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Just a Week After the Barbary Pirates Take the USS Philadelphia, James Madison Disperses Rejected Tribute from the Dey of Algiers

James Madison ALS 9/29/1803

Librería: The Raab Collection (Ardmore, PA, Estados Unidos de America)

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He Also Ensures that the States Receive Copies of the Acts of the Seventh CongressThe Ottoman EmpireÕs North African regencies of Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, known collectively as the Barbary States, were semi-autonomous. Since the 17th century, they had harassed American merchant shipping, leading to numerous seizures of cargo. Americans considered them pirates, pure and simple. In 1790, Secretary of State Jefferson recommended a declaration of war against them, which Congress rejected. However, in 1794, President Washington ordered the building of six frigates to protect American commerce in that region. In spite of this state of affairs, the American government, beginning in 1800, instituted a policy of buying protection by paying tribute, a policy in which the Deys (leaders) of Algiers and the other cities were given goods and commodities of various kinds in exchange for a cessation of hostility against American vessels. The frigate George Washington was the first U.S. Navy ship to enter the Mediterranean when it was ordered to go to Algiers with $500,000 worth of tribute. This did not stop either the attacks or the tribute, both of which persisted until 1803, when, on October 31, 307 sailors aboard the warship Philadelphia were forced to surrender after the ship foundered on a reef close to Tripoli. The ship became a part of TripoliÕs navy. Simultaneous with these momentous events, the George Washington was returning to America with rejected tribute from the Dey of Algiers. In this letter, Secretary of State James Madison, unaware that the cold peace had turned warm, arranged for the sale of the materials. He also arranges for Tennessee to receive the Acts passed in the 7th Congress, fulfilling the duties of the Secretary of State. Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State, Washington, September 29, 1803, to Tench Coxe, Purveyor of Public Goods, ÒBoth of your letters of the 16th inst. have been received. Neither the value of the articles returned in the George Washington nor the circumstance of their being public property recommends their being sold abroad. The best manner of disposing of them will probably be to advertise them for sale at auction and have the advertisement inserted a few times in the New York and Baltimore papers, to give the Druggists of those places an opportunity of a competition for their purchase. I must therefore request the favor of your having it done accordingly; taking care that the cost of advertising do not exceed the proportion of the value of the articles. Having no spare copies of the laws to exchange for those intended for Tennessee and which are now detained at Pittsburgh, I will thank you to write to Mr. Hook to return them to you and to charge yourself with their transmission to the Governor of Tennessee. I have the honor to be, Sir, with much respect, your most obed. Servt. James Madison.Ó. N° de ref. de la librería 9576

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Título: Just a Week After the Barbary Pirates Take ...

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The Raab Collection buys and sells rare important historical documents, bring to its endeavors a passion not only for the manuscript but the history behind it. We've built important historical collections for institutions and historical enthusiasts. Our pieces have found homes in many major institutions devoted to preserving history.

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