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had purchased immunity by the payment of an annual
tribute. With independence, American vessels and crews
were exposed to these marauders, who hailed with joy the
coming of a new flag and sailed out into the Atlantic to gather
fresh booty in ships and slaves. In 1784, Adams at London
and Jefferson at Paris had been ordered to do what they could
to abate the nuisance.* Adams thought the only way would
be to buy off the corsairs, but Jefferson argued for the es-
tablishment of a navy. He wrote that one hundred and
fifty guns on the Barbary coast 4 would be more efficacious

1 AnnaU of Conor***, 6th Cong., » See Gardner W. Allen's Our Navy

1557 ; Statute at Large, ii, 1 10. and the Barbary Corsair*, 28 and fol., and

1 On early conditions in the Barbary the authorities cited on the pages.

States, see Gardner W. Allen's Our * Writings of Jefferson (Memorial

Navy and the Barbary Corsairs, chs. i ed.), v, 364, 365. In 1802, Jefferson de-

and ii. dared that peace was "the most im-

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a^d cheaper than paying money to the pirates; a naval
I force belonging to the United States in Congress Assem-
/ bled would also be useful to coerce the States that were be-
I hindhand in the payment of their requisitions. Jefferson
^ even suggested negotiations to induce European commer-
c ial countries to blockade the Barbar y ports j bi^ ;the time
was not yet ripe for any such concerted action. In^lZSfi,
therefor e, a treaty was concluded with the ruler of M orocco j
lor the payment of money and the giving of presents in '
exchange for captive Americans and future immunity, and
this treaty was still in force in 1789. One of Jefferson's
earliest acts as Secretary of State was to compile two re-
ports on our relations with the North African powers.
Again he advocated the use of force and a cooperative
blockade, this time (1791) under the command of the re-
doubtable Paul Jones. Washington hearkened, however,
to the moans of the captives and entered into agreements
with Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco; and Adams
kept up the sending of tribute.

Once in the presidential chair, Jefferson was in a position
to test the efficacy of force in bringing the Barbary free-
booters to a realizing sense of their position in the world.
May 15, 1801, he proposed the questions in cabinet meeting
" Shall the squadron now at Norfolk be or dered to cruise
i n the Mediterranean" etc. ? and how far could an Am erican
commander go in waging war? l It seemed clear that they
could resist attack even without a constitutional declara-
tion of war by Congress and might sink and destroy the at-
tacker. Five days earlier, Jusuf Caramelli, Bashaw of
Tripplj, had taken matters into his own hands by cutting

portent of all things to ub, exoept the Jefferson's "Anas" in WriHno*

preserving an erect & independent (Ford), i, 293.
attitude." WriHno* (Ford), viii, 173.

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down the flag-staff in front of the American consul's resi-
dence, for that was his method of declaring war. 1 When
the American squadron entered the Mediterranean, one of
the vessels, the Enterprise, was attacked by a Tripolitan
cruiser. In a couple of hours the enemy yielded. As
Captain Sterrett of the Enterprise could not capture her,
he stripped her of her sails except one and left her and her
crew to drift home as best they might. They arrived at
Tripoli with such tales of the fighting qualities of the Ameri-
cans that the Tripolitans were more careful after this in
their treatment of American warships. Other fleets fol-
lowed, and in 1803, the war took on a more active form,
with Edward Preble in chief command. In these earlier
stages of the conflict and, indeed, throughout its course,
the American commanders were seriously hampered by the
niggardliness of Congress and of the Secretary of the Treas-
ury. Albert Gallatin had no ethical scruples against
warfare. He had fought in our Revolution and on sundry
occasions in the following years was quite willing to go to
war when others wished for peace; but he was an econ-
omist before all. He was intent upon paying the public
debt : Congress had deprived him of the internal revenue,
and administrative officers out of his own department
were careless spenders. His idea and, possibly, Jefferson's
was to utilize the existing naval force and when more money
was necessary, he induced Congress to levy an extra five
per cent on imported goods to pay for these expenses under
the name of the Mediterranean Fund. Even with this
added resource, the naval officers were hard put to it to
maintain the efficiency of their ships and to preserve their
fighting qualities. Robert Smith, the Secretary of the

1 Events at Tripoli at this critical port, in J. B. C. Newkirk's Tripoli.
time are best seen in the "Letter Book" First War with th$ UniUd States (La
of J. L. Cathcart, our consul at that Porte, Ind., 1901).

