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Chapter 12

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Diplomatic Relations
of the United States
with the Barbary Powers

by
Ray W. Irwin

published by
The University of North Carolina Press
Chapel Hill, 1931

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 13
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p187  Chapter XIII

A Retrospect

A glance over the relations hitherto described reveals a number of developments in the Barbary policy of the United States. The first to be reviewed are those which occurred during the period beginning with the American Revolution and ending with the adoption of the Constitution; the second are those which followed the latter event but preceded the War with Tripoli; the third comprise those which took place between the Pasha's declaration of war and the conclusion of the ensuing struggle; and the fourth constitute a final group of developments which reached their consummation in 1815‑1816.

Between the years 1776 and 1789 there was a definite evolution of an American Barbary policy. The Continental Congress sought to solve the problem of protection at the outbreak of the Revolution by securing through European governments the immunity which England had formerly provided. The response was unsatisfactory; consequently, in 1784, the Confederation Congress authorized Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson to conclude treaties with the piratical states. The following year it also empowered them to employ agents in attaining this object but authorized the expenditure of only eighty thousand dollars in forming treaties with all the North African governments. Congress did not at this time abandon the hope that a considerable amount of supplementary aid might be obtained from European governments.

The first venture into the new field of diplomacy resulted in the formation of a favorable treaty with Morocco. At Tripoli and Algiers, however, no progress could be made. The conferences which Adams and Jefferson held with the Tripolitan ambassador in London served only to  p188 reveal the high price of treaties at Tripoli and the inadequacy of the commissioners' funds. In 1785 the Algerines captured twenty‑one Americans, who were forthwith held for ransom. All efforts to secure their release were unavailing: Lamb's mission failed; delay followed delay in setting the machinery of the Mathurin order into motion, and in the end this agency accomplished nothing; finally, well-intentioned efforts on the part of private individuals to ransom the captives tended only to weaken the official policy. Other plans, which comprised the formation of a treaty with Turkey and the creation of a league to oppose piracy, suffered a similar fate. Every project here enumerated necessitated for its successful execution the expenditure of large sums of money, and these Congress could not command.

During the second period, 1789‑1801, we find a policy abounding in contrasts. In 1790 it was resolved that as soon as the finances of the country would permit, a naval force should be created. While awaiting the anticipated financial improvement, the President took steps to make peace with Barbary and even proposed that, if it seemed necessary, the United States should pay an annual tribute. The death of Jones, and later of Barclay, delayed the opening of negotiations, however, and before Humphreys could reach Algiers the Dey had in his possession over one hundred Americans. The ruler then announced that under no circumstances would he negotiate with any representative of the United States. These occurrences resulted in the beginning of a navy, but with the proviso that its construction should be abandoned in the event of peace with Algiers.

Eventually the Dey agreed to treat, and in September, 1795, he and Joseph Donaldson reached an agreement relative to peace and ransom. The settlement obligated the United States to pay $642,500 in cash and an annual tribute of $21,600 in naval stores. Following close upon  p189 the heels of this transaction came Barlow's promise of a frigate and a consular present of far greater value than those usually given at Algiers.

This series of concessions, when viewed in the light of subsequent events, constituted a monumental blunder. By the agreement thus entered into, the United States government made an inestimable sacrifice in national dignity; it became bound for the payment of sums which might far better have been spent in coercing the Dey; and it greatly increased the demands of the Bey and Pasha, both of whom strove to secure annuities and frigates.

After peace had been concluded with Algiers, O'Brien negotiated a treaty with Tripoli, and the following year (1797) Famin concluded one with Tunis. These agreements involved smaller concessions than did the Algerine peace, and were somewhat comparable in that respect to the Moroccan treaty which Barclay had formed and which James Simpson had, in 1795, renewed. The treaty with Tunis was more expensive than was that with Tripoli but was ultimately of greater advantage to the United States. Neither the Bey nor the Pasha was pleased with his bargain, particularly after they fully realized what a magnificent treaty the Dey had acquired. They, therefore, almost constantly threatened to declare war against the United States, and eventually the Pasha put his threats into execution.

