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OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE RELATIVE TO THE BARBARY
POWERS. FEB. 20, 1815.
The acting Secretary of State, to hom was referred the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th inst. requesting the President of the United States to cause to be laid before that House such information as he shall deem necessary to be communicated, touching the state of relations existing between the United States and the Barbary powers, has the honour to state, that, according to the latest accounts from Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli, our relations with those powers remained upon their former footing, nor is there any particular reason to believe that any change has since taken place.
It will appear by the documents accompanying the message of the President to Congress on the 17th November, 1812, that the dey of Algiers had, violently, and without just cause, obliged the consul of the United States, and all American citizens then in Algiers, to leave that place, in a manner highly offensive to their country and injurious to themselves, and in violation of the treaty then subsisting between the two nations. It appears, moreover, that he exacted from the consul, under pain of immediate imprisonment, a large sum of money, to which he had no claim but what originated in his own injustice.
These acts of violence and outrage have been followed by the capture of, at least, one American vessel, and by the seizure of an American citizen on board of a neutral vessel. The unfortunate persons, thus captured, are yet held in captivity, with the exception of two of them who have been ransomed. Every effort to obtain the release of the others has proved abortive ; and there is some reason to believe that they are held by the dey as a means by which he calculates to extort from the United States a degrading treaty.
JAMES MONROE. Department of State, Feb. 20, 1815.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
GRESS. FEB. 23, 1815.
CONGRESS will have seen, by the communication from the consul general of the United States at Algiers, laid before them on the 17th November, 1812, the hostile proceedings of the dey against that functionary. These have been followed by acts of more overt and direct warfare against the citizens of the United States trading in the Mediterranean, some of whom are still detained in captivity, notwithstanding the attempts which have been made to ransom them, and are treated with the rigour usual on the coast of Barbary.
The considerations which rendered it unnecessary and unimportant to commence hostile operations on the part of the United States, being now terminated by the peace with Great Britain, which opens the prospect of an active and valuable trade of their citizens within the range of the Algerine cruisers, I recommend to Congress the expediency of an act declaring the existence of a state of war between the United States and the dey of Algiers ; and of such provisions as may be requisite for a vigorous prosecution of it to a successful issue.
RELATIVE TO PROTECTION OF AMERICAN COMMERCE AGAINST
The committee to whom has been referred the bill for the protection of the commerce of the United States
against the Algerine cruisers,” with instructions to inquire and report in detail the facts upon which the measure contemplated by the bill is predicated, report,
That in the month of July, 1812, the dey of Algiers, taking offence, or pretending to take offence, at the quality and quantity of a shipment of military stores made by the United States in pursuance of the stipulation in the treaty of 1795, and refusing to receive the stores, extorted from the American consul general at Algiers, by threat of personal imprisonment, and of reducing to slavery all Americans in his power, a sum of money claimed as the arrearages of treaty stipulations, and denied by the United States to be due ; and then compelled the consul and all citizens of the United States at Algiers abruptly to quit his dominions.
It further appears to the committee, that on the 25th of August following, the American brig Edwin, of Salem, owned by Nathaniel Silsbee, of that place, while on a voyage from Malta to Gibraltar, was taken by an Algerine corsair, and carried into Algiers as prize. The commander of the brig, captain Geo. Campbell Smith, and the crew, ten in number, have ever since been detained in captivity, with the exception of two of them, whose release has been effected under circumstances not indicating any change of hostile temper on the part of the dey. It also appears, that a vessel, sailing under the Spanish flag, has been condemned in Algiers as laying a false claim to that flag, and concealing her true American character. In this vessel was taken a Mr. Pollard, who claims to be an American citizen, and is believed to be of Norfolk, Virginia, and who as an American citizen is kept in captivity. The government, justly solicitous to relieve these unfortunate captives, caused an agent (whose connection with the government was not disclosed) to be sent to Algiers, with the means and with instructions to effect their ransom, if it could be done at a price not exceeding three thousand dollars per man. The effort did not succeed, because of the dey's avowed policy to increase the number of his American slaves, in order to be able to compel a renewal of his treaty with the United States on terms suited to his rapacity. Captain Smith, Mr. Pollard, and the master of the Edwin, are not confined, nor kept at hard labour ; but the rest of the captives are subjected to the well known horrours of Algerine slavery. The committee have not been apprized of any other specifick outrages upon the persons or property of American citizens besides those stated; and they apprehend that the fewness of these is attributable to the want of opportunity and not of inclination in the dey, to prey upon our commerce and to enslave our citizens. The war with Britain has hitherto shut the Mediterranean against American vessels, which it may be presumed will now shortly venture upon it.
The committee are all of opinion upon the evidence which has been laid before them, that the dey of Algiers considers his treaty with the United States as at an end, and is waging war against them. The evidence upon which this opinion is founded, and from which are extracted the facts above stated, accompanies this report, and with it is respectfully submitted.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CON
GRESS. FEB. 25, 1815.
Peace having happily taken place between the United States and Great Britain, it is desirable to guard against incidents, which, during periods of war in Europe, might tend to interrupt it: and, it is believed, in particular, that the navigation of American vessels exclusively by American seamen, either natives, or such as are already natu
ralized, would not only conduce to the attainment of that object, but also to increase the number of our seamen, and consequently to render our commerce and navigation independent of the service of foreigners, who might be recalled by their governments under circumstances the most inconvenient to the United States. I recommend the subject, therefore, to the consideration of Congress; and, in deciding upon it, I am persuaded, that they will sufficiently estimate the policy of manifesting to the world a desire, on all occasions, to cultivate harmony with other nations by any reasonable accommodations, which do not impair the enjoyment of any of the essential rights of a free and independent people. The example on the part of the American government will merit, and may be expected to receive, a reciprocal attention from all the friendly powers of Europe.
RROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE
SENATE. FEB. 28, 1815.
I TRANSMIT to the Senate a report from the acting Secretary of State, complying with their resolution of the 24th of October last.