The Prisoners of Algiers

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The Phenomenon of Mobility, a Development Challenge for the City Of Algiers
The Phenomenon of Mobility, a Development Challenge for the City Of Algiers

Urban displacements are a major challenge for the economic and social development of the city and are a sign of quality of life. They are defined by less congestion, less pollution, congestion and urban sprawl. In Algeria, the new urban policies are seen as the beginning of a positive transformation of the city's situation, which degradation seems to have origin in a lack of coordination between planning, the deregulation of the transport sector and the urban planning of cities. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a transportation policy based on a logic of sustainable development of the urban area where the optimization of mobility is required. In Algiers, transport and urban planning have been the subject of many debates that have shown that the city suffers from several problems, in terms of transport, mobility, traffic and parking. This makes it a perfect example of a city affected by urban sprawl generating a series of other problems that come together to cause an imbalance in the layout of spaces. In attempting to address these problems in order, the first would be the increase in the various displacements due to the metropolisation and centralization of human activities. These displacements are not only in continuous increase but are experiencing a real imbalance where the quantity dominates on the quality, which leads to a remarkable saturation of the transport networks, and thus to a dense traffic notably during the peak hours. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the importance of developing the most adequate operating policies for the various modes of transport that are the most appropriate in the capital city of Algiers, and to implement an investment program in the management of mobility in order to transform the city. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2019), 3(1), 144-155. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4711

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The Prisoners of Algiers

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THE PRISONERS OE ALGIERS

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THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS AN ACCOUNT OF THE FORGOTTEN AMERICAN-ALGERIAN WAR 1786-1797

H. G.

BARNBY

London

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS New York

Toronto

1966

Oxford University Press, Ely House, London, W. 1 GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLINGTON CAPE TOWN SALISBURY IBADAN NAIROBI LUSAKA ADDIS ABABA BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI LAHORE DACCA KUALA LUMPUR HONG KONG

© H. G. Bamby 1966

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY

ROBERT MACLEHOSE AND COMPANY UMITED THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, GLASGOW

To Miles and Frances

ILLUSTRATIONS Admiralty Pass (National Maritime Museum).

Frontispiece.

for

the

Jamaica facing page

American merchant

la. ,

lb.

vessel

(Peabody Museum, Salem,

U.S.A.)

\

Algerian xebecs (Nautical print by L. Morel-Fatio, Circa 1850. Science Museum, London)

j

2.

View of Algiers

3a.

View over the

(British

Museum)

flat roofs of Algiers. (Drawing by E. Flandon from Algdrie historique, pittoresque et monumentale by L, A. Berbrugger, 1843. British \

Chamber of Commerce and

Slaves being brought into Algiers (National Maritime

Museum) 5a.

83

Central courtyard of a large Algerian house (Lithograph by Bayot from Algerie historique, etc. British

Museum) 66.

A

coffee

\

historique.

British

Museum)

6a.

James Leander Cathcart

66.

Joel Barlow (Portrait by Robert Fulton, from C. B. Todd, Life and Letters of Joel Barlow. British Museum)

76.

^

Street scene in Algiers (Lithograph Algirie historique. British Museum)

[

211

J

by Bayot from I

goA

Slaves being ransomed (Lithograph by Bayot from Algdrie historique.

8.

210

house in Algiers (Drawing by E. Flandon

from Algdrie

7a.

g2

Boats and fishermen on the beach below the city walls (Collection of the Industry, Marseilles)

4.

""

67

Museum) 36.

|

The Dey of

British

Museum)

Algiers giving audience to Christian

ambassadors (Lithograph by A. Godard from Algdrie historique.

British

Museum)

227

PREFACE It was as long ago as 1957 that I accidentally turned up a copy of

Frank E. Ross's 'The Mission of Joseph Donaldson Jr. to Algiers 1795-1797'. I found this quite short work so fascinating that I later decided to investigate the whole incident and its context.

My

researches led

which

is

me

into an unfamihar but absorbing world

only one of my reasons for being in Mr. Ross's debt.

A novelist is rather like

a balloon,

self supporting.

A

historian,

have discovered, is more like a plank in a tall building. He serves his function but is of necessity supported by a great many other I

planks. I could

not possibly have studied the various works listed in the

Bibhography without the facilities provided by the Reading Room of the British Museum and other Libraries and National Archives. There can surely be no more obliging and better informed group of people anywhere than the staffs of these establishments. I thank them.

am most grateful to Commander A.

Cameron, R.N., for having Naval Authorities at Algiers, and in turn I am indebted to the French Navy for allowing me to visit the old Turkish harbour and for generously presenting me with a copy of their own researches on that subject. My thanks are due to Sir Godfrey Fisher for a stimulating and I

introduced

me

to the French

informative correspondence; to Messrs. Baring Bros.

&

Co. for

and to Mr. James Woodress pointing out some for arranging, in concert with Mr. William Jackson of the Houghton Library, Harvard, to make available to me a microfilm of some of Joel Barlow's letters. I am also grateful to the New useful material;

York Public Library

for supplying

me

with a microfilm of part of

the Cathcart Papers.

My

friend Terence Carter patiently read through

tidy manuscript and greatly supported

encouragement. While

my family

my

me with sound

not very

advice and

put up with several apparently

PREFACE

xii

and tolerance. most important, I wish to thank my cousin Craig Brown and all his team at 'Browns' for their unfailing support. Without that this book would never have been written, at least not by me. quite unproductive years with remarkable patience Lastly, but almost the

London, 1965

Henry Barnhy

ABBREVIATIONS London.

F.O.

Foreign

O.R.D.S.

General Records of the Department of State (Spain), Washington.

J.C.C.

Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789.

P.R.O.

Public Record Office, London.

RA

Revue Africaine.

S.D.C.D.

State Department Consular Dispatches, Washington.

U.S. CD.

Dispatches from United States Consuls in Gibraltar, Wtishington.

Office,

CHAPTER

1

THE CAPTURE

CJn

the morning of 25 July 1785, the Maria, an American built

schooner from Boston, was sailing quietly eastwards three miles

south of the Algarve coast of Portugal. ^ She had been six weeks

on the Atlantic and although Captain Stevens and

men had had an

his

crew of five

easy crossing with favourable winds, they were

excited at the prospect of reaching Cadiz within the next fortyeight hours.

The whole crew was on deck sunning themselves and watching number of brightly painted Portuguese

the nearby coast and a

A mile to the south two Danish had hove to under the guns of a small, raffish looking warship. This sight disturbed the Americans hardly at all. Europe was constantly at war within itself and European and sometimes American waters were often infested with warships and privateers searching for enemy prizes. However, the United States, they knew, had fought her first and last war. She was no longer a colony. She was free, independent, and at peace with the entire world. Added to this. Captain Stevens knew no common pirate would dare to operate so close to a populated coast during daylight. So confident was he in the security of the Maria's voyage fishing boats that dotted the sea.

brigs

that he did not even bother to change course.

Nor were he and

crew worried when the Danish brigs sailed off in a westerly direction and the warship turned her bowsprit after them. They discussed calmly among themselves what nationahty she might be.

his

^ This description of the capture of the Maria has been assembled from James Cathcart, The Captives, amd filled out with detail from John Foss's account and a number of contemporary French «md English soiirces. * Pennsylvania Mercury and Universal Advertiser, Friday 27 January 1786.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

2

French, they supposed. The British had privateers operating in was definitely Mediterranean built bhe was both lower and narrower than any northern vessel Her stern projected far back over the water in the old gaUey style Each of her three masts carried a single triangular sail. She was probably a xebec^ built at Toulon and chancing a quick voyage into the Atlantic while the summer weather lasted. They waited to be overhauled. these waters but this vessel

The Maria was an efficient sailer but still a cargo carrier and no match for the swift-saihng xebec which came rapidly up on her The warship flew no flag and her deck was entirely empty except for one man standing at the tiller. It was not unusual for warships to fly no flags, indeed when they did they were often bogus but the empty deck worried the Americans. A warship's decks have no busmess to be empty. The xebec moved up very close astern It IS always uncomfortable to be watched by unseen eyes and the Manama crew began to feel distinctly uneasy. The xebec hauled up close on the Maria's port side. The man at the tiller, who was dressed in European clothes, made vigorous gestures ordering the Maria to heave to. Obediently Captain Stevens turned his ship into the wind and lowered his sails. The xebec did the same and the two vessels drifted to a stop close together. Six brass cannon stared down at the Maria's deck ports

from

m

the xebec's side. Suddenly the nervous silence that had spread over the two ships was rent by loud shouts from the xebec as hnes of men rose up from behind her gunwales. The hehnsman European dress had vanished and in his place there was a host of excited orientals dressed in loose garments and red caps and brandishing swords or knives.

m

Captain Stevens, after the first moment of shock, made a brave attempt at optimism. The xebec, he told his alarmed men was probably a Moroccan cruiser in search of Spanish prizes. These two nations were usually at war. A rowboat2 was swung out from the warship

and a number of

three-masted vessel peculiar to the Mediterranean, distinguished by Utlf ateen """f sails on aU three masts, projecting bows, and overhanging stexT Some of the smaUer ones were undecked amidships. ^ The term is often used in documents of this period for a very small undecked ^^^^Jced, ^ oar-propeUed fighting vessel. '

THE CAPTURE armed men tumbled down

into

it.

3

Captain Stevens awaited their hand and his crew grouped

arrival with the ship's papers in his

nervously behind him. The North Africans, shouting loudly, chmbed up over the side of the Maria and rushed at the Americans

waving

above their heads. Their loose clothes made them appear large and sinister, but they immediately quietened when they saw they were not to be resisted. One of their company their swords

wore a red turban round

his cap

and

carried a pair of pistols. This

A young IrishAmerican named James Cathcart stepped forward. He spoke a few words of Spanish and acted as interpreter. The interrogation was brief. Who were they, the man in the turban asked. For answer Captain Stevens thrust the ship's papers into his hands. The boarding party clustered curiously round their leader while he turned the papers this way and that, sideways and upside down. The question was repeated, more loudly. Who were they? Americanos, declared James Cathcart, not without pride. The man in the turban said a word to his followers who shouted with delight and, abandoning their prisoners, rushed below deck and began to loot the ship.^ There was nothing Captain Stevens and his crew could do but watch. Their nervous protests were ignored and for a time their presence seemed quite forgotten as the boarding party hauled the contents of the ship's hving quarters on deck and noisily shared them out. Clothing, bed linen, crockery, all was considered fair booty and only the ship's stores and cargo wer^ left untouched. For two hours this clamorous, but essentially amiable process of despoliation continued, then the six Americans were ordered over the side into the rowboat. They lay face downwards on the wet planks while the boarding party tossed bundles of loot down on man

addressed Captain Stevens in Spanish,

top of them.

As the Americans were urged up over the side of the xebec they were amazed to see so small a vessel holding such a large and curiously mixed number of men. These were of every colour from Nubian black to Nordic white; and all rushed at the captives, with their hands outstretched, as they reached the deck. In a 1 Ventiire de Paradis, 'Alger au Trimestre 1895, p. 312. B

XVIII

si^cle', Re.vti^

Africaine No. 219, 4th

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

4

moment each American found

himself surrounded, jostled,

and snatched at

pum-

no piece of clothing remained to bim except his cotton under-drawers. Once stripped they were released and the crew took to squabbling amongst themselves over their meagre booty. The leader of the boarding party led his prisoners to the poop. Here, sheltered from the sun by a canvas awning, waited the commander of the xebec. He was a lean, dark-skinned man, wearing a white cotton cloak and a red turban. He sat cross-legged on a patterned rug and smoked a Turkish water pipe. After a long look at the Americans and a thoughtful puflP or two, he spoke in Spanish. James Cathcart interpreted and later on wrote an account of this first interview in his Journal. The commander told them that they were on board an Algerian frigate and that he, Rais El-Arbi, was the Captain. The Maria was his prize and they his prisoners and the sooner they became reconciled to their fate the better it would be for them. He assured them that they would be well used. These words sounded odd to the six nearly naked Americans who could still hear men squabbling over their clothing on the deck behind them. The Rais continued, to say that he had been a slave himself, and would treat them far better than he had been treated; that God would redeem them from their captivity as he had twice done for him, and that when they made their peace with their Father, the King of England, the Dey of Algiers would hberate them immediately. The Americans were astonished to hear that the xebec belonged to Algiers, for it was well known among seafaring men that the melled,

twisted,

until

Spanish stationed warships in the Straits of Gibraltar to prevent

When

Algerian cruisers sailing out into the Atlantic.

Cathcart

voiced their surprise, the Rais explained that Algiers had recently

concluded a truce with Spain and the blockade ships had been withdrawn. Further, he told the prisoners that the British Consul at Algiers

they were

had informed the captains of all Algerian warships that now at liberty to seize all ships sailing out of North

American ports unless these carried the Captain Stevens and his crew received

latest British passports. this last

announcement

with great indignation, but Rais El-Arbi made a gesture with his hand and they were hustled out of his presence. Algerian cruisers had a terrifying reputation

among

Christian

THE CAPTURE

6

seamen and the Americans were already bracing themselves

unknown

for

horrors. Instead they found themselves totally ignored.

The xebec now got under way. A number of her crew occupied themselves with this manoeuvre but most lounged about the deck in idle attitudes. No one took the slightest notice of the new

who stood in a sad, silent group watching the Maria sMpping away astern. Then up from below decks came thirty-six men as naked as themselves also one Christian woman, she fully prisoners

;

clothed. The men were Portuguese taken out of fishing boats the xebec had captured during the previous week. The woman was Spanish and claimed rather mysteriously to have been a passenger

on one of the

fishing boats.

She was

easily the

most cheerful of all

the captives and did her best to encourage her Christian com-

panions by relating httle anecdotes and even by singing a gay

song or two. She was not very successful as both Americans and Portuguese were greatly depressed at their situation. Algiers had

a most sinister reputation amongst Christian seamen and those on the xebec feared they would very soon be dragging an oar in a galley, or be set to manhandling stones in the notorious stone quarries of Algiers.

But before they were able to brood for too long another sail was sighted and the xebec changed course to intercept. Pursuit was the signal for all to make themselves scarce. The prisoners, excepting the woman, were herded into the sail locker below decks and forward. Before they left the deck they noticed the helmsman had put on European clothes. The sail locker was a long, low, narrow place, without hght and almost without ventilation. It very soon became stiflingly hot and the captives lay sweating miserably on rolls of rotting canvas. To add to the discomfort of the Americans, their new blood excited the ship's vermin and soon their bodies were crawling with lice, bugs, fleas, and even cockroaches.

Fortunately, the called off the chase,

new

sail

turned out to be Spanish, the xebec

and crew and prisoners were again allowed on

deck.

welcome rehef, a closer inspection of the xebec afforded the Americans little satisfaction. During the eighteenth century the Atlantic was a very hard Although the fresh

air

came

as a

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

9

Equipment and seamen had to be of the highest quality The xebec, although obviously a fast sailer, was a very dirty and poorly maintained vessel. Also, the teeming crew seemed ill- trained seamen and even

school.

to survive the long, gruelling ocean crossings.

the simplest manoeuvres were conducted in a state of apparent high confusion. The rigging showed signs of great neglect and the Americans were particularly alarmed at the casual way the crew

smoking their clay pipes no very great distance from barrels of gunpowder. At sunset a basket of unleavened bread and a great bowl of a glutinous black paste was put down by the main mast. Immediately the xebec's crew clustered round hungrily. The Americans sat below decks

were surprised to see the Portuguese joining enthusiastically in the general free-for-all without apparently causing any offence. Rather diffidently they too joined in the scrimmage, but were not impressed with the results of their efforts. The bread was extremely sour, while the black paste turned out to be a sickly mixture of

vinegar and pounded black olives. However,

when

the Portuguese

assured them that this was the only meal served in twenty-four hours, they were glad enough to have tried

with the Moslem

it.

Next, they lined up

crew to receive their water ration.^ This, they dis-

covered to their distress, had turned putrid through having been stored in dirty containers. It smelt awful and was so

full

of foreign

matter that the Americans had to strain it through their teeth. After dark the captives were sent back to the sail locker where they passed a miserable night. Fortunately the armed guards at the locker door allowed

them

to go singly on deck to answer calls

of nature.

Next morning those who had slept were awakened by a series of jarring thuds that seemed to shake the xebec to its very keel. The crew of the Maria believed they must have struck a reef, a fear that seemed to be confirmed by the locker door being flung open and their being ordered on deck. But above they found no signs of alarm and not a reef in sight. Instead a Moorish sailor was hammering a block of wood by the mainmast with a huge iron bar. This way the Algerians woke the ship's company at dawn every morning. ^

S.

Pananti, Narrative of Residence in Algiers, 1818, p. 43.

THE CAPTURE

7

During the day the Americans noticed that the xebec's crew seemed suddenly to become immensely good humoured. On asking the reason why, they were told that Rais El-Arbi had given the order to return to Algiers. The xebec had already been at sea for three weeks, and although four Portuguese fishing boats and one small American schooner did not represent a very profitable cruise, the Rais had decided it would have to suffice. He and his officers were nervous that the Portuguese would send frigates after them if they stayed near their coasts for too long, and also the xebec carried so large a crew that her provisions could not last for a long voyage. Already food supplies were being severely rationed.

James Cathcart later wrote in his journal, the crew of the Maria would certainly have starved had it not been for the In

fact,

Turks. 1

The

first

impression gained by the Americans of the astonishing

variety of the crew of the xebec was confirmed

by

closer experi-

number of

full-blooded Negroes; also very

many dark-skinned Moors whose

aquiline features indicated either

ence. There were a

Arab

or Spanish blood. There were fair-skinned

Atlas Mountains with bright blue eyes also a ;

men from

number

the

of Christian

renegades from southern Italy and, to the surprise of the Americans,

one Irish renegade. Apart and separate from this polyglot crew

were a small number of Turks.

These Turks were the ship's officers. They led the boarding parties and were the only men on the vessel to be armed with muskets. They alone were allowed on the xebec's poop deck, a privilege they jealously guarded. " These Turks showed a great interest in their American captives. Several of them spoke Spanish

and James Cathcart was much in demand as an interpreter. The Turks wanted to know how far America was from the Mediterranean and why the people there had revolted against the powerful King of England. The Americans told them, and the Turks agreed that in their place they too would certainly have done the same. These same Turks kept the crew of the Maria supphed with oranges, dates, and dried figs from their own private stores and even occasionally offered them cups of very strong, very sweet 1

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

«

ibid., p. 311.

sidcle',

RA, No.

219, 1895, p. 306.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

8

Yemen oil

coffee

which

their

Negro slaves brewed

for

them over small

stoves.

Although they were captive and without clothes, the Americans found themselves better ofiF than not only the Portuguese, but also the Moorish crew. Particularly as after their first night the captives were no longer confined in the sail locker, but were allowed the freedom of the ship, James Cathcart became especially friendly with one of the Turkish quartermasters he even stood his spell for him at the tiller, and received a gift of a pipe and ;

tobacco in return.

The xebec passed through the Straits of Gibraltar in dayhght and without difficulty. They saw much Christian shipping, including a number of British frigates,^ but none attempted to hinder her passage. Instead, she cruised peacefully eastwards within sight of the coast of North Africa, at whose austere brown hills the Americans gazed with apprehension. The Moslem crew became more cheerful with every sea mile covered, but the emotions of Captain Stevens and his men were more complex. They were anxious to get away from the xebec whose atmosphere became more fetid daily, and whose careless crew seemed permanently on the verge of explosive self-destruction, but on the other hand they

unknown future. At dawn, one week after the day of their capture, the Americans had a first sight of their destination. They saw a wide, gently curving bay with level ground sweeping away to the east, and an outcrop of low but abrupt hills in the west. At the foot of these feared greatly for their

hills,

pointing upwards hke a small white triangle with

its

base

was the city of Algiers. As the xebec moved in towards the coast the city seemed to grow not only in size but in whiteness, so that it soon reflected an almost dazzling hght from the growing strength of the sun. The lying along the sea shore,

impression of

its

triangular shape remained, although

now

indi-

vidual landmarks, such as the beacon tower dominating the

harbour and the domes and minarets of several mosques, began to ^

A

with

medium-sized ship of war. In the Mediterranean a long

and

sails

vessel,

navigated

oars.

* du Chastelet des Boys (ed. L. Piesse), 'L'Odyssee', RA, No. 58, 1866. 'The crew stripped naked and threw buckets of water over each other as they approached .', p. 264. 'Algiers looks like the sail of a ship. Algiers. .', p. 266. .

.

.

.

THE CAPTURE emerge. The

hills

9

near the city were dotted with country houses,

each surrounded by a patch of vivid green cultivation. The weather was excellent and the air crystal clear. Algiers, from a mile out to sea, looked as pleasant a city as the crew of the Maria had ever seen. However, as the xebec moved still closer in shore, less agreeable features began to appear. Below the lighthouse several batteries of cannon faced out to sea.^ A large castle dominated the city from a hill to the east, A smaller fortress looked over the beach to the west. A high wall presented a sohd and threatening front along the shore. While a few miles to the westward loomed the bleak crags of stone quarries.

The Rais and his Turkish officers now assembled on the poop deck while their Negro slaves busied themselves with their masters* belongings. The ship's ensign, a huge green flag with quotations from the Koran embroidered upon it, was hoisted to the masthead while the flags of their prizes were displayed beneath. The sight of these brought a cry of triumph from the crew crowding the deck. 2

Now

the masts of several

tall

ships appeared above the curve

of the harbour defences, and the captives could see that these

same defences were crowded with people. The crew of the xebec swarmed into the lower rigging and began to wave their arms and shout excitedly. Those on shore called back, so that the xebec rounded the sea batteries and dropped her anchor inside Algiers harbour amidst noisy excitement.

The

city of Algiers

viewed from inside the harbour alarmed

Captain Stevens and his crew. Behind the ramparts of the island defences were

many

respectable-looking warehouses with ample

stone quays before them.

with strangely clothed

But

men

all

these open spaces were crowded

in a high state of excitement. Others

swarmed over the stone breakwater that stretched from a

large

gate in the city wall to the buildings at the foot of the harbour beacon. The Americans wondered nervously what all the excitement was about. The xebec anchored close to several large saihng ships flying R. P. J.-B. Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, 1735, vol. v, p. 233, du Chastelet des Boys, 'L'Odyssee', RA, No. 72, November 1868, p. 438. See also A. Devoulx, Le Livre des signaux de laflotU de Vancienne rdgence d' Alger, 1868, ^

*

pp. 2 and 22.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

10

the flags of various Christian countries. These were loading or

unloading their cargoes into lighters in a perfectly normal manner, while their crews went about their business as though they were in

any port

in Christendom.

At that moment a flat-bottomed

barge passed close to the xebec loaded with two huge blocks of stone. ^

Around and on these blocks crouched a number of gaunt,

long-haired men, each with an iron ring riveted above his right

The Americans looked again at the oriental figures swarmupon the quayside and the breakwater and they began to

ankle.

ing

suspect the reason for their strange elation.

Soon several large rowboats came alongside. Captain Stevens and his crew of five men clambered down over the side of the xebec. Their long voyage from Boston, Massachusetts, was over. * John Foss, A Journal of Captivity in Algiers, 1798, p. 23. Foss was a seaman captured and taken to Algiers from the U.S. brig Polly, 25 October 1793.

^

CHAPTER

2

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

1 HE proverb says that it takes two to make a quarrel, but history frequently makes nonsense of proverbs. The seizing of the Maria on the high seas was an aggressive act against the United States of America, yet that brand new nation had absolutely no Indeed very few of its citizens at this time had even heard of Algiers. Captain Stevens and his crew viewed their capture as an unkind and absurd act, yet, conversely, every man on board the xebec beheved the hostile thoughts or intentions against Algiers.

and justifiable. Oil today gushes up from under the sands of the Sahara proving that here was once fertile jungle. But this is geological history. It seems probable that by the time men arrived on the scene the climate of North Africa had become nearly what it is today. It also seems likely that the earliest men on the North African coast lived very much as did other men on other shores of the great seizure to be both legal

inland sea. Originally they were hunters, then herdsmen. Later

some became agricultiu'ists while others took to the sea. Of the seafarers, some fished, others of a more adventurous mind explored and became merchant traders. Seaports began to develop round sheltered bays. Some seaports became cities, cities became nations. Some nations developed into civilizations. In all this there was probably

little

difference

between one shore of the Mediterranean

and another. ^ There is no original research done by the author in this chapter. It simply attempts to sketch the historical background that accounted for Algerian attitudes in the late eighteenth centiu-y. The three main sources are: J. Soames, The Coast of Barbary, 1938; G. Fisher, The Barbary Legend, 1957; and E. F. Gautier, Les Siecles Obscura du Maghreb, 1927.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

12

There was plenty of room for men to live along the North African coast. The Sahara was there, inland, but it was safelyenclosed behind

green walls. Tribes of herdsmen and great

its

always shadowed by their predators, found ample space for living on the moist hills that sloped northwards towards the sea. Even when Carthage became a world power and there was a huge increase of immigrant humans from across the sea, there was still ample room for all nature. Then Rome and Carthage faced each other, they clashed, and Carthage fell. Rome took over North Africa. Now the world was really changing. Rome had broad ambitions. There seemed almost no limit to the distances her legions could march and to the increase in her Empire. But great empires require great organization; this Rome brought to North Africa. The organization was indeed masterly. The Carthaginians, now reduced to serfdom, were put to work felling the forests of the coastal plains. The wood was shipped to Rome to warm that magnificent but marble-cold city. Where the forests had stood fields of wheat were planted, The nomadic tribes and the herds of wild beasts were pushed south away from the moist coast, and as they moved south they flocks of wild beasts,

grazed to the very edge of the Sahara, But this border vegetation too valuable for grazing,

is

desert in its place.

it is

the fertile prison that holds the

Once these prison walls are destroyed the sand

escapes.

The nomads were the first to notice the encroachment of the Year after year the space between the farms of Rome and the sands of the Sahara grew less. The herds of game dwindled, the cattle began to die, the nomads grew hungry. Many abandoned their wandering life and joined the survivors of Carthage in the desert.

serf pens of

Roman

landlords. There are always opportunities for

the enterprising in an organized civilization and

many

of the

nomadic tribesmen must have changed their way of life cheerfully and successfully. Others were temperamentally unsuited for a settled life. These took to thieving. Their numbers were soon swelled by fugitives from Roman justice and it was from this date is only fair to acknowledge that the Romans did not only chop down trees. probable that it was the Romans who introduced the olive tree to North Africa, at least on a commercial scale. Gautier, Lea Siecles Obscurs du Maghreb, ^

It

It

is

p. 232.

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

13

that the nomadic tribes appear to have taken on their savage character.

By

the fourth century a.d.

Rome had

potent factors to North Africa. The

first

introduced two

new and

of these was Christianity,

the second was the camel. Both had their origins in the desert lands of Arabia. Christianity took a firm hold amongst the settled com-

munities along the coast

;

the camel saved the strugghng

nomads

from probable extinction. North Africa had become a province of Europe. Along the southern shore of the Mediterranean, Roman cities of great grandeur were built. Roads were laid out, aqueducts constructed,

gardens flourished, statues were erected, lighthouses marked

dangerous reefs along the coast. With

all

her apparent gifts

Rome

was a great benefactor to North Africa, but beneath the splendid outward appearances of civilization there was sickness. Rome needed North African grain. The demand was constantly for higher and higher production. In the name of efficiency, agriculture in North Africa was organized into larger and larger units. This inevitably meant a few people growing richer and more people being reduced to the level of farm labourers and serfs. Small landowners reduced to labourers became bitter and violent men. The Roman Empire in North Africa now found itself under attack from two separate directions. The nomadic tribes living on the borders of the desert were becoming daily more daring in their assaults on outlying communities, while, within the boundaries of civihzation, bands of serfs prowled at night looting and burning property. It was a situation that called for a determined and disciphned military force, but this was what Rome no longer had. Christianity

may have

brought

many

benefits to citizens of

Rome, but its effect on the authority of the Empire was disastrous. Under paganism every man was free to choose his own deity. Christianity insisted that aU men must worship the same God. Inevitably there arose disputes as to

The

citizens of the

how

Roman Empire had

this should be done.

found a powerful reason

for distrusting one another. Various parts of the different forms of Christian behef

recruited from

all areas,

and as the

Empire chose

Roman

legions were

theological disputes were carried into the

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

14

heart of the army. The

on disciphne can be imagined. Yet still prosperous, and the cities were still civihzed and the lives led by the wealthy in pleasant. But already others had their eyes on this wealth. Out of the unattractive wastes of Asia and Northern Europe a steady stream of tribesmen pressed southwards. They were eventually to destroy Rome itself. In the meanwhile one large tribe had reached as far west as Spain. The Vandals had been converted the

Roman

eflFect

provinces of North Africa were

to Christianity during the course of their wanderings, but to a

heresy that was not accepted in Rome.^ They were a vigorous people with fair hair and blue eyes. Like

all

men born

in the cold

and honey. In North Africa the Vandals found just this. Under their King Genseric,2 eighty thousand men, women, and children crossed the Straits of Gibraltar into what is today Morocco. Within an absurdly short space of time these blue-eyed warriors had completely demohshed Roman rule in Northern Africa, But the Vandals were not interested in promoting civihzation, they only wanted to enjoy its more obvious fruits. They revelled north, they looked to the Mediterranean for milk

in luxury for the first time in their tribal history

;

but they failed

to realize that luxury can only be a by-product of active enterprise.

They even took

to bathing, a sure sign of decadence in a

A

hundred years of Vandal rule left no mark on North Africa. They built no cities, they carved no statues. Probably their only memorials are the fair hair and blue eyes still to be found today among the Kabyle people who inhabit the Atlas northern people.

mountains.

Rome

feU to the barbarians and the Empire, or what was left was accepted by Byzantium. Perhaps the greatest mihtary genius of aU time was the Greek general, Belisarius. His campaigns still stagger the imagination. Under Count Belisarius the Roman Eagles, carried by Greek soldiers, returned to North Africa one hundred years after the Vandals crossed from Spain. The Vandal armies melted away. Many of the northerners must have moved meekly from the great houses into the serf pens to join there the remnants of early civilizations many others fled to the high Atlas

of

it,

;

^

Arian heresy.

*

Also called Gaiseric {Ency. Brit.),

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

16

Mountains where the blood of hardy ancestors stood them in good stead.

The Roman Empire in Africa had become Greek. It was also much smaller. There was less agriculture, but this did not make the nomad tribesmen any more amenable. The desert had moved closer to the coast, and many of the nomads had become used to banditry as a way of life and would not relinquish it. Their attacks became more daring. Byzantium's answer was to dispatch light cavalry to pursue the raiders into the desert, but horses cannot

and Greek soldiers would have nothing to do with camels. The nomads were safe in their desert home. Nearer the coast there was prosperity of a sort. North Africa travel without water

still

produced grain. The great

cities still

remained and were

still

luxurious. There were schools, universities, great hbraries, great

churches, great bishops. There were heresies and vicious theo-

Meanwhile, in the Arabian peninsula, from where Christianity and the camel had come, a new force was arising to change the course of hfe in Northern Africa.

logical disputes.

Muhammad was

born in a.d. 571. As he grew up he watched

the bloody disputes which shook the Christian world over questions of doctrine.

To him and his fellow Arab tribesmen Christianity

seemed sadly lacking in many aspects. As an alternative religion Judaism was too exclusive. In his thirtieth year Muhammad proclaimed his new religion. It was monotheistic, moral, and simple. After early difficulties, it swept through Arabia with the force of fire. It combined nomadic communities, which held longcherished traditions of mutual distrust, into a single powerful, crusading, and pillaging force. The Greeks and Slavs of Constantinople, after desperate fighting, managed to contain the Arab armies in the north-west, but only by sacrificing Byzantium's African possessions.

The Arab armies swept past Alexandria and westwards. Their was simple convert or exterminate, and, above all, piUage. The people of North Africa were used to invaders arriving by sea; to have them approaching by land was a new experience. The nomadic tribesmen retired into the desert and watched cautiously; the Kabyles hid among their mountain peaks; the people of the coast had no refuge. A substantial number were early purpose

:

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

16

evacuated in Greek ships, but the majority had no escape at all. They tried to fight, but they were no match for the fanatics of Islam.

Many

died martyrs to their Christian faith but

many others

embraced Islam. It was not, after all, such a very great change to make. Both rehgions worshipped one invisible God. Both were opposed to the ancient forms of idolatry. But along with their religion, the people of North Africa changed their language and their dress and their manner of living. In the space of a few decades these became completely Arabian in character. ^ This was against nature.

