James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Leander Cathcart, 25 July 1803

From James Leander Cathcart, 25 July 1803

No. 10

Leghorn July 25th: 1803


Last night arrived from Tripoli & Tunis a french vessel which brought me the enclosed intelligence from Mr: Nissen at Tripoli. From Mr. Davis at Tunis & from Comodore Morris I have not rec’d. a line since I saw them last which seems to me as extraordinary as improper. As I am just going to embark for Malta I cannot be so diffuse as is necessary on the subject of Mr. Nissen’s report but foresee many difficultys in the way of our negociation; in fact Sir we have lost our importance in those seas, & if it is not speedily retrieved by a brilliant act we must & had much better at once comply with those Bashaws demands & put ourselves in the same situation that Sweden & Denmark is. Nothing less will satisfy the avarice of those chiefs One concession is allways the fore runner of an other.

I am inform’d by Mr: Ulrich the Danish Consul here that their Consular present paid last year at Tunis ammounted to near ten thousand dollars and that the Bey was not content. I therefore can see no proba⟨bility⟩ that ours can be made for a smaller sum. I shall delay th⟨e⟩ procuring them as long as possible in hopes of hearing from you after the arrival of Mr. Eaton at the seat of government.

I have negociated bills upon you for [. . .] 22, 200 at 10 % discount, including all expenses whic⟨h⟩ neats here 20,000 dollars & could not procure it[. . .] up⟨on bet⟩ter terms as I am not furnish’d with a credit upon Lo⟨nd⟩on. The particulars of the draughts you will be inform’d by [. . .] letter of advice. You shall hear from me on my ⟨arrival⟩ at Malta, & I request you to excuse the abruptness w⟨ith⟩ which I have the honor to subscribe myself Sir Yr. most Obnt. Sert.

James Lear: Cathcart

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