montmorin I intreat you to make him my compliments on his present position. I might have added one to the many hundred Letters of felicitation he will receive on his reestablishment to the Ministry was I not persuaded that he beleives that I feel a satisfaction that I cannot express in finding him the Minister of his Nation as he had previously been of his Sovereign. I have the honor to be With the greatest Respect & Esteem Your Excys. Most obedient & Humble Servt.,

Wm. Carmichael

RC (DLC); endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 26 Aug. 1789. Enclosures (DLC: TJ Papers, 51: 8627–32): (1) Statement of account (“No. 1”) showing sums advanced by D’Expilly for American captives in Algiers during 1785–1787, totalling 3,192.1 patacas (in Spanish). (2) Statement of account (“No. 2”) of “Disbursements of the American Masters Mates and Mariners in Slavery in Algiers … Suplyed Monthly by the Spanish Consul Monsr. D. Les Haris” from 1 Apr. 1787 to 1 Aug. 1789, totalling 833½ Algerine sequins, attested by Richard O’Bryen, Algiers, 2 Aug. 1789 (in English). (3) Copy of letter from Maurice Roberts to Carmichael, Cadiz, 7 Aug. 1789, informing him that “the Schooner Polly of Salem, Joseph Proctor master, sailed hence for that place with a Cargo of Salt on or about the 4 ulto,” having been consigned to him, and “was captured and conducted the 11d do. into Mogadore by two Moorish cruisers, on a pretence of not knowing what Colours she was under. This information was communicated to me by Dn. Jacome Geronimo Chiappe of Tangier and to him from the former place by his Brother Joseph Chiappe American Agent there. The Conduct of the Moorish Captains and pilots on this occasion irritated much the Emperor who ordered them up to Morroco, to give an account of their proceedings, and know from them the reason of their acting so contrary to his instructions &c.… and in consequence he writes a letter to the Agent as per inclosed Copy to serve for your government. Captn. Proctor was dismissed with every good treatment having both provissions and money to attone for the delay”; the enclosed copy was one from Francisco Chiappe to his brother, Giuseppe Chiappe, dated 14 July 1789, informing him of the letter received from the emperor, of which the Tr furnished TJ by Carmichael is in DLC: TJ Papers, 51, 8630. Trs of the letters of Roberts and of Chiappe, in Short’s hand, were enclosed in TJ to Jay, 27 Aug. 1789, and are in DNA: PCC, No. 87, ii).

No copy of a letter written to you in America subsequent to that of 27 Mch. 1789, which was sent to TJ in Paris, has been found and none is recorded in SJL. TJ followed the suggestion that he write to Mr. Chiappe: see TJ to Francisco and Giuseppe Chiappe, 9 Sep. 1789. When TJ became secretary of state he found that Jay’s letter of 9 septr. 1788, “the contents of which were important and an answer wished for,” had not been acknowledged by Carmichael (see TJ to Carmichael, 11 Apr. 1790).

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