James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard O’Brien, ca. 5 November 1802 (Abstract)

§ From Richard O’Brien

Ca. 5 November 1802, Algiers. Reports that he sent a gift watch to the minister of marine and foreign affairs after the dey and prime minister had three times “Seriously demanded” an account of the vessel bearing U.S. annuities. “I seen the necesity of giving for Ansr. that I had private information that a Vessel was loading in Philadelphia for Algiers—further this day the dey Sent to the dean Sweden Batavian and American Consuls to inform them to write to Their Govts. and to have brought to this City with dispatch 1000 Barrels of Gunpowder from Each if not he threatens to be Angry.” Had seen the need before this of securing the friendship of the minister of marine, who is “of great influence and his representations to the dey is of great weight.” The minister of marine is not friendly with the prime minister and the Jews, so O’Brien could not get the watch from the latter as they would have informed the prime minister, and if the minister of marine knew the present was from Baccri and Busnach, he would not have accepted it. “Under These Considerations I had no Alternative but to get it from Monsr. Fraisinet.” Notes that it is contrary to custom to demand a receipt from the recipient.

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