James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Frederick Degen, 9 November 1807

Naples November 9th. 1807.


I have the honor to inform your Excellency ⟨tha⟩t from the report of Cap Ichabod Sheffield of the Schooner Mary Ann of New York lately arrived here from the Coast of Labrador, it appears that abrupt, and unexpected hostilities have ⟨b⟩een commenced by the Regency of Algiers against the Flag ⟨of⟩ the United States. Said Cap Sheffield has declared ⟨un⟩der oath in this Consulate, that on the 26th. Ulto. he fell in ⟨w⟩ithin the Streights with an Algerine Frigate of 44 Guns wh. ⟨ca⟩ptured him, and without much examination took 3 Men ⟨o⟩ut of his Crew, and ordered his Vessel into Algiers under the charge of Nine Turks including a Boy. He was in their possession till the 29th. when within a few miles of the Barbary Shore he Succeeded to retake his Schooner, throwing four Turks over board in the fray, obliged four to embark in a Boat and Kept the Boy who is now on board. He then directed his course for this Port and got in Safe on the 4th. inst Cap Sheffield further reports that the Same Algerine Fr⟨igate⟩ captured likewise on the 26th. Ulto. the American Brig Violet from Boston bound to Leghorn, previous to which an Am⟨erican⟩ Ship and Schooner had also been taken.

In addition to the above declaration Cap. Sheffie⟨ld⟩ Says to have found amongst the effects of the Prize Mas⟨ter⟩ who was one of the four Turks thrown over board, a Docu⟨ment⟩ which is yet in his possession, and which after the expiratio⟨n⟩ of his quarantine I shall cause him to deposit in my Offi⟨ce⟩ It is from the English Agent at Algiers, and inclosed I hand you a Copy of the Same.

I shall have the honor to address you more at length per first opportunity, in particular on the Subject ⟨of⟩ the Capture of the Brig Fittz William of Boston by the King of Naples’ Cruizer, and which has been condemned notwithstanding all my exertions to prevent it. I remain with the highest respect Sir, Your most Obedt. Servt.

Fredk Degen

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

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