George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Emperor of Morocco, 31 December 1794

To the Emperor of Morocco

[Philadelphia, 31 Dec. 1794]

Great and Magnanimous Friend,

Separated by an immense Ocean from the more ancient Nations of the Earth, and little connected with their politics or proceedings, we are late in learning the Events which take place among them, and later in conveying to them our sentiments thereon.

The death of the late Emperor, your Father and our Friend, of glorious memory, is one of those events which, tho’ distant, attracts our Notice and Concern. Receive, great and good Friend, my sincere sympathy with you on that loss; and permit me at the same time to express the satisfaction with which I learn the accession of so worthy a successor to the Imperial Throne of Morocco, and to offer you the Homage of my sincere congratulations. May the Days of your Majesty’s Life be many and glorious, and may they ever mark the æra during which a great people shall have been most prosperous and happy under the best and happiest of Sovereigns.

The late Emperor, very soon after the Establishment of our infant Nation, manifested his royal regard and amity to us by many friendly and generous acts, & particularly by the protection of our Citizens in their commerce with his subjects. And as a further instance of his desire to promote our prosperity and intercourse with his Realms, he entered into a Treaty of amity and commerce with us, for himself and his successors, to continue fifty Years.1 The Justice and Magnanimity of your Majesty leave us full of Confidence, that this treaty will meet your royal patronage also; and it will give me great satisfaction to be assured that the Citizens of the United States of america, may expect from your Imperial Majesty, the same protection and kindness, which the example of your illustrious father has taught them to expect from those who occupy the Throne of Morocco, and to have your royal word that they may count on a due observance of the treaty which connects the two Nations in friendship.

This will be delivered to your Majesty by Hans Heissel, whom I name Consul for these United States in the dominions of your Majesty. I pray your Majesty to protect him in the exercise of his functions for the patronage of the Commerce between our two Countries, and of those who carry it on.

May that God, whom we both adore, bless your Imperial Majesty with long life, health, and success, & have you always, great and magnanimous Friend, under his holy keeping. Written at Philadelphia the 31st day of December 1794. Your good and faithful friend

Go: Washington
By the President of the United States of America
Edm: Randolph
Secretary of State.

Copy, DNA: RG 59, entry 33, Credences, vol. I.

The civil war in Morocco was continuing (see Giuseppe Chiappe to GW, 12 Dec.), and this letter was appropriate to any of the contenders, all of whom were sons of the late emperor Sidi Muhammed, who died in March 1790 (see Chiappe to GW, 13 May 1790, and n.1 to that document). However, GW probably expected that the recipient would be Mawlay Sulayman Ibn Muhammed, who was in fact the eventual victor. On 24 Dec. The Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Daily Advertiser announced: “We are informed, that Muley Soliman, who has so far subdued his rivals, as to be generally acknowledged to be the Emperor of Morocco, is irritated against the United States; and that his cruizers are probably instructed to capture American vessels. It is said upon authentic grounds, that the President of the United States, did some time ago, as soon as he heard that this danger was growing serious, and that Muley Soliman was sufficiently established to be treated with, adopt measures for the accommodation of all differences between him and the United States.”

1GW was referring to the 1786 treaty with Morocco (Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends , 185–227).

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