James Madison Papers

Circular Letter to American Consuls, Mediterreanean, 2 June 1804

Circular Letter to American Consuls, Mediterranean

Department of State, June 2d. 1804.


On receiving information of the loss of the Philadelphia, an act of Congress was passed whereby a Million of dollars, was appropriated to enable the President to impart such vigor to the conduct of the war as might at once change the exultation of the enemy in his casual fortune into a more proper sentiment of fear and prepare the way for a speedy & lasting peace with Barbary.1 The five following frigates have therefore been appointed to sail into the Mediterranean, and will proceed without delay, viz.

The President of 44 guns Commodore S. Barron.
The Congress of 36  do. Capt. Rodgers.
The Constellation 36  do. Capt. Campbell
The Essex 32  do. Capt. J. Barron.
& The John Adams Capt. Chauncey.

armed en flute,2 making our whole force in that Sea to amount to 6 frigates & five Sloops of war.

It having been found necessary to change the form of the Mediterranean Passport now in use, arrangements have been made with the Barbary powers, by which either the old or the new form will be sufficient to protect our Vessels until the 1st. of July 1805, after which the new form only will be valid. I am &c.

James Madison.

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, IC, vol. 1). Marked “(Circular)”; addressed: “To the Consuls of the U: States, at Naples, Cadiz, Malaga, Leghorn, Marsailles, Cette, Genoa, Sicily, Tri[e]ste, Malta, Barcelona & Gibraltar.”

1JM referred to “An Act further to protect the commerce and seamen of the United States against the Barbary powers,” 26 Mar. 1804 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:291–92).

2En flûte: a ship that has only its top tier of guns, its hold being filled with supplies, making it in effect an armed transport.

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