The outstanding feature of the third period of American Barbary relations was the meeting of force with force. Fortunately, naval construction had not been completely abandoned by the United States at the conclusion of peace with Algiers. Although the peace in question did temporarily halt the development of a naval armament, building was nevertheless resumed in consequence of strained relations between the United States and France. This dispute having entered a phase where settlement seemed to be in sight, and the Barbary rulers having manifested dissatisfaction  p190 relative to the treatment which they had received from the United States, a naval squadron was sent into the Mediterranean under the command of Commodore Dale. When the latter reached Gibraltar on July 1, 1801, he learned that the Pasha had declared war against the United States.

The Commodore's brief sojourn in the Mediterranean appears to have accomplished little in any positive sense. His instructions did not authorize him to form a treaty; the blockade which he established was of brief duration; the visits pad Algiers and Tunis may have had a beneficial effect upon the Dey and Bey although that is an open question. The main achievement was undoubtedly the defeat of the Tripolitan polacca by the "Enterprise" and the blockading of two other vessels at Gibraltar. It was during the period of Dale's command that Cathcart and Eaton first laid plans to employ the services of Hamet Karamanli in the interest of the United States.

In the spring of 1802 a relief squadron was sent under the command of Commodore Morris. The new force was larger than its predecessor, and instructions from the Secretary of State to Cathcart, who was authorized to treat with Tripoli, indicated an expectation of making peace without purchase. Another reason for anticipating an early and honorable settlement consisted of the fact that at Tripoli the war was by no means popular.

The activities of Morris proved to be disappointing. He displayed a woeful lack of energy; remaining from May until August, 1802, at Gibraltar. During the remainder of the year he provided convoy, and seems to have made no attempt to blockade Tripoli. Not until May, 1803, did he finally take his main squadron before the Pasha's capital. He made one attack; then opened negotiations, which in the end proved fruitless. On June 26th he sailed away, and after engaging in a cruise about the Northern Mediterranean received a letter of recall. With respect to  p191 Tripoli his movements had been slothful; relative to Morocco, vacillating; and at Tunis, extremely ill‑judged. The circumstances which constituted only a partial extenuation were (1) the temporary unseaworthiness of his vessels and (2) the danger of becoming involved in war with one or more of the Barbary States other than Tripoli.

American fortunes in the Mediterranean had reached such a low ebb during the early part of 1803 that Madison had authorized Cathcart to offer the Pasha an initial payment of twenty thousand dollars for peace, and an annuity of eight or ten thousand dollars thereafter. He at the same time empowered the consul to offer periodical payments to the Bey of Tunis at the maximum rate of ten thousand dollars annually. The Pasha, however, after the capture of the "Philadelphia", demanded $3,000,000; and the Bey would consider no proposal which included the reception of Cathcart, or which excluded a present of a frigate.

The arrival of Preble, accompanied by Tobias Lear, was most opportune. The Emperor of Morocco's cruisers were at sea with orders to open hostilities against the United States; one American brig had, in fact, already been captured; another had been detained at Mogadore; and Consul Simpson had been placed under guard. The situation was almost immediately transformed with the appearance of American warships in Tangier Bay. The Emperor speedily agreed to terms which were satisfactory to Preble; and during the remaining period of the War with Tripoli conducted himself discreetly in his relations with the United States.

Soon after the dispute with Morocco had been settled, the Tripolitans had succeeded in capturing the "Philadelphia"; whereupon the Pasha's price for peace and ransom had been greatly increased. The subsequent destruction of the frigate seems not to have lowered the ruler's demands, but the appearance of Preble's squadron before  p192 Tripoli did. In June, 1804, the French Commissary-General reported the Pasha's price as reduced to $500,000; and two bombardments subsequently administered brought about a further reduction to $150,000. Preble, whom Lear had in the meantime authorized to treat with the Pasha, refused to pay this sum; consequently no settlement was immediately effected.