Indeed, Arabia soon lost control of her distant possessions.

North African converts to Islam gradually assumed power all along the North African coast. These men were no longer fanatics but successors to power. One feels that had they been properly handled they could have been brought back into the orbit of Europe. While Spain belonged to Islam a certain fusion of culture took place both there and in Morocco. In Spain, North African military governors encouraged an artistic skiU and technical facihty which they never seemed able to foster in their own homelands. But the priests of both creeds preached their nonsense. Moslem and Christian were not permitted to share one land in peace, and the followers of the Prophet Muhammad were duly expelled from the Spanish Peninsula. Europe dragged itself out of the dark, despondent ages that followed the final coUapse of Rome. North Africa remained in a state of decline. The formerly spacious and fertile coastal lands were now haunted by two terrors, the encroaching desert and the savage Bedouin. These last migrated from Arabia during the tenth century and combined with the indigenous nomads against the nervous city dwellers of the coast. ^ A sudden influx of Moslem refugees from Spain turned the balance shghtly in the favour of the city dwellers. In Morocco a kingdom was formed that met and defeated the nomad armies. Agriculture began to revive slightly. ^ Gautier claims that the nomads and Kabyles adopted such a thorough burntearth policy against the invading Arab armies that the city dwellers welcomed the invaders as the only alternative to starvation. * The rulers of Egypt are believed to have provided boats to ferry the Bedouin tribes across the Nile. In this way they diverted their destructive power to the west and away from their own kingdom. Gautier, Les SUcles Obscurs du Maghreb,

p. 405.

^

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

17

Moslems had escaped from Spain lay in every little harbour along the North African coast, and their Spanish and Arabic speaking sailors wondered how to use them. Their first thought was revenge against those who had expelled them from their homeland. They voyaged against the Spanish coast and against Spanish shipping. Beheving Rome to be the source of their misfortune they turned against the Papal States of Italy. It was the beginning of a long, bitter, and un-

The

ships in which thousands of

natural war.

A

war which became a constant

fact in the balance

of power in Europe and one which the Protestant powers of North

Europe, and Catholic France, were not ashamed to use for their own some of the first Barbary corsairs were Enghsh priva-

ends.^ Thus,

teers sailing out of

To the Arab Ifriqiya.

Moroccan ports

in search of Spanish prizes.

Egypt was called the same area Barbary, The peoples

invaders, the land west of

Europe came to

call

that were supposed to have inhabited the long stretch of territory

and the Sahara, from Eg3rpt's western boundary to Morocco's southern limits, before the Arab invasions, came to be called Berbers. Nobody knows if the land was called after the people or vice versa. But under Islam North Africa, or Barbary, returned to what it had been before Rome and Carthage. The bulk of the territory reverted to the nomadic tribes who

lying between the sea

constantly disputed with each other for grazing land, while the coastal towns conducted a smaU trade with other parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and protected under their walls strictly limited areas of settled agriculture. There was no longer one political

authority in North Africa, but there was one law; the word of

Muhammad as laid down in By the fifteenth century

the Koran.

the Renaissance was in full flood in Europe. It did not come to North Africa. The Bedouin had long since pioneered caravan routes across the desert to the south.

But the discovery of new lands below the Sahara, with

their

exports of gold, ostrich feathers, and slaves, did not produce the ^ The Spanish bombarded Algiers in 1784 and the same year the Dutch and the Danes sent an abundance of all types of munitions. L. Feraud, 'Les trois attaques des Espagnols centre Alger, au XVIII sidcle', RA, No. 118, 1876, p. 313. See also de Grammont, Etudes algeriennes. La course, Vesclavage et la redemption a Alger, 1885, pp. 5 and 6. * Fisher, The Barbary Legend, p. 138.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

18

excitement in North Africa that voyages to America and the Far

East were causing in Europe. The brief impetus of the Spanish North Africa went into dechne once more and

refugees subsided,

consumed

its

surplus energies in inter-tribal wars. In the mean-

time, one small city

whose name was to prove notorious

in the

Councils of Europe over the next three hundred years was begin-

ning to emerge from obscurity.

The coast of North Africa has few natural harbours. But two hundred miles due south of Majorca, two small rocky islets lying very close to the beach at the western end of a long bay afforded a meagre anchorage for small ships during the summer months. This place was first the site of a Roman town called Icosium. But in time the Roman buildings decayed. Invading Arabs used Roman building stone and marble to build an Arab town in its place. They called it El Djezair, which means 'the islands'. From this small North African town a minor export trade to Europe of honey, wax, butter, and figs had developed. When the Spanish Moslems, sometimes called Moriscos, were expelled from Spain a number of seamen fled to Algiers with their families and ships. They needed to five, but the country roimd Algiers was insuflficiently cultivated to feed new mouths. In bitterness the Spanish Moslem sailors took to raiding their recent homeland. In quite a short time a flourishing market was estabhshed where merchants came to purchase the ships, cargoes, and crews captured by these sea raiders. On Christian lips El Djezair became Algiers, and the name Algiers became feared.^ Spain suffered mostly from Algerian attacks and Spain had her eyes on North Africa. In 1505, Cardinal Ximenes, Regent of all Spain, sent his armies into North Africa. They conquered Mers el Kebir and Oran in quick succession. Pedro Navarro, one of the Cardinal's generals, advanced eastwards towards Algiers. The inhabitants hastened to submit and were allowed their independence on two conditions. First, they had to declare themselves vassals of the King of Spain, and second, they had to allow the Spanish to build a castle on the larger of the two islets lying two hundred yards from their city's walls. ^

L'ATnirautd

authorities.

d' Alger,

pamphlet privately printed by the French Naval

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

19

was duly built and named Penon, meaning 'Rock'. In fact it was a small community, with its own church, two tiny streets, several warehouses, and a number of dwellings. The Spanish garrison usually numbered about two hundred men, in addition to wives and camp followers.^ The guns on the castle battlements pointed straight into the heart of Algiers and effectively prevented her enterprising seamen from earning their living. For nineteen years the Algerians remained the reluctant vassals of Spain until the confusion following the death of King Ferdinand gave them the opportunity to throw off their allegiance. It was one thing to claim their independence, it was another to rid themselves of the garrison on Penon. But although the walls of the Spanish castle were formidable, its soldiers were most awkwardly placed. The tiny islet had no freshwater well or room to grow food. Once the Algerians ceased supplying them they became entirely dependent on the island of Majorca two hundred miles to the north. However, although hfe became uncomfortable for the garrison, it was still possible. It soon became apparent to the Algerians that there was no substitute for assault for removing the

The

fortress

Spanish lance pointing at their throat. the eastern shore of the Bosporus a new empire had arisen. was powerful and it was Islamic. Turkey menaced Europe. Under Suleiman the Great, Turkish soldiers reached deep into the heart of the Balkans and almost to the walls of Vienna. The Turks themselves were not a seafaring race but amongst their subject people were the nearly amphibious Greeks. Amongst the Greeks no sea captains were more famous than the brothers Kheir-ed-Din and Aroudj.2 These two who, in the manner of the age, combined a little honest warfare with a little profitable piracy, had made their headquarters at a small North African anchorage named

On

It

Bougie.

From

this place at the

western end of the Mediterranean

they were able to menace the shipping and coasts of southern Spain. The citizens of Algiers appealed to these two Moslem corsairs to rid

them

of the Spanish on Penon. After savage fighting

the corsairs took the fortress, but the Algerians had introduced a For full details see L. A. Berbrugger, Le Pegnon d' Alger, 1860. A. Berbrugger and Dr. Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire gen^rale d'Alger par Haedo\ RA, No. 83, 1870, p. 416. Also Watbled, 'fitablissement de la Domination turque en Algerie', RA, No. 101, 1873, p. 356. c ^ *

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

20

tiger into their

Aroudj

midst and Turkish power had come to stay.

reputed to have strangled the leader of the Algerians in

is

the bath with his

own

bare hands.

Kheir-ed-Din was a man of imagination and a

He

brilliant engineer.

conceived the idea of turning the exposed anchorage at Algiers

into a real harbour. This he accomphshed

by demolishing the

Spanish castle on Penon and using the rubble to join the

islet

to

He

then joined this enlarged island to the mainland by a massive mole, a httle over two hundred yards long.

its close

neighbour.

The labour for this considerable enterprise was provided by Spanish and Itahan captives who cut the great blocks of stone from quarries close behind Algiers, dragged these down to the beach, and levered them into place. The results of three years of crushing labour and a Greek corsair's imagination converted Algiers into a major port. Turkey, the champion of Islam, faced the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the champion of Christendom, in open hostihty for a long period. The central and western Mediterranean was busy with Christian shipping. There were obvious and splendid opportunities for a man to serve both Islam and himself on the Mediterranean Sea. Kheir-ed-Din and his Greek Moslem sailors were little interested in the land at the back of Algiers. What they sought were convenient harbours from which to carry on their attacks on Christian shipping. They seized Tunis and Tripoh shortly after Algiers. This inevitably meant that they had to have some land forces to protect themselves from the counter-attacks of the local chieftains they had evicted. Kheir-ed-Din now proved himself to be as good a diplomat as engineer. He offered his new possessions to the Sultan of Turkey to be included as part of the Ottoman Empire. The gratified Sultan in return sent Kheir-ed-Din two thousand infantry and granted him the privilege in perpetuity of recruiting soldiers in Turkey. ^

The Turks were good Moslems; they also hked to get rich The sea ports of North Africa soon acquired the reputation of being places where a Moslem might make himself a httle quickly.

1

ibid.

«

ibid.,

p. 438.

pp. 359-63. Also Watbled, 'Pachas-Pachas-Deys',

RA, No.

102, 1873,

ALGERIAN ORIGINS fortune without being put to too

much

21

trouble.

Indeed, on

occasions spectacular fortunes seem to have been acquired in the

but this is only part of the story. Under Tiu-kish rule Algiers and Tunis prospered to a degree that cannot be explained solely by sea warfare. The fact is that Turkish course of a few lucky voyages

;



a disciphne soldiers brought a hmited disciphne to North Africa under which settled agriculture was possible in larger areas than had been known since the Roman occupation, a discipline under which trade with Europe was able to develop and flourish. Turkish janizaries guaranteed good order and security of property

what are now modern Tunisia and Algeria. Here Christian and Jewish merchants were able to trade in comparative safety. The benefit of this stability was felt far beyond those areas directly controlled by Turkish arms. The Turks never succeeded in conquering the Kabyles, the mountain tribes that inhabited the high Atlas and who bore then, and still bear today, such strong signs of Vandal blood. Nevertheless, it was through the merchants in the Turkish-controlled sea ports that the Kabyles sold their surplus produce of grain, hides, honey, and wax. The Arabs invaded North Africa during the seventh century. The Turks did not arrive until the sixteenth. During the intervening years Arabian invaders mingled their blood with the remnants of the civihzations of Carthage, Rome, the Vandals, Byzantium, and Spain. Round the coastal cities in the more settled areas, a more or less homogeneous type of man evolved who became known in Europe as a Moor, a name derived from the old Roman Province of Mauretania. The difference between these Moorish coastal dwellers on the one hand, and the mountain Kabyles and the nomads from the south whose blood was half Bedouin and half Berber, was marked. The sixteenth-century Moors were as much the victims of Kabyles and Bedouin nomads as had been the Christians of Byzantium. Turkish soldiers ojffered them protection against these attacks at a price. This was no less than the total loss of all pohtical power. The Moors considered the price worth-while.^

in the larger ports of

;

^ Sidy Hamdan-Ben-Othman Khoja, son of the last Chief Turkish Secretary of the Regency of Algiers, wrote that the Berbers cheerfully handed over power to the Turks because they noticed that they said their prayers regularly (Aper^u Historique et Statistique aur la Rigence d' Alger, 1833).

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

22

It is one of the absurdities of history that North Africa and Europe should have drifted apart. The warm Mediterranean should be a bridge not a barrier. Rome ruled the north and south shores, Spain tried to do the same. The fact that she did not succeed was as much due to the opposition of other European powers as to any physical resistance she met in North Africa.^ Europe was developing in a highly nationahstic way. European statesmen were obsessed with the balance of power. The idea of another Rome controlling the whole of Europe was obnoxious, and statesmen suspected that any European nation that succeeded in bringing North Africa into its camp would be well on its way to European domination.

There were formidable practical

difficulties

standing in the

way

of any invasion of North Africa. Trying to suppress the Bedouin

and Kabyle tribes was hke trying to catch eels with bare hands. The blue-eyed Kabyle were both fierce and elusive; the nomads mounted their camels and disappeared into the wastes of the Sahara, to reappear again where they were least expected. The physical process of carrying a large army across the Mediterranean and landing it on a shore notorious for its sudden storms and coral reefs was enormous. Nevertheless, the feat was accomphshed prior to the nineteenth century, notably by Cardinal Ximenes and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. But equally there were disasters, and as late as 1775 a huge Spanish Armada, under the command of a General with the un-Spanish name of O'Reilly, met a rude fate on the beaches close to Algiers.^ The httle Moorish principahties of North Africa with their vigorous warships were a great nuisance to Christian shipping, but

North Africa under a single flag, whether this displayed the Cross or the Crescent, would have been a menace to the whole of southern Europe. Turkish, Moorish, and renegade Christian captains saihng out of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoh discovered, to their gratification, that they could capture Christian shipping

almost with impmiity. At various times Spain, France, Holland, ^ Feudal revolts in Spain forced Ximenes to recall his best troops from Africa. Berbrugger, 'Les Algeriens Demandent un Roi Fran9ais', RA, No. 25, 1861, pp. 5-9. See also idem, Le Pegnon d^ Alger, p. 6. * 'Lettre de M. le general de Sandoval relative a I'exp^dition d'O'Reilly', RA,

No. 46, 1864, p. 318.

ALGERIAN ORIGINS Denmark, and England sent corsairs;

fleets

23

to restrain North African

but these occasions were rare and generally

ineflFective.

For the most part the Christian nations of Europe were quite willing to pay cash, or its equivalent, for the privilege of having their ships trade in the Mediterranean unmolested. Only Spain was too proud, and most of the ItaUan states too poor, to compromise their Catholic honour in this way. Cargo-carrjdng in the Mediterranean was always profitable for those coimtries with few scruples and a longish purse, such as Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Venice.^ By long habit the captains of North African ports came to believe that they were the owners of the Mediterranean and, therefore, that anybody who sailed upon it without their leave committed an act of war. This was naive. But it went uncontradicted. Dutch, Swedish, even French and Enghsh diplomats frequently paid sums of money for the release of ships and

seamen from Moslem captivity. Under many curious-sounding names they also paid forms of protection money. All this seemed to confirm the Moslem corsairs in their ownership of the Mediterranean. They did not stop to reason that the meekness of the European nations in the face of the curious behaviour of Moorish captains was not because they approved of its principles but simply because any alteration to the status quo seemed full of potential menace.

way North Africa became the home of a kind of naval laissez faire. To its harbours came enterprising men from hungry southern Europe. Christians who carried their rehgion lightly In this

found that in North Africa a skilful and brave seaman could soon make his fortune. The Turks were not natural seamen, but Greeks,

and Spaniards were. Many of the early corsair captains of Algiers and Tunis were renegades.^ Some progressed far beyond sea banditry and achieved places of great influence in the Ottoman Empire. In the early days the Corsairs used rowing galleys. Sometimes Italians,

Sardinians,

de Grammont, 'Relations entre la France et la r^gence d'Alger au XVTI second article in continuation of 4th part, 'Les consuls Lazaristes et le Chevalier d'Arvieux', RA, No. 166, 1884, p. 294. See also third article by d© Grammont in continuation of 4th part, RA, No. 167, 1884, p. 340. Also de Paradis, •Un chant alg6rien du XVIII sidcle', RA, Nos. 214/215, 1894, p. 325. ' de Grammont, 'Documents algeriens', RA, No. 174, 1885, p. 446. 1

si^cle',

;

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

24

the oars of these galleys were pulled

by

Christian captives

(Cervantes pulled an oar in an Algerian cruiser) but for efficiency ;

there was no substitute for a volunteer Moorish crew.

Flemish

a

century

seventeenth

the

captain

Then during

instructed

the

Algerians in the use of deep-draught saihng ships. ^ Moorish and

renegade captains

now saw

vast

new

horizons opening up before

them. They persuaded their reluctant crews to the Straits of Gibraltar into the Atlantic.

They

sail

out through

seized prizes in the

English Channel, they were reported off the coast of Denmark,

they landed at Baltimore in south-west Ireland and abducted

one hundred inhabitants slave

market three weeks

who

its

fetched high prices in the Algerian

later. ^

It is difficult to think of

any word to describe such

activities

other than 'piracy'. Yet the North African corsairs always hotly

denied that they were pirates. In their favour

many

it

must be

said that

Christian countries licensed private warships to behave in

an almost equally outrageous manner. Yet it was nonsense for the Moslems of North Africa to claim ownership of the Mediterranean it was even more absurd when their pretensions took them into

But in the name of this absurdity many Christian seamen suffered long years of North African slavery. It is only fair to add that none probably suffered worse than the Moslem captives of the Knights of Malta, the Papal States of Italy, or

the Atlantic.

Catholic Spain.

In 1785, when this accoimt begins, Morocco had almost entirely given up sea raiding; but Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli continued to

send out their armed

The

cruisers.

much reduced from former days

for

scale of their operations

now

was

Christian ships tended to

and sometimes better armed for their own defence. The seamen of North Africa, despite much romantic fiction to the contrary, were not great fighting men. Their knowledge of naval tactics and cannonading was generally rudimentary, and they usually relied on their very large and noisy crews to overawe their victims,^ They had been happiest and most successful

be larger, faster

sailing,

^ Simon Dansa. de Grammont, 'Relations entre la France et la regence d'AIger au XVII si6cle', 1st part, 'Les deux canons de Simon Dansa', RA, No. 133, 1879,

p. 8.

The City of Cork,

2

C. Smith,

»

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

vol.

i,

p. 278.

si^cle',

BA, No.

219, 1895, p. 304.

ALGERIAN ORIGINS

26

in the days of the rowing galley. Moorish sailors never cared for

the long voyages that streets of the city at

But

if

At Algiers, Turkish and had to round up crews from the

sail required.^

renegade corsair captains often

sword point.

the Barbary powers were stagnating on the foundations

of ancient empires, the United States of America, founded on

was bursting with a new and wonderful vitahty. However, it requires something more than enthusiasm to solve some problems. The Americans had developed under the umbrella of British organization and power. Seamen and merchants from the east coast of North America had voyaged in the Mediterranean for many years, but they had travelled there as British citizens. This meant their vessels carried British passports entitling them to the full protection of massive naval and diplomatic prestige. Without this assistance the new Federation of the United States of North America had to make their own terms with the Barbary powers. This is an account of their earliest attempt to do so. virgin

soil,

1

ibid.

CHAPTER

3

SLAVES

i HE boat that brought the

captives ashore

was rowed by

fourteen Moorish boatmen.^ These were brown, muscular

men who

wore red felt caps on their shaven heads, wide-sleeved collarless shirts, and loose-fitting pantaloons, the crutches of which hung

down below

their knees.

is shaped Uke a crooked finger, with the two by Kheir-ed-Din representing the first and second joints, curving protectively round the anchorage. ^ The mole blocked the sea passage to the north-west, while on the landward side a narrow beach of garbage-strewn sand sloped steeply up to the city's high wall. This sea wall was of brown stone and was topped by battlements. At the eastern end of the beach a warehouse^ on stone arches had been built over the sea and in its shelter a few fishing boats were moored. A number of vessels were careened on the beach so that their hulls could be cleaned and painted with black pitch. Also on the beach were wooden shpways

Algiers harbour

islets

joined

supporting small craft in various stages of construction.

Men were

work in all these places, but for each one actively engaged there seemed to be several sitting and doing nothing. at

A

fortified buttress

protected the gate where the mole led into

the city. This mole was of haphazard construction and consisted

of great blocks of rock cast upon and beside each other without ^ A canot. See M. Emerit, 'Le voyage de la Condamine a Alger (1731)' in Notes Documents, RA, Nos. 440/41, 1954, p. 268. « de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 268. ' Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Haedo\ RA, No. 83, 1870, p. 421. See also Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvietix,

et

vol. V, p. 231.

SLAVES any

sort of binding.

As the

27

captives were rowed ashore they could

see yet another block being levered off a flat barge into a gap.

A

high wall had been built on the top of the mole and beside this a cobbled road joined the harbour to the

city.

Along

this

road an

excited oriental crowd was hurrying, while already the rocks

to the water's edge were covered with sea birds.

The seaward end of

Algiers'

men

down

perching like brown

mole was dominated by a

taU beacon tower which had been built on the roof of a small eight-sided fortress. Batteries of cannon were

mounted on the

battlements of this fortress while other batteries pointed seawards

from the roofs of the solid warehouses that had been built on the former islets. These warehouses were large, windowless buildings standing over squat arches which, in some cases, were closed by heavy wooden doors. AU the harbour buildings had been recently whitewashed.

The rowing-boat

tied

up beside a

flight

of stone steps.

The

Moorish rowers leapt out and ran up the steps to mingle with the excited crowd waiting. Their Turkish escort ordered the captives to disembark.

was mid-morning by the time Captain Isaak Stevens and his first set nervous foot on African soil. The Americans, by bartering some of the fruit given them by the Turks on the xebec, had managed to get back some of their original clothing. It now looked as though they might well lose it again to the excited Algerians on the quay. But if the captives feared the look of the mob, the mob appeared to fear their Turkish escort more. These thrust their way forward with imperious cries and seemed very ready to use their unsheathed Damascus swords on their fellow Moslems. At their first nervous glance, it seemed to the six It

crew

Americans that the population of Algiers consisted entirely of dirty, hawk-faced men much given to shouting, and all wearing the same red skull-caps and tattered shirts and pantaloons. The captives did not have to run this gauntlet for long. As soon as they reached the octagonal fortress beneath the beacon, they were led through a low archway. Inside the fort all was quiet. The noisy mob was prevented from entering by a brass-studded, oaken door which was firmly shut in their faces. The captives were in a stone-flagged courtyard open to the sky. On two sides

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

28

of this were the blank walls of warehouses, while next to the door-

way

a stone bench was built against the wall and this was shaded

by a canvas awning. Across the courtyard from the bench was a large, covered chamber whose ceihng was supported by graceful pillars. From this shadowy place an infinitely sweet noise came to the captives' ears. It was the sound of running water. Built into one side of the arched chamber was a fountain. Here, out of the mouth of a stone lion's head a jet of water spouted into a marble basin. The Turkish escort sheathed their swords and together they, the Americans, and the Portuguese rushed to the fountain. They held out their hands and splashed their faces. Laughing, they jostled each other for room. They let the cool jet run over their heads and down their necks. They drank and drank and drank. James Cathcart wrote in his journal that he would remember the fountain in the Kiosk of the Marine at Algiers

When

all his hfe.^

the novelty of flowing fresh water passed, the captives

went back to the stone bench under the canvas awning. James Cathcart asked one of the Turkish escorts what had happened to the Spanish woman. He was told that she had already been sent to the Spanish Hospital, as Christian

women were

never displayed

Meanwhile a number of well-to-do men turbans and long black cloaks had begun to assemble in the chamber below the arches. Several domestics were handing roimd small cups of coffee, while another offered fruit juices from a crystal jug. Among the assembly the Americans noticed the captain of their xebec, who appeared to be answering a barrage of questions put in

pubUc

in Algiers.

wearing elaborate

silk

him by a man with long waxed mustachios while yet another man was making notes of some of his answers in a large ledger. After a time this last man approached the Americans. They saw now that despite his silk shirt and pantaloons and his embroidered waistcoat, he wore his hair long in the Christian style. He anto

;

nounced himself as a Spanish slave and he addressed himself to Captain Stevens through James Cathcart. Having noted in his ledger the names of the Maria's crew, their nationality, the ship's cargo, its point of departure and its immediate destination, he 1 For detailed description Naval officers at Algiers.

see

UAmiraute

d' Alger,

privately printed

by French

SLAVES

29

returned to the Turks assembled in the arched chamber. Later he questioned the Portuguese in exactly the same way. The captives

waited in

silence,

and

slowly became apparent to

them that They judged from the the courtyard that time had passed quietly it

Algerian conferences were leisurely

shadow moving

across

aJBFairs.

into the afternoon.^

Finally the Spanish secretary returned, accompanied

by Turkish but not the ones from the xebec. These were far more richly, dressed. They wore white turbans folded round their pointed red caps. Their red waistcoats had gold buttons and gold soldiers;

braiding. Their shirts

round

and pantaloons were of fine white silk, while wore bulky red sashes elaborately twined.*

their waists they

The Spanish secretary now informed the captives that the Admiralty Court had condemned their vessels as good prizes and themselves to be slaves. The seamen leapt to their feet and began to protest, but the Turkish soldiers unsheathed their scimitars without a word and the prisoners became silent. The mob had

entirely dispersed

when

the Christian captives

the Admiralty building. They were marched along the mole towards the shore. They passed through the Marine Gateway, up a steep stone ramp, and into Algiers city,

left

from the sea looked an elegant place, with its domes and minarets, and neatly whitewashed buildings. From inside, its appearance was very different. The prisoners found themselves being led through winding alleys that twisted between high, blank walls. Their Turkish guards marched at their head and at their rear, and their presence seemed designed more to overawe the citizens than to prevent their escape. Little light reached down into the alleys that were made even darker by the first floors of most houses projecting out over the street. Everyivhere there was a stench of refuse and of drains. Few of the houses had windows and then only fan-lights set above massive oak doors. These doors had Algiers

^ This picture is taken from Cathcart, The Captives; Foss, A Journal of Captivity in Algiers; smd Pananti, Narrative of Residence in Algiers. Cathcart's The Captives (compiled by his daughter, J. B. Newkirk, 1899) is such a basic source for his work that the present author has not thought it necessary to give page numbers when referring to it in the notes. * Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d^Arvieux, vol. v, p. 280. See also [Sophie Barnard], Travels in Algiers, Spain, etc. etc., p. 60; and de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sifecle', RA, No. 219, 1896, p. 302.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

30

no frames, but hung on iron hooks

set in the stone- work. In most were built into them and from these robed cases smaller doors figures peered out curiously. The captives' bare feet made no noise

on the stone-flagged pavements, but the iron-tipped shoes of their Turkish guards clattered imperiously. Their procession passed

down

a passageway off which a series of unprotected arches gave

access to

some

sort of coffee-house. In the semi-darkness figures

could be seen seated on benches round the walls and there was

the sound of oriental music.

At one

street corner,

where the alley

widened, a table had been set up displaying sweetmeats for Beside the table a silence.

man

sale.

with long hair watched them pass in

Later they had to break ranks and stand aside to allow

the passage of three small donkeys whose panniers were laden

with household refuse. They passed a

man

carr3ang a goatsldn of

water and two china cups. He, too, was a Christian slave and he

an ironic greeting to the newcomers in Spanish. The house of the owner of the xebec was no different externally than any other Algerian house. Just a stout oak door set in a blank wall beside a narrow alley. Inside this door was a short passage with a curved ceiling. At the far end of this half passage, half entrance hall, a number of steps led up through another doorway called out

into a courtyard.

An Algerian house, aspects secret.

the captives discovered, kept

its

pleasantest

A building that had looked entirely bleak from the

outside displayed charming proportions in

its interior.

The

court-

yard of this house was about thirty feet square and surrounded on each side by cloisters supported by columns of marble carved in spiral form. An open balcony ran round the first floor. This, too, supported columns which in turn supported another balcony, while above this was a flat roof. The upper balconies had carved cedar-wood balustrades, and at each corner were small, triangular wooden shelves on which pots of flowering plants were placed. The elegance of the house's courtyard and its surrounding balconies made a pleasing impression on the Americans. They glanced about them more hopefully and began to feel that perhaps their future might not be as bleak as they feared. From the upper balconies a number of Negro men looked curiously down at them. Their new proprietor now came out to inspect them. He was an

SLAVES elderly

31

Moor with a very long, grey beard. He wore a black woollen

end of which he draped over his white turban. Followed by two Negro slaves, he counted the newcomers slowly. Once or cloak, one

twice he fingered the clothing worn closely

and

by the Americans. He looked and seemed no more

carefully at each Christian,

conscious of their return looks than a farmer

is

of a pig's gaze.

Finally, speaking in a sort of bastard ItaHan dialect, he ordered

The order had first to be translated into Spanish by a Turkish soldier and then into English by James the Americans to strip.

Cathcart. Captain Stevens and his

men were

selected for public humihation but could see

obey.

When

indignant at being

no alternative but to

they were naked their proprietor made the Portu-

guese hand over some of their rags to the Americans. These were

not pleased as they considered the Portuguese were even dirtier

and more verminous than themselves. Now the prisoners were again marched out into the city. Up and down the narrow streets they were led, confronting new sights and new smells at every corner. Turks, dressed in silks and elaborately turbaned, paused to let them pass also coimtry Arabs heavily swathed in white burnouses. Moorish artisans in wide pantaloons came out of their cave-hke workshops and stared. At one street corner, two bearded men dressed in black pressed themselves into a doorway to allow the httle procession to pass. 'Jews', ;

explained one of the Turkish guards scornfully.

Later they

emerged from twisting alleys and flights of stone steps on to a broader roadway that was being used as a market-place. On every side produce and goods were laid out on the cobbles for sale and a throng of people dressed in many styles jostled and crowded each other. At one end of this market donkeys were tethered, also a few camels. The noise of the merchants calling their wares and the pungent smells of the market filled the Americans with astonishment and some foreboding.^ They had not eaten that day and had not drunk since they had revelled in the cool water of the fountain at the Marine, and they began to feel in some distress. ;

many excellent eye-witness accounts of Turkish Algiers to suppleof Cathcart, Fobs, and Barlow. Among the best are Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux; de Paradis, Alger au XVIII si^le; Poiret, Voyage en Barbarie; Moore, Travels thraugh the Kingdom of Algiers; and Pananti, Narrative of Residence in Algiers. ^

There are

ment those

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

32

an hour, being exhibited to a not very interested audience, and were then taken back to their

They halted

in the

market

for half

owner's house.

There were two narrow doors leading off the entrance passage The one to the right led into the while opposite, on the left of the passage, another door stables, led into an empty, windowless, brick-hned room. The captives were now herded in here. They had had a trying day. They were suffering both from the nervous strain imposed by their new surroundings and from a great deal of imaccustomed walking. They were extremely hungry and thirsty and they began to half wish themselves back on the xebec. But rehef came, and from a totally unexpected quarter. Within a few minutes of their return, a small crowd of Christian slaves arrived to visit them carrying gifts of fruit, cooked meats, and wine. They greeted the new captives warmly and asked many questions while they watched them eat and drink. At sunset the visitors left; and now their owner, accompanied by domestics, brought in a basin of unsavoury smelling stewed meat together with several loaves of black bread. This the captives, filled with good things the Christians had brought, refused to eat. They would change their tune on the following day, their owner warned them, for, he said, in Algiers no slaves and few Moslems eat more than once a day. He withdrew and locked the door. In total darkness the captives lay down on the brick floor and of the elderly Moor's house.

tried to sleep.

But

to

add to the vermin they already

carried in

were now attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. The Americans huddled together and discussed their future. They had been surprised and almost reassured at the cheerfulness of their clothing, they

who had visited them earlier. These, they had had been mainly Spaniards and Itahans, with a sprinkling of Dutch and some Germans. None had looked ill-nourished, none appeared to have been beaten or otherwise abused, although all had complained of the indignity and disgrace of being slaves. Judging by their appearance, to be a slave in Algiers did not the Christian slaves noticed,

necessarily it

was

mean

insupportable privations.

their fate to be locked

night, a prey to

up

On

in this dark,

the other hand,

if

naked place every

vermin and ravenous mosquitoes,

life,

they

felt,

SLAVES had

little

to

ofiFer

33

them. After long, sad murmurings the captives

finally slept.

