James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Levett Harris, 7 February 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Levett Harris

7 February 1804, St. Petersburg. Last wrote on 17 Nov. via Antwerp. Has instituted “the necessary inquiries” to obtain the information requested in JM’s circular of 9 Apr. 18031 but is unable to furnish it as conclusively as he deems necessary. “I … shall therefore defer transmitting any Statements until I am capable to provide them in a Satisfactory form.” Recently received news of the loss of a U.S. frigate off Tripoli and the imprisonment of its crew. “As soon as this information bore marks of authenticity I delayed not a moment to address an official Note to the grand Chancellor of the Empire, soliciting the influence of his Imperial Majesty with the Ottoman Port in behalf of my unfortunate Countrymen. The power and Consequence of the Russian Government acknowledged throughout Europe, and especially in that quarter wherein its mediation in this disasterous event might be essentially advantageous, and finding myself the first Accredited Agent of America at this Court, I eagerly Seized the Opportunity of employing my best address in order to procure so important an intercession.” Encloses copies of his correspondence with Vorontsov on the subject.2 “By this days post I shall forward Copies of the Chancellors Letter to our Ministers in Paris, London,3 and Madrid, to the Commander of the Squadron in the Medeterranean, and to some of the Consuls on that Sea.

“My duty acquits me on this Occasion and I flatter myself my Government will accord me an equal indulgence.”

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