In early autumn Barron relieved Preble, and soon thereafter provided William Eaton conveyance to Egypt whither the latter wished to go in search for Hamet Karamanli with a view to securing his coöperation in the struggle against Yusuf. Eaton's plan was carried out magnificently until after the capture of Derne. By the middle of May, 1805, however, Barron was dangerously ill; he had, moreover, become alarmed concerning Eaton's intentions; he was discouraged with respect to Hamet's lack of energy and ability; he was fearful lest the American prisoners in Tripoli be massacred; and he was of the opinion that favorable terms could immediately be obtained from the Pasha. Therefore, while Eaton's band was repelling attacks at Derne, Barron suggested that Lear open negotiations. This the latter did, and early in June, 1805, made peace.

With the exception of articles relating to the ransom of Americans and the disposition of Hamet's family, the treaty appears to have been a very honorable and satisfactory one. In the agreement respecting those two items there was undoubtedly substantial ground for the protests which many contemporaries made. Better terms could certainly have been obtained through the agency of the powerful naval force at Lear's disposal; and it seems quite probable that they could have been secured without any further bloodshed.

After the close of the War with Tripoli, the United States continued to pay tribute to Algiers in accordance with the treaty of 1795; but the spirit of resistance to  p193 imposition was becoming intensified in consequence of the contest with the Pasha, additional demands made by the Dey of Algiers, and numerous differences with England. The last-named dispute, culminating in the War of 1812 and the Dey's breaking of his treaty with the United States, eventually provided the needed opportunity for becoming independent of the Barbary States. In 1815 war was formally declared against Algiers, and two United States naval squadrons were fitted out for Mediterranean service. One of these, under the command of Commodore Decatur, soon captured two Algerine cruisers, blockaded the city of Algiers, and secured an eminently honorable treaty. Decatur thereupon proceeded to Tunis and Tripoli where he collected indemnity from the Bey and Pasha for losses sustained when British warships had seized prize vessels which Americans had taken into Tunisian and Tripolitan ports. Within a short time after these incidents occurred, the Dey of Algiers rejected the treaty which he had formed with the United States, but the destruction wrought by Exmouth's forces in 1816, together with the presence of United States warships at Algiers, resulted in the ruler's ultimate ratification. Thenceforward, disputes of consequence between the United States and Barbary were at an end.

The part which European officials played in American relations with the Barbary States between 1775 and 1816 is too varied and complex to be characterized adequately in a few words. Of the higher officials from whom American representatives frequently solicited aid, or to whom they presented complaints, it may be said that they seem without exception to have listened with attentiveness and to have replied with politeness. Occasionally their response was productive of large benefits to the United States; yet more frequently left the situation in question fundamentally unchanged. The lesser officials, consuls and other agents of European governments, if not invariably polite,  p194 were by no means always hostile. To what extent their attitudes were determined by instructions from their superior officers, on the one hand, or by personal interests and predilections on the other, can rarely be shown with precision. Moreover, the amount of assistance which the United States obtained from members of either group representing one government was determined by many factors. A Frenchman, for example, would probably be influenced at any time by the state of existing relations between France and the United States; or between his government and Barbary; or between France and the other European countries. His sympathies, too, might be sufficiently strong to surmount barriers established by a militant nationalism or a ruthless commercialism; in which case he would provide aid irrespective of political or economic considerations. This illustration applies equally well to Englishmen, Scandinavians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and representatives of other governments of Europe; they were all more or less responsive to a great variety of stimuli. These points may perhaps be more clearly indicated by a brief survey of relevant data presented above, in reassembling which let us first turn to England.

