James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Leander Cathcart, 6 March 1804 (Abstract)

§ From James Leander Cathcart

6 March 1804, Leghorn. No. 3. Encloses “a copy of my correspondence with Comodore Preble & others, since my last of the 1st: of February.”1

“I have not heard from Colonel Lear since I parted with him! but my anxiety has been in some measure reliev’d by Come. Preble’s letters, as the[y] inform me that he has receiv’d the sundry communications which I forwarded to him in the United States brig Siren which authorizes me to suppose that the cash & jewels &ca: which I forwarded to Algiers have arrived safe, no doubt the great pressure of business attending the reception of a new Consul has prevented their being acknowledged in due season.… I have not receiv’d a line from Mr: Davis notwithstanding I gave him positive orders to write to the Comodore & myself by every opportunity; he has usurped that Consulate by his intrigues & submission to the will of the Bashaw’s minister, if government permits him to retain it (which I can’t think possible) it will exhibit but poor encouragement to those who are disposed to execute the dutys of their office with zeal & fidelity, as it will not only expose them to the insolence of the Bashaw & his ministers but likewise to the intrigues of every pretender to the Consulate who has art & meaness sufficient to persuade those Barbarians that he will be more subservient to their interests than his predecessor & consequently induce his nation to make greater sacrifices, & by Government acquiesceing in this instance it will stimulate the Bashaw’s avarice & induce him to change the Consul on the most frivolous occasion, were it only to produce a Consular present for his people, as he will be persuaded that he may do it with impunity.

“The gift of a Frigate is the Bashaw of Tunise’s terms of Peace, without which, peace with Tripoli will be the signal for War with Tunis, & concessions to either of those Regencys will be the means of increasing the terms of our Peace with Algiers, & every two or three years we shall be embroil’d with one or other of them, at this moment nothing prevents up [sic] from a War with Tunis but our being at War with Tripoli.”

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