Imágenes de páginas


decided victory. It however proved but tribute to these robbers. Never would these temporary, and like a hundred other victo- States make peace with all Europe at the ries over them, it proved to be but a mere same time. Peace with one was but the chastisement, and for a short time only prelude of a war with another ; for said the checked their insolence and rapacity. Dey, “ If I make peace with all the world,

From that time to 1815 these people what shall I do with my corsairs ? For were almost constantly at war with one or want of other prizes they will take off my more of the European nations. In 1655 head. The Algerines are

a company of the English sent a large fleet into the Medi- rogues, and I am their captain." terranean to avenge the honor of their flag, During our colonial history our relations and to procure a deliverance of their prison- with these powers were formed by Great

The fleet first came before Tunis, and a Britain, and our commerce in the Mediterdemand was made for the restoration of the ranean, which at the time of the Revolution captives. The Bashaw was not at all intim- was considerable, was protected by the tribidated, and made no other reply than to re- ute which that government paid. During quest the Admiral to look at his forts and the Revolution we had no commerce in that to do his utmost. The challenge was ac- quarter, and of course there was no opporcepted. He entered his harbor, burned his tunity for aggression. No sooner was peace ships, battered down his castle, took away restored than our commerce revived, and our the English prisoners, and then sailed out ships, bearing the new flag of stars and of the harbor, leaving him to repent of his stripes, made their appearance in that sea. folly.

They went there too without any convoy or The French next had their turn, and in means of defence, and from a country that at 1682 sent a fleet under Admiral Duquesne the close of the war of Independence had not against Algiers. On this occasion it is said a single armed ship to protect its infant but that bombs were first used on ships of war. growing commerce. The temptation was too So destructive did they prove that the Dey great for Algerine honesty, and the country soon yielded, and restored the captives, and too remote and too much exhausted to inmade ample indemnity. The Dey, after- spire fear. The flag had not yet borne thunwards learning the great expense of the ex- ders to the gates of the Dey's palace, nor had pedition, sent word to Louis XIV. that for his people learned the lesson which subseone half of the sum he would have burned quent sad experience taught them. Accordthe whole city of Algiers.

ingly the Dey made a formal declaration of All these expeditions against those States, war against the United States in July, 1785, of which twenty others might be mentioned, and immediately after two of our vessels, the originated in the same way, and had nearly schooner Maria, of Boston, and the ship the same termination.

The recovery of Dauphin, of Philadelphia, were seized, and property and the deliverance of captives their crews, twenty-one in number, were carwas the great object of them all ; and these ried as slaves to Algiers. The news of this being accomplished, a temporary peace outrage, as it well might, created great would follow on the agreement of the in- alarm in this country. The name of Algejured party to pay an annual tribute. Un rine had become odious and synonymous til our Government finally resolved to resist with pirate. It was connected with every this badge of servitude, it had always been horrible tale of childhood, and was far more considered a necessary part of every treaty terrible in its associations than even the with them, and it seemed to be the only way cruel tortures of the American savage. And which could then be adopted to protect the what made it still more alarming was the subjects of the sovereigns of Europe from fact that there were no means by which slavery and robbery. At least the European those citizens could be freed, or others pronations thought so, and universally adopted tected, but by the slow process of negotiait. Though every port of the Barbary States tion-negotiation too with a people that might have been blockaded, and the power acknowledged no law but such as their own of the Corsairs humbled, yet through selfishness created, and were bound by no jealousy of each other, or from the base de obligation but self-interest. sire of gaining some undue advantage, they This attack upon our commerce was not preferred the humiliating choice of paying wholly unexpected. The importance and



necessity of preserving peace with these but he had too much respect for the opinion States had been duly considered by our Gov- of the world to make the Americans an exernment, and a special provision had been ception to his general rule, and to entirely inserted in our treaty of alliance with France, refuse