For commercial and political reasons the English government refused at the close of the Revolution to aid the United States in securing protection from North African pirates. During the following decade it pursued a policy which, if not helpful, appears to have placed no additional obstacles in the way of America's obtaining immunity from piracy. In 1793, however, there was formed the Portuguese-Algerine truce which provided ample justification for protest. Although it cannot be shown that the officials in England sought to injure the United States by promoting the armistice, it seems almost beyond belief that they failed to foresee any unfortunate consequences of the act. So far as Consul Logie's participation in the transaction is concerned it should be noted that there is the testimony of  p195 one auditor to the effect that he had heard Logie instructing the Algerine captains how to capture at least a dozen American vessels. To say that Logie was in that respect carrying out instructions from London is unwarranted; but in justice to all parties concerned it may properly be asserted that the action of both high and low officials in this affair presents two alternative conclusions: the measure was consciously unfriendly or it was the result of stupidity. From 1794 until the close of the war with Tripoli there was no recurrence of an incident of this sort; in fact, English and American relations with respect to Barbary were on the whole satisfactory. There was some friction between naval officers, and Cathcart on one occasion offered to fight a duel with McDonough whom he charged with inciting war between the United States and Tripoli. Preble, on the other hand, appears to have been on very intimate terms with a number of prominent English officials, and Eaton secured valuable assistance from Englishmen in Egypt.1 During the later period, when Anglo-American relations became so strained, and were finally broken off, Algerine dissatisfaction with the United States received a stimulus from official English sources. The Dey placed great confidence in the power of the British fleets, and in 1812 declared war against the United States. Three years later when Decatur's squadron was at Algiers, an Algerine minister said to the English Consul: "You told us that the Americans would be swept from the seas in six months by your navy, and now they make war upon us with some of your own vessels which they have taken."2

The French government promised aid to the United States while the American Revolution was in progress, and throughout the Confederation Period gave many assurances of a desire to assist the new republic in securing immunity  p196 from piracy. It did little, however, beyond expressing goodwill and providing advice, neither of which served any very practical purpose. It advised forming treaties; furnished Adams and Jefferson with some exceedingly discouraging information concerning the manner in which successful negotiations with Barbary must be carried on; then rebuffed the proposal to join forces with the United States in coercing Algiers. Vergennes, in effect, told Adams and Jefferson that France would deal with her Barbary problem single-handed, and that the United States must solve theirs as best they could. With the outbreak of the French Revolution even less aid could be expected, and none seems to have been obtained. Moreover, after the formation of the Jay treaty the relations of American and French agents became quite strained, and it was not until the War with Tripoli was in progress that any noteworthy instances of coöperation can be found. During the latter period Talleyrand indicated a willingness to provide some assistance at Tripoli, but this was apparently no more than a gesture. Beaussier, the French Commissary-General, seems to have been too lacking in sincerity, and too much interested in certain business ventures, to serve as a disinterested American agent at Tripoli. During the years immediately preceding the War of 1812, French privateers seized numerous American merchant vessels and took them to Tunis for sale. The French consul there showed no inclination to have the captured merchantmen released; consequently a considerable number of these were sold at auction. Friction between the agents of the United States and France continued at Algiers until peace with the Dey was definitely established.

The Spanish government during the Confederation Period showed a marked disposition to facilitate the formation of a treaty between the United States and Morocco, and gave some evidence of a desire to aid the former power at Algiers. The fact that hundreds of Spanish subjects  p197 were, during a considerable portion of the period, held captive by the Dey is alone sufficient to prove that Spain had little influence in shaping Algerine policies with respect to the United States. From 1787 until 1805, Spanish officials seem to have participated only slightly in the Barbary affairs of the United States; but during the course of the Tripolitan War, the Spanish consul at Tripoli rendered some services which Lear regarded as quite unsatisfactory; and Commodore Preble charged the Spanish government with subsidizing the Pasha to the extent of sending a number of shipbuilders to aid him in naval construction.

The Portuguese government conducted itself in a manner very favorable to American interests. It proposed to coöperate in the confederacy project which Jefferson sponsored; it waged a persistent struggle against Algiers; it refused to accept the truce which Logie formed; and it provided convoy for American merchantmen. Certain members of Congress were so well pleased with these measures that they urged the adoption of a plan whereby the United States would not begin construction of a navy but would subsidize Portugal in her warfare against the pirates.