They were awakened at dawn by the arrival of Turkish soldiers. These called out the six Americans and marched them from the house. Again they were paraded round the city. One of the Turkish guards told Cathcart that they were to be presented at the houses of all the big

men

of the town as these

all

the curiosities called 'Americanos'. It seemed as

every twisting passageway in the

city.

if

wished to see they walked

They passed one tiny

square with a fountain set in a wall that was protected by a vine

growing over a pergola. In the shaded colonnade round the square, men wearing white silk cloaks sat cross-

elaborately turbaned

legged on cushions and

woven

rugs,

smoking clay

pipes. Their

servants leant against the wall at a respectful distance,^

The Americans were taken

into several houses, but they never

first hall or passageway. Here the owner of the house, and sometimes a friend or two came to inspect them. Several elderly Turks spoke fluent Spanish. They all told James Cathcart that they doubted if the captives truly were 'Americanos' as they looked exactly hke Englishmen. It soon became apparent that when they talked about Americans they had in mind the sketches of Red Indians which often appeared on charts of the American coast. Some copies of these had apparently already found their way to Algiers. The Americans meanwhile were surprised that they had not yet seen any women anywhere. When Cathcart questioned a Turkish guard about this he laughed and assured him that the women of Algiers were certainly seeing them. As they walked down a narrow street, he pointed up to the first floor of the houses. Projecting over the street were tiny wooden balconies with straw- covered openings from which a watcher could see without being seen.^ Once the Americans heard a loud female giggle as they marched below. They again passed many men in the streets, including Moors in

penetrated further than the

their red felt caps, country

and Jews, some of

whom

their three-cornered caps. 1

*

nomads

in coarse

wore black

silk

wooUen burnouses,

turbans

They passed down a

wound round

street given over

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 274. Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvietix, vol. v, p. 226.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

34

They could see figures bent over their work benches, hear the sound of their hammers, and see the red glow of their furnaces. Often they had to stand aside for pack entirely to metal workshops.

donkeys; once they pressed themselves against the wall while a

But most of the burdens in the were carried by men, and Moorish porters bowed down under ungainly loads were a common sight. file

of four camels grumbled past.

city

By midday

their parade

round the

city

was

finished

and

their

guards led them downhill towards the harbour. Here, close by the large

mosque beside the Marine Gate, was the house of the British them inside and then left. For the first

Consul. Their guards led

time since their capture the Americans found themselves neither locked up nor in the presence of armed men.

was a Scot named Charles Logic. His preand Charles Logic had his last post in Morocco a few weeks before. ^ Consul Logic greeted the newcomers politely enough but could not restrain himself from pointing out to them that if they had not revolted against his master the King of England they would not now be prisoners. He went on to say that he was well aware that many British sailors, tempted by high wages and quick promotion, had taken work on ships belonging to the United States. Such action, of course, deprived them of the protection due to British citizens. However, he said, if any of those present cared to admit their British nationality he would do his best to have them released from captivity. Meanwhile the hospitality of his house was theirs. The crew of the Maria found this last statement to be true only in a strictly hmited sense. Charles Logie's domestic servants, Neapolitan slaves on hire from the Algerian Government, showed them to a small room built halfway up the main staircase that was nearly as dark and unfurnished as the one they had left at the house of their owner. However, it seems likely that they were well fed and may even have been given a glass of English ale.^ Later in the day Consul Logic sent them a message that he had

The

British Consul

had died only arrived from decessor

in office a year before,

^ The Moors from Biskra were the porters of Algiers. *PubUc Record Office, London. Foreign Office, 95/1, 1 July 1784, Evan Nepean to A. C. Frazer. Also F.O. 3/6, 3 August 1785, Charles Logie to Lord Sydney. ' An inventory of the British Consul's cellar taken on 5 November 1777 listed 4 dozen Burtain Ale and 8 dozen bottles Porter.

SLAVES them

36

two days, and that as he had accepted responsibility for them, they must promise not to try to escape. The Americans were not happy at this treatment. Consul Logic was a loyal servant of King George III, whereas James Cathcart, who left an account of these proceedings, was born an Irishman and became an American. It is hardly surprising that his remarks about the British Consul are caustic. He wrote that the Americans were made sensible of their situation and were exposed to a new species of indignities which they felt in a superlative degree. This probably meant that they were not allowed the full freedom of the Consul's house. This was hardly surprising as even Cathcart admits that they were still filthy and received permission to keep

at his house for

infested with vermin.

no record of how Captain Stevens and his crew passed the two days and nights they spent at the Consul's house. Probably the bulk of it was devoted to eating, sleeping, and gossiping with the Itahan domestic slaves. However, at dawn on the third mornThere

is

ing Turkish guards arrived to conduct

them

to the city's slave

market. This was held close by in a small piazza opposite the

Mosque of the Fishermen, where the stone ramp led up into the city from the Marine Gate. Here the Americans found themselves squatting in the open amongst other slaves of aU nationahties, colours, and ages. As the sun grew warmer, wealthy Turks and Moors arrived and took their places in the shade of the arcades that ran round three sides of the piazza. Domestic slaves spread out rugs and cushions for their masters' comfort^ then distance

away and began

to

brew

coflFee

moved

over portable

oil

a httle stoves.

During the morning the slave market was always busy with The Americans attracted considerable attention although nobody made any attempt to purchase them. However, a brisk trade was done in other slaves. Men were made to run to and fro people.

so that prospective buyers could hsten to their heart-beats

by

placing their ears against their naked chests. Jewish merchants

peered into captives' mouths to verify their ages by the condition of their teeth. Then after a bargain was struck a slave secretary made an appropriate entry in a large ledger. As the sun rose ^

de Grammont, Etudes cUg^riennes. La course, Veaclavage

Alger, p. 50.

o

et

la

redemption d

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

36

higher the heat in the piazza grew oppressive and the nearly naked

Americans began to suffer seriously; fortunately for them the slave market closed at noon and they were marched back to the house of their owner. Here they remained in the brick-lined room until the next morning when they were again taken to the slave market. In all they were displayed for sale on three consecutive days. ^^Tien the market closed at noon on the third day they were led to the Palace of the Dey. Outwardly the house of the supreme ruler of Algiers differed httle from other buildings in the city. There was the same blank, whitewashed wall facing on to the street and its main entrance was httle larger than a normal Algerian door, although there were marble benches on either side of this where the Turkish guard lounged.^ Also, draped low over the doorway, so all had to bend to pass underneath, was a loop of iron chain. Through this, however, was the usual vestibule and passageway leading to an inner door, although here were other marble benches where more Turkish

The captives were led up a short flight of stone through yet another door, and into a large courtyard, and

soldiers lounged. steps,

here at last were signs of oriental splendour. The courtyard was

paved with slabs of marble and had a fountain in its centre. The buildings round it displayed the usual galleries supported by columns, but all of fine workmanship and elegant design. The imposing effect of the architecture was rather spoiled by the great crowd of people in the palace courtyard. These strolled about quite casually, stood in conversational groups, or simply leaned against

the elegantly carved spiral columns with their eyes closed. In one

comer, the Americans were surprised to see some sheep's carcase, while from

somewhere

men

close at

skinning a

hand came a

powerful smell of cooking.

The captives were conducted through the crowd to a flight of At the head of these steps they were met by two men splendidly dressed but with the stone steps leading to the first-floor gallery.

long hair of Christians. These led the gallery

and into a small room leading

way off

along the

first-floor

an imposing audience

chamber. 2 1

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

*

ibid., p. 272.

si^cle',

RA, No.

219, 1895, p. 274.

SLAVES

37

Dey Muhammad Bashaw sat on a low, wooden platform covered with Persian rugs and silk cushions. He was old and cadaverous but the Americans noted that his eyes seemed very alert. ^ Close beside the raised platform stood several turbaned men whose hands, hke the Dey's, bore

many

jewelled rings.

A

little

to one

an air of deferthe Americans stood very spoke and Nobody attention. ential still. After a time the Dey mumbled a word or two and the richlydressed Christian turned and spoke to the Americans in Spanish. side a Christian,

He announced

most

richly dressed, waited with

himself as the Dey's Chief Christian Secretary, a

slave hke themselves.

He and James

Cathcart between them

interpreted the Dey's words to the apprehensive crew of the Maria. quite short. The Dey, hke many of the commented on how hke the Americans were to Englishmen and he reproached them mildly for rebelling against his friend the King of England. Then, after staring at them for a

The audience was

grandees of the

city,

while longer, he ordered that all except Captain Stevens should be found employment within the palace. The Secretary explained that this meant that the Dey had purchased them from the owner of the xebec. The Dey's first command, he added with some feeUng, was that they should immediately be taken to the palace bath house.

Thus they were dismissed and

led

down

into the courtyard once

more, where other Christian slaves took charge of them. These took them into an adjacent and smaller courtyard, on one side of

which were the palace baths. In the ante-chamber of the baths two Negroes made signs for the Americans to strip off their rags. They gave each man a piece of soap and a small hnen towel and then led them through into the bath itself. Here a lead pipe gushed scalding hot water into a marble basin which constantly overflowed onto the stone floor and filled the room with clouds of steam. Another lead pipe spouted cold water into a similar basin. The Negroes handed out wooden dippers and encouraged the Americans to

set to.

They did

Baba Muhammad ben Osman,

so with alacrity.

reigned 1766-91. Died naturally, a bachelor limped as a result of a bullet wound he received when attacking the Spanish garrison at Oran. He could read and write, and survived two assassination attempts; see de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', 2nd article, RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 78. ^

and a

teetotaller.

He

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

38

When

they finally emerged from the bath a senior palace slave

man

a bundle of new clothes. These were cut in the Moorish fashion and comprised a vast shirt with wide sleeves, and

handed each

no

cufi's

or collar,

and a pair of very

loose cotton trousers. Also

included in the bundle were soft leather shppers and a red

felt

The captives were greatly amused at each other's appearance in this dress and laughed almost for the first time since their capture. At the same time each man was given two cotton cap.

blankets.

That night the Americans slept in a clean room inside the They were given ample and wholesome food by the palace slave cooks and their spirits rose accordingly. For the first time since their capture they were clean, warm, and well fed. The palace domestics assured them that Algiers no longer possessed any galleys so they need not fear being chained to an oar for the rest of their lives. The Americans began to tell themselves that things could be worse. James Cathcart wrote that they were being used a good deal better than many of their fellow citizens had been used by the British during the American Revolution. He may have been in a position to judge for he claimed to have spent two years as a prisoner on board a British hulk in New York harbour. palace.

CHAPTER

4

PALACES AND PRISONS

OPAIN, while her American

colonies flourished and a flow of Royal Treasury at Madrid, could dream of the reconquest of North Africa for Christendom. However, towards the end of the eighteenth century it was becoming apparent that the silver mines of Mexico and the gold of Peru were approaching exhaustion. For the first time since the discovery of America, Spain was obliged to count the cost of her pohcies. The humihating disaster which was the outcome of General O'Reilly's^ attack on

Mexican

silver filled the

new financial stringency, new look at old attitudes. In 1785, a 'Truce to last One Hundred Years' was signed by the Dey and Divan of the Powerful and Warhke City of Algiers on

Algiers in

1775,^ together with the

forced Madrid to take a

the one hand and the Most Cathohc King of Spain on the other. itself a 'Truce' as any monarch of Spain on ascending the throne had to swear an oath never to be at peace with the Moslem powers of North Africa. The price that the Algerians first demanded for this Spanish truce was so enormous that in 1784 the Spanish sent a fleet to bombard Algiers in an effort to force a reduction. The attempt was unsuccessful. The bombardment was inept and the few shells that did reach the city failed to explode. The only losses suff"ered by the Algerians were caused by the misplaced enthusiasm of the shore battery gunners who so overcharged their cannon with powder

This treaty could go no further than calling

^Alexander O'Reilly, an Irish soldier in the Spanish service. During 1769 he suppressed a revolt of Louisiana colonists. Ency. Amer., vol. 17, p. 649. * For the Algerian account of this Spanish miUtary disaster see Mazzaredo, •Expedition d'O'Reilly contra Alger en 1775', RA, No. 46, 1864.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

40

that several blew up in their faces. ^ The Spanish were forced to

pocket their pride and accept the Algerian demands. No full record of these remains but contemporary rumour put the amount

Mexican dollars. The Truce concluded, the Spanish blockading squadron was withdrawn from the Straits of Gibraltar and Algerian cruisers were able to sail out into the Atlantic. It was a xebec amongst these cruisers that captured the Maria. Exactly one week later an eighteen-gun Algerian frigate captured another American ship sixty leagues off the coast of Portugal. ^ This was the Dauphin, a brig belonging to Messrs. Mathew and Thomas Irvin and Co., of Philadelphia.* Her master was Captain Richard O'Brien and she carried a crew of fifteen men. These American seamen experienced at little short of three million

similar treatment to those taken

Dauphin

still

from the Maria. However, the

carried a pre-revolutionary British passport so her

crew were not robbed of their clothing and they presented a reasonably brave appearance as they were marched up into the city

from the harbour.

As the

cruiser that captured the

Dauphin was the personal

property of the Dey, Captain O'Brien and his crew were marched straight to the palace.

Here they were met by the men of the Maria and these were able to

in their newly-acquired oriental clothes,

give the

On

newcomers much reassuring information.^

the ground floor of the palace, at the back of the main

courtyard, was a small prison usually reserved for criminals awaiting the Dey's justice, a wait that never exceeded twenty-four hours. ^

The crew of the Dauphin were confined here

for

two nights

while being displayed at the slave market during the day.

One of

the crew described how they were stripped to their trousers and hats and led to the slave market to be sold Hke cattle. 'There was ip.R.O. F.O. 3/6 Algiers, 5 September 1784, John Woulfe to Lord Sydney. * ibid., 21 Jime 1795, Charles Mace to Duke of Portland. Also J. Cazenave, 'Un consul fran9ais en Alger au XVIII si^cle: Langoisseiir de la VaUee', RA, Nos. 366/7, 1936, pp. 120-2. See also Pennsylvania Mercury and Universal Advertiser, Friday 27 January 1796. ' Cathcart, The Captives. * Todd, Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, p. 115 (the brig is incorrectly called the Dolphin). Also Journals of the Continental Congress, vol. xxix, p. 906, and vol. xxx, p. 259. ^ *

Cathcart, The Captives. de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

sifecle',

RA, No.

224, 1897, p. 108.

^

PALACES AND PRISONS

41

a Jew came', he wrote, 'and numbered seven of us on our hats with a piece of chalk but the King and the Jew could not agree about our price. '^

Dauphin was another American and the Dey now ordered that Captains

Travelling as a passenger on the

Sea Captain named

Coffin,

Stevens, O'Brien and Coffin should be sent to the British Consul.

Isaak Stevens wrote to the Congress of the United States at Philadelphia that 'Charles Logie the British Consul took his

them

to

house [only the captains] on surety of six hundred pounds each dollars a month^.' Meanwhile those Americans

and paid them two

who were chosen for work a strange new world. At the head of

all

within the palace found themselves in

in the palace stood the Dey. In practice he

represented the seat of all power in Algiers. The Divan, or Council of Senior Turks and Moors, was no longer more than a purely

advisory body that only met on rare occasions. In fact, the power of the

Dey was tempered by

fear of his

own Turkish

soldiers.*

Like the Praetorian Guard of Imperial Rome, they were the ruler's protection, source of power,

and scourge. At any moment the Dey

could order the execution of any one of his Turkish soldiers but

they in turn preserved their historic right to assassinate him and

put another in his place.

The Dey's private apartments were on the top

floor of his three-

storey palace and the staircase leading up from the second floor

narrow as a precaution against surprise attack. He shared this top floor with five personable and youthful Christian slaves who acted as his pages and valets de chambre. On the second floor there were foiu-teen Christian slaves who acted as ordinary domestic servants; while on the ground floor there were thirty-three more who worked in the palace kitchen and slaughter-house and who gathered up and removed all off'al and refuse. Fourteen other Christians were employed in the gardens of the palace where their main task was to attend to the small

was

built

especially

1 P.R.O. F.O. 3/6 part 2, item 366, Algiers, 23 October 1785, to his brother-in-law, John Hood.

«

J.C.C,

vol.

John Robertson

XXX, p. 12.

Cathcart, The Captives; Devoulx, Tachrifat, pp. 24-26; also de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, Nos. 221/2, 1896, p. 274. * ibid., p. 268. '

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

42

menagerie that the

Dey kept

there for his amusement. Usually

there were about sixty-four Christian slaves employed at the

and in other parts of the city other Turkish grandees maintained similar though more modest establishments. The Dey's palace was administered by two Turkish chamber-

palace,

and two Turkish cooks. The chamberlains exercised control

lains

over the upstairs slaves and the gardeners, and the two cooks over staflF and scavengers. These positions were not filled by menials but were posts of great influence. The gardeners and

the kitchen

the scavengers lived rather austere hves, but the remainder of the

They slept on reed mats, the customary bedding in Algiers, in warm, dry rooms inside the palace. Their food came direct from the palace kitchen and was both good and abundant, and they were permitted to use the palace bath-house whenever they wished. All they lacked, apart from their hberty, was alcohol and tobacco and if the Dey smoked so too could his servants. A domestic slave was also entitled to a palace slaves existed comfortably.

;

share of the palace tips.

important the visitor the more he was expected to

by the The more donate, and the

palace slaves were entitled to complain volubly

they considered

It

was a time-honoured custom that

Dey must

give presents of

money

visitors received

to his domestics.

if

themselves meanly treated. This amiable custom saved the the expense of clothing his staff issue, his

for,

apart from the

domestics were expected to provide their

Dey

first free

own ward-

robes.

The Chief Christian Secretary alone was allowed personally

to

from visitors on the palace staircase, the rest of the domestics had to depend on the two coffee-bearers to do their begging for them. These slaves served the Dey's guests with coffee. These guests, in their turn, were expected to fill their emptied cups with gold coins. The Caffagees, as they were known, had at their disposal a wide range of coffee cups and the richer and more important the visitor the larger the cup he received. These coffeecup offerings were then placed in a box kept in the Dey's apartment, to which he usually made a contribution himself before solicit gratuities

dividing

it,

twice a year,

among

his domestics.

James Cathcart

claimed that while he was at the palace there was never

less

than

PALACES AND PRISONS two thousand

dollars' value in the

box and sometimes

43

as

much

as

three thousand.

But although domestic

and at the houses of the grandees of the city were comfortable and provided with pocket money they always remained slaves, subject to insult and arbitrary punishment. The gardeners in the palace were sometimes bastinadoed for taking an orange or a bunch of grapes. The most dihgent domestic could not avoid cuffs and curses when his master was in a bad mood. Even the Dey's Christian Secretary, the most important slave in Algiers, was liable to have his face slapped if he volunteered an unpopular opinion. However, a Christian captive with wealth or wealthy relations at home, could always borrow money from the Jewish brokers and, subject to paying his owner a reasonable fee, he could set up house complete with servants, food, drink, mistresses, and horses slaves at the palace

in his stable. In fact, he could live almost as well in Algiers as he

home while he waited for the ransom money that would set him free. Although a skilled craftsman could not command the same immediate attention, his value was seldom underestimated. There were both Turkish and Moorish artisans in the city, but most of the skilled trades in Algiers were performed by Jews, free Christians, or Christian captives. Without their skills the Algerian Fleet could hardly have put to sea;^ houses and mosques would have taken far longer to build or repair, and few of the locallyproduced manufactures would have found their way to market. A skilled slave was too valuable to be put to ordinary labour and, once purchased, his master encouraged him to practise his skills in the city. The relationship between owner and owned then became a simple business partnership. A portion of the slave's earnings were taken by his proprietor as interest on his invested capital while the rest the slave was allowed to keep for himself. ^ The cost of hving in Algiers was very low. One member of the Dauphin's, crew wrote that 'everything is remarkably cheap and we can get a fine loaf for the value of a halfpenny ... as much beef or mutton as will serve four or five for threepence, other vegetables did at

^ Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Hoedo'.iJ^.No. 85, 1871, p. 41. « de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si6cle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 314. Also M. Emerit, 'Le voyage de la Condamine a Alger (1731)', RA, Nos. 440/1, 1954, p. 381.

.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

44

the same of

is

all sorts. '^ It

skilled slave to live quite

was, therefore, quite possible for a

weU and

stiU save

money

for his ransom.

Many a Spanish blacksmith or Italian cabinet-maker earned his own liberty in this manner. Some, having purchased their liberty, did not bother to leave, for Algiers became less terrible the better

men knew

it.

The

free

craftsmen, a few merchants, and the

Consuls formed a vigorous and, on the whole, contented European

much

and property was work and there were mistresses^ to go round and, despite its Arab appearance, Algiers enjoyed a good measure of Mediterranean colony enjoying as

secm-ity for their persons

as could be found almost anywhere in those days.^ There

cosmopolitanism

However, for the ordinary Christian captive without special skills, or the personal grace and alertness to be chosen as a domestic, hfe was not pleasant,* These, and they represented the vast majority of the captives, were stationed in one of the large slave prisons or bagnios as they were called. However, even in these grim establishments a little money could make hfe bearable. Nobody would claim that the Deys of Algiers displayed an enlightened attitude towards their prisoners. To the Moslems of North Africa a slave was expected to fulfil two requirements. First, he must be productive. Second, he must give no trouble. From the moment of their capture Christians were accepted as a part of the fabric of Algerian hfe. They were not there to be bulhed or to be pitied, they were there because Allah willed it and because they fitted into the scheme of things. Softened by their Mediterranean experience, the Algerians no longer showed much zeal for propagating Islam. Conversion of their adult captives was not welcomed and a Christian slave no longer automatically became free on turning Moslem.^ The slave prisons of Algiers retained their evil reputation not because of the rehgious bigotry of Turks and Moors but because of their fatahsm in the face of

such things as the plague and men's natural weaknesses. 1

to

P.R.O. F.O.

3/6,

part

2,

item 366, Algiers, 23 October 1785, John Robertson

John Hood. ^

A. Devoulx, 'Releve des principaux Frangais qui ont reside a Alger de 1686 k RA, Nos. 95/6, 1872, pp. 58-63. J. Blavin, La condition et la vie desfran^aia dans la regence d' Alger, p. 55. ibid., p. 51; also Cathcart, The Captives. de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII aihcW, RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 34.

1830', '

* 6

PALACES AND PRISONS

45

There were three public slave prisons in Algiers.^ The Bagnio de Belique was the largest of these. It was situated in the centre of the city and was an oblong building one hundred and forty feet long and sixty feet wide. The building, which comprised two floors

above the ground level, enclosed a large gravel yard, open to the sky and empty except for a number of short stone pillars and one well which gave access to a huge, subterranean water cistern. Each floor consisted of an open balcony with innumerable small rooms leading off it the top floor was covered by a flat roof where ;

own private penthouse. At squat stone arches supported the weight of the build-

the Bagnio's slave secretary had his

ground

level

ings above. set

up

Under these

their small

arches, in semi-darkness, slave craftsmen

workshops and the prison tavern-keepers con-

ducted their raucous trade. The Bagnio de Gallera, built close to the Marine Gate and so called because the Regency galley slaves used to be housed there, was of the same design as the Bagnio de Belique but smaller. It

had a number of small rooms built on its flat roof, and these being light, well ventilated, and quiet, were much in demand amongst the more well-to-do slaves. But this bagnio suffered from the disadvantage of being used by the Dey as an overflow from the menagerie in his palace garden, and the stench from the hons and leopards kept tethered by ropes underneath some of the arches was pungent. Occasionally a beast would break loose and create great alarm within the prison. The Deys were reluctant to destroy their valuable pets but if all the slaves' efforts to recapture the

fugitive

proved unavailing, a Turkish soldier would be sent down The Bagnio de Gallera adjoined the Spanish

to shoot the brute.

Hospital. This, although in

be a great disadvantage

for,

some ways a convenience, could while the plague raged,

it

also

inevitably

became a powerful centre of infection. In general, Islam places more faith in prayer than in medicine. However, the Deys of Algiers were happy to allow Christian priests to maintain a hospital which helped render their sick slaves ready for work again. The founder of Christian Mission Hospitals in Algiers had been a Spanish priest named Don Guiller Ramon de ^ For further details of the bagnios see Foss, Journal of Captivity in Algiers, and Cathcart, The Captives.

^

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

46

Moncado who lived in Algiers at the beginning of the seventeenth century. De Moncado later became carried away with religious mosques of the city, pinned a picture of the Virgin Mary to a wall and, to the great scandal of the 'faithful', preached an impassioned sermon against Islam. He

fervour, entered one of the principal

was burnt to death one week

At the time of Algiers,

his

later.

death there were

five Christian hospitals in

each attached to a slave prison. These hospitals gradually

acquired privileges and at a later date

it

was thought convenient

to codify these in a written agreement between the 'Behque', or

municipal government of Algiers, and the Spanish Father Administrator of Hospitals.

The agreement provided that only the Holy

Order of Trinity from Castile be allowed to assist poor Christians taken ill at Algiers. To finance these charitable efforts the Spanish priests

were empowered to

collect

dues from

all

Christian crew priests

which

member

or passenger

ships from

Roman

and

also from every upon these ships. The Spanish

Cathohc countries docking in Algiers harbour,

were also allowed to import quantities of wine, duty

free,

in turn they sold to the Christian tavern-keepers at a vast

They were

import money, food, clothing, and medicine free of import duty. Further, they were allowed to retain one Christian slave as servant for each hospital without profit.

also entitled to

having to pay the Behque for his

services.

A

clause

was

also

inserted in the agreement guaranteeing that no hindrance would ever

be put in the

By

way

of Spanish priests travelling to and from Spain.

1785 the only Christian hospital remaining in Algiers was

the one adjoining the Bagnio de Gallera. described

it

A

visitor

from England main ward,

as consisting of one very long, very clean

one end and a vaulted ceihng supported by two rows of columns. The same visitor reported that the Spanish priest in charge was a man of such piety and decency that the having a

fine altar at

Turks honoured him as greatly as did the Christians.

The third slave prison in Algiers, in 1785, was called the Bagnio Sidi Hamouda. It took its name from the man who had formerly owned the property. It was the smallest of the three bagnios and 1 Berbrugger, 'Charte des hdpitaux chretiens d'Alger en 1694', RA, No. 44, 1864, pp. 236-7. * Emerit, 'Le voyage de la Condamine', RA, Nos, 440/1, 1954, p. 370.

PALACES AND PRISONS

47

had been formed by joining four ordinary dwelling houses toit was an imcomfortable and inconvenient place with no virtue other than its smallness.^ It was gether. According to its inmates

in these three estabhshments that the majority of the Christian

captives were confined

The cornerstone

;

many

for the full remainder of their Uves.

of Algerian policy

had

for centuries

been un-

remitting hostihty towards Spain. Spain was the chief persecutor

of Islam. Spain had expelled the followers of the Prophet from her

had on several occasions come close to overthrowing Moslem power in North Africa. Spain was the closest Christian country to Algiers. This preoccupation with Spain meant that over the centuries most of the Algerian Christian captives were Spanish, and most of these were deserters from Oran. At the time of Cardinal Ximenes and his General, Count Pedro Navarro, Oran had been the centre of an emerging Spanish empire in North Africa. When it had seemed evident that Spain was to conquer North Africa, the Moorish tribes had felt no shame in making their peace with a Christian king and accepting vassaldom under his banner. ^ Oran, as one of the most conveniently situated ports opposite Spain's Mediterranean coast, had been a centre of Spanish expansion and mihtary authority, and round it a large, firmly pohced area had allowed agriculture to floiu*ish. However, as Spain turned its attention to Italy and the island of Sicily, and after the disaster of Charles V's attack on Algiers, the Spanish mihtary presence in North Africa began to lose its effectiveness. The Moorish tribes of the coastal districts one by one threw off their vassaldom to Spain. The area of Spanish authority shrunk round the city of Oran until finally it extended hardly farther than the city's walls and then only intermittently. A French captive in the late eighteenth century, who acted as Secretary and Palace shore. Spain

Chamberlain to the Turkish Governor of Tabarca, a dependent district of Algiers close to the Kingdom of Morocco, wrote that it was his master's pleasure once a year to take a party of warriors

down ^

to

Oran

to demonstrate outside the city's walls.^

Cathcart, The Captives. Dr. Monnereau, 'Les Inscriptions d'Oran',

RA, No. 88, 1871; also Berbnigger, pp. 371-80 axid Le Pegnon d' Alger, pp. 1-9. * Emerit, 'Les Aventures de Thedenat, esclave et ministre d'un Bey d'Afrique *

(XVni

8i6cl6)',

RA, Nos.

414/15, 1948, p. 174.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

48

By

1785 the garrison at Oran had been in a state of near siege

The Turks of Algiers and their Moorish had even built another port fifteen leagues away from which

for almost a century.

vassals

to export the agricultural produce of the district.^ It

is difficult

to

what use Oran was to Spain, apart from maintaining her foot precariously in Africa's doorway. The city's population was small and poverty stricken. A person only ventured outside the walls at danger to his life, and the city permanently lived with shortages of food and fresh water. It was not an attractive colony. For this see

reason the Spanish used

it as a penal settlement. ^ Civilian criminals were sent there to perform hard labour, mihtary defaulters were

transferred to the last

Oran garrison

were numbers of foreigners

as a punishment.

who

Among

these

had, for various desperate

reasons, enhsted in Spanish service.

A

garrison of soldiers imdergoing punishment

is

obviously un-

and a steady nimiber of deserters shpped over Oran's walls at night and escaped into the countryside, preferring to trust themselves to the mercy of the local Moors than to continue their harsh hfe within the city. According to James Cathcart, when they deserted they went hke 'sheep to the slaughter' into Moslem slavery, for a deserter from Spanish service was automatically under sentence of death and there could be no question of his ever

reliable

being ransomed. Seafaring

men

in general are a useful breed

who

can turn their hands to most trades, so those Christian captives taken at sea tended to occupy the least disagreeable slave positions. It

was upon the

'sheep' or carneros of

Oran that the Belique

of Algiers depended for the bulk of its brute labour force.

The

daily ration in the bagnios, which should have consisted of

one and a half pounds of sour bread, a few beans or

olives,

some

and some greasy vegetable soup, but which often through amount to as much,^ was insufficient to maintain prolonged physical labour. But the labouring carneros who had most need of extra food were least equipped to earn any. Inevitably oil

chicanery did not

1

*

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si6cle', RA, No. 220, 1896, pp. 35-36. Cazenave, 'Un consul fran9ais en Alger au XVIII si6cle', RA, Nos. 366/7, 1936,

p. 113. '

Cathcart, The Captives; also Foes, Journal of Captivity in Algiers; also P.R.O. 2, item 366, Algiers, 23 October 1785, John Robertson to John

F.O. 3/6, part

Hood.

PALACES AND PRISONS

49

they turned to thieving, and within the bagnios they indulged in bullying and extortion. It was into these slave prisons that those American seamen from the Dauphin who were not retained at the Dey's palace were introduced. It would have been difficult to find anything further removed from the nonconformist, insular, aggressively AngloSaxon environment of post-revolutionary Boston or Philadelphia than the fatalistic, Roman Catholic, cosmopolitan slave prisons

of Algiers.

The Chief Jailer, or Guardian Bashaw, of the Bagnio de Belique was a retired Turkish sea captain, who sat all day smoking his water pipe on a stone bench just inside the massive outer door of his establishment.

His

staff of

Turkish and Moorish prison guards

lounged beside him. The Turks carried swords and one or two had

Moors were armed with Moslem guards seldom moved from the

pistols thrust into their silken girdles, the

stout cudgels. These

vaulted passageway leading to the bagnio's inner door whose walls

were hung with halters, chains, shackles, and handcuffs, for instant use. It

was

in this

Bashaw interviewed new

all

ready

grim antechamber that the Guardian

arrivals,

and while he lectured them on

the importance of good behaviour, a Moorish blacksmith riveted iron rings above their right ankles. These rings weighed a

pound

and a half each, but could at any time be changed for a much on payment to the Guardian Bashaw of one golden

lighter one

sum to the blacksmith.^ awkward formality new arrivals passed through the inner doorway into the main part of the Bagnio, Here they were met by the Clerk of the Bagnio, a Christian and a slave like themselves, but still a privileged person with his own private apartments. The Bagnio clerk entered the names of the new arrivals in the prison register and showed them where they must attend morning sequin, plus a tenth of that

After this

and evening their

new

roll calls. ^

This done, they were at hberty to inspect

surroundings. These were usually almost empty, for

during the hours of dayhght most prisoners were

work and only a few

artisans

behind. ^

*

away

at

and the tavern-keepers remained

Cathcart, The Captives. Foss, Journal of Captivity, p. 19.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

50

The main meal of the day in Algiers city was taken at ten in it was after this that the drinkers of Algiers began to feel their thirst. The Guardian Bashaw, his Moslem assistants, and the Christian Clerk all derived their incomes from duties levied on the tavern-keepers, so no impediment was ever put in the way of drinking customers. All who had the price of a drink were welcomed into the Bagnio, and from ten o'clock onwards the the morning and

customers arrived in numbers.