With most of the by which the aid of that government was European nations a fixed and annual tribute secured for this object; and during the pre- was paid by the Government for the protecvious year, John Adams, Benjamin Frank- tion of its citizens. France then paid an lin, and Thomas Jefferson, then residing in annual tribute of one hundred thousand Europe, had been fully authorized to nego- dollars, and Great Britain, the boasted mistiate treaties with these powers, and to send tress of the seas, paid three hundred thouagents there for this purpose. They did in sand dollars, besides a large amount in the fact send agents to Morocco, who succeeded distribution of presents every ten years; and in obtaining a treaty of quite a liberal charac- even these large sums did not always afford ter for that day. It provided that Christian protection, for during this very year several slavery should be abolished, and that in case French captives were redeemed for five hunof war the prisoners of either party should be dred dollars each. exchanged. It was concluded for the term The price which the Dey demanded for of fifty years, and required neither tribute nor the American prisoners, shows with what presents to maintain it. A change taking views he regarded our countrymen. The place soon after in the Government, it was captives consisted of three captains, two thought prudent by Congress to have it con- mates, two passengers, and fourteen seafirmed, and twenty thousand dollars were men. The price for each captain was six accordingly appropriated for presents to the thousand dollars; for the mates and paschief officers. This treaty was generally sengers four thousand each; and for the well observed by the Moors, who were en- seamen fourteen hundred dollars each ; and couraged in the performance of their duty to this was to be added the custom house by valuable presents from our Government. duty of eleven per cent., making in all

At nearly the same time agents were sent sixty thousand dollars, or upon an average to Algiers, not only for the purpose of nego- twenty-eight hundred dollars each, while tiating a treaty, but to obtain the liberation the agents were authorized to pay only of the twenty-one prisoners before men- two hundred dollars. tioned. They had now been in slavery Under these circumstances, they found about a year, and this was the first act of the their undertaking hopeless, and accordingly Government to obtain their liberation. Their abandoned all idea of redeeming the prisonfirst efforts were made to procure a release ers by a ransom. for the prisoners. They however soon found After this, four years passed without the that the only mode of approaching the Dey adoption of any open measures for the dewa through an offer to pay a ransom in liverance of the captives. Our Government money for the prisoners

, and it soon became seemed inclined to abandon direct negotiaa mere matter of dollars and cents whether tion, and to adopt a course of policy that at a people which had successfully maintained the present time does not seem to do it its independence against the most powerful much credit. There is certainly some plaunation in the world should permit twenty-sibility in the arguments in support of this one of its citizens to wear the chains of course of proceeding. It was said that if so slavery in Algiers. The Dey knew with large a sum was paid for the ransom of whom he was negotiating. He knew that these prisoners, it would only tend to hold there was no American navy, for at that out still stronger inducements to these time Old Ironsides had not been built, and pirates to prey upon our commerce and make the names of Bainbridge, Decatur, and slaves of our citizens, and that our only Preble had not been placed on the roll of security was in convincing them that we were naval heroes. He knew too that there was poor, and unable to pay any ransom what2 rich American commerce, and that since ever. It seems to us however that nothing he had made peace with most of Europe, could justify our Government in this policy this would afford prizes for his corsairs. He but extreme necessity. It must be confessed however could not refuse to set a price on that this was one of, if not the most trying, his prisoners. He could ask a larger sum, I periods of our history. The States had not then adopted our present Constitution, but a due regard for our seamen still in freedom lived under the old Confederation, which in forbid us to give.” its latter days was but a little more than the While these cautious and dilatory negoshadow of a government. Its treasury was tiations were going on, the revolution in empty, its credit gone, and a very general France broke out, and among its rash results apprehension existed that its dissolution was was the suppression of the Brothers of Renear at hand. But still, could the whole demption, and the confiscation of their entire people of the country have been awakened property, so that from them neither the to the unhappy condition of their fellow-men, captives nor the country could expect further wasting away their lives in servitude, and aid. dying in a foreign land, there would have Six

years had now passed, and the capbeen found means for their deliverance; and tives found no relief. They occasionally how much more creditable and humane it wrote their friends at home, and even sent would have been to have paid that or any a petition to Congress imploring aid. Durother sum, and trusted in the providence of ing this period six of the twenty-one had God, that for the future the oppressor's hand died. At home the old confederation had should be stayed.

passed away, and a new government had been We have said that the Government took adopted by the people for their common no open measures for the deliverance of the safety, and to provide for their common prisoners during these four years. It did defence. It now seemed impossible to longnot however wholly forget them. The cries, er turn a deaf ear to the cries of the encomplaints and petitions of their friends would slaved. Accordingly in February, 1791, the not permit it. It abandoned all hope of open Senate of the United States authorized, by negotiation. Through the agency of Mr. resolution, the President to take such mcasJefferson, a religious association was secretly ures as he thought expedient to procure the reemployed to obtain their release.

