James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sidi Suleiman Melli Melli, 11 February 1806

Washington Feby: 11th: 1806

Siddi Suliman Mella Menni Ambassador Plenipotentiary from his Excellency the Bashaw of Tunis near his Excellency the President of the United States of America. To the Honble. James Madison Esqre. Secretary of State


I have had the honor to receive your communication of the 5th. of Feby: 1806 in answer to mine of the 31st: of Decr: 1805 and have paid particular attention to its contents. The Xebeck (captured by the vessels of war belonging to the United States) while under the Command of Raiz Hassan bo’ All’y, a subject of Tunis, was Tunisian property, as a proof of which her officers & crew were discharged by the Captors, have return’d to Tunis & there now reside; I therefore request that I may be the bearer of an order from his Excellency the President to the Commanding officer of the American squadron stationed in the Mediterranean to deliver up the said Xebeck & her two prizes to his Excellency the Bashaw of Tunis, for al’though their value view’d on a national scale is really trifling (not being more than 4000 dollars) it involves consequences of real importance to myself, as the nature of the Tunisian Government is such, that even should I succeed in attaining the objects of my mission to their full extent, & to my Masters entire satisfaction, praise would only be given to God for my success! & no credit whatever would accrue to myself for my exertions!! On the contrary should I return empty handed I should be subjected to censure and the Bashaws displeasure which might operate against me individually, to an extent of which no adequate idea can be for’med by the inhabitants of this country. I therefore urgently request that this favor may be granted by His Excellency the President on my own private account, altho it would be more congenial to my feelings to obtain it on my Masters. I have the honor to continue with the highest respect & consideration Sir Your Obnt. Servt.

Arabic signature Melli Melli

The letter to which this certificate is annexed was compiled by the subscriber from the verbal communications of Siddi Suliman Mella Menni by request of the Honble. The Secretary of State, & in the presense of Mr. Hatfield in a similar manner to said Mella Mennis memoral of the 31st. of Decr. 1805.

James Leander Cathcart

DNA: RG 59--CD--Consular Despatches, Tunis.

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