James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eaton, 18 March 1802

From William Eaton, 18 March 1802

Tunis March 18th. 1802.


In addition to what I wrote Mr. King Copy herewith, I have only to add here that on arriving at Tunis, I find Sidi Mahomet Bashaw yielding to his brother’s instances and on the point of departing for Derne a Province of Tripoli, the Government of which is promised him, for which purpose he begged my Passport. I not only refused it but told him very candidly, that if he departed we must consider him in the light of an enemy, and that instead of my influence to assist his passage to the Kingdom of Tripoli I should give it to have him and his retinue carried prisoners of war to the United States; but if he would adhere to his former arrangements I did not doubt but that before the expiration of four months he might be offered to his people by an American Squadron. I tell him the sole object of his brother is to cut his throat. He is Sufficiently alarmed & too much distressed, this Bey having refused him any further supplies of provisions (I don’t like this Symptom) He proposes going to Malta and waiting the issue there. I will only consent to his going to Leghorn or Sardinia. If he departs on other terms I shall send an armed Ship after him, & if possible carry him and retinue to some Italian port.

Contrary winds prevented my touching at Naples from Leghorn. It is a misfortune; but affairs demanded me here. Capn. McNeill touched here 29. Janny. since which we have no advise of him. I Have the honor to be with great Respect, Sir, Your Mt. Obed: Servt.

William Eaton

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