James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Appleton, 14 July 1806

Leghorn 14th. July 1806.


I have the honor herewith to transmit you a list of Amer⟨ica⟩n vessels which have sail’d from this port during the ⟨pre⟩ceding six months, by which you will observe Sir, ⟨that⟩ in this space of time, the commerce with the U:States ⟨has⟩ something more than doubled that of any former period

From a well-timed economy scarce any expence ⟨has⟩ arisen to the government for the Sick and distress’d ⟨Sea⟩men; for exclusive of those unavoidably left here, others ⟨have⟩ throng’d to this port from all parts of the mediterranean ⟨and⟩ the Adriatic; the month’s advance of those who have been discharg’d agreeably to law, has nearly paid the expence and not an American I have good reason to beleive, ⟨has⟩ enter’d into foreign service, but on the contrary, have without exception, been reshipp’d on board of others ⟨of⟩ our own flag.

A great variety of Complaints hav⟨e⟩ been made to me by the public Authorities here of the vio⟨lations⟩ the masters of our Vessels were continually committing aga⟨inst⟩ the laws and Regulations of the Port, and which Arose m⟨ainly⟩ from an ignorance of them. I have therefore, in order to prevent as much as possible those evils in future, translated into our language, and likewise obtain’d Permiss⟨ion⟩ from the government to print, in a Small pamphlet, thos⟨e⟩ rules which are necessary for their guidance; One of w⟨hich⟩ I deliver to every Captain immediately on his arrival, and copy, I take the liberty of now inclosing to you.

Having learnt that the government of the U:States were ⟨esta⟩blishing in various ports Lazeretto’s to prevent the introduction ⟨of⟩ any Contagious disorders, I have thought that a translation of all the laws and Regulations of the three Laz’os: of Leghorn ⟨wou⟩ld be no unacceptable tribute of my respect. After I had ⟨col⟩lected them in italian, I sought in vain, for a person, Capable, ⟨an⟩d willing to translate them; but the language: masters here ⟨are⟩ mostly foreigners, whose prose resembles rather to blank verse, which of course, is totally unfit for the necessary plain ⟨sty⟩le of Regulations. In a word Sir, I was Compell’d either to ⟨fore⟩go the advantages I Conceiv’d might be drawn from the most ⟨ack⟩nowledg’d experience of any place in Europe, or undertake my⟨sel⟩f this task; I have preferr’d the latter. I shall only add that my utmost endeavors have not been spared to give a faithf⟨ul⟩ translation, and my only wish is, that it may be of Some Use ⟨   ⟩ The three Laz’os: are seperated entirely from the City, the fir⟨st⟩ half a mile, the 2nd. a mile and a half: and the thi⟨rd⟩ about two miles, all on the Sea-Coast. they have rathe⟨r⟩ the appearance of little wall’d cities than Hospitals, pa⟨r⟩ticularly the 2nd. and third, but in a special manner the latter. If the reading of my translation is worthy ⟨the⟩ time it will take to peruse it, you will observe th⟨at⟩ the Regulations of the 3d. Laz’o. or what is commonly call’d St. Leopoldo, was Singularly Attended to by the grand duke of that name. this building has justly drawn the admiration of all strangers, and applicatio⟨ns⟩ have been made by the best accredited ministers to obta⟨in⟩ Copies of the charts, but hitherto no one has Succeede⟨d. I⟩ have therefore little, or more properly speaking, no hopes ⟨tha⟩t this favor will be granted to me: altho’ no avenue ⟨sha⟩ll remain untried by which I may attain this object. ⟨The⟩ reluctance of the government may appear extraordinary, ⟨bu⟩t the real reason is, that the Coasts of Italy lie open ⟨an⟩d exposed to the sudden invasions of the barbary cruizers; ⟨they⟩ are therefore unwilling to suffer drafts of the Lazos. to be ⟨ta⟩ken in the apprehension that one may fall into the hands ⟨of⟩ the barbarians, and by these means expose the weak parts, ⟨wi⟩thout which they are supposed sufficiently capable of ⟨ma⟩king a temporary resistance.