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Navy, brother of Samuel Smith, head of one of the leading
commercial houses of Baltimore, and a member of Congress,
was in a difficult position between Gallatin and Preble. 1
Discretion in spending had to be given to a commanding
officer on a distant station, and supplies had to be bought
at home in emergencies at whatever price was demanded.
The Naval Department accounts seem to have been kept
better than those of any of the other disbursing depart-
ments, but Gallatin, with one eye fixed on the national
debt and the other on specific appropriations and knowing
nothing of the costs of warfare, was inexorable.

In the Mediterranean, Commodore Preble planned to
keep his squadron employed to the utmost. He had under
his orders the Constitution, the Philadelphia, and half a dozen
smaller vessels with officers of the type of Bainbridge,
Burrows, Decatur, Porter, and MacDonough. On his ar-
rival, he learned of the loss of the Philadelphia, the second
strongest ship of his squadron, and soon met with even
worse news in the announcement that she had been floated
from the reef where she had struck and had been taken into
the harbor of Tripoli.* As his smaller vessels would be
unsafe in her presence, unless the Constitution were at hand,
the first thing to be done was to bring about her destruc-
tion. This was most gallantly accomplished by Lieutenant
Stephen Decatur (February 16, 1804). With a few men,
he sailed into the anchorage off the town of Tripoli, laid
his vessel alongside the Philadelphia, *drove her crew over-
board, set fire to her in several places, and rowed away by
the light of her blazing spars and to the thunder of scores
of guns on ship and shore. It was a feat which Lord Nel-

1 In gathering material for these par- * See T. Harris's Life and Service* oj
agraphs I have been greatly aided by Commodore William BainJbridae (Phil-
Mr. G. H. Davies, who is engaged on adelphia, 1837, p. 80, etc.).
a study of General Smith's <

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son is said to have declared the most bold and daring act
of the age. The Philadelphia out of the way, Preble laid
siege to the town and fortress ; l he had bought, borrowed,
or hired half a dozen gun-boats and bomb-ketches and
six heavy guns for the spar deck of the Constitution and
ninety-six Neapolitan gunners. All in all, he had one
thousand and sixty officers and men. Unfortunately, es-
timating his task at its true magnitude, he had urgently
asked for reinforcements. These were sent, but with them
came in command Captain Samuel Barron, who held an
appointment senior to that of Preble. Barron was ill at
the time of his arrival and the responsibilities of his position
and the Mediterranean climate compelled him to remain in
port. After Preble sailed for home, therefore, the command
of the squadron off Tripoli devolved on John Bodgers,
who naturally did not feel like taking desperate chances
in the absence of his commanding officer. The interest
now turned to affairs on land and to one of the most ex-
traordinary figures in our history, William Eaton, a Con-
necticut Yankee, formerly consul at Tunis.

There were two Caramelli brothers, Hamet and Yusuf;
Yusuf was the younger, but he usurped the rightful place
of the elder as Bashaw of Tripoli and drove him away. Any
one might have thought of using Hamet against the reign-
ing bashaw, but Eaton actually proceeded to carry the idea
into execution. In 1805, Hamet was an exile in Egypt.
Eaton pursued him thither, induced him to join with him
in an attack on the Tripolitan city of Derne, which was
difficult to reach overland from Tripoli and ■ 8W1 more

i See Ira N. Hollis's "The Constitu- against Tripoli 1804-1806/' edited by

tionat Tripoli" in Papers of the Military C. H. Lincoln in Procmiino* of the

Historical Society of Massachusetts, American Antiquarian Society, voL rri,

vol. xi f no. 3; and "The Hull-Eaton pt. 1.
Correspondence during the Expedition

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difficult to get to from Egypt across the Libyan Desert.
Hamet, once securely in place at Derne, might make Yusuf
more tractable and save the expenditure of naval gun-
powder. With a dozen Americans, twenty-five or thirty
Europeans, forty Greeks, one hundred Tripolitans includ-
ing Hamet, and a body of Arabian horsemen led by a
Sheik, Eaton started on his adventure, — and succeeded
after fatigues, hardships, and mutinies in the midst of
the desert. Almost a month after this accomplishment,
Bashaw Yusuf signed a treaty, and Eaton was directed
to evacuate Derne, which proved to be a more perilous
undertaking than its capture had been, and he spent the
rest of his life in trying to secure recompense from Con-

