James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Soliman Melimeni, 25 August 1806

From Soliman Melimeni

New Port. R.I. Augt 25th. 1806

I have the honor to inform your excellency that on the 20th. Mr. Cathcart received a letter from the Honble Sect. of the Navy, informing him that I could not be permitted to leave America previous to my paying 3860 Dols. This expence I have been informed has accrued in consequence of changing the cargo from one vessel to another, & thereby becoming subject to duty.

As this change has taken place by your order I trust the Government of the United States will pay what expences may result in consequence of said order.

I left Boston on the 21st. on my way to Washington, but on my arrival at this place concluded it would be best & most expeditious to write you on the above subject. What I have allready stated was not my only reason for undertaking this journey to washington.

I am sorry to inform you that Mr. Cathcart’s conduct has not been such towards me as the Government of the U. S. would approve; he is frequently drunk, & at such times is wanting of common respect towards me, he has not only spoken disrespectfully of all the Barbary Powers, but has insulted me by abusing my Master the Bey of Tunis.

I have also to add that he has imposed upon me in pecuniary affairs; In the first he caused me to pay him as Commission $500 on goods that I purchased myself.

In the next place a coppying machine that was presented to me by the President he insisted upon having, & lastly the sum allowed me by government he detained from me four weeks, nor until I gave him two hundred dollars would he pay me. I have only to add If your excellency should receive any letter from him to my prejudice you will not give it Credit. I have the Honor to be with Profound respect Sir your obt. St.

[Arabic signature and seal]

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Tunis, vol. 3). In a clerk’s hand, signed by Melimeni; docketed by Wagner. Enclosed in Stephen Decatur to JM, 25 Aug. 1806, which has not been found but was acknowledged by Wagner in his 1 Sept. 1806 letter to Decatur (printed below).

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