I have Seen very recently ⟨let⟩ters from the barbary coast, but no one announces any ⟨ap⟩parent ill: will of either of the regencies towards our Commerce A Tunisian Squadron of five sail was at Majorca on the ⟨   ⟩ of May, and on being demanded the Reason of this armament they replied it was intended to act against the portoguese

There has hitherto no change taken place in Tuscany but I have every reason to beleive that the Sovereign author⟨ity⟩ will shortly be put into other hands; however this may be, ⟨no⟩ essential alteration can take place as to its political admi⟨nis⟩tration, and to establish this belief, it requires no other eviden⟨ce⟩ than the prohibition of the entrance of all merchandize, t⟨he⟩ growth or manufacture of Great Britain. Nevertheless the vessels of Neutrals are Suffer’d by the british cruizers to enter freely the port. As yet the fate of the Pope is not definite⟨ly⟩ known, tho’ the papal arms are taken down in many par⟨ts⟩ of his dominions.

The fortress of Gaeta still resists al⟨l⟩ the ⟨p⟩ower of the french arms, but my opinion is, that it will ⟨be⟩ compell’d shortly to surrender from the immense army before it, and the determination of the New King, to be⟨co⟩me Master of it at whatever expence. The Neapolitans have ⟨in⟩ no wise chang’d their natures with their masters, but are ⟨con⟩tinually exercising the Same Mode of individual revenge ⟨which⟩ has in all Ages mark’d their abhorrence to a french Yoke. The present King can only be supported on his throne ⟨   ⟩t with a powerful french Army: for altho’ many of ⟨the⟩ nobility have Accepted places under him, yet the ⟨gre⟩at mass of the Nation is most inimically disposed; so long as there exists a total Suspension of commerce, ⟨an⟩d at the Same time they are Compell’d to support 150,000. foreign troops, it is difficult to Conceive how it Can be otherwise. my sincere opinion is, that it wi⟨ll⟩ Require more french soldiers to preserve the Kingdom of Nap⟨les⟩ under any Sort of Subordination, than to maintain in Subj⟨ection⟩ all the other possessions of france out of the empire. and eve⟨n⟩ with this force, they must be under the Continual Ap⟨pre⟩hension of another Sicilian Vespres, for the Neapolitan⟨s⟩ are taught from their very cradles, that it is a Pious Act ⟨to⟩ Kill a frenchman. I have Again Call’d this day on t⟨he⟩ Governor to discover if it be possible to obtain Copie⟨s⟩ of the plans of the Lazerettos, and as he is on all occasi⟨ons⟩ Singularly well disposed towards me, his advice is, th⟨at⟩ I should not apply at this time to the government at florence, as the coast is much infested with barbary ⟨cr⟩uizers, and british Ships of War, that when a proper ⟨t⟩ime shall present, he will not only point it out to me, ⟨bu⟩t likewise, second my Application with his influence ⟨with⟩ the Prime Minister. It will be highly satisfactory to ⟨me,⟩ Sir, to learn from you that this package has reach’d ⟨you⟩r hands, as it will releive me from the apprehen⟨sion⟩s of its having miscarried, as likewise spare me again ⟨the⟩ labour of preparing a New Copy of the regulations ⟨of⟩ the Lazerettos. I have the honor to be Sir with Very Sincere Respect Your Most Obedient Servant

Th: Appleton

P: Scriptum.

You will sensibly oblige me Sir by giving the necessary orders, that the balance of my various accounts of disbursements to distress’d Seam⟨en⟩ should be adjusted with Saml. Emery of Phil⟨a⟩ who is charg’d with my power to this effec⟨t.⟩

I am desired by M Mazzei to f⟨or⟩ward to your Care the inclos’d letter for th⟨e⟩ President.

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, Leghorn.

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