James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Xaverio Naudi, 29 December 1818

From Xaverio Naudi

Tripoli in the West December the 29th: 1818.

Honorable Sir

You will foregive me the Liberty that I have taken in addressing to you on the present occasion on a business which Concern your Brother in Law Mr. John Payne.1

During the time I had the honor to fulfill the office of a Chargé of the American Consulate in this Country, in the absence of the above Gentleman, I was obliged to undergo at a great variety of Expences to Support honorably that Charge. However the Secretary of State under your happy Presedency, thought proper to make Several deductions from my Accounts Sent to Government through Mr. J. C. Morgan2 leaving to me the way open for a redress against my Committent Mr. Payne.

Besides these deductions, I was charged to pay by the Express order of the Said Gentleman Several Sums of Money, partly for the use of the American Government, and partly for his own use, as it appears by my Accounts herewith Enclosed.3 You will observe the nature of the Several deposits paid for his Account, all of which have been Used by him, before his Absence from hence, and which Ought to be held Sacred in the American Chancery, as belonging to Several unfortunate Slaves, being the Ammount of their ransoms.

If he was not connected with your Honorable Family, I never would make So many Sacrifices as I did, to Support his honor, and Personal Character in this Place, more particularly because I may freely Say to have been ill used, notwithstanding all my Exertions in his behalf. I therefore beg you may be pleased to Support my just Claim, and to induce him to discharge a Debt, which ought to be held Sacred.

You will not I hope disdain the resolution I have taken in Enclosing to you his Letter,4 as I never received his intelligence Since he left Tripoli, I am not aware where he has fixed his residence.

The Goodness with which you have So highly distinguished yourself on the Stage of the World, will also I hope induce you to protect my just Claim. I humbly Entreat you to accept the deepest Sentiments of my high veneration with which I have the honor to be, Honorable Sir, Your Dutyful, and most Obedient humble Servant

Xaverio Naudi5

RC (NN). In a clerk’s hand, signed by Naudi.

1John Coles Payne (b. 1782) was Dolley Payne Madison’s brother. In 1806 he went to Tripoli as secretary to the consul, George Davis, where he slowly sank into drink and dissipation. By 1811, the year he left Tripoli, he was so heavily in debt that it proved impossible for him to take up a post at the U.S. legation at Paris. He returned to the United States where he took up planting on a small scale in Virginia. He moved to Illinois in 1837 (Mattern and Shulman, Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, 79, 102–3, 221, 409).

2Joseph C. Morgan was a Philadelphia lawyer. In 1820 Morgan imported from Tripoli the Arabian stallion, Grand Bashaw, which won the premium for best thoroughbred stallion in the first annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society in 1823 (“Will of Charles Thomson,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends 14 [1890]: 322–23; Morgan to Henry Clay, 26 Dec. 1825, James F. Hopkins et al., eds., The Papers of Henry Clay [11 vols.; Lexington, Ky., 1959–92], 4:950–51; John Hankins Wallace, Wallace’s American Stud-Book … [New York, 1867], 1:53; Baltimore American Farmer 5 [26 December 1823]: 313–14).

3Enclosure not found.

4Enclosure not found.

5Xaverio Naudi was a Maltese watchmaker who had served as chancellor in the office of the French consulate general in Tripoli in the 1790s. Expelled with the consul at the outbreak of war between France and Tripoli, Naudi was sent by Talleyrand in 1801 as an official agent to negotiate a peace with Tripoli. In this he was successful, though his reward was to remain as interpreter and chancellor to the French consul. On 20 Apr. 1816 an act of Congress authorized Naudi’s accounts as consular agent for the United States at Tripoli to be audited and settled (François Charles-Roux, “Un horloger diplomate: Naudi et le rétablissement des relations entre la France et Tripoli en 1802,” Revue de l’histoire des colonies Françaises 22 [1929]: 1, 3, 6–9, 43–44; 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 , 6:162).

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