There is a great deal that is doubtful about the Tripoli-
tan Treaty of Peace of 1805. The negotiator was Tobias
Lear, once Washington's private secretary and later a
consul. He bore the title of Colonel, which he had ob-
tained not in war, but as Washington's military secretary
in 1798. Lear had most pacific intentions which were
seconded by Captain Rodgers. The Bashaw had sug-
gested a payment of two hundred thousand dollars and
the restoration of all his property as the price of peace.
Lear cut this down to sixty thousand dollars and a mu-
tual exchange of prisoners and then signed the treaty. It
has been said that these easy terms were accorded Yusuf
because the crew of the Philadelphia, prisoners in Tripoli,
were in danger of their lives. In commenting on it, Preble
wrote, to nobert Smith that every American must be gratified
to have peace established with Tripoli "on more honorable
terms than any other nation has ever been able to com-

Gun-boats and row-galleys were in common use in the

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Mediterranean for defence and offence. 1 Preble had em-
ployed them in his attacks on Tripoli. As early as April
19, 1804, he had written from Syracuse advising the con-
traction of ten or twelve large-size gun and mortar boats
to be sent across the Atlantic to be used in future attacks
on Tripoli. Several were built and sent to the Mediter-
ranean, one disappearing on the voyage over. They did
good service and were well spoken of by British naval of-
ficers who saw them. Gun-boats had been authorized even
before this by an act of Congress that had been approved
by Adams on May 4, 1798 ; but none seem to have been
built at that time. Jefferson laid the subject before Congress
in November, 1804, and again in February, 1807. The
problem of coast defence had troubled the federal authori-
ties. Before 1789, the question of building forts and arming
them had been left to the States. Whenever the subject
was approached at Washington, its magnitude and costli-
ness appalled the legislators. 2 In his 1807 communication
to Congress, Jefferson spoke of land batteries, movable
artillery, floating batteries, and gun-boats. The last in
the crude conditions of land transportation and the great
extent of the coast seemed to be the best solution of the
problem. Commodore Barron and Captain Tingey, super-

1 Dr. Gardner W. Allen most kindly resentatives on April 15th of the same

placed at my disposal notes that he had year.

made as to the origin of the gun-boat The collateral question of naval pro-
policy from "the Preble Papers" in the teotion is well treated in An Address to
Library of Congress, the Writings of the People of the United States on ... a
Jefferson, the American State Papers, Permanent Navy (Philadelphia, 1802).
Naval Affairs, and Goldsborough's An appendix (pp. 44-46) contains a
Naval Chronicle, See especially letters study of the effect of war on maritime
of Barron and Tingey in American State insurance of neutral vessels — with
Papers, Naval Affairs, i, 164, and the figures for the years 1793-1799. In
Naval Chronicle, 323. 1801 Wm. Caruthers wrote to Jefferson

'This question may be further ex- from Lexington, Ky., suggesting that

amined in the report of Henry Dearborn, a "receiver highly charged with elee-

Secretary of War, of February 13, 1806 tricity, hermetically sealed, and vio-

( American State Papers, Military Af- lently projected" would, on breaking,

fairs, i, 192), and the speech of Josiah give a violent shock to the enemy.
Quincy, delivered in the House of Rep-

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intendent of the Washington navy yard, as well as Com-
modore Preble advocated their construction. It is prob-
able that the supposed cheapness of these small vessels
appealed to Jefferson. .At &nv pate he sug gested building
two hundred of them "merely for defen sive operations **and
not for th ft p^fifit inn ™ ng mmerce at s&t AT gffS TTfln the
coast. This was the origin of the gun-boat policy which
also appealed to administrators as affording numerous
small commands. In the prosecution of the war on the
Barbary corsairs, several small sea-going naval vessels were
also built and did good service. Whatever the merits or
demerits of Jeffersonian naval warfare in the first half
dozen years of his presidency, it must be admitted that these
cruises aff orded admira ble training for^yoflOg ftH enter-
prising naval officers and "turned out a remarkable number
of (HSllA&uisnea captains and commodores, as the War of
ISiz was presently to demonstrate. In April, 1804, Jefferson
'wrote to Robert Smith expressing mortification at the
conduct of American officials in Europe, on the occasion
of the loss of the Philadelphia, who have hawked us about
as begging alms at every court ; they appear to suppose that
all is lost and that the United States is without resource,
all of which seemed to him to be most unpardonable.
Jefferson's bellicose attitude in the early years of his
presidency is well worth bearing in mind in view of his
later determination to keep the United States out of the
world-wide war regardless of what seemed to many persons
to be the national honor.