This demption of the American citizens in Algiers, association was called Brothers of Redemp- provided the expense of the same should tion, or the Mathurin Fathers. This asso- not exceed forty thousand dollars. ciation was established as early as the In reply to this resolution, General Washtwelfth century, and its chief object was ington expressed his willingness and anxious the redemption of Christian captives in the desire to concur with the Senate in all reaBarbary States, and it had an officer constant- sonable and proper measures to accomplish ly at Algiers for that purpose. How much said object. . our Government authorized the Mathurin Soon after the passage of this resolution, General to pay we have no means of in- a letter was received by Congress from Capformation. It however appears that extra- tain O'Brien, dated Algiers, Feb. 28, 1791. ordinary efforts were made to get the sum He was the master of the ship Dauphin, as small as possible. It was even thought and appears to have been a man of great necessary to use some deception in order intelligence and energy of character. He to accomplish this object. One of our con- was regarded by the captives as their leading suls abroad at that time says: “In order to man during their sojourn at Algiers. His destroy every expectation of a redemption letter gives a pretty full account of their conby the United States, the bills of the dition. He says: " It affords the Americans in Spanish Consul at Algiers, who had made captivity some consolation to hear that His the kind advances for the sustenance of our Excellency the President has drawn the captives, were not answered. On the contra- attention of Congress to Barbary affairs, and ry, a hint was given that the advances had to consider the decrease of American combetter be discontinued, as it was not known merce to the Mediterranean. I take the libthat they would be reimbursed. It was neces- erty to observe that there is no doing any sary to go further, and to suffer the captives business in this country of importance, for a while to believe that no attention was without first palming the ministry; and by paid to them, and that no notice was taken taking this proper channel, that there is no of their letters. It would have been unsafe great difficulty to carry any point. At present to trust them with a secret which might there are but seven hundred Christian slaves for ever prevent their redemption, by raising in Algiers, and as the captives are much does not seem inclined to permit slaves to Congress had passed resolutions, and a be redeemed on any terms; for without whole year had passed, yet nothing effecslaves these people could not well fit out tual was done. President Washington their cruisers.

+ha Ravenna

ka Havesando nha nantana ha suma chinh


to do thanhl. wpl,

proposed to the Senate to conclude a treaty “In 1786 there were three thousand with Algiers, allowing forty thousand dolChristian slaves in Algiers; but the Spaniards, lars as a ransom : twenty-five thousand dolNeapolitans and other nations redeeming lars to be given to the Dey on the signature their people, and the pest, that great storm of the treaty, and twenty-five thousand dollars of mortality, which happened in this city in as an annual present or tribute. John Paul 1787 and 1788, which carried off nine Jones was appointed the commissioner to hundred Christian captives, among which negotiate the peace. This measure was kept number were six Americans. Our redemp- secret, and of so confidential a character tion is but trifling higher than the terms on that all the papers were in the handwhich the Spaniards and other nations writing of Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of redeemed, and since those redemptions and State. Jones having soon after died in the pest, the price of slaves is constantly London, Mr. Barclay was appointed his rising.

successor ; but he did not live to execute “ The lads, who are pages to the Dey, his commission, and in consequence another were solicited to turn Mohammedans, but delay necessarily took place. In the meanthey would not, which makes their price time the Algerines having made peace with more exorbitant.

Portugal, and the protection which that war " It has cost Spain full four and a half mil- and her ships partially afforded having been lions of dollars to make their peace and re- withdrawn, our commerce became more exdeem their people—notwithstanding Spain posed than ever; and at a single cruise of acted something wisely not to be the dupe of the Algerinc corsairs in November, 1793, ten all the commercial nations of Europe. more of our vessels were seized, and their

“ It is my opinion that the United States crews, one hundred and five in number, may obtain a peace with the Regency for were carried captives to Algiers. fifty or sixty thousand pounds sterling, all It was fortunate for those who had already expenses included, that is, if the affair is been in bondage eight years, that the numwell managed, and with Tunis for fifteen ber of American prisoners had been so thousand pounds sterling.

much increased, for it aroused the country - The present time is favorable to America to sense of its duty. The prisoners immeto try for peace; and I further take the lib- diately addressed a petition to Congress, erty to observe that those nations, the Dutch, dated Dec. 29, 1793, in which they say: Danes, Swedes, and Venetians, that pay a Your humble petitioners had the misfortune tribute annually, that their peace is on a to be captured by the corsairs of the Regency more solid and lasting basis than those in November last, while we were navigatnations that give large sums for making the ing vessels belonging to the United States, peace, and not to be tributary; for it is the and are at present in this city of bondage, annual sum that these nations pay, which employed daily in the most laborious work is the bait that secures their peace, and not without respect to persons ; and your petiany sentiment of national honor or regard tioners are informed that the plague, that to treaties, but for their own interest in being fatal and tremendous disorder, is raging supplied with naval and military stores." in the country adjacent; and as your unfor

