James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Lamson, 24 August 1802

From John Lamson, 24 August 1802

Trieste 24th. August 1802

Respected Sir

Since my last of the 22d. May some events have taken place which appear to threaten the ⟨tota⟩l annihilation of our commerce in these seas. Unless speedily ⟨counterac⟩ted. Persuaded however that you will have received ⟨this in⟩formation long before this can reach you from the Agents ⟨of our⟩ Goverment whose situation affords them opportiunities of ⟨com⟩munication more frequent and easy, I shall do no more than ⟨me⟩ntion them without entering into the particulars. (They are) the declration of war by the Emperor of Morrocco; the Menacing attitude of the other powers of Barbary against the United States and the capture of the Brig Franklin of Philadelphia Capt. Andrew Morris by the Tripolins; this Unfortunate Capt. and his Ships company Nine in all, having been sent from Bizerte; (where the Vessell and cargo was put up at Auction) to Tripoli as Slaves. Beleiving as I do, that the Goverment of the United States duly appretiates the Liberty of their Citizens, and the importance of enjoying a free trade; no observations that I can possibly make will be necessary to recommend to their attention, the relief and protection of the one and the other. It is to be hoped that the time will come when these daring invaders of the rights of man will be Severely chastised, which perhaps would be no difficult task if it did not militate with the policy of European courts.

As the commerce of this country with their own Ships is allmost entirely confined to the Levant and Medeteranean seas they depend wholly upon foreigners for their supplies of East and West India produce of which there is an immense consumption. As it is probable that the Americans can build and navigate their Ships, cheaper than any other people, and from the naturall activity and enterprize of their navigators, perform their voyages generally in much less time. By these means they might supply these marketts cheaper than any other Nation, and would allways be entitled to the preference If therefore the Navigation of the Medeteranean could be free’d from its present embarassments, I think they might employ a portion of their shipp⟨ing⟩ in this trade to very good account, especially when the advan⟨tage of⟩ return cargos is taken into consideration.

In a former letter I took the liberty to Sollicit the Agency for the [. . .] United States, should one be thought necessary for the [. . .] ⟨and⟩ hope to be excused the repeating this request.

The last of your instructions that I have received was under date of 1st. August 1801 a circular adressed to the consuls and Agents of the United States. Permit me to recommend the forwarding your Communications by the way of London as the most expeditious and certain. I have the honor to be, Sir with the greatest respect, Your most obedient and very Humble Servant

John Lamson

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