The Koran

forbids alcohol but in Algiers

many Moslems ignored

the prohibition. Often the heaviest drinkers were Turkish soldiers.

These sometimes became aggressive, an awkward problem for the Christian tavern-keepers for it was a capital offence for anybody

Turk in Algiers, even a drunken Turk. Accordingly, the taverners employed a number of robust Christian slaves armed with short ladders. When a Turk became obstreperous these speciaHsts would sidle up to him, shp a ladder over his shoulders and run him out into the street; this without laying a profane hand on him. Once outside the bagnio the Turkish prison guards would prevent the trouble-maker from returning.^ James Cathcart described the taverns in the bagnios of Algiers as being filled with a motley crew of Tiu-ks, Moors, Arabs, and even some Jews, all intoxicated, some half naked having sold or pawned their clothes to the Christian tavern-keepers for hquor, others singing or shouting, some swearing they would kill the first man who offended them, and some merely sleeping peacefully in corners. A few of these taverns had kitchens where slave cooks prepared excellent meals. ^ But it was from the sale of wines, French brandy, and the local fire-water distilled by the Jews from fermented figs,^ that the real profits were made. The spectacle, to lay hands on a

shortly before sunset

when

the bagnios were to be closed for the

night and the drinkers were being persuaded to quit the taverns,

was apparently worthy of the acid pencil of a Hogarth. Despite the presence of the Guardian Bashaw and his Moslem ^

Cathcart, Captives; also Blavin,

also de

Grammont,

La

J^tudea algiriennes.

La

Alger, p. 66. * Blavin, op. cit., p. 51. » Called mahie. See de Paradis, 'Alger p. 295.

et la vie des frangais etc., p. 51; course, Vesclavage et la rddemption a

condition

au XVIII

si^cle',

RA, No.

219, 1895,

PALACES AND PRISONS

61

attendants during the hours of daylight, the internal discipline of the bagnios was entirely in the hands of Christian corporals.

These were promoted from amongst the slaves themselves by the Guardian Bashaw, who sold the appointments to the highest

At the time the

Americans entered the bagnios these Christian corporals were all deserters from the Spanish garrison at Oran, whom the Moors of the Tabarca district had either sold to the Dey of Algiers or sent to him as tribute. They were very hard cases indeed. These Christian corporals were always allowed one tavern' free of excise duties. This gave their establishment a marked advantage over the other taverns but they also had less agreeable ways of making money. It was only necessary for a Christian corporal to make an unfavourable report on a slave to the Guardian Bashaw for the victim to receive a bastinadoing and several weeks in chains. If a corporal wished to be less severe he also had the power to chain anyone who displeased him, by the leg or the neck, to one of the stone pillars in the central yard bidders.

first

;

during the hours of darkness. Further, the Christian corporals

were responsible for allocating the slaves' work and were sure to keep the most disagreeable labour for their enemies. Understandably, these prison martinets could

command much

terror

money,

a percentage of which they were careful to pass on to the Moslem guards. According to James Cathcart, they were also the receivers of goods stolen during the day by slaves, a commerce they were

allowed to carry on unmolested provided they paid a share of their

Guardian Bashaw. Any building where many people are crowded together must have some form of sanitary system. Unfortunately, nobody has left any account of these arrangements in the bagnios in Algiers. However, there were sewers in Algiers and a Turkish official with the title of Caid Zaubie was responsible for the maintenance of these. 1 It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that the bagnios had latrines that were connected to the city's main sewer which discharged into the harbour beneath the Marine Gate. These sewers, hke the streets of the city, depended on rain water to scour them clean. Fortunately Algiers is built on a steep hillside in an profits to the

»See de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII Emerit, 'Le voyage de la Condamine', £

si^cle', RA, No. 224, RA, Nos. 440/1, 1954,

1897, p. 110. Also p. 379.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

62

area where storms are not infrequent. In early days the Bagnio de

Belique had depended on rain-water channelled replenish the cistern under the courtyard

of the Moslems from Spain a refugee

;

had

ojBF its

flat

roof to

but after the expulsion

an aqueduct that conducted a supply of spring-water to the city from the hills one and a half miles inland. In time this supply was piped to various built

fountains and large buildings in the city, including the Bagnio de

Behque.^ slave bagnio had its own chapel with an estabhshment of and sometimes two priests. The bagnios were organized like parishes in Europe. Each selected its own parish council and each council managed its own finances and was obhged to produce accounts yearly. Further, each parish was allowed to collect alms in pubhc on one day in the year, and Christians noted that the Turkish soldiers drinking in the taverns gave more generously than anybody. 2 During the hours of darkness the bagnios of Algiers seethed with humanity. Most slaves slept in tiers of wooden bunks crowded into the dark rooms leading off the balconies.^ The Guardian Bashaw of the bagnio rented these bunks out for a monthly payment, and those who could not afford to pay his fee slept on the balconies, the staircases, or in the open courtyard; or perhaps wormed their way into a sheltered corner under the ground-floor arches. At the flrst hint of dawn the bagnios came noisily ahve. Men assembled by the gate, answered the roU call, and were marched out under escort to their place of laboiu*. An empty quiet settled over the bagnios during the early morning, where only a few privileged prisoners disturbed the silence. Then, after ten o'clock, the free citizens of the town began to arrive at the taverns from whose gloomy arches the noise of conviviahty rapidly increased. James Cathcart wrote rather primly that '[the taverns] are perfectly dark and [even] in the day are illuminated with lamps and when full of drunken Turks, Moors, Arabs, Christians

Each

one,

^ Foss, Journal of Captivity, p. 59. Maitre Moussa, an Andalusian refugee, was the Spaniard who built the aqueduct, de Grammont, 'La Mission de Sanson Napollon (1628-1633)', RA, No. 137, 1879, p. 385, n. 2. ^ P. Dan, Histoire de Barbaric, et de ses corsaires, p. 434. Also Blavin, La condition et la vie, etc., pp. 38-39. ' E. Broughton, Six Years^ Residence in Algiers, p. 447.

PALACES AND PRISONS and now and then a Jew and .

different languages

.

.

.

,

.

63

each singing or rather shouting in

filled

with the smoke of tobacco

.

.

.

resembled the infernal regions more than any other place in the

known world '.^

It is perhaps worth noting that he ended up by owning seven of these estabhshments himself. The bagnios of Algiers were not reserved exclusively for

Christian slaves, for

Muhammadan

criminals could also be con-

fined in them. 2 Their numbers, however, always appear to

have been small although the doleful clattering of their chains is reported to have contributed to the horrors of the slave prisons.

At the time the Americans

arrived in Algiers, Christian slaves did

not have chains attached to their ankle rings, except as a punish-

ment or when Prench or British warships were in harbour. This was to prevent slaves swimming out to these warships. For

last

of all Christian ships only French and English naval vessels refused to return escaped slaves to the Turks. ^

longer wore chains, the bagnios could

But even still

physical suffering for a captive, particularly

if

the slaves no

be places of great

if

he offended one of

the Christian corporals. In fact, the whole world at this period

was a

America no doubt less than most, but even there innocent men caught up in a currency crisis were being held to rot in debtors' prisons. cruel place for the unfortunate,

Algiers could be desperately brutal.

was a

fearful thing.

The victim was

The bastinado,

for instance,

flung face down, his feet were

thrust into loops of rope attached to a stout pole.

The loops were

tightened about his ankles by twisting the pole and this was then

on to the shoulders of two strong men. The victim, hanging down, was then beaten with thick sticks, half the blows falling on the soles of his feet and the other half on his hind quarters. Sentences ranged from as few as a dozen blows to as many as five hundred and the severely punished often died.

lifted

helplessly upside

The bastinado was by no means reserved for slaves, it could be meted out to anybody in Algiers. The captain of an Algerian cruiser returning to port

wrong *

prizes,

went

having taken no

prizes, or

even the

in danger of having the soles of his feet

Cathcart, The Captives.

Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Haedo\ RA, No. 90, 1871, p. 469. » de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si6cle', RA, No. 224, 1897, p. 92. •

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

64 flogged.^

to

On

occasions the widows of executed

make them

officials

received

it

divulge where their late husbands had hidden their

ill-gotten gains.''

But

despite these horrors, the Americans from the

Maria and

the Dauphin soon discovered that a Christian at Algiers who had his wits about him could manage tolerably well. It was the weak,

who suffered. But this state of affairs had do with geography, politics, or religion. Wealthy captives, it has been seen, were treated with consideration and were given prompt facilities to arrange their ransoms through the Jewish brokers who had business correspondents in almost every city in Europe. In fact, it was difficult for a man of means to avoid this attention. It sometimes happened that a captive was anxious to hide his wealthy connexions in order to keep his ransom within reasonable bounds. The Jewish brokers specialized in ferreting out these poseurs and in buying them the old, and the stupid

little

to

cheaply from the Belique in order to seU them expensively to their When the French finally occupied Algiers a Jewish

relations.

merchant told a French officer that the Moors and Turks looked and healthy body when they bought a slave, while the Jews looked to the hands. If these were soft and obviously unused to manual labour they took it as a sure sign that someone somewhere would be prepared to pay a high price for their hberty.^ Christian women of high birth who feU into Algerian hands were treated discreetly. Proof of this lies in an Italian legal judgement for a strong

that a

man was

not entitled to

call off

a betrothal just because his

bride-to-be had been held to ransom by North African Moslems.* The inference of this judgement being clear at a time when men placed enormous value on female virginity. Women of lesser rank were treated equally properly. For example, the Spanish woman captured on the same cruise as the Americans was sent straight to the Spanish Hospital on her arrival in Algiers. Even those who had no prospect of an early ransom were free to find a Christian ip.R.O. F.O. 3/7, Algiers, 11 August 1793, Charles Logie to Henry Dundas; 6 January 1795, Charles Mace to Lord Portland. Also da Grammont, 'Correspondance des Consuls d'Alger', RA, No. 193, 1889, p. 135. * Broughton, Six Years^ Residence in Algiers, p. 114. ' 'Les dominations turque et frangaise appr^ciees par un Juif Alg^rois en 1835', fipom Notes de Lecture, RA, No. 332, 1927, p. 269. * G. Fisher, The Barbary Legend, p. 101.

L

^

PALACES AND PRISONS husband

in Algiers or

66

whatever employment suited their

taste.

At

the time of the capture of the fortress of Penon by Kheir-ed-Din,

two out of the three Spanish women who surrendered with the garrison married Turkish grandees ofthe city, and one became the mother-

At a later date, two French Huguenot women from rehgious persecution to England were captured and brought to Algiers. Both ended up with wealthy Turkish husbands.* The crew and passengers of captured prizes usually found

in-law of a Dey.^ fleeing

employment

as skilled artisans or domestic slaves, or else

down

at

the harbour. Here they handled ingoing and outgoing cargoes and

kept the Algerian cruisers ready for hard, was not insupportable.

The

sea.

This work, although often

really oppressive labom" fell to

the cameras d'Oran, together with the duller seamen and Moorish

These were employed in the stone quarries three miles to the west of the city walls. They were marched out to their labour as the city gates were opened at dawn. This was a blessing for it meant that they passed criminals.

through a crush of country Moors carrying their produce in to the city market, which allowed the more agile slaves to steal a little breakfast en route. At the quarries they struggled and sweated with avalanches of rock that the Moorish overseers blasted from the cliff faces with gunpowder. They laboured without pause, except for a break of twenty minutes at mid-morning, when they received a ration of unleavened bread and olive

oil.

Work ended

when they were marched to the city gate and there dismissed. The slaves were then free to wander the streets until sunset when the gates of the bagnio were closed. at three in the afternoon

During

this

time they were expected to earn their supper; this

meant steahng it. Ironically, stealing was a far more serious offence for a Moor or a Turk than for a Christian slave. Whereas a theft by one of the former was punished by death, or at least by the amputation of a generally

hand, the latter usually escaped with a beating of only a few blows. This was because Moslems beheved that

it

was

in the nature

of Christians to steal. ^ '

'

L. A. Berbrugger, Le Pegnon d' Alger, p. 96. A. La Haye, ^tata des Royaumes de Barbaric, p. 22 Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, p. 225.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

66

The stone in them.

what the

quarries were to Algiers

France, Malta, and the Papal States

But whereas the

;

men

galleys were to

most miserably had evolved into

sufiFered

galleys of Christendom

places of deliberate punishment, the stone quarries of Algiers

always remained places of necessary labour that they were also ;

was incidental. Friday, the Moslem sabbath, was supposed to be a day of rest for slaves in Algiers. This, however, could not be relied upon and sometimes it turned out to be a day on which the more comfortable artisan, domestic and marine

places of agony

were

slaves

together

joined

with

the

earner os

for

special

labour.

The Mole of Algiers was of haphazard storms constantly eroded

made good without

to be all

it.

Any

construction,

and winter

weaknesses that appeared had

delay. This could

mean

that on Fridays

but the most privileged slaves would be marched out to the

quarries

and put to dragging the rock

preceding weeks

down

to the seashore.

slabs quarried during the

No

rock weighing

less

than

and these had to be manhandled on to which were attached strong cables. As many as five hundred slaves at a time would drag the sledges down to the beach where they would again have to be manhandled onto flat barges. It was back-breaking labour and the Moorish taskmasters drove their gang mercilessly with long canes and whirhng rope-

forty tons

wooden

was

suitable

sledges to

ends.^

Other emergencies could also bring the slaves together in hard James Cathcart wrote about the construction of a new

labour.

building

down

at the harbour

which kept the entire slave force of

the city occupied for three days carrying baskets of earth

from

But

away

was not only hard labour that united the slave population of Algiers. If the city was threatened with its

foundations.

it

attack the bagnios were immediately emptied.

A

few privileged

might be sent to lodge at the country houses of the marched inland. At the time of General O'Reilly's attack in 1775 and the Spanish bombardment in 1784, the Christian slaves of Algiers were chained in pairs and forced to march for two days into the interior. Both these marches entailed much suffering and a French priest who

slaves

Christian Consuls but the rest were

^

Fobs, Journal of Captivity, pp. 22—24.

PALACES AND PRISONS

67

accompanied the slaves earned himself a saintly reputation for

his

heroic efforts to alleviate their misery.^

There was, however, another side to hfe in Algiers. In

this city

anyone, slave or freeman, had the right of immediate access to the

Dey's

justice.

A

length of heavy iron chain was looped over the

palace doorway forcing

all

who passed under

to

bend low.

person demanding justice had only to grasp this and

call

A

out

Immediately an officer of the Turkish guard would conduct him into the Dey's presence. ^ However, the grievance had to be genuine. The Supreme Magistrate of Algiers was a busy man and an appellant whose demands were considered frivolous was likely to receive a sharp taste of the bastinado, administered on

loudly.

the spot by the Palace Chamberlains.^

Many

of the early Christian accounts of Algiers give high

prominence to the atrocities suffered by Christians in Moslem hands. Against this, Cervantes testified that he never received a blow in all his years of captivity at Algiers while James Cathcart mentions only one execution of a Christian in ten years. The life of a Christian slave in Algiers was certainly not without value.* The Turkish janizaries discovered this when they lost the privilege of having a tavern in one of their barracks after the Christian tavern-keeper was foimd hanging from a rafter one morning.^ ;

Cathcart, The Captives; also Feraud, 'Les trois attaques des Espagnols centre au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 118, 1876, p. 302. * Cathcart, The Captives. ' Blavin, La condition et la vie des frangaia, etc., p. 31. «de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sifecle', RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 36. Also de Grammont, Etudes algeriennes, pp. 53-64. ' Cathcart, The Captives. ^

Alger,

CHAPTER

5

JANIZARIES

It

sometimes assumed that colonialism began in Algiers with Erench in 1830. The fact is that Algiers and its hinterland has never been self-governing, although the Berberis

the arrival of the

Kabyles of the Atlas Mountains and the Berber-Bedouin nomads long lived a hfe of traditional anarchy that was a form of

self-

government; but the rich coastal plain has always been subject to foreigners. The Carthaginians were foreigners to Africa, as were the Romans, the Vandals, the soldiers of Byzantium, and certainly the Arabs.

In the wake of the great Arab invasions of North Africa came a break in organization along the whole coast. Agriculture wilted, communities shrivelled into themselves, and, in an excess of parochialism, began to conduct

When,

war on each

other.

in the early sixteenth century, Kheir-ed-Din offered his

Ottoman Empire, the Sultan of Turkey immediately dispatched two thousand janizaries to support his new vassal at the western end of the Mediterranean

precarious North African acquisitions to the

Sea.

By the

eighteenth century most of the

Algiers were recruited

Ottoman

soldiers sent to

from the Turkish province of Smyrna.

Algerian recruiting officers encouraged the young parts to sign on

by

offering

them a

httle

men

of these

ready cash and the

cheerful prospect of plundering the Christian

seamen of the

Mediterranean, or the Moors and nomads of North Africa. Tm^kish reinforcements usually travelled to Algiers in ships specially chartered from Christian nations such as Denmark, Holland, or Venice.

Sometimes these

vessels

were intercepted by other

;

JANIZARIES Christian ships

and the

recruits

ended up as slaves

69

in

Neapohtan

or Maltese rowing galleys instead of as proud janizaries.^

However, if a Turkish recruit did arrive safely at Algiers, he was immediately issued with a suit of clothes comprising a cotton shirt and breeches, a waistcoat, a cloak, a red felt cap, a pair of soft leather slippers, and one small woollen blanket. He was also given a sword and a musket, but he had to buy the ammunition for this himself. He was then sent to lodge in one of the twelve barracks in the city. These barracks were built round a large central courtyard surrounded by cloisters. Leading off these cloisters on two floors was a series of rooms. Each room housed between twelve and eighteen men, a basic section of Turkish troops. The new recruit, having been given a straw mat for a bed, was assigned to one of these sections. When the Turkish troops of Algiers went on campaign each section was allowed one large bell tent and a mule to carry it. A section was commanded by a corporal, and had its own cook who was also allowed a mule to carry his cooking pots. In Algiers promotion was entirely by seniority and provided a soldier behaved himself, he could look forward to working his way up in a fixed period of time through various ranks to that of colonel retire. It was at this point he had to decide whether to remain in Algiers for good or to return to his native land. Janizaries were forbidden to marry and a corps of Moorish prostitutes was reserved for their use. However, by the late eighteenth century the rules against marriage were no longer enforced. If a Turk did marry he had to leave the barracks, with

he was then obliged to

its free

board and lodging, and set up house at his own expense.

Provided a Turk remained in Algiers, he stayed on the army payroll for

hfe

and he

could, if he remained single,

Hve

free in

a

barracks until his dying day. There was even a special barracks for veteran soldiers

known

colloquially as the 'Macaroni Barracks',

macaroni being the only food the toothless veterans could eat. After Kheir-ed-Din there remained only one organization in Algiers able to rival the power of the Turkish janizaries. This was ide Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sifecle', RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 40. Also de Grammont, 'Correspondance des Consuls d'Alger', RA, No. 187, 1888, p. 64. Also Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Oct. 1964, p. 390.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

60

the Taijfe or the Guild of warship captains. These seafarers beheved that Algiers and its warlike reputation belonged to them

and that the function of Turkish janizaries was solely to police the hinterland. For a long time there was no place for Turkish soldiers in the ranks of the Taiffe. During the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a large proportion of the Taiffe were Christian renegades from

all

the seafaring countries of Europe.

Seamen from southern Italy were most numerous amongst these, and Calabrian renegades such as Ochiah and Mezzo Morto reached supreme power in Algiers, During the seventeenth century Algiers was torn by bitter disputes between the janizaries and the Taiffe. The sea captains naturally liked to live close by the harbour and this part of the city became a separate citadel, where wealthy sea captains maintained large crews of armed seamen and energetically disputed with the Turks for control of the city's government and finances. This was obviously a state of affairs that the Turks could not allow to continue. They solved the problem gradually

by

infiltrating the

ranks of the Taiffe

itself until

by the

late

eighteenth century the majority of Algerian sea captains were

Turkish soldiers

But not

all

who had taken

to a seafaring

Turkish soldiers wanted to be

there were rich opportunities on shore.

The

life.^

sailors.

Fortunately

janizaries of Algiers

worked under a curious system. They served for one year and then rested one year. During their rest year many Turks worked as rope-makers, blacksmiths, or carpenters inside their barracks.

Nor

was a Turkish soldier ashamed to become a trader, and it was by no means unusual to see a janizary sitting cross-legged in the market-place behind a small pile of oranges or dried

with a

little

capital behind them,

figs.

Others,

became merchants on a

large

with Christian countries across the sea or with the nomads of the interior. Some were so successful during their sabbatical year that they were reluctant to take up their miUtary scale, trading

duties again at its end. Fortunately a comrade could usually be

found who was wiUing to surrender payment. 1

his year off for

a suitable cash

Devoulx, 'Le Rais el-hadj Embarek', RA, No. 91, 1872, p. 38. Also de Paradis, au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 268; and de Grammont, Etudes

'Alger

algiriennes, pp. 10-11.

JANIZARIES Nobody pays

taxes willingly and

it

61

was only regular displays of

military force that kept the tribute of the country tribes flowing into the Treasury at Algiers.



Every April three military columns set out from the city one to the east, one to the west and one to the south. The columns were made up of Moorish cavalry and Turkish infantry. The Turks marched along smoking their pipes which they filled from a large haversack of tobacco carried by an officer. Their mules folloAved behind carrying the tents and copper cooking pots.^ Looting was

discouraged while the columns passed through the territories that usually districts

met

their obligations, although even the most obedient were expected to furnish food. However, the farther a

column ventured from Algiers, the more likely it was to find itself in some tax defaulter's territory and it was now the soldiers really began to take an interest in the proceedings. Villages or tent encampments would be looted, standing crops would be burnt, and flocks of sheep, goats, and cattle would be seized. The columns returned to Algiers accompanied by herds of cattle, while indidividual soldiers led donkeys or camels loaded with the pitiful personal belongings of some nomadic family. ^ A janizary could also acquire some wealth on garrison duty. There were two sorts of garrisons, those inside Algiers city and those at the country towns. The more prosperous and settled country districts could each boast a small town where a market was held on a stipulated day of the week. These markets were essential to life in the territories and family feuds and tribal hostilities were invariably laid aside on market days. The Turks appointed governors to these provincial market towns and the country dwellers,

who never

trusted each other greatly, were

usually content to tolerate the presence of a

more or

less impartial

The Dey of Algiers nominated these country governors them to arrange for the collection of taxes and tributes. This did not always make them popular and they depended for their personal security on a company of janizaries. These country garrisons were very well treated, and wealthy provincials tried to gain their favour by making them handsome magistrate.

himself and he expected

1

«

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, No. 220, 1896, pp. 54-55. Emerit, 'Les Aventures de Thedenat', RA, Nos. 414/15, 1948, pp. 180-2.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

62

presents. It

was

also considered a great

honour

if

a country Moor

could find a Turkish husband for one of his daughters.

Many of the

Moors near the coast farmed on a large scale and could afford to pay handsome dowries. It was not unknown for a peasant from the shores of the Black Sea to lay the foundations of a considerable fortune by marrying into the family of a wealthy North African farmer.^

The

garrisons of the Casbah, the arsenal of Algiers,

and the

Dey's palace also had their perquisites for they shared in the

Whenever the treasury of Turkish Algiers payment from a Christian nation or from one of the North African tribes, an extra payment was demanded to be distributed as 'aviads'. The municipal government of Algiers paid small wages to its soldiers and civil servants but compensated for this by granting various posts the privilege of a specific share in distribution of 'aviads'.

received a peace

A

on garrison duty at the Casbah during a period when several peace treaties were the distribution of these strange

gifts.

soldier

concluded with Christian nations could expect to receive a sub-

amount of money.^ The majority of Turkish recruits arrived penniless from Asia Minor, spent a number of years hning their pockets, then returned to their homes to enjoy the fruits of their military endeavours amongst families and friends. Others were made of more ambitious stuff and these remained in Africa and dabbled in stantial

politics.

There was no separation of the executive and the administrative power being exercised through the Civil and Military Services. A Turk who was successful as a soldier

in Turkish Algiers, political

become the Chief Minister of Algiers under the Dey, and thus usually next in hne for the supreme position. He could equally reach the same post through service with the Regency cruisers, advancing, as he mastered navigation and seamanship, to the command of a warship and and

politician could eventually

1 de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 72. See also Foss, Journal of Captivity, p. 46; Devoulx, Tachrifat, p. 32; Sidy Hamdan-Ben-Othman Khoja, AperQU Historique et Statistique sur la Rdgence d' Alger, vol. ii, p. 28; Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, p. 252. * de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 220, p. 51; also third article in series, RA, No. 221, pp. 267-70.

^

JANIZARIES

63

The Civil Service was open to Jews, and Turks, in fact to any man who could

finally of the fleet itself.

Moors, Christian slaves, read, write,

and

calculate,

but the top ranks were reserved for

pure-blooded Turks.

There was one other road to the top echelons of Turkish power

and this, curiously, led through the kitchens. From the modest place of section cook in the army an ambitious janizary could progress upwards through various catering posts until, with good fortune, he reached the summit of his profession as one of the two Chief Turkish Cooks in the Dey's palace. These were in Algiers

places of great influence, because, possibly as a precaution against poison, the chief cooks took

men

held their high

all their

office for

meals with the Dey. The two

only one year and they were for-

was beheved that in this space of time a good manager was able to save enough to provide for his comfortable retirement ;2 nor was it entirely unknown for a chief cook to be elected Dey. Only pure-blooded Turks ruled in Algiers, except for a period when the TaifiFe was very powerful and a number of Christian renegades achieved supreme bidden to leave the palace, but

it

power. ^

mean that Algiers was ruled from Constantinople. beyond the reach of any military expedition the Sultan could dispatch. Perhaps a Turkish fleet could have subdued Algiers by sheer weight of numbers, but this would have been a dangerous venture to pursue so close to the Spanish coast. The This does not

It

was

far

were not slow to appreciate the uniqueness of their position. They saw no reason why they should accept a new Pasha, greedy for loot, once every three years from Con-

janizaries of Algiers

They took

stantinople.

to electing their

whom

they nicknamed 'Uncle', which

means

in Turkish.

The Pashas were

own Commander-in-Chief is

what the word 'Dey'

quietly ignored, even some-

city. Without profits there were appointment at Constantinople. In time the

times refused admittance to the

no bidders

for the

1 Devoulx, Tachrifat, pp. 20-26. Also de Paradia, 'Alger au XVIII No. 220, pp. 70-72.

*

si^cle',

RA,

ibid., p. 59.

de Grammont, Etudes algiriennes, pp. 12—15. Also idem, 'Lea consiils Lazaristee et le Chevalier d'Arvieux', RA. No. 166. 1884, pp. 284-5; and Fisher, The Barbary *

Legend, p. 330.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

64

rank of Pasha, or Bashaw, came to be conferred automatically on the 'Uncle' the Turks of Algiers chose for themselves.^ No man could be proclaimed Dey of Algiers unless he could command the approval of the majority of the Turkish families and soldiers of Algiers. To acquire this needed money on such a scale that nobody but a Dey of Algiers could hope to find it. A candidate could only come to power on promises of future favours and these promises had to carry conviction. By the middle of the eighteenth century only men of sohd character were being elected to the Deyship. Nevertheless, pohtical intrigue in Algiers was energetic and there was much josthng for position amongst the senior Turkish officers of the Belique while the soldiers in their barracks ;

were continually being approached and flattered by the emissaries of hopeful aspirants to future power. Treachery was known feuds ;

amongst the few pure-blooded Turkish families of the city were not uncommon and could have bloody conclusions. Bloody but always discreet, for the Turks never forgot that they were a privileged minority ruling a largely hostile majority. Turk might feud with Turk Turk might kill Turk, but not, if humanly possible, before vulgar eyes. The solidarity of the ruling race must ;

appear to be maintained at all times. A set of special apartments above a disused flour-mill was used for Turkish punishment and vengeance. Here, the Aga-in-Chief punished minor Turkish offenders with a bastinado. The room where the bastinado was administered was known by the Turks

was poured over the lacerations of the punished. ^ In a different room in the same building the Aga supervised Turkish executions. No Turk ever as the 'vinegar room' because this Uquid

objected to cutting off a head, but he considered

it

beneath his

dignity to administer the garrotte.^ Execution at the Aga's house

was always by garrotte and was performed by a Jew or a Christian slave. Privacy was ensured by an ingenious arrangement. The victim and his executioner were kept in separate rooms divided by a thick wall through which were drilled two small holes close



iWatbled, 'Pachas Pachas-Deys', RA, No. 102, 1873, pp. 438-42. Also e Granimont, 'Les consuls Lazaristes et le Chevalier d'Arvieux', RA, No. 166, 884, p. 284. « de Paradis, 'Alger »

ibid., p. 109.

au XVIII aihcW, RA, No. 224, 1897,

p. 107.

JANIZARIES together.

A

65

loop of cord ran through these holes and this was

looped twice round the victim's neck. The executioner, on being given the sign, merely twisted a stick in the loop on his side of the

him that the cord need be tightened no was not until well after the event that he discovered was that he had dispatched. Sometimes it must have come

wall until experience told further. It

who

it

as quite a surprise.^

At the end of the eighteenth century, power in Algiers was The decisions of the Dey were final. He was stiU open to the influence of favourites but beyond any personal and absolute.

authority that the Divan, or Council of Elders,

may have

exer-

The Divan still existed but its functions had become purely formal. The actions of the Dey were the actions of the State. His word was the government and once given was usually kept. It was a source of constant irritation to the Turks of Algiers that the word of a Christian government, with its more complicated poUtical system, was not nearly so reliable. cised in the past.^

^ «

Foss, Journal of Captivity, pp. 38-39. de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, Nos. 221/2, 1896, p. 268.

CHAPTER

6

DEATHS AND FAILURES

UuRiNG

the eighteenth century the flag of Great Britain was a

comforting one under which to

Navy and a

sail

the seas.

A

powerful Royal

ubiquitous Diplomatic Service protected British

merchants and

sailors at sea

and on

shore.

The vigorous shipping

industry of the east coast of North America had developed under this

twin shield. The success of the American Revolution withdrew

this protection

without supplying any effective substitute. During

the years of revolution a host of American merchant ships had

armed privateers, but although one or two sea captains such as Captain Paul Jones had performed great feats of valour, the colonies had possessed no navy. Now that the United States was at peace with the world there was no scope for privateering, and with the individual state governments quick to show disapproval of any increase in mihtary power by the Federal Government, there was httle incentive to build a naval fleet. The merchants and sea captains of North America were deprived of protection on the high seas. There was also a further compUcation. British shipbuilders and shipowners had long looked with jealous eyes on the developing international shipping industry of the North American seaboard states. A powerful shipping lobby had grown up at Westminster whose object was to control fraternal competition from this direction. Its main argument was that the proper trading sphere for Americans should be the West Indies, together with the Spanish and French possessions in the Caribbean area. The French and Spanish governments were less impressed by this idea. They profitably been turned into

:«s*Tr,fe5y?>-^''3^ST'

-^

A-^~

-^i^

'iT^

If/..

X-^.^._l^

American merchant

16.

vessel of the type seized

Algerian xebecs.

by the

They sometimes had only a

Algerians.

single sail.

DEATHS AND FAILURES took various measures to impede this still

67

traffic but, nevertheless, it

prospered.

The voyage down to the West Indian

islands

and the Caribbean

does not take long from Philadelphia, Boston,

New

York, or

Salem. Fast sailing vessels seldom needed to be more than a few

days at sea and were able to operate with small crews. Prior to the revolution the most common type of American-built vessel

was an under-crewed,

fast sailing schooner or brigantine designed

to carry a large cargo in relation to her size. Unfortunately, one of

the

first results

of the success of the revolution

was that Britain

extended her Navigation Act against her former colonies. This meant that the ports of the British West Indies in theory became In practice, a good deal of unofficial trade still continued, but many American sea captains, depressed by Nelson's severe attitude,^ preferred to load their ships with closed to

American

ships. ^

cargoes of dried Massachusetts cod fish and

beef and pork, for which products they in southern Europe,

and

New England

knew

set off across the

pickled

there was a market

broad Atlantic. These

small ships, totally unsuitable for the long Atlantic voyage, flew

a bewildering number of flags some of these were ostensibly state ;

flags,

some house

flags,

but they were

flags,

some of them claimed to be American

all different.^

The Continental Congress, convened at Philadelphia, was not unaware of the dangers American ships might encounter when they ventured near the coast of Moslem North Africa. Even in colonial days, as early as 1661, the commerce of Massachusetts had experienced some annoyance from Barbary corsairs. In 1700, a collection was arranged at Salem to supply the ransom for Robert Carver, a seaman of that port, who was being held captive in the Moroccan port of Sallee.* Although by the eighteenth century North African piracy in the Atlantic approaches to southern Europe seems to have been on the wane, memories of it lingered. Thus, as early as 1779, the Continental Congress ap-

pointed a committee to try to

make

treaties

with the Moslem

A History of the United States, vol. iii, p. 408. Dictionary of National Biography, London 1894, vol. xl, p. 191. ' State Department Consular Dispatches, Algiers series, vol. ii, Philadelphia, 18 May 1797, Richard O'Brien. * R. D. Paine, Ships and Sailors of Old Salem, p. 22. 1 *

E. Chaiming,

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

68

powers of North Africa.^ The committee was reconstituted in 1783,2 while during August of that year the State of Pennsylvania set up its own committee. ^ During May 1784, Congress issued a commission to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas make Ten-Year Treaties of Peace with Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli.* Adams and Franklin were already in

Jefferson to

treaties with the major powers there. This seems to indicate that American politicians were already thinking that the simplest way to peace with North Africa lay through

Europe negotiating

Europe. Unfortunately, this superficially attractive idea showed a lack of understanding of the North African situation.