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I. Bibliography. — Henry Adams has made the period covered
by this and the succeeding chapters of this volume the subject of an
historical masterpiece: History of the United States (9 vols., New
York, 1889-1891). As published the set was divided into four groups,
each dealing with an administration. The ninth volume contains a
general index of over a hundred pages and there is an index at the
end of each of the first three administrations. This work is founded
on a most patient research, which brought to light masses of hitherto
unused material, and Mr. Adams used to the full his almost unrivalled
historical judgment. The volumes are oftentimes not easy to read
because of the mass of detail in the text, — giving, indeed, all of the
more important parts of the documents that had been copied for him
in foreign archives. The work is, therefore, an original source as
well as an historical comment. Adams naturally found it impossible
to divest himself of his great grandfather's distrust of Jefferson, but
in general the work is impersonal. The same author's John Randolph
in the American Statesmen series is a brilliant, historical study of a
remarkable man. Henry Adams's Documents Relating to New*
England Federalism (Boston, 1877) is made up of original matter on
this period.

Vying with Adams's great work, and in some respects surpassing
it, are Captain Alfred T. Mahan's studies of the influence of sea power
on the fortunes of the world in these twenty-five years ending in 1815.
The books are The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution
and Empire, 1798-1812 (2 vols., Boston, 1894) and Sea Power in Us
Relations to the War of 1812 (2 vols., Boston, 1905). These works
display great learning and profound critical insight. The first half
of the first volume of the War of 1812 is a masterly analysis of the
commercial warfare preceding the outbreak of naval and military
conflict. Mahan's insistence upon " preparedness " finally jars upon
the reader, but his judgment is marvellous, although sometimes in
conflict with that of Henry Adams. The War of 1812 is in many
respects Mahan's greatest contribution to historical science, but it
often lacks the readable qualities of his earlier productions.

II. President Jefferson. — Jefferson's manuscripts are preserved
in several different places. The " Official Papers " are in the Library

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of Congress, the " Private Papers " are in the cabinet of the Massachu-
setts Historical Society. The separation was not skilfully done, so
that some papers that might fairly be called official are at Boston.
Besides, there are still several small collections in private hands.
Jefferson was a most voluminous writer ; he used either a wet copy-
ing press or a machine, called the polygraph, that wrote two copies
at once. He filed away masses of papers with an unstinted hand
and destroyed others for various reasons. The Department of State
printed a Calendar of the Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson in 1894,
but a complete list of the private papers has never been printed.
There are three sets of the Writings of Jefferson. The most complete
is the " Memorial edition " in twenty volumes, Washington, 1903.
Ford's edition in ten volumes (New York, 1892-1899) is more usable,
but unfortunately does not repeat all the matter printed in the nine-
volume " Congress edition " (Washington, 1853-1854). 1 A selection
from the private papers forms volume 1 of the 7th series of the Collec-
tions of the Massachusetts Historical Society. A mass of material
that Jefferson put together in his old age under the title of " Anas "
is printed in the first volume of the Ford edition and by itself as The
Complete Anas of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1903). Some of
this matter may fairly be called original material, but much of it is
simply the recollections of an old man with a somewhat unreliable
memory. There have been numerous biographies and papers relating
to all or a part of Jefferson's varied career. Of these, the biography
by H. S. Randall (3 vols., New York, 1858) is markedly prejudiced and
valuable ior that reason. GeojggJQujfler's ^f e °f Thomas Jefferson
(2 vols., Philadelphia, 1837) is interesting as giving a Virginia view,
and Cornells jf w;++'q Thomas Jefferson, Etude Historique sur la
Democratic AmSricaine * is important as being a distinctly foreign, but
sympathetic analysis. Schouler's brief biography perhaps be^t ex-
presses the man, Thomas E. Watson's little sketch gives the view of a

1 This was edited by H. A. Washing- Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson under

ton and is often cited under his name. seventeen heads in a book with that

It was reprinted at Philadelphia and title ; it is useful for those who do not

New York. An early four-volume work wish to see the man for themselves,
by Jefferson's grandson, T. J. Randolph, * Published at Paris in 1861 and again

entitled Memoir, Correspondence, and in 1862. It was translated by R. S. H.

Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Church with some extra matter as

Jefferson, was printed at Charlottesville, Jefferson and the American Democracy

Va., in 1829 and at Boston in 1830. (London, 1862).
B. S. Catchings arranged the Master

vol. nr.— t

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modern southern radical, ancyPgjJtfti^one-volume biography (Boston,
1874) is by far the most readable of them all. Paul IrfgJSSSJSLEfiti 3
Thomas Jefferson {Monographs of the American Revolution) is a
beautiful bit of book-making and written by one who was thoroughly
conversant with his theme. l

L. H. Boutell privately printed at Chicago in 1891 an interesting
study of Thomas Jefferson, the Man of Letters and there is a stimulating
paper on " Jefferson as a Naturalist " in Magazine of American His-
tory, xiii, 379. Jefferson's granddaughter, Sarah N. Randolph, wrote
a volume entitled Domestic life of Thomas Jefferson and also printed
an analysis of his private character in the North American Review,
xci, 115. There is a book by H. W. Pierson entitled Jefferson at
MonticeUoy which represents the recollections of an old man who, some
years earlier, had been Jefferson's superintendent, — many of the
anecdotes are plainly impossible. B. L. Rayner's Sketches of the Life,
Writings, and Opinions of Thomas Jefferson is most favorable to him
and often seems to be authentic. Of hostile views, those by William
Sullivan in his Familiar Letters on Public Characters and by Theodore
Dwight in a book entitled The Character of Thomas Jefferson, as
exhibited in His Own Writings are thoroughly antagonistic, and the
same may be said of two volumes which were written by Stephen C.
Carpenter and printed at New York in 1809 with the title of Memoirs
of the Hon. Thomas Jefferson, . . . with a View of the Rise and Prog-
ress of French Influence and French Principles in that Country [the
United States].

C. H. Hart's Browere's Life Masks of Great Americans has a rep-
resentation of Jefferson which is undoubtedly the most authentic of
many attempts to preserve his lineaments for future ages.

1 Ford also printed an article on Scribner't Magarine, xii, 609.
."Thomas Jefferson in Undress" in

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The most significant achievement of Jefferson's first ad-
QS ministration was thejyrps^rem^ but this is

so intricate a matter to elucidate, and so important withal,
that it would better be treated by itself in a separate chapter.
r Next in significance to this was the atta c k on the federal
\L>- judiciary. Nothing in the constitutional settlement had
so aroused the suspicions of Jefferson and his followers as
the rapid extension of the activity and jurisdiction of the
judges of the United States courts. They honestly believed
that the individual States were the most important political
entities and only tolerated the federal union as a painful
necessity. Moreover, the federal judiciary had been estab-
lished to compel the payment of debts by the people of one
part of the United States to creditors living in other parts
or in other countries. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798
had declared null and void a recent act of Congress giving
federal courts jurisdiction in certain cases. 1 One of the
last acts * passed by the Federalist Congress and approved
by John Adams had materially extended and improved the
judicial system, and the outgoing President had appointed
Federalists to the new offices that were thus created.

1 American History Leaflet*, no. 15. ate, December 15, 1797, and of the

•The reformation of the Judiciary House, December 24; but nothing
was referred to a committee of the Sen- further was done at this time.


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A change in this system was certainly most desirable
in 1801, if it was to be worked to the best advantage. The
compensation of the justices stood next to that of the Presi-
dent of the United States and on an equality with that of
the highest placed administrative officers, but it was not
equal to the earnings of the foremost lawyers in the different
.parts of the country. The honor of being a member of so
'm august a tribunal was very great; but the constantly re-
curring journeys to hold sessions of the circuit courts made
the position unattractive to gentlemen of middle life, sus-
tained reputation in their profession, and large earning
capacities. The honor and lack of adequate compensation

Online LibraryEdward ChanningA history of the United States → online text (page 25 of 51)