The Swedish, Danish, and Sardinian governments also aided the United States in dealing with the latter's Mediterranean difficulties although usually at a time when they themselves were at war with one or more of the piratical states. The Swedish consul, M. Skjöldebrand, and his brother, P. E. Skjöldebrand, performed most helpful services during the Confederation Period, and, in the course of the War with Tripoli, Swedish agents gave some further assistance. The Danish Consul, N. C. Nissen, may even have appeared to be too zealous in behalf of Americans to please his superior officers and the Pasha although, in all fairness, it should be said that the prohibition of Nissen's continuing to serve as American agent at Tripoli is capable of a more favorable interpretation. Sardinia loaned the  p198 United States a number of gunboats, thereby showing a willingness to coöperate in the struggle against a mutual enemy. Although the Dutch government formed a treaty, one portion of which promised friendly coöperation to protect American Mediterranean interests, it seems that the arrangement proved to be of little or no practical value.

A glance over the field in which Americans who served as Barbary agents labored reveals the fact that they encountered tremendously big obstacles. It may be remarked, first of all, that Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson knew little about Northern Africa at the time they began their task of dealing with the rulers of that region. Furthermore, the data which they obtained from various sources were sometimes quite contradictory. This situation became somewhat improved with the passage of time, and when Humphreys assumed direction of negotiations a considerable amount of information was readily available. But communication was still slow, and the channels through which despatches were sent were rather undependable. Letters were frequently lost in transit, to guard against possible ill effects of which American agents sometimes made numerous copies and mailed them by different conveyances.

Another difficulty was present in the caprice of most of the Barbary rulers. One of them might at any given time swear by his beard that at the expiration of thirty days he would declare war against the United States; yet within twenty-four hours (and after the American agent at his court had issued a circular of warning) might withdraw his ultimatum. Under such circumstances the carrying on of an orderly and carefully considered diplomatic correspondence was almost impossible.

Furthermore, funds placed at the disposal of agents were in most cases very limited. On that account Adams  p199 and Jefferson could accomplish very little. Humphreys, to be sure, was authorized to expend a very large sum at Algiers, as were Cathcart and Lear at Tripoli and Tunis, but these instances were quite exceptional. For the most part agents resident in Barbary were almost constantly in financial difficulties. In addition to being subjected to demands for the large presents, such as frigates, jewelled weapons, and superfine garments, they received almost innumerable requisitions for presents in consequence of the death and accession of rulers, marriages and births of members of the ruling family, the celebration of holy days, et cetera.

When money was available to purchase what were deemed necessary presents the agent had the unsatisfactory choice of buying in Europe and attempting to pacify the ruler or other official for whom a gift was intended, or of buying in Barbary and paying an exorbitant price. Eaton, to cite one example, spent miserable months waiting for the Bey's diamond-studded weapons to be prepared in England and forwarded to Tunis. On the other hand, Cathcart stated that according to estimates which he had made at Leghorn, the Jews at Algiers had between 1795 and 1801 overcharged the United States "on the single article of jewelry the sum of 75,000 dollars."3

So dependency involved in financial troubles and so completely involved in an atmosphere of chicanery, were Americans in Barbary that they sometimes considered it necessary to resort to bribery, or to use one of O'Brien's favorite figures, a "greasing of the ways." An interesting aspect of this practice relates to the presentation of accounts  p200 to the Department of State. About this time Lear was sent to the Mediterranean the Secretary of State issued instructions to all Barbary agents to submit a receipt for each expenditure of public funds. In this connection Lear wrote to Madison, from Algiers, as follows:

In the settlement of accurate accounts of every public agent, vouchers of his expenditures are very properly required; but it is impossible to obtain them in all cases here; for there are many necessary expenditures which are made in a way to forbid the giving of a receipt. I shall make as few of this kind as possible, but some are necessary to avoid greater sacrifice.4