England and France had both had their difficulties with the North African powers, Algiers in particular. At various times they had seen large numbers of their ships seized and had been obliged to redeem many of their sailors from slavery. Usually they settled matters by the payment of a little cash, or by supplying a ship or two, or a quantity of naval or military stores.^ In general, after

by Turks, both England and France lent their friendship to these two regencies as one means of counter-balancing Spanish and Papal power. ^ When this power

the occupation of Algiers and Tunis

dechned they found the warships of North Africa kept the Mediterranean agreeably free of cheap Italian shipping. As northern Europe prospered, trade in and out of the Mediterranean grew. Holland, Sweden, and Denmark began to send their shipping within reach of the North African cruisers and when these were duly seized these northern governments had to decide whether to fight or to pay. Fighting the North Africans was never an easy business. As Spain had amply demonstrated, it was a dangerous and expensive business to land soldiers on the Barbary Coast. Furthermore, the North Africans had few merchant vessels 1

J.G.C., vol.

*

ibid., vol.

»

ibid.

* ibid.,

xiii,

p. 245.

XXV, p. 531.

vol. xxvi, p. 361.

Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d^Arvieux, vol. v, pp. 155-60. P.R.O. F.O. 3/6, Algiers, 25 May 1787, Charles Logie to Evan Nepean. Also de Grammont, 'Relations entre la France et la Regence d'Alger au XVII si6cle', fourth part 'Les consuls Lazaristes et le Chevalier d'Arvieux', RA, No. 165, 1884, p. 198; and idem, continuation of fourth part, RA, No. 166, p. 299. * For French interest see Berbrugger, 'Les Algeriens Demandent un Roi *



Frangais',

RA, No.

26, 1861, pp. 4

and

9.

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES

69

that could be seized in retaliation and their small

fleets,

when

faced with warships bent on revenge, were never ashamed to

with

all

flee

haste and take shelter in their harbours.

If Spain

had demonstrated the

difficulties of

landing an expedi-

tionary force in Africa, France during the seventeenth century

gave an equally convincing demonstration of the futility of bombarding the cities of Tunis and Algiers from the sea. The Turkish rulers of these cities did not object

much

to seeing their cities

by Christian cannon and they cared very little if their Moorish subjects suffered damage to their property.^ The famous Calabrian renegade. Mezzo Morto, one of Algiers' most successful captains and ruthless Deys, is reputed to have asked the French Consul what Admiral Duquesne's bombardment of Algiers had cost the King of France. On being told a figure he laughed and remarked that he would have destroyed the city himself if the King had sent him half the amount. As long as Spanish military power was a reality, Algiers and the other North African powers preferred to remain on more or less peaceful terms with England and France. By the time Spain was no longer feared, France had become too good a customer for North African produce to be offended, and Britain's navy had become so overwhelmingly powerful that it was feared even by the impertinent seamen of the North African ports. Britain's naval interest in the Mediterranean was largely strategic and there were seldom very many merchant ships flying the British flag in the inland sea. The merchants of Liverpool, Bristol, London, and Plymouth, thought more in terms of the Western Atlantic or the Far East. The most vigorous merchants in the Mediterranean were those from Provence, and ships sailing out of Marseilles and Toulon traded energetically to the Levant and all along the North African coast. Generally spared from attack by Moslem warships, the Proven9al merchant marine rapidly outstripped all its Italian competitors, even those from Venice. During the eighteenth century the Mediterranean began to look more and more like a Provengal lake. Then increasing assaulted

*

de Grammont, 'Les consuls Lazaristes et

le

Chevalier d'Arvieux',

RA, No.

169,

1885, pp. 5-7. *

de Grammont, 'Un Academicien captif a Alger', RA, No. 166, 1882, p. 396.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

70 hostility

between Britain and France introduced British fleets and these sent Proven9al merchant vessels scurrying

into the area

for the safety of their harbours.

Thus there were periods when Italian ships stayed in harbour for fear of Moslem warships, and Proven9al for fear of British. But trade still continued and the ship-owners of Holland, Sweden, and Denmark discovered that at these times there were large profits to be made in the Mediterranean carrying trade. But as soon as they ventured into the Mediterranean they came up against the naive assumption of the North African powers that they owned the inland sea and that none could sail there without their permission. The whole question of peace treaties amongst these northern maritime powers and the Barbary States now became a matter of finance. How much could the northerners afford to pay before the game ceased to be profitable? The demands of the North Africans, although sounding high, seem to have been acceptable when expressed as a percentage on profits.^ There is no doubt that the powers of Christian Europe could have combined to exterminate the naval strength of North Africa. Early American statesmen and writers expressed the view most strongly that it was shameful that they had not long ago done so.^ In fact, the idea of a crusade against the Barbary powers had often been discussed in the council chambers of Europe. However, the major maritime powers feared that the only benefactors of such concerted action would be the poverty-stricken seamen of Italy and southern Spain, and, accordingly, they always remained cool towards the idea.^ It was not long before some Americans, too, were to appreciate the force of this argument.* In the meanwhile the committee, appointed by the Continental

and consisting of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, approached Britain, France, and Holland in Congress,

de Grammont, 'Correspondance des Consuls d'Alger', RA, No. 188, 1888, de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 224, 1897, pp. 88-90; Pavy, 'La piraterie Musiilmane', RA supplement. No. 10, 1858, p. 348; A. Sacerdoti, 'Venise et les Regences d'Alger, Tunis et Tripole', RA, Nos. 452/3, 1957, p. 294; S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 1, Richard O'Brien to Thomas Jefferson, ^

p. 148. See also

8

June 1786. ^ Wright and Macleod, The First Americana ' Fisher, The Barbary Legend, p. 296.

* S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. the Secretary of State.

i,

part

in North Africa, p. 29.

2, Algiers,

18

March

1796, Joel

Barlow to

:

DEATHS AND FAILURES turn, requesting those

71

countries to guarantee the security of

The request was not seemed to the Europeans that the United States Government was trying to maintain their merchants in a profitable area without paying for the privilege. Britain maintained an expensive navy and did not see why it should be used to protect the ships of her lately revolted colony. France was much less sympathetic to Americans now they were no longer in armed revolt against her enemy, Britain, while Holland did not see why the United States should not pay for Barbary peace treaties as they did. The committee soon reaUzed that there was to be no inexpensive short cut to peace with North Africa. They sent a request to Congress for funds. In February 1785, a credit valued at eighty thousand Mexican dollars was raised in Holland for the express purpose of financing Barbary treaties.^ In March of the same year the Committee of Peace Commissioners in Europe received the power to appoint agents to travel to North Africa and

American ships

in the Mediterranean area.

well received for

it

negotiate on their behalf. ^

Both James Cathcart and Captain Richard O'Brien claimed that was the British Consul, Charles Logie, who had given the Algerians the idea of capturing American ships. However, they were mahgning the Scot, for in November 1784, six months before Logic's arrival in Algiers, a small Algerian fleet had captured it

H.M.S. Rattlesnake, a British naval cutter stationed at Gibraltar. When the acting British Consul at Algiers had protested at this outrage, the captors of the Rattlesnake offered as their excuse that

they had thought from her name that she was an American vessel.^ Rumours of this incident were soon circulating in shipping circles in Europe and probably came to the ears of the Peace

Commissioners themselves. Certainly an American sea captain trading into Moroccan ports got wind of the affair and it set him thinking.

On

9

February 1785, a petition from Captain John Lamb of the He wrote

State of Connecticut was read out in Congress.

your memoriaHst believing it to be in the interest of the United States to form some treaty of amity and commerce with the States of .

.

^

J.C.G., vol. xxviii, p. 65.

»

P.R.O. F.O.

3/6, 19

November



1784,

ibid., vol. xxviii,

John Woulfe

to

pp. 140-1.

Lord Sydney.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

72

Barbary and inferring

.

.

.

that

it is

the desire of Congress to set on foot

Your memoriahst is induced to conducting those negotiations. Your memoriahst

negotiations for that purpose. services for .

.

.

.

.

offer his .

[offers]

United States and his knowledge of .^ years and asks no reward for his services.

his zeal for the service of the

the country ... of five

.

.

The Continental Congress had many domestic problems on its hands. It is no easy process to steer former colonies safely into independence. The problems attached to making treaties with the far-distant Moslem powers of North Africa must have seemed essentially academic to most of the state delegates gathered at Philadelphia. John Lamb's petition, with its implication that here was a person with real knowledge of the area, must have sounded attractive. He was informed that Congress would certainly wish to avail itself of his services, but as the Commissioners in Europe had already been given over-all direction for the making of treaties with North Africa, it would be best if he presented himself to them for their precise instructions. Congress wrote to the Commissioners

and advised them what it had done.^ Captain John Lamb, however, had written his petition shortly after returning to America from Morocco and he was in no great hurry to be oflF again. News of the capture of the Maria and the Dauphin was not received in America until 13 October 1785. On the same day a letter was read out in Congress from Captain Paul Jones in Paris, saying he had heard the Algerians had declared war on the United States during July. Secretary of State John Jay is reported to have received the news calmly, remarking that it would serve to unite the country and to train her seamen in naval hostilities.^ Mr. Pinkney proposed a motion that as the war was quite unprovoked. Captain

Lamb

should be instructed to ignore

Algiers in his peace mission.^

On

28 December 1785, a letter from the American captains in

was read out in Congress.^ In the meanwhile, on 14 September 1785, Benjamin Franklin had arrived back in the United States from Europe. This marked the dispersal of the Peace Commission in Europe. John Adams moved Algiers, giving details of their capture,

^Papers of

No. 42, iv. Folio 368. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. viii, xxix, pp. 833 and 834.

the Continental Congress,

Boyd

*

J. P.

»

J.C.C., vol.

«

ibid., p. 843.

(ed.),

*

ibid., p. 906.

p. 542.

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES

73

up residence in Grosvenor Square. in Paris. These two were soon in remained Thomas Jefferson correspondence about John Lamb and North African affairs. Lamb reached Paris on 19 September 1785. He carried powerful recommendations from Congress, and Jefferson had Httle hesita-

to London, where he took

tion in nominating

advised

Lamb

to undertake the Algerian mission.

him

to present himself to

Wilham Carmichael,

He

the U.S.

envoy to the Spanish Court. ^ This Carmichael had accompanied John Jay on a peace mission to Madrid between 1780 and 1782 and had remained there ever since. It was he who, at Thomas Jefferson's request, had furnished Congress with the first advice as to the likely size of the financial demands of the Barbary States. He obtained his information from a priest of the Spanish Hospital at Algiers, but whether through misinterpretation or dehberate misrepresentation the information was inaccurate. It was probably on William Carmichael's information that Congress believed an appropriation of eighty thousand dollars would be sufficient to buy treaties with Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco; and it was certainly

from Carmichael that Jefferson got

his figure for

ransoms

Carmichael's underestimates are surprising demanded by aware) in view of the enormous sums (of which he must have been the Spanish were paying the Algerians at this period. In Madrid Captain John Lamb met up with Thomas Barclay Algiers. ^

who had been

by Jefferson

selected

to conduct the U.S. negotia-

Thomas Barclay was an American merchant

tions at Morocco.

some years and had acted as U.S. Consul there." It is probable that he had had some mercantile deahngs from there with Morocco. Through WiUiam Carmichael, John Lamb and Thomas Barclay were able to draw

who had been

resident at

funds on John dollar

Adams

Barbary treaty

Bordeaux

for

against the eighty-thousandcredit which had been estabhshed in

in

London

Holland.

took twelve thousand dollars in cash, American Biography. Adams reached London on 25 May 1785. See

Captain John 1

Diet, of

Lamb

Boyd, op. cit., vol. viii, p. 166. Boyd, op. cit., vol. viii, pp. 526, 542, and 613-15. to Spain, S. G. Coe, The Mission of William Carmichael

also * »

op. *

cit.,

vol. 10, p. 650.

He was employed by

p. 62; also

Boyd,

the U.S. Government as a Special Commissioner to

settle U.S. debts in France.

Boyd, The Papers of Thomas

Jefferson, vol. u, p. 493.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

74

chartered a ship at Barcelona, and sailed for Algiers.^

March

there on 25

1786, but

British Consul at Barcelona

He

arrived

rumour had gone before him. The had already sent word to Charles

Logie that Lamb's ship was not indisputably Spanish property

and that as it probably carried the eighty thousand dollars the Americans were prepared to pay for a treaty, the Dey might wish to seize it. Charles Logie passed on this amiable suggestion to Sidi Hassan, the High Admiral, who advised the Dey not to act uponit.^ Earlier British Consuls had not always had an easy time in Algiers but Charles Logie had soon achieved a close and easy relationship with Dey Muhammad Bashaw. The British Government, concerned at Spanish threats against Gibraltar, had felt in need of Algerian friendship, while Muhammad Bashaw, ever mindful of General O'Reilly's mighty assault in 1775, was anxious to maintain the sympathy of the world's most powerful maritime nation. This good humour with Britain and the British Consul undoubtedly affected his attitude to the negotiator for the new United States when he reached the city in March 1786. Both James Cathcart and Richard O'Brien recorded that the Dey immediately began to raise difficulties, while Charles Logie, in a letter to his superior the Rt. Hon. Lord Sydney written on 12 April 1786,

is

exphcit.

On the 25th March a Mr. Lamb and Randal arrived here in a

Spanish

Vessel from Barcelona, as Agents from the Americans, to Negotiate a

Redeem their Subjects, they had Letters

of recommendation and Spanish Consuls. The French Consul sent to the Dey, to notify their arrival. I have great pleasure and satisfaction in conveying to your Lordship the Dey's conduct on that occasion. The Dey said, 'What are they come to purchase a Peace? tell them to carry their Money to the King of England, their King I have no War with His Subjects, I never heard of such a Nation as Americans, if they come to redeem any of my Slaves they may come on shore but I wiU hear of no

Peace, and

to the French

Treaties of Peace,' they accordingly landed as Agents to Slaves.

.

.

Redeem

.^

*

Boyd, op.

cit.,

me

for £3,212

:

12

vol. :

ii,

p. 66.

Adams

writes to Jefferson,

'Lamb has drawn on

0'.

Cathcart, The Captives. Also S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 1, Algiers, June 1786, Richard O'Brien to Thomas Jefferson. See also Boyd, op. cit., *

8

vol. 10, p. 150. »

P.R.O. F.O.

3/6, Algiers, 12 April 1786, Charles

Logie to Lord Sydney.

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES To

76

the American seamen held captive in Algiers, the arrival of a

United States envoy prepared to negotiate their redemption within six months of their having been captured, was gratifying in the extreme. It served to confirm their faith in democracy, anticolonialism, and in the fact, which they had long suspected, that Americans were not only more humane but more efficient than anybody else. John Lamb, however, when he landed did not create an altogether happy impression. His diplomatic skills seem to have been rudimentary and Captain Richard O'Brien wrote after his departure that he hoped never to see Captain Lamb in Barbary

again except to buy horses or mules.

Lamb's instructions stipulated that he should try to make a comprehensive peace treaty with Algiers as cheaply as he could. However, if the Algerians dechned to make a peace, he was still authorized to redeem the American captives at not more than two

hundred

dollars a head.

Dey Muhammad Bashaw

discuss a treaty of peace but agreed to talk

An interview accordingly took place on

1

did refuse to

on terms of ransom.

April 1786, a date which

seemed curiously appropriate. ^ As Richard O'Brien noted, Captain Lamb's diplomatic methods were distinctly crude, and he created

much amusement among

the Christian

community

in Algiers

by

threatening the Spanish Consul with a United States attack on

he did not persuade the Dey to make peace with America. John Woulfe, eager for office, had already approached several of the American captives with the suggestion that they Louisiana

if

He Lamb

should recommend his appointment as U.S. Consul at Algiers.

now

placed himself entirely at Captain Lamb's disposal.

responded by borrowing a sum of money from him.^ The American negotiator, faced by an uncooperative Turk,

found himself in an awkward predicament. The U.S. Government in Philadelphia was many months of travel away, and it was impossible to refer there for revised instructions.

Thomas Jefferson

in Paris was quite far enough and it was apparent from his idea of two hundred dollars ransom a head that his information about Algerian conditions was sadly out of date.* It is difficult to under^

* '

Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 10, p. 132n. Cathcart, The Captives. Lamb gave the date a3 3 April 1785. Boyd, op. cit., vol. ix, pp. 619-21. ibid., vol. 10, p. 650.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

76

stand

why

Captain

Lamb

did not quietly pack up and return to

Spain. Instead, he continued to negotiate while completely ignor-

Had he stuck to these he maximum total of four thousand

ing Jefferson's financial instructions.

would have two hundred Mexican

been confined to a dollars,

a figure he never mentioned during

his mission.

John Woulfe knew the

situation in Algiers

influential people in the city.

and coming man was one

He

and who were the

already recognized that the up

Sidi Hassan,

High Admiral and Inten-

dant of the Marine. Sidi Hassan, Woulfe assured Lamb, would be able to tell him exactly what were American prospects in the regency. Woulfe sent a gift of

money

in

Lamb's name to

Sidi

Hassan and an interview was arranged. Sidi Hassan was a Georgian by birth^ who had come to Algiers as a soldier recruit when a very young man. He was quick-witted, literate, and brave. He elected to follow a seafaring career and took service on one of the regency warships. His superior seamanship and gallantry were soon noticed. He was elected to the TaifFe and given command of a cruiser. In 1770 he commanded a detachment of Algerian warships in the Black Sea, which fought alongside the Turkish Navy against the Russians. By 1775 he had already gained the most favourable notice of Dey Muhammad Bashaw. 2 1775 was the year of General Alexander O'Reilly's attack on Algiers and rumours of the huge armada being assembled in the Mediterranean ports of Spain were causing much alarm in the regency. Dey Muhammad Bashaw was looking to all his friends for support. Sidi Hassan was, accordingly, furnished with generous gifts^ and told to carry them without delay to the Sultan of Turkey, and to plead for help against the expected Spanish assault. There had long been at Algiers a community of Christian merchants, mostly Frenchmen from Provence. Among these was a Toulonais named Joseph Meifrund who was a particular friend of Sidi Hassan. Meifrund owned a ship called the Septimae and Sidi Hassan chartered this for his voyage to Constantinople. 1

* *

P.R.O. F.O. 76/5, Tripoli, 22 August 1793, Simon Lucas to Henry Dundas. for Sidi Hassan's personal history is largely circumstantial. Devoulx, Tachrifat, p. 40.

The evidence

DEATHS AND FAILURES

77

O'Reilly's assault took place shortly after Sidi Hassan's depar-

was the biggest Christian attack that had Moslem states and the Spaniards were sure that it would wipe Algiers off the map and reduce the power of the Moslem corsairs for all time. General O'Reilly himself was so confident that he allowed many of his ofiicers to bring along their wives and daughters to witness the entertainment. At the start the attack went well. The Algerians were shaken by the size of the fleet which approached their city, and their frigates and gun-boats remained cautiously in the shelter of the harbour. The weather was good and the soldiers, both cavalry and infantry, began to land on the beach five miles east of the city. There was no resistance and the only sign of the enemy was a few Moorish horsemen watching from the ture for the Bosporus. It

ever been launched against any of the North African

hilltops.

However, the Algerians were not inactive. All the Christian had been chained and marched away inland. The Dey had

slaves

sent messengers galloping off to his vassals

summoning them

to

The Moors of the coast, the Kabyle of the Atlas, and the Bedouin of the arid interior had small love for the Turks of Algiers but they were at least Mussulmen, and they had no wish to change them for Christian masters. The vassals of Algiers answered the call to arms promptly. Amongst the troops that hurried in from the east was a large force of camel warriors sent by the Bey of Constantine. Meanwhile, the citizens of Algiers were digging trenches outside the city walls. It was reported that the large Jewish community dug faster and longer than anybody, for they feared the Spanish Inquisition more than any Turk.^ Within the city there was much activity at all the mosques. The Algerians always pretended to believe that the Emperor Charles V's attack on Algiers had been foiled by the prayers of a marabout who had summoned up a timely gale of wind.^ On his death, this holy man had been buried in a handsome tomb overlooking the sea to the west of the harbour, and from that day help in the defence of their homeland.

* L. J. Bresnier, 'Recit indigene de I'expedition d'O'Reilly', RA, No. 47, 1864, pp. 335-45; also de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 70. * de Paradis, 'Un chant algerien du XVIII si6cle', RA, Nos. 214/15, 1894, p. 341, n. 1 Weli Dedi is said to have been the name of the marabout. .

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

78

every Algerian ship starting on a cruise always turned its prow to this point, while the crew prostrated itself on the deck.^ In every

mosque

inside the city

marabouts spared no efiFort to emulate the and many were the prayers offered

feat of their illustrious forbear,

up to Allah and

his

Holy Prophet. Nor did these prayers go

unanswered.

The

fate

Charles V.

of General

O'Reilly was similar to

the fate

of

A savage north-westerly gale swept down on the Spanish

hurhng many ships on to the reefs that are a feature of this and spiUing thousands of men into the sea. Spanish losses in the gale were appalling but a respectable number of troops had already been landed, and when General O'Reilly himself managed to scramble ashore he still hoped to save the day with these. But the North Africans were immensely encouraged by this second intervention of Allah and they moved in to the attack. Dey Muhammad announced that he would pay gold for every Spanish head brought him and this particularly encouraged the Kabyles. fleet,

coast

General O'Reilly's troops resisted Algerian attacks for a time but the sudden arrival on the scene of the

Bey

of Constantine's camel

cavalry turned the scale. The horses of the Spanish cavalry

fell

when they smelt the camels. This terror was communicated to the riders. The cavalry broke and fled and the infantry followed suit. They had no place of safety to which to go. Moors, Kabyles, and Turks earned themselves much gold

into uncontrollable terror

that day. General O'Reilly only succeeded in re-embarking a very small

number of troops.

Meanwhile

Sidi

Hassan, having dehvered the Dey's

gifts in

Constantinople, accepted the Sultan's expressions of support for his

master together with return gifts, re-embarked on the Septimae,

and

set sail for Algiers.

But rumours of the

richness of the Sultan's

presents to Algiers reached Christian ports and as the Septimae

approached the Algerian coast, a Spanish warship pounced and took her into Cartagena. Before O'Reilly's disaster Sidi Hassan and his retinue would

have received a rough reception; but now circumstances had completely changed. It had become evident to the Spanish Court ^ •

de Grammont, JStudes algdriennes, p. 22. He calls the saint Sidi Betka. A. Roiisseau (trans.), Chroniques de la Regence d* Alger, pp. 184-90.

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES

79

that Spain was not destined to reconquer North Africa. Nor did it seem likely that North Africa would again send an army into Spain.

Looked

at coolly, there

seemed no reason why Spain and

The Spanish Court had heard of eminence in Algiers. The King gave orders that the Algerian captives were to be treated with respect and consideration. Meanwhile the Dey complained to the King of France and demanded to know why that King permitted his friends the Algerians to be seized by Spaniards out of French ships. The French Court wrote urgently to the Spanish Court and,

Algiers should not be at peace. Sidi

Hassan and of

his

Hassan and

were allowed to continue their voyage in the Septimae. Rumour had it that he continued his journey furnished with secret but urgent assurances of Spanish goodwill and with his palm richly oiled with Spanish

after a decent delay, Sidi

his retinue

gold.i

Hassan quietly began to work towards a peace with Spain. However, he was labouring against the prejudices of centuries and it was not until 1785 that success crowned his efforts. The peace treaty, when it was finally signed, was described as a 'temporary truce' for one hundred years. Spain never announced what it cost her treasury but rumour named a final figure of around four million Spanish dollars, of which half was

On arrival in Algiers,

Sidi

supposed to have found its way into Sidi Hassan's privy purse. This was the same Spanish Truce that had opened the Straits of Gibraltar to the Algerian warships that captured the Maria and the Dauphin as they approached the coast of southern Europe in

By April

had lasted for nearly a year. Strangely, the negotiator for Spain at Algiers was a Frenchman, the Count d'Expilly. On his staff was a youthful French nobleman named Hercules. At tliis time this young gentleman's activities were of little importance but years later his name was to become well July 1785.

known along

1786,

it

the North African coast.

The High Admiral of Algiers, Sidi Hassan, received John Lamb and John Woulfe in his private apartments overlooking the courtyard into which, seven months previously, the first Americans had 1

XVIII sifecle', EA, Nos. 366/7, said to have gone to Constantinople

Cazenave, 'Un consul frangais en Alger au

1936, pp. 106-8. In this account Sidi Hassan after O'Reilly's assault had already failed. » ibid.,

p. 122.

is

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

80

been marched. It was a cool, white room, octagonal in shape and with a high domed ceihng. The floor was paved with marble. Light and air were introduced by several narrow windows, unglazed,

but covered with fihgree-work wooden shutters.^ Elaborately patterned rugs hung on the walls and above the rugs were fastened richly-worked swords, muskets, and pistols. ^ Sidi Hassan was dressed in white silk with a red velvet waistcoat richly em-

broidered with gold thread, and with a superb green girdle wound round his waist. He wore a large green turban with a diamond brooch pinned into one side and there were many precious rings sparkling on his fingers. Over his turban and his shoulders was draped a burnous of a white woollen cloth of great fineness. He sat on a low wooden platform covered with rugs and velvet cushions.^ Two chairs were placed ready for his Christian visitors.

John Woulfe did the then repHed.

He

talking. Sidi

Hassan

listened gravely

and

spoke in Spanish which Woulfe translated for

Captain Lamb. Sidi Hassan started by professing his admiration for the off the

new United States of America. Any nation that could throw yoke of so powerful a nation as the British deserved

universal respect, he said.*

He

also spoke favourably of the

American seamen who were now captives in Algiers. In particular he spoke highly of Captain Richard O'Brien who, although a protected

member

of Consul Logic's household, apparently spent

some time working amongst the American seamen down at the harbour. Sidi Hassan asserted that Captain O'Brien was the best sailmaker he had ever seen.^ However, he continued, the United States Envoy was wasting his time in Algiers for there was not the slightest chance of his being able to make a peace at the moment. The Dey, he explained, was very much the friend of England, for the King of England had recently gratified him with a prompt and generous settlement of various outstanding claims and difficulties. This room still exists. All sources agree that these items and clocks were the visual wall decorations in the rooms of wealthy Moors and Turks. ' For details of Turkish of3Scers' dress see Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d" Arvieux, vol. v, pp. 260—3; [S. Barnard] Travels in Algiers, Spain, etc., etc., pp. 60—68; Foss, Journal of Captivity in Algiers, pp. 61-62. * Cathcart, The Captives. *

*

«

ibid.

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES

81

The British Consul was against an American peace, therefore there would be none. There was a further difficulty on the question of ransom. Although the truce with Spain had been in operation for nearly a year and substantial peace payments and consular presents had already been distributed by the Count d'Expilly, there were several hundred Spanish seamen held captive in Algiers whose ransom had stiU not been decided. Dey Muhammad Bashaw was actively engaged in negotiations on this very question and it was patently impossible for him to make any concessions to America while the question of Spanish ransoms remained unsettled.^

Captain John

Lamb was now

a wiser man. If he had been wiser

he might perhaps have announced the end of his mission and have quietly left the regency. Yet it is scarcely just to criticize an individual's actions of two hundred years ago, for at that distance in time it is only possible to recognize a fragment of the full circumstances; nevertheless, John Lamb's subsequent actions do still

seem to have been extraordinary. He returned for a further Dey and agreed upon a figure of forty-eight thousand three hundred Mexican dollars for ransom for the twenty-one American captives. He explained, quite truthfully, that he did not have this amount of money with him but he solemnly promised to return with it within four months. Then, interview with the

having obtained the Dey's permission to depart, he sailed for Spain leaving behind him a number of unpaid debts.

Meanwhile in London John Adams had had a curious interview. In 1785 there was in London a man named Abdurrahman who described himself as the Tripohtanian Ambassador. He had arrived there

some time before with a considerable retinue and had

settled

himself in with every apparent intention of enjoying the British

Government's hospitahty for as long as they would put up with

Abdurrahman invited John Adams to visit him. It was, wrote Adams, an extraordinary occasion. Abdurrahman displayed a frankness which, if genuine, did him great credit and if feigned him.^

1 ibid. Also S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 1, Algiers, 8 Jxine 1786, Richard O'Brien to Thomas Jefferson. * ibid. Also Cathcart, The Captives. * There are references to the expense of the Tripohtanian Ambassador's visit in P.R.O. F.O. 95/1.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

82

was extraordinarily artistic. The Tripolitanian claimed that all the inhabitants of North Africa had heard with admiration and deUght of the American colonies' successful revolt against the power of Great Britain and they welcomed unreservedly American ships to trade within the Mediterranean Sea. However, as the Mediterranean belonged to the Moslems the United States would, of course, be expected to buy peace treaties, John Adams, not knowing how seriously to take all this, inquired gravely how much these would cost. Thirty thousand guineas for Tripoli plus a personal gift of three thousand guineas

rephed the Tripolitanian. Tunis, he assured Adams, would settle for the same amount, Algiers being more powerful would expect a great deal more. When Adams asked him what he thought Morocco woidd need, the Tripohtanian said he knew nothing at all about Moroccan requirements.^ Adams advised Secretary of State John Jay that it seemed hkely that the eighty thousand dollars set aside for Barbary treaties was going to prove quite inadequate. In Philadelphia on 5 April 1786, a Committee of Congress expressed the opinion that a further and special loan would have to be raised to cover Barbary negotiations. By 23 May 1786, John Adams had heard from William Carmichael in Madrid that the U.S. offer to Algiers was too small. He wrote to Thomas Jefferson in Paris that he was not particularly surprised at that but he was surprised that neither John Lamb, his secretary Randal, nor Carmichael had written more fully on the subject.^ Thomas Jefferson had already written to him his doubts about Lamb's capabilities* and Adams now agreed that it would be best if Lamb went straight back to America and reported to Congress, whilst his secretary Randall brought his copy of the report to London.^ He also told Jefferson that on 4 May he had received a letter from Captain Isaak Stevens of the Maria, telling him that the ransom price was six thousand Mexican dollars per captain, four thousand per mate, and fifteen hundred per sailor, and that no abatement could be expected. But the for himself,

^ 2 *

Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson, J.C.C, vol. XXX, p. 152. Boyd, op. cit., vol. ix, p. 564.

«

ibid., p. 506.

«

ibid., p. 611.

vol. ix, pp.

285-8 and 357-8.

3«.

36.

Roof terraces of Algiers.