He concludes his letter by saying: “We tunate petitioners are confined to the slave hope you will consider what our sufferings prisons with six hundred captives of other inust have been in this country during that nations, that from their situation the wistrying period of nearly six years' captivity; dom of the United States will consider what but we hope you will give such powers to must be the fatal effects of the plague your representatives as to finally extricate spreading amongst the captives." your fourteen unfortunate subjects from About this time Congress seemed distheir present state of bondage and adversity." posed to adopt new measures of negotiation

Just previous to the date of this letter, with Algiers. They sent their agents as one of the captives, Charles Covell, was before to treat amicably, if they could, but redeemed by his friends for $1,700. at the same time there was a determination to adopt measures of force. The country assume a warlike attitude. By the treaty began to perceive that a commerce without of 1796 there was no provision for the paya navy could not exist, or be carried to any ment of tribute, but so interwoven was this great extent. Accordingly, on the 2d of Jan- system with those people that it was found uary, 1794, the House of Representatives impossible to keep them at peace without a resolved, “ that a naval force adequate to the constant tender of presents. In 1797, the protection of the commerce of the United presents which our Government made to this States against the Algerine corsairs ought power cost twelve thousand dollars, and to be provided;" and during the same year about double the amount was given the folthe President was authorized to cause six lowing year. “ All nations pay me,” said frigates to be built, and ten smaller vessels the Bashaw, “so must the Americans. Let to be equipped as galleys. Only three of them give me a stipulated sum, and I will be these frigates were built, viz., the Constitu- reasonable as to the amount." He further tion, the United States, and the Constella- complained that our Government had been tion ; for peace having been soon after con- more generous to Algiers than to him, and cluded, it was thought unnecessary to carry in order to avenge so grievous a wrong, he into full effect the original design. Enough made a formal declaration of war. however had been done to lay a foundation This war continued for three years, and for our navy; and to the insolence of Algiers was distinguished not only by the remarkawe owe this right arm of our national ble expedition of Eaton, but by several nastrength, and to their subsequent treachery val exploits highly honorable to our infant we owe the first opportunity of testing the navy, and to the gallantry and courage of strength of those ships, and the skill, brav-its youthful officers. At the treaty of ery, and gallantry of their commanders. It peace, our Government again consented to seemed to be but a just retribution, that the the payment of tribute. It was perhaps people whose crimes brought our navy into wise at that time to do so. It was not then existence should feel the first proof of its regarded as a badge of humiliation. And strength, and that on the very spot from we were not then prepared to take the high which armed corsairs went forth to plunder ground, which the justice of our cause American commerce, an American fleet seemed to demand. Our Government had with a voice of thunder should have dic- as much as it could do to protect our comtated to the Dey the terms on which he merce in other quarters.

The great quescould save his capital, and even his own tions as to the rights of neutrals, which palace, from destruction.

grew out of the wars of Europe, had already The treaty, which we made with Algiers begun to agitate the commercial world, and was of a truly humiliating character ; but many an American ship had been seized inasmuch as it restored all the captives to by the belligerents, and held as a hostage their homes, and gave the country peace, it to insure a fair settlement. was a source of joy and congratulation. It After this, our country remained at peace cost the nation more than a million of dol- with all the Barbary powers till 1812. lars, besides the payment of an annual trib- Each of them received an annual tribute, ute in naval stores of twenty-one thousand and a generous supply of naval stores. Our dollars. Yet with all its cost, it was never commerce, though subject to great embara matter of regret, for it restored a valuable rassments, had been much increased in the commerce for our country to the Mediterra- Mediterranean, and, so far as related to the nean. This tribute was paid for seventeen Barbary States, was enjoying perfect secuyears, and it would have been paid many rity. years more, had not the Dey in an unfor- But our war with Great Britain in 1812 tunate hour, for the purpose of obtaining brought about a new condition of things. better terms, the second time declared war It became difficult for our Government to against the United States. This war, as we supply the naval stores, which by treaty we shall see, not only cost him this tribute, but were bound to furnish, on account of the was the first in that series of events which great danger from British cruisers then led not only to his own humiliation, but to guarding and shutting us out of the Medithe conquest of his country.

terranean. Our Government offered to pay At about the same time Tripoli began to the value of the naval stores in money, but

« AnteriorContinuar »