From time to time there developed a great deal of friction between Americans in Barbary, and it is to be presumed that the result was a considerable loss of effectiveness of the group as a whole. In fact, at one time Eaton wrote that the situation had become so intolerable that some reform must be effected.5 Cathcart acquired a thoroughgoing dislike for O'Brien, who seems to have reciprocated in kind although his statements regarding the relationship were more restrained than were those of Cathcart.6 Eaton, too, disliked O'Brien, whom he accused of having opened and resealed despatches which were intended for Eaton alone.7 He and Cathcart were both of the opinion that their associate at Algiers was not qualified either intellectually or morally for the office he occupied. Eaton found in O'Brien's communications relative to Barbary little more than revelations of "ignorance" or "gross misrepresentations calculated to bewilder and deceive,"8 and Cathcart asserted that "Mr. O'Brien's policy seems to be to keep us in ignorance as much as possible and when  p201 he does write he expresses himself in such a jargon of unintelligible metaphors that it would puzzle any man of common understanding to know what he would be at."9 Cathcart and George Davis also became bitter enemies over preferment at Tunis; and there was as much ill‑feeling between Cathcart and Morris; also between Morris and Eaton. Simpson appears not to have been involved in these embroilments, nor was Lear to any great extent.

Of the various rulers of Barbary with whom American agents came into contact Sidi Mohamet was the most amicable. He displayed a willingness, even an eagerness, to form a treaty of friendship and commerce with the United States. Although he brought up the question of tribute, while Barclay was negotiating with him, he nevertheless rather readily agreed to abandon the point when urged to do so. His son, Muley Soliman, was more aggressive but on account of the long civil war which convulsed Morocco was greatly restricted in resources and distracted by dissensions within his dominions. Not until after the beginning of the nineteenth century did he have what might be called a navy, and even then his squadron consisted of not more than three vessels. These he proceeded to employ against the United States while the latter were engaged in the war against Tripoli, only to discover that he had struck at a most unfavorable time. The "Meshuda," which he claimed but really did not possess, was captured near Tripoli while attempting to run the blockade; the "Mirboka" was seized after it had taken an American brig; the commander of the "Miamona" found it expedient to seek safety in a European port; and the Emperor, seeing his plans completely disarranged, yielded at all points to Preble and Rodgers.

In dealing with the Deys of Algiers the United States encountered greater obstacles than those erected by the  p202 Moroccan rulers. Mohamet Pasha (d. 1791) and Hasan Pasha (d. 1798) were especially aggressive. The former steadfastly refused to give up the crews of the "Dauphin" and "Maria," and in this course his successor also persisted. Hasan Pasha, however, was far more successful in his plundering than was Mohamet Pasha. He captured over one hundred Americans and secured from the United States a million dollar treaty. Pleased with his acquisition, he promised to aid the United States in forming satisfactory treaties with Tunis and Tripoli. But fulfillment was a different matter; the conquest of Tunis evaporated in thin air, and the aid given at Tripoli was at best questionable with respect to beneficial results. The rule of Hasan's successor, Mustapha, was characterized by the heaping of further indignities upon the United States: the impressment of the "George Washington," the refusal to receive Cathcart, the detention of funds sent to effect a commutation of stipulated payments of tribute, and the requisition of presents not promised in the treaty. Nor did Mustapha exercise himself to make effective the Algerine guarantee that the Pasha of Tripoli would abide by the treaty of 1796. In view of all these circumstances it is not strange that O'Brien wrote sadly: "As to keeping the peace on honorable or equitable terms — these words have meanings which cannot be well translated at Algiers."10

During the years 1805 to 1816 the Algerine soldiery brought about the selection and assassination of numerous Deys. One of the mildest of these rulers was Ali Cogia, who, prior to his election to the Deyship in 1808, had been keeper of a mosque. He did not display sufficient activity and ruthlessness to satisfy the soldiers; consequently they put him to death, and secured the election of Ali Hadji, a man of more aggressiveness. It was during the period of the latter's rule that friendly relations between the  p203 United States and Algiers were brought to an end. Ali Hadji's incumbency of office was brief, for about the time the United States began hostilities against Algiers, he was assassinated. The next Dey, Omar Pasha, made peace with the United States, but only as a last resort.