Boats and fishermen on the beach below the city

walls.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

83

Commissioners, Adams wrote, could surely not pay such enormous sums without further direct authorization from Congress.^ There was still no direct news anywhere from John Lamb, nor was there any information as to what he had done with the twelve thousand dollars he had drawn at Madrid. It did not take long for people to smell fraud and on 26 September 1786 Congress in Philadelphia resolved on a motion of Charles Pinkney, seconded by Henry Lee, that the commission and instructions issued to Mr. John Lamb for the purpose of negotiating with the Barbary powers be vacated and annulled, and that the Secretary for

Foreign

AflFairs

take the necessary measures for directing Mr.

immediately to repair to

New

Lamb

York.^ The failure of Captain John

Lamb's mission to Algiers was a great disappointment to the Barbary Commissioners and to the shipping lobby in Congress, but it was of comfort to both these that Thomas Barclay's mission to Morocco appeared to have been entirely successful. It was some time before many of the American captives in Algiers could bring themselves to face the fact that Captain Lamb's swashbuckling diplomacy and confident promises had been all so much hot air. As the horrid truth slowly dawned on them their reaction was to fall into near despair a despair aggravated by the humiliatingly foohsh figure the first United States diplomat had cut in Algiers.^ The Peace Commissioners in due course returned to America and Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Jay as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Jefferson, who had instructed Lamb in his Algerian mission, was more irritated than anybody by his failure. To begin with, he had attributed this entirely to Captain Lamb's incompetence or dishonesty; but in time he came to beheve that these were only two minor factors in the failure of the mission. The primary cause, he felt, was simply Algerian greed and it seemed to him that Dey Muhammad Bashaw's refusal to negotiate was both absurd and insulting. The sea captains of North Africa had all heard of America. But to most of them it was no more than a far-distant, almost mythical place, rich in silver and gold mines, whose fabulous output had for centuries poured into the Atlantic ports of Spain, To Thomas Jefferson, therefore, it seemed that to ransom twenty-one ;

* ibid.,

G

p. 665.

*

ibid., vol. x, p. 649.

'

Cathcart, The Captives.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

84

American captives at anything approaching the price demanded by Dey Muhammad would only serve to confirm the Moslem corsairs in their erroneous ideas of American wealth, and thus to encourage them in further acts of piracy. The logical course, he beheved, for the United States to follow was to pubhcly announce a total lack of interest in an Algerian Peace Treaty and to make no official effort to ransom the U.S. citizens held captive.

There was

much to be said for such a pohcy but it was an almost

impossible one to pursue. There were, after States citizens held in Algerian slavery.

himself

felt

bound

coast. ^

twenty-one United Jefferson

to initiate an under-cover negotiation through

a French rehgious order, the Marthurians, turies

all,

Even Thomas

who had for three cen-

maintained redemption missions along the North African

The French

priests

informed Jefferson that they could

probably arrange the redemption at a reasonable price but that

would take a very long time. However, before anything could the French Revolution broke out and all rehgious institutions, including the Marthurians, were abruptly it

be accomphshed, liquidated.

A number of private negotiations were also set in motion,

some

through the U.S. Consuls at Gibraltar and Alicante, and others through Jewish brokers. ^ The Jews were very powerful at Algiers, although they were considered low creatures and even Christian slaves were encouraged

by

their masters to spit

upon them.^ Their

power stemmed entirely from their superior intelligence service. The Jews, though scattered only thinly right round the shores of the Mediterranean, maintained close family and tribal ties. A constant stream of thoroughly rehable information flowed to and fro between the outposts of this busy tribe. This proved the sure foundation of their profitable banking system and of their personal security. As international pohtics became more comphcated it became more necessary for the rulers of states to receive early and accurate reports of what was happening in other parts of the world. 1

Boyd,

vol.

ii,

pp. 35-36.

L. Cathcart Papers, New York Public Library. • [Barnard] Travels in Algiers, Spain, etc., etc., p. 81. Also Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire g6nerale d'Alger par Haedo\ RA, No. 86, '

The James

1871, pp. 91-92.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

86

Only the Jews could provide these reports in North Africa. They could even tell the Turkish rulers of Algiers what the United States was unofficially prepared to pay for her captive seamen, and they arranged the private redemption of two of them at two thousand Mexican dollars per head.^ Meanwhile the American slaves in Algiers, who had no hope of private redemption, seriously began to beheve they were deserted. Captains O'Brien and Stevens, and O'Brien's passenger. Captain Coffin, sent petitions addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives begging for some steps to be taken to arrange their release ;2 and Captain O'Brien wrote long letters to Thomas Jefferson giving detailed information about Algiers and Algerian affairs.^ In view of his official pohcy of masterly non-activity, the Secretary of State thought it best not to acknowledge any of these. However, WilHam Carmichael, the U.S. Diplomatic Agent at Madrid, was authorized to forward some funds to alleviate the hardships of the captives. This rehef was sent through the Spanish Consul-General, the Count d'Expilly. He paid the three captains a monthly allowance that enabled them to live comfortably and to buy their exemption from labour, without having to rely on Consul Charles Logic's charity.* Unfortunately this provision for the three captains absorbed most of the rehef funds and the rest of the Americans only received an allowance of seven and a half cents a month. This purchased very little even in Algiers and it was not long before some of the Americans began to die of disease and despair. One young man, a servant in the palace gardens, stole some fruit and received the bastinado. The shock deprived him of his reason and he was locked up in the city mad-house where he died after some years of misery and confusion.^ The madhouse consisted of a single, large dungeon below one of the main streets of Algiers. Its only soiu"ce of light, ventilation, and means of access was through an iron grid in the street. Into this place the insane and sometimes the criminal were lowered. Here they * U.S.C.D. Gibraltar, Thomas Barclay to Thomas Jefferson, Gibraltar, 28 May 1792. * '

ibid., 29 March 1792, copy of prisoners' petition from Algiers. Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. ix, p. 614; vol. x, p. 131;

vol. xi, p. 321.

*

ibid., vol. ix, p. 621.

'

Jsunes Harmet. See Cathcart, The Captives and also the Cathcart Papers in New York PubUc Library.

the

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

86

remained entirely dependent for supplies of food and water on what was lowered on ropes. They depended equally on the charity of passers-by to lower them goatskins into which they loaded the accumulated filth of their grotesque hves.^

By

the end of 1792 there were only twelve of the original

twenty-one American captives remaining. Six had died of the plague, either bubonic or pneumonic, one had died of consumption, while

two had been redeemed

privately. ^ Before the advent

of modern medical practices the whole coastal area from ^gypt to Morocco was regularly swept

by devastating outbreaks of the

plague.

Under Greek influence Alexandria had been a world centre of The Carthaginians were not without scholars. Under Rome, thought and scientific knowledge were as highly developed in North Africa as anywhere in the world. Though the Vandal occupation gave a pause to intellectualism, the Eastern Empire brought back learning and education to North Africa. The arrival of the nomad Arab armies, however, cast a dark veil of ignorance over the Barbary Coast. Under Islam, learning did not entirely disappear from North Africa, but education tended to become little more than a continual study of the Koran. ^ Astronomy was studied, but the Bedouin had long known all that was necessary learning.

to navigate their caravans across the vast wastes of the Sahara,

and were not seriously interested in carrying their studies further. The science of medicine was httle studied and even this little was not considered respectable. Each man, Islam taught, was in the hands of Allah and if Allah ordained that a man was to die of the plague only a fool would try to avoid his fate. It never ceased to astonish and amuse the Moslems of Algiers to see the free Christians of the city scurrying out to the country to avoid the nearly

annual epidemics.

Westward along the coast from

Algiers city, the French

had

for

many years occupied a trading post at a small coastal town called La CaUe. When the plague was reported in the district here, the Grammont, Etudes algeriennes, p. 84. Thomas Barclay to Thomas Jefferson, Gibraltar, 28 May,

^

Cathcart, The Captives; also de

*

U.S.C.D. Gibraltar,

1792. •

Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire g6a6rale d'Alger par RA, No. 85, 1871, p. 62.

Haedo',

DEATHS AND FAILURES

87

French retreated into their walled enclave and refused admittance all Moslems. The local Moors, irritated by such naivety and by the suspension of trade, responded by throwing the corpses of to

plague victims over the walls into the enclave.^

While the three American captains were

still

in Consul Logic's

charge he took them with him on his annual retreat into the country. James Cathcart once received permission to visit the captains at Logic's country house.

He was

scandalized

when he

arrived there to find O'Brien and Stevens digging a hole to plant a fruit tree, while

Captain Coffin led up a donkey whose panniers

with horse manure. Cathcart pretended to believe that Logic was dehberately trying to humiliate the American captains,

were

filled

but it was healthy work and none of the three made any complaint. The rest of the Americans were obliged to remain in the city during the epidemics of plague. Those who, like Cathcart, were

employed at the palace were not nearly so exposed to infection as the seamen in the bagnios. The American seamen were bright and able fellows, well equipped to look after themselves, with the exception of the poor fellow in the mad-house. Although they were only allowed a pittance by the American Government, they managed to earn a little pocket money. Most of this they spent but a portion they kept to rent a bunk in one of the crowded rooms leading off the bagnio balconies. ^ These rooms were dry and warm but were also teeming with infection, and each morning at dawn, during outbreaks of the plague, silent burial parties hurried with their pathetic burdens to the Christian burial in the taverns,

ground on the beach outside the gate of Bab-el-Oued. For the American captives the years passed in fear, in labour, and in sheer boredom. They began to doubt the abihty of the United States Government to obtain their release. Several decided that only the British Consul could help them. They surrendered in despair, and, as it turned out, in vain, their American citizenship they had been so proud to declare previously and claimed instead that they were British seamen who had been obhged to take service in North American ships through circumstances beyond ^ P. Masson, Histoire des itablisaements Barbaresque, p. 453. • Foss, Journal of Captivity, p. 28.

et

du commerce

frariQais

dans VAfrique

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

88

their control.

Even James Cathcart produced an

in

affidavit

which he swore that he had served on three separate British menof-war.^ No record remains as to how he squared this with the claims made in his journal that he served as a midshipman on board a U.S. cruiser during the Revolution. But Cathcart was not so depressed by his unhappy situation that he could not take an interest in the life of the city about him. He recorded in his journal some of its moments of pageantry and

drama. 2

Commencing 17 May 1788: This morning at 5 A.M. the Algerines was Display d on all the Marine Fortifications. The

Piratical Flag

CompHment on such Occasions by Hoisting their Colours. The whole Divan of Algeirs [the Council of Turkish Officers] the or Sheik or Constantine Dey Excepted went out to receive the Bey as he had Pitched his and to accompany him to the Deys Pallace tents in the Rebata or Plain the Night Before. These Plains are Distant from the Gate of Bebazon four miles. The Laga [Aga] or Commander in Chief of all the Mihtary Forces of Algeirs and Superintendant of Every thing that is transacted within the Rejency of Algeirs, this City Excepted, went out the Evening before in Order to Confer with him on the State of the Deys Cabinet, and other important Affairs. At 6 A.M. the Bey was met by the Divan all Mounted on fine Arabian Coursers Richly Caparison'd, and after the Usual Ceremonies were Paid First the they Proceeded towards the City in the following Order Aga of Spahias [the Moorish Auxihary Cavalry] with the Beys Guards about thirty in Number, secondly fifty Mules loaded with Money and forty fine Barbarian Horses. [the equivalent of 75,000 dollars] This is what is Customary to Pay the Rejency every three Years, besides his Cahph is Obhg'd to bring the Half of that sum Every Six Loaded with Gold to be Distributed Months, next followed Six Mules to the Dey and Divan as presents and Amounts to about 24000 Algerine Sequins [44,000 dollars]. Next followed Several Horses Richly Caparison'd Designed for Presents to the Great Men, attended by many of the Beys Guards and Spahias. The next that Presented itself to our View was Seven Stand of Colours Carried by Seven lanyiacgies [standard bearers] a Horse back a band of Moorish Musick three Holy fools or Maraboots Proclaiming the Beys arival and then Deys Hampa or Body Guards all Christian Vessels then in Port paid the usual

— —





.

.

.



.

5

.

.

1 P.R.O. F.O. 3/6, Algiers, 20 December 1785, Charles Logie to Lord Sydney; January 1789, Logie to Evan Nepean. * Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Joiimal and Letter Book', Proceedings of the American

Antiquarian Society, Oct. 1954, pp. 304-7.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

89

Ridiculously dress'd in Brass Caps and adorn'd with feathers to make them appear more Foohsh. Then Followed the Bey^ riding on the Hasnagis Left Side, behind them the Laga and Hodge of Cavallos or Clerk of the Cattle belonging to the Rejency, which is a birth of the greatest Consequence and the fourth of the Divan, behind him came the Vikilhadge or intendant of followed by a number of others of Inferiour Rank. At the Marine, 7 A.M. Entered the Gate of Bebazon and was Saluted by all the Marine Fortifications and likewise by all the Batteries they Past before they



Entered the City.

On the Bey« arival at the Pallace he was Disarm 'd for fear of his Proving Dissaffected and try to Assassinate the Dey then he and the Hasnagi Rode into the Pallace Yard and ahghted in the presence of the Dey the other great Men alighted without side of the pallace Gate. On his Paying his Respects to the Dey he Kisses his Hand and Sits Down Opposite to Him Disscourses about an Hour, Drinks a Dish of CofFe and fills the Cup with Manboobs [1 manboob 1 dollar 35] this is the Perquisite of the Christian Slaves in the pallace, who seldom fail to bring the largest Cup they can get in order for the Bey to fill it. He then Kisses the Beyhque or Deys Hand and is attended by several others and Conducted to his own Pallace. The Divan then Sits and if his Conduct is approved off the Caftan [robe of honour] is sent him by the Deys Head Christian or his first Christian Servant that Attends his own Person, if not it is not sent but the next time that he comes out of his House to go to the Deys Pallace he is Seiz'd and led to the Aga d'Baston's Prison and Choak'd immediately without a tryal, as Delays may prove Dangerous. During the Beys stay here which is eight Days he generally Visits the Dey twice a Day Tuesdays and Fridays Excepted. With the Bey Most part Genoese and came 17 Christian Slaves his Attendants Neapohtans Likewise a Free Surgeon Native of Marseilles. The Bey has brought with him Eleven Desperados that has Reneagued their faith as they Despaired of Ever being redeemed they being Deserters from [Oran] a Spanish Garrison on this Coast, 80 Leagues to the Westward of Algeirs. When the Bey is in his own Province he resides at a City of the Same name [Constantine] where he fives in great Splendour. Eight Days is the Limitted time for his Stay here if he stays any longer he incur 's the Dey's Displeasure. When he leaves Algeirs he Returns to the Eastern Province pretty well strip'd of his ill acquired Wealth. He Commences very soon to Plunder the Unfortunate and Wretched Arabs and by that means as soon as Possible makes up his losses sustain 'd during his short stay at Algeirs at the Cost of those Miserable Wretches whom 1 de Paradis ('Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 224, 1897, p. 103) states the Bey threw money to the crowds as he entered the city.



=

,

.

.

.



.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

90

Almighty Providence has pleas 'd to Place under Government.

On

this particular occasion,

his Jurisdiction

and

James Cathcart wrote, the Bey of

Constantine duly received the Caftan signifying the Dey's approval

and returned

own

to his

city in peace.

He

did however become

involved in a bitter dispute with the Dey's Chief Minister, or

Hasnagi, over a highly complicated

ended disastrously

money

The dispute

affair.

for the Hasnagi, for although the

Dey appeared

to support his Chief Minister at the outset, he subsequently

changed his attitude completely in the course of one night. Cathcart wrote in his journal:

Monday the 26th of May 1788. This Morning the Hasnagie as is Customary came to the Pallace Door and sat at the outside untill the Port was oppen'd between the Hours of four and five A.M. Accompanied by the Laga and Hodge of Caballos. The Bash Chau's [Guardian of the Palace Gate] as is Customary came to pay him his Respects, and the Hasnagi offer'd him his Hand to Kiss, the Chaw Abrupty Pushed his Hand away Seizes him and with the Help of two more Chauses [guards] Disarms him Strips him of his turbant and Burnuse [cloak] and Hurries him away to the Laga of Bastons Prison. ... As the Chauses Drag'd him under the Deys Window he called Aly Aly! what have I done! is there no Person that will Plead my Cause or interceed for me in the Moment of impending Danger. Oh! Aly my Wife my Children dont let them Suffer. The Laga asured him he would befriend them all that lay in his Power while he Lived. This unfortunate Great Man with haste was Conducted to the Place of Execution. The first Cord that was used to Strangle him by some means broke when he was about Half Dead upon which another was brought which effectually Done the Business. At 2 P.M. was Carried by four Pisqueras [common porters] the Corps .

.

.

of this once Dreaded Minister attended by not one turk. buried at Bebal Weyd without the least Ceremony. .

.

.

.

.

,

.

.

He was

^ .

One of the problems for anybody studying the history of Moslem North Africa is the constant duplication of names. Turks and Moors frequently shared the same names. Thus although the High Admiral of Algiers was called Sidi Hassan, a wealthy Moorish chief, ostensibly a vassal of the Bey of Constantine, was also called Sidi Hassan and he, on this occasion, accompanied the Bey of Constantine to Algiers in a private capacity. This was an ^

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp. 310-11.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

91

odd thing for him to do because he was on very bad terms with the of Constantine, and during the dispute between the Hasnagi and the Bey, Sidi Hassan the Moor strenuously supported the Hasnagi. When, therefore, the Chief Minister was garrotted, Sidi Hassan promptly took refuge in a marabout shrine just inside the gate of Bab Azoun. Certain shrines in the city had the power of asylum. However, the Turks had a way of getting round this

Bey

and Dey

Muhammad Bashaw ordered

his

Turkish military police

and make sure that no food or water was But Algerian politics were very much a matter of personal influence and Sidi Hassan the Moor had some powerful friends. First among these was his father-in-law, an influential marabout to surround the shrine

sent

in.

among the Kabyles. The blue-eyed,

fair-haired

Kabyles of the Atlas Mountains had

never been conquered by the Turks. They had been invaded and attacked by Turkish military columns on several occasions but

each time had repulsed them from their mountain stronghold with

heavy losses.^ In their turn the Kabyles on occasions had descended from their highlands into the fertile plain to the south-east of Algiers, and had laid waste the farms belonging to the wealthy residents of the city.^ These raids, however, were comparatively rare occurrences because once out of their familiar mountains the fierce but undisciplined Kabyles were no match for the welldrilled Turkish infantry, supported by cannon and Moorish cavalry. Turk and Kabyle, therefore, lived in mutual, if wary, respect. The Turks controlled most of the coast and those country towns to whose markets the Kabyles went to barter the surplus of their farms.' It was also the custom for young Kabyle men to enrol in the Moorish pohce of Algiers city for a number of years, ^ M. Hadj-Sadok, 'A travers la Berberie orientale du XVIII sidcle avec le voyageur Al-Warthilani', RA, Nos. 428/9, 1951, p. 323. Turks called Kabyles 'Caffre' see Broughton, Six Years^ Residence in Algiers, p. 21. For details of Turkish defeats by Kabyles see N. Robin, 'Les Oulad ben Zamoum', RA, No. 109,



1875, pp. 35-36. * In 1617; see de

'Relations entre la France et la regence d'Alger part 'Les deux canons de Simon Dansa', RA, No. 133, 1879, p. 15. And in 1640; see idem, second part, 'La Mission de Sanson Le Page et les Agents interimaires (1633-1646)', RA, No. 138, 1879, p. 442. ' Robin, 'Note sur I'organisation militaire et administrative des Turcs dana la Grande-Kabylie', RA, No. 99, 1873, p. 97. Also idem, 'Les Oulad ben Zamoum',

au XVII

RA, No.

Grammont,

sifecle', first

109, 1876, p. 37.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

92

in order to earn

enough cash to purchase a musket to take back

to the mountains.^

Between Constantine and Algiers lay a high spur of the Atlas Mountains. The main road between the two

cities ran through a narrow pass in these mountains and this could be closed at any time by the mountain dwellers. ^ An abiding fear of the Tiu-ks of Algiers was that the various Kabyle tribes would one day unite and mount a really determined assault on their authority. To prevent this happening they constantly intrigued to keep the hill men in a state of internal ferment. This was not difficult for the Kabyles had a long tradition of family and tribal feuds. ^ They were simple folk but devout Moslems and they treated Holy Men, or marabouts, with a far greater respect than the sophisticated coastal people ever did. Many of the living marabouts were not only politically minded, but also interested in the good things of life, and the Turks over the years had learned that one of the surest ways of controlling the Kabyles was to bribe their Holy Men.* The Moor Sidi Hassan was married to the daughter of the marabout of the Kabyle tribe of Fhssa, whose territory included the spur of the Atlas through which the road ran between Algiers and Constantine. This powerful marabout was highly indignant when he received news that his son-in-law was being molested by

the Turks.

He

sent a letter to

Dey Muhammad Bashaw

threaten-

ing to close the Constantine road and to lead his tribesmen into the plains.

Dey Muhammad was

down

a reahst and he immediately

any action being taken against Sidi Hassan Bey of Constantine had meanwhile returned to his own city where he promptly confiscated all Sidi Hassan's considerable property. Very soon, however, he received a letter from his master Dey Muhammad warning him to take no action against Sidi Hassan. The Bey was in a quandary. It went against the grain to return anything he had already seized. issued orders that

should cease forthwith. The

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 277. Hadj-Sadok, 'A travers la Berberie orientale', RA, Nos. 428/9, 1951, p. 357. Also Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 312. 3 de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII siecle', RA, No. 224, 1897, pp. 76-77. * P. Murati, 'Le Maraboutisme ou la Naissance d'une famille ethnique dans la region de Tebessa', RA, No. 371, 1937, pp. 256-68. Also Hadj-Sadok, 'A travers 1 *

la Berberie orientale',

RA, Nos.

428/9, 1951, p. 357.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

93

However, he could not afford to be at loggerheads both with the Dey and with the formidable tribe of FUssa at the same time. Sidi Hassan the Moor duly received back all his property.^ In this manner the Turks of Algiers controlled their destiny. They fuUy realized the limitations of their military power and the necessity of playing off one of their opponents against another. James Cathcart wrote his account of this affair when he was working as a slave at the Marine Ofl&ce. Captains O'Brien, Stevens, and Coffin would have been able to witness the same events for, being generally exempt from labour, they were free to stroU the busy alleyways of the city without hindrance and to visit the pubhc baths or the city's coffee houses. Life was not so leisurely for the other Americans. Soon after dawn a number of these were already at work within the palace sweeping, pohshing, preparing food, eviscerating carcasses in the

slaughterhouse and carting the offal to the lions and leopards in the palace garden.

The remainder were already down

at the

harbour, shifting cargo, preparing warships for sea, or working on the shpways. Here the hulls of the city's cruisers were scraped of

accumulations of weed and barnacles and were then thickly painted with Scandinavian pitch to discourage the seaworms

which attack wooden hulls in the Mediterranean Sea. These survivors of the Maria and the Dauphin had come to beheve themselves doomed to slavery for hfe. Some were married men and they wondered how their wives and children managed without them. Algerian captives were never hindered from writing or receiving letters but this was small consolation to seamen. As the years passed slowly by, the American captives remembered Captain John Lamb, who had promised so much, with bitterness. They cursed the government of the United States that seemed to care so little about their fate. But they were not really forgotten and a number of private inquiries about the price demanded for their ransom came from the United States. In August 1790, the British Consul at Gibraltar had furnished a hst of American captives and of the ransoms currently demanded for them in reply to one of these inquiries. This hst already showed that out of the original twenty-one taken ^

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 312.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

94

in 1785 only fourteen remained. It also

Algerian demands had not decreased at

proved that in

five years

The same letter also gave the news that two of the American seamen had already become tavern-keepers.^ By 29 March 1792, the fom*teen American captives had been reduced to thirteen in number, and these drew up the following all.

petition to be sent to the Congress of the United States at

Philadelphia.

In petition of the prisoners at Algiers herewith that we were captured nearly seven years ago by cruisers belonging to this Regency of Algiers while we were navigating vessels belonging to citizens of the United States.

That we were for a considerable time flattered by the expectation held up to us that we would be returned from Captivity as soon as it could be done consistent with propriety and the interests of our Country. That to effect this Redemption Mr. John Lamb was sent to Algiers on the part of the United States and that he entered into an agreement with the Regency of Algiers for our ransoms in consequence of which the terms were recorded in the books of the Regency. But Mr. Lamb never returned to fulfil them by payment of the ransom money though he promised in the name of the United States to do so within four months.

That we understand that several persons have been employed since then to make enquiries whether the ransoms agreed by Mr. Lamb might not be reduced, but all attempts of that sort have hitherto been ineffectual, the Regency declaring that the Contract made by the Agent of the United States ought to be discharged. That we were for some time supphed with such sums of money as served together with the prospects of the redemption held up to us to alleviate in some degree the rigor of our Captivity, but those suppHes have ceased for a considerable time during which we have been reduced to the utmost distress and we are compelled in a great measure to depend on the charity of [other] people. That owing to the melancholy situation to which we are reduced, one of us, James Harmet, has been deprived of his senses and confined in a Dungeon, the rest remains destitute almost of all the necessaries of Hfe and in this deplorable situation we have resisted any temptation to enter into the service of the Regency that might hereafter be attended with Repentance or Remorse, trusting in the Justice and Humanity of Congress that we shall never be reduced to the necessity of abandoning our Country and Religion. Your most humble petitioners further pray that you will consider ^

U.S. CD. Gibraltar,

26 August 1790.

James Simpson

to General George Washington, Gibraltar,

DEATHS AND FAILURES

96

suffering must have been for nearly seven years Captivity, twice surrounded with the pest and other contagious distempers which has transported six of our brother sufferers to the hills of mortaHty and we remain employed in the most laborious work far distant from our

what our

and connections, without any real prospect of seeing them more. But we entreat that some attention will be paid to our situation and

friends, families

Congress will before the whole of us perish take such steps towards our being hberated as shall in their Judgement appear proper and right and your petitioners will ever pray and be thankful. Signed by 13 prisoners, Algiers, 29 March 1792.1

There is no doubt that the American captives found themselves in a very distressing situation by 1792,^ but this petition to Congress is overdrawn in at least one aspect. By the late eighteenth century no pressure was being placed on Christian captives to change their faith.

At

this date only

Captain Richard O'Brien, a non-labouring

captive, had been promised the

command

of an Algerian warship

he would turn Moslem. However, better times seemed to be on the way, for a friend of the United States was making progress in Algiers. Sidi Hassan the Turk, not to be confused with Sidi Hassan the Moor, vassal of the Bey of Constantine, had come in close contact with the American seamen while he held the post of Intendant of the Marine and if

High Admiral of Algiers, and he had from the beginning looked upon them with a friendly eye. He thought particularly highly of Captain Richard O'Brien, who was a sailor to his finger-tips and could not be kept away from the harbour, where he displayed great practical knowledge as a ship master. James Cathcart, too, he was aware, displayed a bustling efficiency that was rare in Algiers. Sidi Hassan was prepared to show his esteem for the Americans in practical form. One of the Dauphin's seamen was sent to the Spanish Hospital with a serious eye infection that had deprived him of his sight, and when he was discharged from there as incurable. Captain O'Brien,

on

Sidi Hassan's advice,

took the

seaman to Dr. Werner, the surgeon to the British Consulate. Dr. Werner's treatment was successful and Sidi Hassan paid the surgeon's fee himself.'

Thomas Barclay to William Carmichael, Barclay to Thomas Jefiferson, Gibraltar,

1

ibid.,

»

ibid.,

'

Cathcart, The Captives.

Gibraltar, 28 May 1792. 31 July 1792.

.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

96

Hassan was the son-in-law of the former Hasnagi, or Chief Minister, who was garrotted in 1788, but far from sharing in this person's disgrace he actually succeeded to his position. There were, in fact, some people in the city who maintained that he had organized the whole unsavoury episode to further his own advancement.^ Be that as it may, he served the

High Admiral

ageing

Sidi

Dey Muhammad Bashaw faithfully for the next three years

and when that old Turk died on 12 July 1791, Sidi Hassan was acclaimed Dey by the Turkish janizaries without a dissenting voice being raised. James Cathcart wrote of him, 'Sidy Hassan a fine Mild Sensible Man and a lover of Justice has a Middling good Knowledge of the PoHticks of the Different Nations his Neighbours but more Especially the Spaniards. '^ Spain, feeling that she owed a considerable debt still to the man who had made her truce with Moslem North Africa possible, compHmented the new Dey by ceding the fortress of Oran to the .

.

Turks of Algiers. On this auspicious note began the reign of Sidi Hassan or, as he was now to be called, Dey Hassan Bashaw.^ In a benign mood he indicated to his American slaves that, although he would personally be sorry to see them go, he would place no obstacles in the way of their redemption as his predecessor had. As far as he was concerned, the United States of America was a free and independent nation with whom he was anxious to sign a full peace treaty as soon as terms could be agreed. Furthermore, he indicated that Captain Lamb's unkept promises that had so irritated Dey Muhammad were to be entirely forgotten. At this, a httle surge of activity and hope spread among the surviving Americans. The Jewish brokers wrote off to their relations at Leghorn and Marseilles to let them know that business might be expected in the near future. Encouraged by the change of atmosphere reported from Algiers, inquiries as to the current rate of

ransom began to arrive from private sources

in the

United

^ Document in National Archives, Washington D.C. This is separately filed from the usual Consular Records, being listed as 'Records of the Foreign Services Posts of the Department of State, American Consulate, Tunis. Vol. 1. 1793-1801, first 45 pages. Sub-headed See vol. 3, Algiers'. The Docvunent is unsigned but it is almost certainly the work of Richard O'Brien. * Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 314. ' 'Dey' signified he had been elected by the soldiers. 'Bashaw' a form of 'Pasha' meant his election had been confirmed by the Sultan of Turkey.

DEATHS AND FAILURES

97

The answer to these did show a reduction below the demands of the previous Dey, but the price was still very much higher than the figure of two hundred dollars per head which Thomas JefiFerson had quoted in 1786. States.

However, the official policy of the United States still remained one of total inactivity. It even appeared that the 'do nothing' approach was proving successful, for no more American ships had been taken by Moslem cruisers after 1785. In fact, this was because the Portuguese navy had assumed the blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar, in order to protect her Brazil convoys from Moslem warships. Also many North African sea captains had answered the call of the Grand Sultan and had been helping the Turks in their war with Russia in the Black Sea.^ At least the United States could congratulate themselves that as they were not represented in Algiers at the time Hassan Bashaw assumed power, they were under no obligation to offer him congratulatory presents. Charles Logic, the British Consul, wrote to the British Secretary of State,

Lord

Grenville,

on 13 July 1791: 'Mahomet Basha, Dey

of Algiers, died 12 July 1791, in morning between hours of seven

&

Hassan Basha, the Hasnagi, appointed Dey within half an hour without tumult.' Logie went on to claim he was the first Consul to be allowed in to congratulate the new Dey who had expressed friendly sentiments towards Britain and had immediately confirmed all treaties with that country. 'The late Dey had no family or relations in any office eight,

much

regretted

by

his subjects.

of Trust or Confidence', wrote Logie. 'The

new Dey has

a wife, a

Son and a Daughter and many near relations, one of the latter he has appointed Hasnagi. As the new Dey has so large a circle of relations, the Congratulatory presents would be more expensive than the last time.' Logie pointed out that the Dey and senior officers received no salaries with their offices but depended largely on presents for their hvehhood. He hoped he would be authorized to issue presents as soon as possible to cement good relations.^

One Algiers *

of the things which often impressed Christian visitors to

was the huge sums of money which were rumoured

to be

P.R.O. F.O. 3/6, Algiers, 9 June 1788, Chtirles Logie to Lord Sydney. F.O. 3/7, 13 July 1791, Charles Logie to Lord Grenville.

« ibid.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

98

Pubhc Treasury. This was understandable as the onlywages paid out of the Treasury were those of the janizaries, and these were surprisingly small. All Turkish officials drew only their military pay, while Moors who held official posts under the Regency received no wages from the Treasury at all. The officers of the customs at the harbour were entitled to keep a percentage of all dues they collected. The same apphed to the officials stationed at the city gates to collect taxes on produce brought into the city. The inspector of markets and weights and measures was entitled to keep a percentage of the fines he levied. The officers of police were, under certain circumstances, entitled to commute a punishment by the bastinado to a fine and to retain the proceeds. The Commander of Algiers' Night Patrol augmented his income by selling his permission to Moorish prostitutes to hire their favours to others apart from the janizaries. Seen in this context, the Tripohtanian Ambassador's insistence to John Adams in London that he should receive ten per cent of the value of any held in the

payment begins

treaty

By

to

make

sense.

1792 the Government of the United States had decided that

seven years' slavery was more than enough for their citizens in Algiers to endure for the sake of a neat-sounding principle. In that

year Congress voted an appropriation of

fifty

thousand dollars to

make a peace with Algiers and provide a ransom for the seamen captives. At the same time it was also agreed that America might pay a small annual sum for as long as the peace was kept.^ This last concession was not easily made for there was a great reluctance in America to pay anything which resembled tribute money.

but not one cent for tribute' was a popular slogan dating from this time. But it seemed clear from the lengthy 'Millions for defence

letters written

by Captain Richard O'Brien

to the Secretary of

State at Philadelphia, that only annual payments or powerful

naval forces could preserve a peace with Algiers, Tunis, or Tripoli for any length of time. Captain O'Brien's advice was fuUy corroborated by European diplomats with experience of Barbary affairs. ^ Devoiilx, Tachrifat, pp. 22 and 23; Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire Generale d'Alger par Haedo', RA, No. 90, 1871, pp. 469-71. * R. W. Irwin, Diplomatic Relations o/ the United States with the Barbary Powers,

1776-1816, p. 66,

DEATHS AND FAILURES Congress negotiator

now grasped

99

the nettle and decided that a top grade

must be sent to

Algiers without further delay.

