Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Smith, 4 April 1801 [i.e. May 1801]

From Samuel Smith

Nav Dep 4th Apl [i.e. May] 1801


I do myself the honor to enclose you the latest information in this Department relative to the force of the Barbary Powers, and am,

with the greatest respect, Sir, your mo ob Sr.

S Smith

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 4 May and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found, but probably: (1) William Eaton to the secretary of state, 15 June 1799, including an estimate of marine force of Tunis in 1798 and a table recording monthly cruises by Tunisian vessels from 1790 through 1799 (Tr in DNA: RG 59, CD; with calculations in TJ’s hand). (2) James Leander Cathcart, 14 Aug. 1800, statement of the marine force of Tripoli (Tr in same). (3) William Bainbridge, 23 Sep. 1800, statement of the marine force of Algiers (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 , 1:371–2).

Using information from the statements of Eaton, Cathcart, and Bainbridge cited above, TJ compiled an undated estimate of the total naval forces of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, listing the number and types of vessels, the quantity of guns, and the average size of the crew carried by each. According to TJ’s calculations, the naval force of Algiers contained 15 vessels carrying a total of 296 guns and 2,570 men, plus 60 gunboats; that of Tunis, 94 vessels carrying a total of 928 guns and 8,015 men; that of Tripoli, 11 vessels carrying a total of 152 guns. TJ also used Eaton’s report to calculate the average number of cruises per month by Tunisian vessels from 1790 through 1799, estimating 1 vessel at sea in January and February; 3 in March; 6 in April and May; 7 in June, July, and August; 5 in September and October, and 3 in November and December (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 119:20552; undated; entirely in TJ’s hand; endorsed: “Barbary states. their naval force”).

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