In Hamuda Pasha, Bey of Tunis, the agents of the United States encountered an individual who was in many respects superior to the other Barbary rulers. He possessed the ability to pursue a course with less deviation than was customary among the North African chieftains, and although he was at times rash, such instances were rare. Hamuda obtained from the United States a treaty which in the breadth of its concessions was second only to that formed by Donaldson at Algiers. He could, moreover, have obtained an annual tribute at a later date if he had been willing to accept offers made by Cathcart and O'Brien, but he was so determined to secure a frigate that he would make no arrangement which did not include it. In the end he was compelled to accept terms which were far less favorable to him than those he could have obtained while the War with Tripoli was in progress. Eaton he found too uncompromising to suit his tastes, and Cathcart he regarded as too well informed regarding Barbary affairs to qualify as a satisfactory consul.

Fully the equal of Hamuda in avarice, and bolder in seeking attainment of selfish ends, was Yusuf Karamanli. He became Pasha by murdering one of his brothers, and, if the testimony of Hamet be accepted, his father, as well.11 Soon after his accession he formed a treaty with the United States; but so inviting was the growing Mediterranean commerce of the United States, and so great the tribute which that power yielded to Algiers, that in 1801 he declared war. Such was the career of a potentate who had nevertheless been described as "possessed of a strong understanding,  p204 capable of perceiving merit wherever it is to be found, of elevated sentiments, and of aspiring ambition."12

A final item of prime significance is yet to be observed. If the relations with Barbary were replete with mistakes and instances of weakness, they were nevertheless productive of the elements of strength. If the government of the United States found European coöperation unsatisfactory, it began more and more to rely upon American resources and resourcefulness. In this respect tremendous progress was made from the time when the Continental Congress sent its representatives, cap in hand, to the governments of Europe to beg protection, to that later date when Decatur, supported by an adequate naval force, dictated to the rulers of Barbary the sole conditions under which they could avert hostilities. Moreover, the sufferings of hundreds of Americans imprisoned at Algiers or Tripoli were not without their compensating features. The incarceration of over four hundred and fifty citizens drawn from all parts of the Atlantic seaboard could not, and did not, fail to excite commiseration throughout the land. Furthermore, the Barbary involvements brought forth the United States Navy, an institution which was designed to protect the lives and property of Americans irrespective of state or class, and which was destined to perform conspicuous feats of valor in the War of 1812. Finally, the struggles with Tripoli and with Algiers were productive of heroes, foremost among whom stand Eaton and Decatur, audacious spirits in whose exploits countless thousands have taken pride. From such phenomena — the need for and attainment of a certain amount of self-sufficiency, the experience of common sufferings, the development of common institutions, and the commemoration of outstanding heroes, evolves the unity of a people.


The Author's Notes:

1 Allen, Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs, p232.

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2 Mackenzie, Life of Stephen Decatur, p269; Shaler, Sketches of Algiers, p118.

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3 Despatches, TunisII, Cathcart to Sec. of State, Aug. 7, 1801. See also for other points regarding Jewish dealing with American agents: Ibid., Cathcart to Madison, Mar. 30, 1803; Despatches, AlgiersVI, O'Brien to Wm. Smith, Jan. 10, 1803; Ibid., VII, Lear's Journal, Jan. 26, 1804; Davis to Lear, Jan. 28, 1804.

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4 Despatches, AlgiersVII, Lear's Journal, Feb. 1, 1804.

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5 Despatches, TunisI, Eaton to Rufus King, May 23, 1801.

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6 Despatches, TripoliII, Cathcart to Madison, March 30, 1803.

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7 Despatches, TunisI, Eaton to O'Brien May 21, 1801.

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8 Ibid., Eaton to Sec. of State, Oct. 19, 1801.

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9 Despatches, TripoliII, Cathcart to Sec. of State, Nov. 26, 1801.

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10 Despatches, AlgiersVI, O'Brien to Cathcart, Feb. 10, 1803.

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11 Am. State Pap., For. Rel. II, 719, Hamet Karamanli to the people of the United States.

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12 Article in the Richmond Enquirer, quoted by the Boston Repertory, Oct. 1, 1806.


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