The

first

on Admiral Paul Jones. ^ This famous fighting seaman had been living in France for some time and his appointment was a clear hint that if America should decide to build a navy she had the sailors to man it. But unfortunately Paul Jones died before the Barbary Commission reached him. Thomas Barclay's name was now substituted. He was considered a good choice as his mission to Morocco in 1786 had apparently been a success. However, since then it transpired that any success had been more apparent than real. Having returned in minor triumph from Rabat in 1786, he sent off to Philadelphia a hst of the peace presents required and then returned to Bordeaux to resume the threads of his own business affairs. These had become considerably entangled and in the spring of 1787 he was imprisoned for debt. It took Thomas Jefferson five days to bail him out.^ But this choice for the mission

fell

represented only the beginning of Barclay's financial

difficulties.

The House of Representatives had voted him two thousand dollars, over and above his expenses, for the Moroccan peace. The Senate increased the amount to four thousand but, in doing so, altered the Bill in such a manner that it was voted out and Barclay did not receive any payment at all. ^ Possibly to compensate him for this outrageous luck, Thomas Jefferson in 1791 offered

Thomas Barclay

the position of U.S. Consul at Lisbon with a

hundred poimds sterhng per annum. Barclay repUed that Lisbon was a very expensive place to hve in and that he likely salary of three

would not be able to come out on that figure. He hoped instead that Mr. Jefferson might be able to find him a post in America with the Department of Excise and Customs.* Later in 1791 Jefferson instructed Barclay to make ready to go on another mission to Morocco and to dehver the peace presents promised in 1786. Accordingly Thomas Barclay returned to Gibraltar and made ready to cross into Morocco.' However, at this 1

ibid.

Boyd, Papers of Thomas Paris, 21 June 1787. *

»

U.S.C.D. Gibraltar,

March *

Thomas Barclay

1791.

ibid., 5

February 1791.

•ibid., 13

December

Jefferson, vol. xi, pp. 491

1791.

to

and

Thomas

492. Jefferson to Jay,

Jefferson, Gibraltar,

19

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

100

time

all

straits.

two of

was in a state of confusion on the southern shores of the The former Emperor of Morocco had recently died and

were fighting each other for the throne. Barclaystayed with James Simpson, an Enghsh merchant resident at his sons

Gibraltar,

who was

the Russian Consul there, James Simpson also

wished to be United States Consul at Gibraltar and had already

been in correspondence with the Government of the United States about their seamen prisoners at Algiers.^ By February 1792, Barclay was still lodging with James

Simpson and waiting

Moroccan situation to clarify itself. it was rumoured that Oran would be dehvered to the Algerians within the next month and added that Algerian ships were out seizing Swedish prizes. He observed that Gibraltar depended much on Barbary for its daily supphes of fresh provisions and vegetables. ^ At the same time he

He

for the

wrote to Thomas Jefferson that

wrote to William Carmichael, the U.S. Envoy at Madrid, offering his services in transmitting

Americans held prisoners

funds to Algiers for the rehef of the

there. ^ Later,

he wrote again to Thomas

Jefferson pleading the continuing phght of the Americans at Algiers

and

offering his services.

Meanwhile there was nothing he

could do about Moroccan affairs except write copious letters in search of definite information on a confused subject. Finally, worn

out and frustrated by so

much

died at Gibraltar early in 1793,

letter-writing, still

Thomas Barclay

unaware that he had been

nominated to go as United States Envoy to the Dey of Algiers.*

The next choice for the Algerian mission fell on Colonel David Humphreys who was then United States Ambassador to the Court of Portugal at Lisbon, but who had previously been Secretary to the three Peace Commissioners in Europe. In this position he

had come into

close contact

with the early stages of

the Algerian negotiations and he had never bothered to disguise his opposition to Jefferson's policy of non-activity. Recently he had

even gone so far as to send a pamphlet to a number of American newspapers suggesting that as Congress would not redeem the

»

December 1791. 23 February 1792. ibid., 28 May 1792.

*

ibid.,

1

ibid., 3

»

ibid.,

James Simpson

to

Thomas Jefferson,

Gibraltar, 12 February 1795.

^

^

DEATHS AND FAILURES

101

Algerian captives, a 'public lottery' should be organized to raise

funds for that purpose.

David Humphreys, on receipt of his commission and its

financial

immediately arranged for his Lisbon banker, an named Bulkeley, to send relief funds for the captives to the Swedish Consul at Algiers. Then he set to work tidying up his own affairs in Lisbon prior to setting out on his provisions,

English merchant

North African mission. This tidying up process took time, possibly because he was at the same time paying court to his banker's daughter. It

was September 1793 before he

Algerian mission.

He

set out

on the

first

lap of his

chartered a Swedish vessel to transport him-

his assistant, a Mr. Nathaniel Cutting, and the cash that he had raised through Mr. Bulkeley. Until now the United States had always tried to conduct its affairs with Algiers through the self,

French, British, Spanish, or Dutch.

Humphreys broke with

this

and turned to Sweden for help. On 15 August 1791, had declared war on Sweden and that nation's Consul, Mathias Skjoldebrand, had been expelled from the regency. It is possible that he stopped at Lisbon on his way home and there met up with David Humphreys.

practice Algiers

Consul Mathias Skjoldebrand returned to Algiers on 24 May and carrying with him a substantial

1792, under a flag of truce

amount

of cash to be distributed as presents to the senior Turks

and officers of the regency. Peace between Algiers and Sweden was re-established by 6 June, and a large sum of money was paid out by the Swedes. It was the North African custom to arrange for Christian nations that usually had peace treaties there to take it in turns to experi-

way they learned to place a proper value on the advantages of peace. Thus Sweden, having taken her turn at war and having re-purchased a new peace, could look forward to a lengthy period of smooth relations with Algiers. It was this which probably persuaded David Humphreys to turn now to ence a httle war. This

Sweden

for assistance.

On

arriving at Gibraltar in the ship Jupiter,

Humphreys met up with James Simpson and together they ^



James L. Cathcart Papers, New York Public Library. S.D.C.D., vol. 3, Algiers see p. 96, n. 1. O'Brien says 90,000 sequins.



THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

102

opened up the peace presents destined for Morocco, for there was some fear that the textiles might have started to rot in the bales. Meanwhile there occurred a highly significant event. Before 1785 it had been the custom for Spain to station a

number of small warships in the Straits of Gibraltar Moslem cruisers sailing out into the Atlantic. On the

to prevent

conclusion

hundred years truce' between Spain and Algiers the Spanish warships were withdrawn. A small Algerian fleet sailed out of the Mediterranean and captured two American ships and a number of Portuguese fishing vessels. The loss of these fishing boats came as a shock to the Portuguese. Portugal had httle interest in the Mediterranean area but she did have vast investments in South America, East and West Africa, India, and the Far East. The last thing she wanted was to have her merchant vessels harassed by Algerian corsairs on the final stages of their long and exhausting voyages home. Accordingly, the blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar was assumed by Portuguese warships. During 1791 one of these blockading Portuguese frigates had followed an Algerian warship right into Gibraltar Bay and had destroyed it under the unprotesting guns of Gibraltar Castle.^ in that year of the 'one

This event highlighted a British embarrassment. France's revolutionary armies were meeting with considerable success. The rise

new radical power which threatened to upset the balance in Europe was causing the British Government much concern. This concern was sharpened by the patent weakness of the Spanish Government which, Britain suspected, would soon capitulate to either French arms or French intrigue. Britain felt unable to sit by and watch while the new France took over control of Europe. But if there was to be a trial of strength, Britain would need all the allies she could muster and these allies must be on good terms with one another. Portugal was already an ally of long standing, and as a bridgehead into the Spanish peninsula her value was incalculable. Britain's answer to France's military successes in Italy lay in the power of her immense navy. But a fleet operating in the Mediterranean must have friendly harbours with ample supply and of a

1

P.R.O. F.0. 3/6, Whitehall, 7 October 1786, Lord Sydney to Consul Logie; also 23 14 August 1792, Charles Logie to Henry Dundas.

November 1786. F.O. 3/7, Algiers,

DEATHS AND FAILURES repair facilities close at hand. Great Britain

103

had long appreciated

the potential value of North African ports as bases from which to

now Royal Navy

harass Spain. Algiers,

equal use to the

it

seemed, might turn out to be of as a base against

French Mediter-

ranean power. But Algiers and Portugal considered themselves to be permanently at war. Consul Charles Logie received instructions to rectify this situation without delay. ^

Charles Logie immediately recognized the strategic necessity

behind such a reconciliation.

He

soon obtained a truce by hinting

Dey Hassan Bashaw that the Queen of Portugal would pay him a substantial sum of money for a peace. The Portuguese were to

notified of the truce

through British diplomatic channels, and as

there seemed no further need for them, the blockading frigates

were withdrawn from the Straits of Gibraltar. Turkey's war with Russia was in abeyance. The Algerian

was back at

full strength.

For the

first

fleet

time since 1785 the Straits

Moslem warships. Wliile Ambassador David Humphreys and James Simpson were unrolling pieces of of Gibraltar were open to

air, a number of Algerian warships passed through the Straits and out into the Atlantic. ^ Their passage was a disaster for the United States.

velvet to the Gibraltar

» P.R.O. F.O. 3/7, Whitehall, 29 April 1793, Secretary of State (assiimed to be the sender, as there is no signature) to Consul Mace. Also Algiers, 25 June 1793, Charles Logie to Henry Dundas; 11 July 1793, Logie to Mr. Walpole; and 20

November *

1793, Logie to Henry Dundas. U.S. CD. Gibraltar, 8 October 1793, Gibraltar,

Jefferson.

James Simpson

to

Thomas

CHAPTER

7

SECOND ASSAULT

As early as

June 1793, James Simpson had written to Thomas JejBFerson from Gibraltar that an American schooner, the Lark, had been captured off the Spanish Mediterranean coast by an Algerian row-boat, but that the captain and crew had managed to escape to shore in their own rowing-boat.^ Algiers no longer operated the large galleys that had been such a terror to Christian seamen in the past, but some of the smaller ports along the coast fitted out large open boats with one central lateen saiP and several pairs of sweeps that could be used by their Moorish crews in times of calm. These row-boats were too small to carry cannon and were consequently no danger to ships of any size, but they could be a great nuisance to small Christian craft and many American ships were very small. One of the direct results of the return of Oran to Algiers was that a number of these miniature galleys centred themselves there and proceeded to pester the coastal craft trading 1

along the southwestern coast of Mediterranean Spain.

On

25

August 1793, Simpson reported that another American ship had been captured in the same area, but that the crew of this had also managed to make their escape to shore. The Algerian attacking force from Oran now comprised two row-boats in addition to the Lark which the raiders had armed for their own use.^ When Ambassador Humphreys reached Gibraltar during September 1793, he was just in time to receive news of the truce ^

U.S.C.D. Gibraltar, James Simpson to

Thomas

Jefferson, Gibraltar,

1

June

1793. *

'

A

large triangular sail used by xebecs, feluccas, etc., in the Mediterranean. U.S.G.D. Gibraltar, James Simpson to Thomas Jefferson, Gibraltar, 25

August 1793.

SECOND ASSAULT

106

arranged by Consul Logie between Portugal and Algiers, and to see the Portuguese blockading squadron withdrawn from the Straits. By 8 October Algerian warships had already passed westwards through the Straits. James Simpson wrote, 'The ship passed through the Straits this morning is one of two Corvettes given the Algerians by France, in place of two Xebecs destroyed by some Neapohtan Cruisers near Toulon in the year [1791].' The Neapolitans were good Roman Cathohcs and considered themselves permanently at war with the heathen powers of Africa, The French also considered themselves good Catholics but this did not prevent them from supplying Algiers with warships in which Moslem seamen could go cruising against Christian shipping. David Humphreys and his secretary, Nathaniel Cutting, settled down with James Simpson to inspect the peace presents that Thomas Barclay had been planning to carry into Morocco, as soon

war there had come to some definite conThe presents seemed in fine condition, but nevertheless it was decided to put up some of the cloth for auction, together with as the confused civil clusion.

nine bottles of fruit preserved in brandy, thirteen dozen bottles

and seven and a half dozen bottles of porter. The sale 35. 8d.^ The balance of the presents, amounting to fifteen cases of goods, were loaded on to the Swedish ship Jupiter and dispatched up the coast to wait at Ahcante. David Humphreys had business to attend to in Madrid so he and his secretary continued their journey by land. Nathaniel Cutting wrote that their route took them over some of the worst roads in the world. David Humplireys was hoping desperately that the Algerian fleet, which only numbered three warships, would not succeed in finding any American prizes in the broad expanses of the Atlantic. His hopes were not fulfilled and on 21 October 1793, James Simpson wrote ofiiciaUy to the Secretary of State at Philadelphia. 'It is with extreme concern I have to acquaint you that ... [a] Danish Brig saw a large American Ship, bound for the Straits captured on Friday off Cape Trafalgar by an Algerian Frigate and Xebique in company.'^ He wrote again on 31 October 1793: 'We have had many reports of American and Genoese Vessels being of

ale,

netted £729

.

* ibid., «

ibid.

.

.

21 October 1793,

James Simpson

to Secretary of State.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

106

most reports agree that about six American Vessels and three Genoese have been sent up. Two frigates anchored in Tangier Bay 23rd instant with a large .' American ship. Despite official discouragement, there were many more American vessels trading into and near the Mediterranean than there had been in 1785. When these vessels came into harbour and heard that the Algerians were out hunting for American prizes many decided not to continue their voyages. By the end of October there were four U.S. ships sheltering in Gibraltar Bay alone. Simpson reported that three of these were in ballast, while one had sailed down the coast from Malaga, with a cargo of fruit for New York. It was a worrying time for James Simpson, who had just received the official appointment as United States Consul at Gibraltar, as he waited to hear exactly what losses America had sustained at the hands of Algerian corsairs. It was with considerable relief that he was able to report on 21 November 1793 that the Portuguese had sent their blockading squadron back to the Straits. However, by that date all Algerian warships were back in taken by the Algerines

.

.

.

.

.

the Mediterranean.^

Meanwhile David Humphreys had arrived in Alicante. He had presents ready and loaded on board his Swedish ship. He was confident that once he reached Algiers the exercise of a little tact, together with some firmness and plain speaking would soon settle the Algerian affair and obtain the release of aU American captives. He immediately wrote a letter to the Dey in which he requested an interview to discuss the terms of a peace treaty and sent it by fast sailing-boat to Algiers. But time was working against Ambassador Humphreys and, disastrously, his letter reached Algiers at the same time as the cruisers were sending in their first American prizes. It has sometimes been claimed that before the nineteenth century Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli Hved entirely by piracy. This

money and peace

is

not

so.

In

fact,

each of these places lived by agriculture, helped

along by a httle trade. They were accustomed to a low standard of living

and blindly accepted the many natural causes that severely

limited the population in North Africa. However, the citizens of »

ibid., 21

November

1793.

SECOND ASSAULT

107

these three maritime cities had, since the time

of the Arab become accustomed to seeing Moslem warships bringing in Christian prizes and they took a keen interest in the activities of their small fleets. The Algerian fleet, accordingly, sailed out of harbour carrying with it the blessings of all citizens and when its return was signalled, every good man, whether Moor or Jew, thought it his duty and pleasure to hurry down to the harbour to see what gifts Allah had bestowed on his captains. During November 1793 the city of Algiers was filled with excitement as the Regency's xebecs and frigates began bringing in their prizes. Even if Dey Hassan Bashaw had wished to talk peace with the Americans, he could not have risked doing so at such a time. It would have been too simple a matter for the captains of his TaifiFe to have stirred the city mob to revolt and to have procured his assassination by a disaffected janizary. A curt refusal to negotiate was sent back to Alicante in the express boat.^ These days to be educated, a Christian, and the possessor of a white skin is not necessarily a cause for self-congratulation it was different towards the end of the eighteenth century, A cultivated gentleman and diplomat, as was Colonel David Humphreys, invasions,

;

regarded the Turkish ruler of the

illiterate

Algerians as a simple

barbarian. Furthermore, however necessary his proposed mission to Algiers

might

be,

he also regarded

it

as

an act of considerable

Dey Hassan Bashaw's curt refusal to negotiate filled David Humphreys with fury. He immediately unloaded the money and peace presents from the Swedish ship and deposited them with Montgomery, the U.S. Consul at Alicante. He incondescension,

Montgomery to send sixteen thousand dollars to the Swedish Consul in Algiers for the immediate rehef of the new captives,'' then he and Nathaniel Cutting returned to Lisbon overland. One can only hope that the amiable Miss Bulkeley was

structed

pleased to see her suitor so soon returned, even

if

he was in rather

a savage state of mind.

As soon

as

news of the

latest Algerian outrage

began to

trickle

into the harbours of the United States, popular indignation

erupted. »

»

But

it

took a long time for definite information to cross

S.D.C.D. vol. 3, Algiers; see p. 96, n. 1. F. L. Hvimphreys, The Life of David Humphreys, vol.

ii,

p. 210.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

108

One of the first letters to reach America from a seaman captured in October 1793, was addressed to a Mr. David the Atlantic. Pearce, Jr. Sir, ... I now write you informing you of 11th of Oct. by an Algerine Frigate of 26 Guns, 50 leagues S.W. of Cape St. Vincent and brought to this place where I arrived the 30th Oct. when we were all put on shore where I found the unfortunate Crews of ten more Americans. On our landing we were all put in Chains without the least distinction and put to hard labour from daylight until night with only the allowance of two small black loaves and water & close confined at night, we suffered much on board the cruisers, for when they boarded us they even took the clothes from our backs and brought us on board almost naked in this situation they put us in the Cable Tier without anything not even a blanket to cover us, where we remained untill our arrival here without even a shirt to shift us. Death would be a great rehef and more welcome than a continuance of our present situation, without a peace you may be assured that the whole coast of Europe will be blockaded by their cruisers as ... it is not a doubt that they will go as far next spring as the Channel of England as they are building more cruisers. They have now four Frigates from 26 to 46 guns. Two brigs of 24, four Xebecs of twenty guns and four smaller ones which have all been at sea since their Truce with Portugal. The Cruisers that are now at Sea we expect will bring in more Prizes tho' God forbid for the situation of the Convicts on the Castle would be happiness to our situation, for we think ourselves happy if we escape through the day being beat by our drivers who carries a stick big enough to knock a man down and the innocent often suffer with the guilty as they say we are all Christians. In my last

Algiers,

Deer 4th, 1793.

my being Captured the

.

.

.

your father I gave him an account of what cargo I had on board which was 650 Casks of Raisins, 20 Casks Wine, 30 Jars Raisins and from the goodness of the and 3 of Grapes and 40 boxes of ditto grapes and wine I make no doubt I should have done well had I got But alas all my hopes are blasted and whether ever I safe home. shall get away from this is entirely uncertain, indeed if I may judge by the unfortunate Capns O'Brien and Stevens who have been nine years here and most of their Crews are aheady Dead and if our Country could not reheve so small a number what will they do when there is nearly 140 men in the 13 vessels that's aheady taken and we have no reason but to expect but that the Plague will in the com-se of a year take off many of us as the last Plague took away 800 out of 2,000 slaves. ... I hope your father had the Jay insured as I make no doubt you had the Cargo. I would, if it is in my power, forward you a regular Protest, but you know it is impossible in this Country, and I suppose letter to

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

SECOND ASSAULT

109

one from a Slave would be of no importance I am very sorry for your misfortune but my Own is so much greater than yours that there is no Comparison .... from Sir, your well wishing friend but unfortunate Slave and

Humble

Anyone who

servt

.

.

.

Samuel

Calder.^

writes a letter likes to

make a good

story and

Captain Calder, understandably oppressed by the sudden loss of fortune and liberty, exaggerated the misery of his situation and

The idea that they might blockade far as the English Channel was absurd; but the Algerians were increasing the size of their fleet. One of the gifts sent by Spain to Dey Hassan Bashaw on his accession to power was a master shipbuilder. Early in 1794 detailed accounts of the new losses sustained by the power of the Algerians.

the coast of Europe as

the United States at the hands of the Algerians reached America.

The

east coast ports were

still

the major centres of population in

the United States and the merchants and shipowners resident there represented a powerful political lobby. This lobby

demanded that the administration should take

now

efifective steps

render the sea approaches to southern Europe safe.

to

Even the

members of Congress outside the shipping lobby were deeply angered by the humiliation inflicted on their nation by Algerian sea captains. It no longer seemed the natural concern for state

Government as poor and as weak as Outraged by the Algerians, Congress voted that six naval frigates should be constructed without delay, and at the same time voted President Washington 800,000 dollars to make treaties with the Barbary powers. ^ The State Department sent urgent instructions to David Humphreys to set Barbary peace negotiations, especially Algerian peace negotiations, in motion without delay. delegates to keep the Federal

possible.

But the age when orders

to action could be flashed across the

Atlantic at the speed of light had not yet arrived and the urgency

of governmental instructions lost a great deal of their force in the time it took for a ship to be pushed across the Atlantic by westerly gales.

David Humphreys, back again at his post at Lisbon, was farther ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

David Pearce, *

R.

W.

pp. 6^-69.

series, vol.

i,

part

1,

4

December

1793,

Samuel Calder to

Jr.

Irwia, Diplomatic Relations of the United States luith the Barbary Pouters,

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

110

away from the angry merchants of Boston, New York, Philaand Rhode Island, than was President Washington. He was more interested in his country's damaged honour and in his own amour propre than in the balance-sheets of east coast merchants. He also believed that to plead for negotiations now would

delphia,

merely serve to stimulate Algerian greed.

He

resolved, despite

anything Congress or the State Department might say, to wait for the barbarian

Turk to approach him. Accordingly, he

sat tight

and did nothing. Meanwhile the Portuguese Government had, at Consul Logic's request, sent a naval frigate to Algiers to find out on what terms the Dey was prepared to sign a full peace treaty.^ The frigate returned to Lisbon bearing with it financial demands so huge that the Portuguese dismissed all idea of an Algerian peace and sent their blockading squadron back to the Straits of Gibraltar. According to Richard O'Brien, Consul Logic had committed Portugal to pay the Algerians two million, four hundred thousand dollars.

Consul Charles Logic received the kindly but, despite

this,

American captives

first

both Richard O'Brien and James Cathcart

in their accounts of Algerian affairs treated the British Consul

was he who urged the They also insisted that making the Portuguese truce in the autumn

with great severity. According to them

it

Algerians to seize American ships in 1785. his

whole purpose in

of 1793

was

to open the Straits of Gibraltar so as to allow the

Algerians to seize more American vessels. In fairness to Consul quite apparent that neither charge can be justified.

Logic,

it is

In the

first place,

the Algerians were looking for American prizes

before he arrived in Algiers and, in the second, he to fry than Americans. instructions from

He made

London; and he made

own envoy with

full

fish

it

reluctantly, insisting

own peace and send powers to negotiate. Charles Logic make

that the Portuguese would have to their

had bigger

the Portuguese truce of 1793 on

their

denied ever committing Portugal to any definite payment for peace. 1

When

P.R.O. F.O.

Captain Richard O'Brien mentioned a figure of over 3/7, Algiers, 6

November

1793, Charlea Logie to Mr. Walpole

(copy). *

U.S. CD. Gibraltar,

November

1793.

James Simpson

to Secretary of State, Gibraltar,

21

SECOND ASSAULT two

111

David Humphreys,^ he was most rumour he had heard in one of the city's taverns. Although it was of considerable comfort to David Humphreys to know that the Algerian fleet was shut up in the Mediterranean again, the short-lived Portuguese truce had certainly caused the million dollars in his letter to

likely repeating a

much harm. On 17 February 1794, Edmund Randolph, who had succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of United States

State for Foreign Affairs on 2 January of that year, received a detailed

list

of the latest American losses from Consul

James

Simpson at Gibraltar.^ Ship. Hope of New York George Burnham Master bound from Rotterdam to Malaga in Ballast. Ship. The Minerva, J. McShane from Philadelphia to Barcelona. Ship. President of Philadelphia, WiUiam Penrose Master, from

Philadelphia to Cadiz with Grain Flour, etc. Ship. Thomas of Newberry Port Thomas

Newman

Master from

Amsterdam with Sugar Wooll & Sundries. George of Road Island James Taylor Master from Lisbon with

Cadiz to Brig.

Grain and Indian corn. Brig. Polly of

Newberry Port Michael Smith Master from Baltimore

to Cadiz with Flour. Brig.

The OUve Branch of Portsmouth

[U.S.]

Wilham Fumess

Master with Grain from Virginia to Lisbon. Brig. Jane of Haver Hill Moses Morse Master with Hides Indigo from Cadiz to Ostend. Schooner. Jay of Colchester [U.S.] Samuel Calder Master from Malaga to Boston with Raisins. Figs, Wine, etc. Schooner. Dispatch of Petersburg [U.S.] WiUiam Wallsy Master from Cadiz to Hamburg with Sugar Indigo SarspariUa, etc. Brig. Minerva Joseph Ingram Master with Sundries bound from Leghorn to New York 7 Men 105 American Slaves.

Altogether

it

was a substantial headache that Edmund Ran-

dolph had inherited at the State Department.

However, the diplomatic chmate in Algiers was seldom settled and by the time Consul Simpson's depressing list had arrived in Philadelphia hints were aheady reaching David Humphreys in Lisbon that the Algerians were again ready to talk peace with the ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

to Col. *

series, vol.

U.S. CD. Gibraltar, from

given).

i,

part

1,

Algiers,

October 1794, Richard O'Brien

Humphreys.

James Simpson, 27 November 1793

(no addressee

^

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

112

United States. The Ambassador, however, required more than hints. He had not forgotten his abortive journey to Alicante the year before also he had heard rumours that Dey Hassan Bashaw hoped he might be able to reimburse himself, at American expense, ;

for the two million, four hundred thousand dollars he beheved he had lost over the Portuguese 'fiasco'. It was also rumoured that he was being encouraged in this hope by the Spanish ConsulGeneral at Algiers, who had recently received instructions to prevent an Algerian-American peace at all costs. When Captain John Lamb visited Algiers in 1786 he reported in confused terms that the Count d'Expilly, the Erenchman charged with the Spanish negotiations, was the prime cause of the failure

of his mission. Captain Richard O'Brien did not support this view

and one of his chief complaints about John Lamb was the absurd and aggressive manner in which he had treated the Spanish negotiator. However, by 1793 the official Spanish attitude towards any American-Algerian peace had hardened into definite hostility. One reason for this was that Spain, made nervous by the upsurge of French military strength, and radical military strength at that, was increasing the size of her own army. She was already buying enormous quantities of North African wheat to feed her soldiers, but she also beheved she needed North American grain in large quantities, and consequently feared that peace with Algiers might divert many American grain ships to Itahan ports inside the Mediterranean. There was also mounting friction between Spain and the United States over the colony of Louisiana and navigation rights on the Mississippi River. In America a vast new area of land was being opened up west of the Appalachian Mountains. The simplest way to export the crops grown in this fertile new area was down the Mississippi River system to the Gulf of Mexico. But the Spanish Government felt under no obligation to allow Americans to use the last Louisiana section of the river. In justification of this dog-in-the-

manger attitude they pointed out that the Portuguese did not grant Spanish citizens free navigation rights on the Tagus River,

whose final stretches led through Portuguese territory to the S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part Richard O'Brien, no addressee. • E. Channing, A History of the United ^

1,

8

November

States, vol.

iii,

1794, sender

p. 488.

coast.

presumed

;

SECOND ASSAULT Colonel David

Humphreys

113

feared that for the time being at

least the diplomatic representative of Spain in Algiers could be

expected to use his influence against the United States. Then, as a further distraction, news reached Lisbon that the Algerians

had

declared war against Holland,

This was to prove neither a long war nor a bloody one. In fact,

most wars in which the Tm-ks of Algiers took part, it seemed have been started entirely so that it could be ended quickly and profitably. However, with a Dutch war and Dutch negotiations in hand, Dey Hassan Bashaw did not have the time to do more than let it be known in vague terms that he would not object to coming to some arrangement with the Government of his friends

like

to

the Americans.

This was small consolation to the merchants of the United States it

who were anxious to send their ships into the Mediterranean

was even smaller consolation

to the

American seamen held

in

the slave bagnios of Algiers. However, the living conditions of

had improved greatly

these captives

as a result of the relief funds

sent through the Swedish Consul. This rehef was being distributed in

an

efficient

by a captive

and humane manner, as witnessed

in a letter written

to the owners of his vessel,

Messrs. Gibbs Charming & Enga January 7th, 1793 [1794], Honoured Sirs, I Embrace an opportunity of letting you No that we are in Rather better Circumstances than formerly Mr Humphreys our Ambassador at the Court of Lisbon has remitted money here four our support we understand it is to be Regular it is a great alleviation of our Misery, we are to work in the marine as usual in iron these 4 days upon .

.

.

.

.

.

account of an English frigate in the Road are always glad to see Vessels except armed ones, our irons is but light when they are not here we have Wrote three memorials one to His Excellency the President one to the Senate & one to the House of Representatives. ... [I] have to beg you gentlemen to forward a line from my family by the way of Your humble Servant James Taylor. Spain Gibraltar or Portugal. P.S. The George leaking when taken was Carried into Cadiz and there .

.

.

sold.i

an extraordinary postscript and shows what an alteration had taken place in Spanish policy towards Algiers since the truce of 1785. Before that date no Algerian ship would have This last

is

* S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part Taylor to Messrs. Gibbs and Chaaining.

1,

Algiers, 7

January 1793 [1794], James

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

114

dared go near a Spanish port, except under arms, and none would have dared send in a Christian prize to be sold there. But if the Spanish were softening in their attitude to the Algerians, indignation with the 'Moslem Pirates' was mounting rapidly in the United States. A letter signed simply 'Benevolence' was posted to the Secretary of State from Connecticut on 4 April 1794.^ Sir, [the letter

States,

Vermont,

read] I have lately travelled through the New England etc., the general topi ok was the times, principally the

Sufferings of our Citizens

among

the Algerines. At several places the

general wish was that the President should issue his proclamation for a general Contribution for their Rehef. I heard one farmer say he would give 5 guinies another 2 no person said under a Dollar.

An

.

.

.

Algerian fund was started in Philadelphia and a committee

members wrote to Secretary of State Randolph asking 'Whether any provision is made by government to alleviate the situation of the captives while in bondage'. ^ Nathaniel Cutting, of

its

the

man who had accompanied Ambassador David Humphreys on

his fruitless

journey to Alicante, returned to the United States on

15 April 1794,

he

and immediately wrote to Randolph. In

said, 'It gives

me peculiar pleasure

this letter

to find that a uniform spirit

manly resentment of unprovoked and reiterated and injuries pervades the breast of every thinking and well.'^ informed American with whom I have lately conversed. During May 1794, the manager of the Boston Theatre staged a Benefit Performance and collected 887 doUars 28 cents for the rehef of the American prisoners at Algiers.* It was easier to be indignant than to know quite what to do. The administration was subject to two types of advice from Congress and the public. Most Americans demanded that the of patriotism and

insults

.

.

United States should immediately dispatch warships to the Mediterranean. Unfortunately the United States possessed no warships. It is true that orders had been lately given for the immediate construction of six super-frigates but these would not be built for some time to come. Nor was it even certain that they ever would be commissioned, for although some states were in 4 April 1794, to Secretary of State. April 1794, to Secretary of State. ibid., Newry (?), 15 April 1794, Nathaniel Cutting to Secretary of State. ibid., Boston, 10 May 1794, Norton (?) to Secretary of State (?).

^

ibid.,

*

ibid., Philadelphia, 7

'

«

SECOND ASSAULT favour of a Federal

Navy others were

115

violently opposed to putting

physical power in the hands of the central Government; while

nobody wished to pay the Federal taxes necessary for building a navy. A number of less bellicose citizens urged their government not to delay a moment longer in sending an envoy to Algiers to an honest, competent man could personally talk to the Algerian Government, all would surely

negotiate a peace. These argued that

be

if

well.

Som6

confusion seems to have arisen in the minds of

members

of the administration at this point. It was decided in the office of the Secretary of State that America should be represented by consuls at Algiers and the other Barbary States; also that an American Government envoy should go to Algiers and make peace there. Some people seem to have seen these two functions as

separate but others as the same.

Thomas

Jefferson had, before he

resigned his position as Secretary of State, appointed an East

Coast merchant Algiers. This

named

I.

Gabriels as United States Consul at

Mr. Gabriels, judging from his

letters,

assumed that

his duties were to be not only those of a resident Consul but also

those of a visiting peace negotiator. However, once this

first

appointment was made, Jefferson made no further reference to it; while Gabriels himself vanished on a prolonged tour of the East Coast ports of America. When Edmund Randolph became Secretary of State he made a half-hearted attempt to locate Gabriels^ but, being unsuccessful, forgot all about him. Meanwhile, under pressure from the Congressional shipping lobby, he attempted to stir David Humphreys at Lisbon into some sort of activity. But Humphreys was holding firm to his resolve not to increase Algerian greed by too great an appearance of eagerness. In fact, his opinion on how to handle Algerian affairs had undergone a complete reversal. While Thomas Jefferson had been pursuing his policy of inactivity and imposing it upon the peace commission, David Humphreys, as secretary to the Barbary Peace Commission, had steadily supported John Adams's opinion that it would pay the United States to pocket her pride and purchase peace treaties with the Moslem powers of North Africa. But now, as a result of the snub he had personally received from ^

I

F. L. Humphreys, Life of David Humphreys, vol.

ii,

p. 227.

^

,

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

116

Hassan Bashaw, he had come round to Jefferson's opinion that there was little point in opening any negotiations with North Africa until the United States possessed some naval force to support her diplomats. The creation of such a force, Humphreys realized, would take time and, in the meanwhile, he began to think it might be best if the captives could be redeemed by pubhc subscription. This he knew would be expensive but he beheved the money could be raised easily enough in America. In fact, David Humphreys had already sent advertisements for his plan for a state lottery to raise money for Algerian ransoms to the United States. The editor of a Boston newspaper wrote to Edmund Randolph in some embarrassment asking whether or not he should pubhsh this.^ The answer seems to have been in the negative.

By

October 1794, Secretary

Edmund Randolph,

tired of waiting

what Humphreys was doing, decided to act himself in the Algerian affair. On 13 September 1794 he had received a letter signed by a Mr. Blackden and written from a Philadelphia hotel. Mr. Blackden wrote that he had recently arrived from Europe on board a Danish ship commanded by Captain Heysell. This Captain Heysell had once transported a cargo of peace presents and naval stores from Denmark to Algiers where he had been made most welcome and treated with great respect by the present Dey, who had been Chief Minister at the time. Furthermore, his ship carried a Danish Mediterranean passport which enabled him to sail the Inland Sea without fear of any Moslem cruisers. Captain Heysell Blackden wrote, had a particular esteem for Americans and wished to help them by placing at their disposal his particular knowledge to hear

of Algerian affairs.

This

all

sounded good to Secretary

Edmund

Randolph. For one

thing the diplomatic representation of the United States to the

Court of Spain was not satisfactory, and WiUiam Carmichael, the U.S. envoy at Madrid, was showing signs of flagging. The

new

United States of America, as a sensible economy measure, purposefully avoided giving many of her overseas representatives ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

i,

part

1,

Boston, 19 September 1794, B. Lincoln

to Secretary of State. *

ibid.,

Philadelphia, 13 September 1794,

I.

Blackden to the President.

SECOND ASSAULT

117

high-sounding ranks. Unfortunately, the Spanish Court had an

extremely elevated idea of

its

own

dignity and the American

had been almost by the grandees surrounding the King of Spain.

representative, lacking the rank of Ambassador, entirely ignored

To add

to Carmichael's discomfort the Secretary of State's office

had sent him very little in the way of information The unfortunate Carmichael had thus found himself hving in a sort of diplomatic vacuum that every day seemed to grow more complete. The eflFect of all this was to fill him with a sense of melancholia, which in time became so intense that he became entirely unable to write any letters. David Humphreys was not a Jefferson man. He had been on George Washington's staff during the revolutionary war and had received his first diplomatic appointment specifically at Washington's request. While Thomas Jefferson was Secretary of State he was unhkely to have wished to replace the envoy at Madrid with a man whom he knew was personally committed to President Washington. Although Jefferson had served as a member of Washington's administration for a number of years, he had in Philadelphia

or instructions.

gradually

moved

President. It

into a position of absolute opposition to the

was

this

which caused him to resign

his office of

Secretary of State.

Edmund Randolph had no such political bias against David Humphreys. The fact that he was a protege of President Washington can only have stood in his favour. When it was decided that the United States must appoint a full-scale Ambassador to Madrid, Edmund Randolph had little hesitation in suggesting Humphreys' name to the President. It was, therefore, quite apparent that David Humphreys would not again have time to go to Algiers in person as he had tried to do in 1793. Captain Heysell seemed to be offering his services at a most opportune moment. Edmund Randolph accordingly wrote to the Danish captain how the U.S. should act in the Algerian Heysell rephed with a short, well-reasoned letter. ^ In this

asking for his advice as to affair.

he recommended the supplying of gifts of naval stores as the cheapest way of securing a treaty. Randolph promptly appointed Heysell U.S. Consul to Barbary and instructed ^

ibid.

him

to report to

Minutes signed H. Heysell, Philadelphia, 20 October 1794.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

118

Ambassador Humphreys at Lisbon without delay. It happened that Captain Heysell's ship was akeady loaded with a full cargo of dried Massachusetts cod. There was nothing to detain him and he sailed for Europe immediately. Late in November 1794, only a few days after Heysell's departure, Randolph received a letter from Mr. I. Gabriels announcing that he was back in town and now perfectly ready to set out for Barbary and take up his Consular commission there, as had been arranged with the former Secretary of State, Thomas JeflPerson.^ Yet further complications in the Barbary situation were to follow. For some time David Humphreys had wanted to visit the United States on leave. He and President Washington corresponded regularly and Humphreys had hinted in some of his letters to the President that he hoped to be home soon. He may even have feared that his position as close friend and confidant of the President had been in some way undermined during Thomas Jefferson's term as Secretary of State. At all events, late in 1794 he boarded a ship at Lisbon that was sailing for America without bothering to request leave of absence from his post. Just before he sailed he received the grim news that fourteen of the recently captured American seamen had already died of the plague in the Algerian bagnios.

David Humphreys had a terrible voyage. His ship came within American coast three times and was three times driven off again by westerly gales. It finally docked at Newport, Rhode Island, in a semi-wrecked condition with two of its crew badly injured and one man lost overboard. Secretary of State Edmund Randolph was astonished to receive a letter from the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal written on 3 February 1795, from Rhode Island, where he had arrived entirely without ceremony or permission. When David Humphreys reached Philadelphia he was received coolly. Edmund Randolph was particularly displeased that Humphreys had left Lisbon at this time sight of the

for

it

made nonsense

of his instructions to Captain Heysell that

he was to consult with the Ambassador there on Algerian 1 »

ibid.,

Philadelphia, 18

O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. Secretary of State.

1794, I. Gabriels to Edmund Randolph. Philadelphia, 19 March 1795, David Humphreys to

November

iii,

affairs.

^

SECOND ASSAULT

119

Humphreys quickly moved on to Mount Pleasant, Vermont, where he received a warm welcome from the President and his wife. By the time David Humphreys returned to Philadelphia

Edmund Randolph had somewhat recovered from his astonishment and annoyance, and was more disposed to discuss Barbary ajffairs. David Humphreys had brought with him a Ust of recommended naval and military stores which Consul James Simpson at Gibraltar had assured him would effectively bind the winning party in the Moroccan civil war to the United States' interest. It was a modest List and was soon approved and the purchases put in hand.i

This was gratifying, but David Humphreys was now faced with an embarrassing problem. He had learnt with dismay of Captain Heysell's appointment as Consul to Barbary and he set about trying, as tactfuUy as he could, to persuade the Secretary of State to cancel this appointment. For one thing, David Humphreys did not approve of sending foreign sea captains on U.S. diplomatic missions, and, for another, he had recently heard from Captain Richard O'Brien in Algiers that Pierre Skjoldebrand, the Swedish Consul's younger brother, might be persuaded to accept the U.S.

appointment. Although David Humphreys did not approve of

American errands, he felt that Pierre Skjoldebrand was a quite special case. Not only did the Swede know Algiers intimately, having been long resident in the city, but he foreigners running

spoken there and was entirely Humphreys had heard that Pierre Skjoldebrand had been vested by his brother with the responsibility of looking after the American captives' welfare, and that he was fulfilhng this office with skill and humanity. David Humphreys now proposed to Edmund Randolph that Captain

was

also fluent in all the languages

familiar with Algerian methods. Also

Heysell's Consular appointment should be switched to Morocco,

that Pierre Skjoldebrand should receive the Algerian appointment,

and that some capable, able-bodied American should be appointed and as Consul to Tunis and Tripoh. He suggested that a man called Phihp Sloan might be as special peace negotiator to Algiers

suitable to undertake this last office. ^ ibid., » ibid.

Philadelphia, 6

March

1795,

Humphreys

to Secretary of State.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

120

had been a seaman on board the Dauphin when it was captured in 1785, since which time he had worked as a Philip Sloan

domestic slave at the Dey's palace. In the com-se of his captivityhe had reached the moderately exalted position of Chief Palace Sweeper, the most senior pm'ely domestic post open to a slave.

was the custom in Algiers that when a peace was concluded with any Christian nation, the Chief Christian Secretary and the Chief Palace Sweeper were automatically ransomed by that nation irrespective of their nationality. Accordingly, when Holland came to terms with Algiers during April 1794, Sloan was ransomed by the Dutch along with 56 of their own nationals. He had now just arrived back in Philadelphia. Humphreys left Randolph to ponder these proposals while he made a quick journey to New York, after which he again went to stay with the President and Mrs. Washington at Mount Vernon. Here the two men must have had many discussions about North Africa and the wretched conditions of the American captives held at Algiers. Certainly Humphreys' ideas on several points seem to have become much firmer by the time he returned to Philadelphia in March. He was now sure that a treaty with Algiers and indeed with any of the other Moslem powers of the Mediterranean would have to be negotiated through Paris. Both he and the President had come to the conclusion that France's influence was and would remain paramount in this area. Yet both strongly suspected that France was not lending America her support in Barbary affairs, therefore it was of primary importance that this support should be obtained. Accordingly, the two men had agreed that while Humphreys should keep a supervising eye on Barbary affairs from his post at Lisbon or Madrid, a man called Joel Barlow should be It

co-opted to assist the U.S. Minister at Paris to obtain the essential assistance of the French Government.

This Joel Barlow had been at Yale at the same time as David

Humphreys and was, hke the Ambassador, both a poet and a He was now living in Paris from where Humphreys had

patriot.

heard reports that he was on such excellent terms with the French Government that they had elected him an honorary French citizen.^

David Humphreys ^

J. L.

Woodress,

also returned to Philadelphia

A

Yankee's Odyssey, p. 129.

more

SECOND ASSAULT

121

than ever convinced that foreign sea captains such as Heysell were not suitable persons to undertake diplomatic mission for the United

come to the conclusion that Philip Sloan did not possess the proper quahties for diplomatic office. However, States. Further, he had also

he still thought that Sloan's presence, in the capacity of interpreter,

would be of great assistance to whoever went to Algiers. The paths of diplomacy are strewn with obstacles and David Humphreys now experienced two setbacks. First, he heard indirectly that Pierre Skjoldebrand was unlikely to accept the post as U.S. Consul in Algiers. Secondly, it did not seem possible to find an American suitable to go as negotiator to Algiers. Humphreys also learnt to his amazement that two Algerians had found their way to the United States as an unequal balance for the Americans held in the bagnios of Algiers. One of these had sent a letter to the Secretary of State.

My companion ... & myself are subjects of were captured by three Neapolitan Ships & carried into Naples from whence we had the Good Fortune to escape. But being liable to the Penalty of Death for having surrendered our Vessel & Persons, we cannot return to our Country until we have secured the Pardon of the Dey our Master. Sir,

Algiers

[the letter read]

&

.

.

.

which gave no clue as to how the two men had come went on to request Secretary Randolph to ask 'the great and benevolent President Washington' to intercede with Dey Hassan Bashaw on their behalf. The other Algerian also wrote asking Randolph to advance them two hundred dollars.^ It is not recorded whether or not they were lucky in either request. Ambassador Humphreys and Edmund Randolph now tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade a Colonel Pettit to undertake the Barbary mission. ^ Then, almost at the last minute, a IVIr. Joseph

The

letter,

to the United States,

Donaldson, jun. accepted the appointment. It his

name came

is

to be put forward, although there

not is

known how

some evidence

that he was recommended for the appointment by Tench Francis,

one of the secretaries at the U.S. Treasury.^ It ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

i,

part

1,

13

is quite likely that and 19 December 1795, Hamet ben

Aly and ^

friend, to President Washington. 6.R.D.S. Spain, Philadelphia, 19 March 1795, David

Humphreys

to Secretary

of State. »

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

to Secretary of State.

i,

part

2,

Leghorn, 3

May

1796, Joseph

Donaldson

122

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

Donaldson was employed at the Treasury himself. He did have two married daughters hving in England and the appointment may well have attracted him as furnishing a convenient and inexpensive way of getting to Europe to visit them. If, indeed, he did work at the Treasury, his financial probity must have been above suspicion and this, after Captain John Lamb's dubious activities nine years before, must have been a powerful recommendation to a government as hard up as that of the United States.

On 8 April 1795, David Humphreys, Joseph Donaldson jun., and Philip Sloan boarded the United States Navy brigantine Sophia in the Delaware River and set sail for Europe and North Africa. The position as to who was diplomatically what and where along the North African coast was still very confused. Mr. I. Gabriels was sulking in America, Captain Heysell beheved he was authorized to go to Algiers and make peace between that country and the United States; Pierre Skjoldebrand had been appointed Consul at Algiers but would not accept the post, Joseph Donaldson jun. had been issued with Commissions nominating him U.S. Consul to Tunis and Tripoli, but was first expected to take part in the Algerian negotiations. Joel Barlow was to be associated with the Algerian negotiations also and so was David Humphreys himself. Only Philip Sloan's position was 'cut and dried' and his career had suddenly taken a large step forward. First he had been an able seaman, then a sweeper of palace floors. Now he held the nominal rank and pay of a lieutenant in the brand-new United States Navy and he travelled as a passenger on board the snug httle Sophia. He was also the only man on board that ship who had any personal knowledge of Algiers and Algerian methods.

CHAPTER

8

DIPLOMATIC OVERTURES

The

Sophia reached Gibraltar on 17 May 1795, after a voyage smooth and as swift as Humphreys' previous voyage to America had been rough and long. The brigantine made its first landfall well south down the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and as it sailed northwards within sight of the crusty shoreline of Africa some nervousness was felt by the passengers that they might be attacked by Moslem cruisers saihng out of Moroccan harbours. as

No such disaster occurred.^ Ambassador Humphreys' first letter from Gibraltar, dated 18 May, dealt with the latest news from Morocco, where the civil war continued in apparent stalemate. This was a disappointment as the Sophia carried in her holds a number of gun-carriages and other military stores with which it was hoped to bribe the next ruler of Morocco to ratify Thomas Barclay's treaty of 1785. There was still no real indication as to whom this next ruler was likely to be.

With

Algiers the situation

was altogether

different.

There was

who was the Algerian master, but there who was supposed to negotiate with him on

absolutely no doubt as to

was uncertainty

as to

behalf of the United States. Several people beheved themselves

authorized to do

this,

while on the fringe of the negotiations there

were others eager to furnish good advice. Captain Richard O'Brien had, during his long years of captivity, developed a talent for letter- writing. His letters were long, sensible sounding, and well flavoured with seafaring terms. However, ^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. Secretary of State.

iii,

Gibraltar,

18

May

1795,

David Humphreys

to

124

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

Captain O'Brien was not always accurate with his

David Humphreys found a letter from the captain waiting for him at Gibraltar which contained some startling information. The Dey, Humphreys quoted O'Brien as having written, would not now settle

a peace for

less

than

six

judge', declared the captain,

'I

milhon

dollars.

facts.

'As

should sooner end

God

my

is

my

days in

pay so much].'^ He need not have worried, the United States had no intention of suppljdng the Algerians with such a sum. Six million dollars was more than Spain had paid for her peace and the idea that America should pay as much was fantastic. It is possible that Richard O'Brien dehberately slavery [than have the United States

exaggerated in order to encourage Congress to

make haste with the

construction of a Federal Navy.

David Humphreys now wrote to Edmund Randolph criticizing the activities of Captain Heysell. Heysell had followed the Secretary of State's instructions and had sailed to Lisbon to obtain further instructions from the U.S. Ambassador there. However, on finding that this person had aheady left for America, he had sailed on to Alicante on his own initiative. The U.S. Consul at AJicante, the Spanish port most closely hnked with Algiers, was a merchant named Robert Montgomery. He did not approve of Captain Heysell. David Humphreys doubtless enjoyed passing on Montgomery's complaints to Randolph. Captain Heysell, according to Montgomery, had been very indiscreet and had made no attempt to keep his mission secret. Instead, he had pubhcly announced that he was at Alicante to make peace between America and Algiers, and he had written a letter to the Dey asking for permission to visit him on this business. It is difficult to find much fault with Captain Heysell's activities now, but both Montgomery and Humphreys strongly disapproved the latter went so far as to suggest that O'Brien's figure of six million dollars was the Dey's ;

direct response to Heysell's

attempt to negotiate. Accordingly,

Humphreys dropped the idea that HeyseU should take over the Moroccan mission; he substituted Consul James Simpson in his place. 2 To Joseph Donaldson jun. he issued a commission naming him United States negotiator at Algiers. There had always been confusion regarding the real meaning of 1

ibid.

a

ibid.

DIPLOMATIC OVERTURES the

titles

125

given to U.S. diplomatic appointments to the North

Lamb had gone as Consul to Algiers Admiral Paul Jones's commission made out in 1792 had designated him also as Consul to Algiers. However, when Captain O'Brien had recommended John Woulfe as Consul in 1786 and then again Pierre Skjoldebrand in 1794, he had in mind a resident post rather than a mission as a temporary negotiator. African states. Captain John in 1785, while

modern terms, the word 'Consul' implies residence. America Joseph Donaldson had been issued with commissions naming him Consul to both Tunis and Tripoli and there was no suggestion that he was going to take up permanent residence in either place. The new document that David Humphreys handed him at Gibraltar seemed nearer the facts of the situation. Certainly, in

Yet

in

all concerned to whom these presents shall come be it known that David Humphreys, Minister Resident from the United States of America at the Court of Lisbon, being duly empowered and instructed on the part of the President of the United States of America, to negotiate and conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States of America and the Most Illustrious and Most Excellent the Dey & Governors of the famous City and Kingdom of Algiers, as well as a

To

I,

Treaty for the hberation of the Citizens of the said States in captivity at Algiers, do constitute and appoint Joseph Donaldson Junior ... all the Power necessary to arrange and agree upon the Articles of the same and do certify and sign a Convention thereupon, reserving the same nevertheless, when concluded, to be transmitted by me to the President of the United States for his final Ratification, by

4K

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

211

said that the funds for the peace

payments were assembled at still no gold arrived from Ambassador Humphreys, he became more and more impatient. The American seamen in the bagnios also became impatient and Lisbon, and as the weeks passed and

Donaldson's

probably as

move to the Skjoldebrands' country home was much designed to avoid their constant complaints as

for the sake of his health.

During November 1795, James Cathcart was offered the chance to purchase a saihng brig from the Skjoldebrand brothers. He had long dreamed of investing some of the money he had made from his taverns in a ship.

Now, not only did a suitable vessel present but also the occasion for its first profitable voyage, for the promised to charter it to carry pilgrims to Alexandria. There

itself,

Dey

was one obstacle; the Dey insisted that the ship should fly American colours. Hassan Bashaw had seen pilgrims seized by Maltese and Neapohtan cruisers before and he was determined to protect this ship with a neutral

flag.

If Donaldson would issue

papers certifying the vessel as United States property, the Dey undertook to release one of the captive captains to take command.

Donaldson, however, who saw an opportunity to pay out Cathcart and Hassan Bashaw for the refused export permit, dechned to

any certificate for their purpose. Eventually, under pressure from the Skjoldebrands, he said he would certify the vessel as American but only as a particular favour. James Cathcart told him to keep his favours and the whole deal fell through. ^ issue

The time passed and there were other and equally fatuous squabbles. Philip Sloan, as Donaldson's interpreter and messenger, was as much in the envoy's company as anyone, and suffered often from the rough edge of his tongue.

It was about this time that he wrote his letter of complaint to Ambassador Humphreys.

Honoured Sir. ... I am Sorry to Enform you that Mr. Donaldson has Suffered much in his health since his Arival here, the Gout and other Desorders Part of the time ... he has been Here and whether from his Hver or His Natural desposition of temper I will not say. But none of his friends are Able to bear him. as for my own Part I shall be happy to be honoured with any Employment in the Service Which my Superiors may think [me] worthy of— Except that of being under Mr Donaldson. ... he saw the Dey only twice since his Arrival and from .

»

.

.

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 348,

and The

Captives.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

212

every appearance will not Again be called into his Presence As his Excellency Makes no Scruple of making his dislike to him as PubHck as Possable.

.

.

.^

Meanwhile, Humphreys complained to the Secretary of State in Philadelphia, in a letter dated 18 December, 1795, that in making transfers, writing letters of advice, drawing Bills of Exchange, taking Receipts and keeping accounts, I have already been obhged to experience vastly more labour and trouble than the Messrs. Baring & Co. can possibly have met with in the simple transaction of selling the U.S. stock. For which, I beheve, they receive a compensation nearly equal to the amount of my salary for two years. I neither receive or wish to receive, anything for this extraordinary service. But may I not be permitted to conclude that with aU this extraordinary service, I have as much occasion for some assistance in performing the writing, which becomes indispensably necessary to be done, as Mr. Adams, Minister Resident at the Hague can have? I am informed he is allowed a Secretary. Yet, on my part, in addition to the inconvenience resulting from that privation, I beg you will be pleased to recoUect that the

scantiness of

my

pecuniary allowance from the Pubhc will not permit

me to pay for assistance of this kind. In such elaborate style did the Ambassador inform his superiors that he considered himself due for an increase in salary. ^ Joseph Donaldson now fell out with the Skjoldebrands and

returned to his house in the

city.

His gout must have abated for

he proudly declined the loan of a horse from his hosts and walked the four miles. No further mention was made of the Barbary horse that had been given to

him by the Dey.

It

is

likely that it

was

far

too spirited an animal for a middle-aged financial clerk from Philadelphia. Algiers city enjoys a mild winter climate, apart

from sudden

and ferocious storms, and the small town was by now a far pleasanter place in which to live than it had been when the envoy first arrived. He settled down cheerfully enough with the company of the captive captains to amuse him, his three American slaves to wait upon him, and his food and drink sent in from one of the Cathcart taverns.

Hassan Bashaw now decided to send a deputation of Turkish on a goodwill mission to the principal nations of Europe,

officers

^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. *

ibid.,

iii,

Alicante, 8

Lisbon, 18 December 1796,

January 1796, Sloan to Humphreys.

Humphreys

to Secretary of State.

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

213

and he invited the various Christian Consuls to furnish letters of was asked to give letters to the United States representatives at Paris and the Hague. However, still remembering the Dey's refusal to allow him an export permit for wheat, he began to raise difficulties. Cathcart complained bitterly of the trouble he was put to in order to make the envoy see reason,^ As Phihp Sloan hinted to Ambassador Humphreys, gout and bihousness are both famous for promoting bad temper, and the unfortunate Donaldson suffered intermittently from both. But without a doubt the greatest trial to his temper was the Dey's Chief Christian Secretary. James Cathcart, decked out in oriental introduction. Donaldson

finery,

master of many strange tongues, thoroughly at home in the

bewildering complexities of Algiers town and society, and tireless in his

offers

of advice on every conceivable subject, rapidly

United States envoy. On one occasion the Chief Secretary passed on some palace gossip, at the same time asking Donaldson to be sure to keep it secret. 'Damn it', answered the envoy, 'if you can not keep your own secrets how can you expect I should keep them for you?'^

became anathema

The Dey of

to the

Algiers kept a

permanent representative at both

Tunis and Tripoh, and during October 1795 Haj

man

in Tunis, visited Algiers. Cathcart

make

this

man

AJi, the

Dey's

now urged Donaldson

to

a present in order to persuade him to use his

influence in Tunis on America's behalf. Donaldson, bearing in

mind

that his commission covered Tunis and Tripoh too, agreed and a

sum

of 925 Algerian sequins was borrowed from Micaiah Baccri and sent to Haj Ah. Later, Cathcart suggested that a draft of a truce should be given to Haj AJi to take back to Tunis. Donaldson, however, showed little enthusiasm for the plan and remarked that he felt bihous and that his gout was coming on again. 'The Christian Secretary', Cathcart quoted

what arrangements he thought expense.'

'it

him

as saying, 'could

make

provided there was no more

He then retired to his couch. Cathcart drafted out a truce

and Donaldson signed that

fit,

it.

Haj Ah, on receiving it, assured Cathcart made there would be no difficulty'.^

could be accepted as ^

' »

Cathcart, The Captives. Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Joiimal and Letter Book', p. 356. ibid., pp. 357-9. Also The Captives.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

214

On

20

November

1795, a

number of American seamen and mates

on their way back to the bagnios from Donaldson was lying down but they marched into his bedroom and demanded to be released from their hard labour. The envoy replied that he could do nothing for them and told them to go to their quarters and to have patience. They went, but with poor grace and a great deal of cursing for, unjustly, they now blamed Donaldson for the delays that were preventing their release. In this they were not alone, for Hassan Bashaw came to think more and more harshly of the envoy as time passed. Fortunately for United States affairs, the Dey had other things to distract his attention from that 'lame old man', as he now called him. Chief amongst these distractions was the redemption of the

came

to Donaldson's house

their day's labours.

Corsican coral fishermen. Corsicans, hcensed

by the French Africa Company, had long

enjoyed the right to trawl for coral

off certain parts of the Algerian

and when an Enghsh fleet ostensibly 'captured' Corsica in 1795, the coral fishermen saw no reason to change their long

coast,

established practice.

Unfortunately for them they arrived off the Algerian coast at a time when the Dey and Charles Mace were on particularly bad

As a result, the Algerians refused to recognize the passports issued by the British Viceroy of Corsica and seized a number of boats and over two hundred fishermen.^ Not long after, Charles Mace fled to Corsica in a panic. During January 1796, the Viceroy sent Frederick North to Algiers to redeem the Corsicans. This he did without difficulty by terms.

offering a

'gift'

of six hundred dollars per head. This

money he

raised in cash through a Jewish broker of the city against bills of

exchange payable at Leghorn.

The mission of Frederick North to

Algiers represented

almost ideal negotiation to the Turks of that

city.

The

an

British

Dey demanded they haggled, an agreement was reached, the money and the captives were released. Why, Hassan Bashaw

negotiator arrived and asked for the Corsicans the ;

his price;

was

paid,

asked James Cathcart, should he be so patient with the Americans 1

P.R.O. F.O. 3/7 Algiers, 6 January 1795, Charles Mace to the Duke of Portland. P.R.O. F.O. 3/8 Algiers, 3 January 1796, F. North to the Duke of Portland.

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES when a

great nation like the British

met

its

216

obligations so

promptly ?i This was a question that James Cathcart found answer.

He was

eighteen years old

difficult to

when he had been

led into

Algerian captivity and his knowledge of finance was almost entirely limited to the Algerian model. There

as a national debt in Algiers credit.

;

there

was no such thing

was no such thing

as national

Finance was neither theoretical nor nebulous but consisted

and bullion that came from import and Moorish taxes into the PubHc Treasury. Both Cathcart and his master assumed that as the United States had agreed to pay a sum of money for a peace treaty that money must be somewhere; in which case why was it not forthcoming? James Cathcart felt strongly that the United States had made a fortunate and relatively inexpensive peace; it was, therefore, unfair and incomprehensible that he and his fellows should be obliged to sweat out extra months of servitude because the American Government would not meet its financial obligations. He must have wondered at times whether Joseph Donaldson and David Humphreys were going to prove themselves any more reliable than Captain John Lamb had shown himself to be in 1786. Ambassador David Humphreys at Lisbon was in a position to Bee more clearly the financial comphcations of the situation and to understand the reasons for delay better than any of the impatient strictly of quantities of coin

duties,

men

Christian tribute,

in Algiers city.

Although popular opinion in the United States had been deeply shocked by the taking of American citizens into Moslem captivity, and although the exotic background to the affair made excellent newspaper copy,^ the payment of North African treaty obligations and the release of the Algerian captives now seemed of relatively minor importance among America's many urgent problems. Late in 1793, when the news that eleven of their ships had been

by the Algerians reached America, one of the first reactions indignant Congress had been to authorize President Washington to set in progress the building of six powerfully armed seized

of an

Cathcart, The Captives. See the Pennsylvania Mercury; the Independent Gazetteer; Daily Advertiser; Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Advertiser; Claypoole's American Daily ^

*

Advertiser;

and other American papers

for the period 1785-97.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

216 frigates.

When news

reached the United States of the peace

concluded by Joseph Donaldson in September 1795, the con-

was suspended.^ Tliis demands of the pioneers of the middle west for the enlargement of the army to protect them from attack by hostile Indians. Ambassador David Humphreys struction of three of these expensive vessels

was not unreasonable

knew ment

in view of the

quite well that the refunding of the state debts, the enlarge-

of the army, the arming of the militia, even the transfer of

the federal capital from

New York to Philadelphia, had more than

absorbed

money

It

was

all

the ready

available to the federal treasury.

just not possible for the United States to load the silver or

gold equivalent of eight hundred thousand Mexican dollars into the hold of a ship and send

it

across the Atlantic to Algiers.

Alexander Hamilton's idea of raising the Barbary Fund by selling United States Government Bonds in London was sound

and reasonable.

It

came, however, at a very unlucky time. The

turmoil in Europe caused by the French Revolution and

still

by the post-revolutionary wars, had set up an enormous demand for coin and buUion. These could no longer be bought for a 6 per cent bond, even a bond backed by the Government of the United States of America. In cold fact, there were many influential people in European financial circles who stiU doubted if the United States could ever become a solvent organization. David Humphreys wrote to Secretary of State Edmund Randolph in a lugubrious tone, saying he had heard by letter from 'John and Francis Baring & Company that the United States Government Stock on their hand was in such poor demand that it was probably hardly worth the 60,000 dollars they had already advanced'. 2 He, at least, unlike his compatriots at Algiers, was further increased

not watching the horizon in daily expectation of the arrival of the

Barbary treaty funds. Values in United States

official

correspondence had at

first

been

expressed either in British sterling or Mexican dollars. In 1792 the dollar

was officially recognized as the currency of the U.S., while America minted her first silver doUars. For some time

in 1794

^ R. W. Irwin, Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary Powers, pp. 66 and 79. * G.R.D.S. Spain, vol. iii, Lisbon, 24 February 1796, David Humphreys to Secretary of State.

^

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES David Humphreys had been talking

when

in terms of the

217

new currency now learnt

writing to his superiors in Philadelphia; but he

to his surprise that the

Dey

of Algiers, although prepared to

negotiate a treaty in any currency, always insisted on being paid in Algerian gold sequins. These were rare coins valued at 1-80

times the Spanish dollar. However, there was a mint at Algiers,

operated by Jewish craftsmen under the close supervision of the Hasnagi. It occurred to David

Humphreys that a simple method

payment would be

to ship gold direct to Algiers and there have minted into the required number of sequins. He therefore requested Barings to ship gold to him rather than currency, and he dispatched Captain Richard O'Brien to London in command of the U.S. brig Sophia to bring back to Lisbon as much bullion as he could procure.^ Having done this, there was very little the Ambassador could do concerning the Algerian business except sit back and hope for the best. However, he did have his diplomatic

of

it

affairs

with the Portuguese Court to attend to; also his leisurely

courtship of the amiable Miss Bulkeley.

Joseph Donaldson had nothing to do. The Dey refused to allow into his palace, which hardly inconvenienced the envoy. His health took a turn for the worse and he was most of the time

him

bedroom where, to his chagrin, he was frequently by the officious Cathcart. His only consolation was the company of the captive captains who were a convivial group. They were also respectful listeners and appeared to much enjoy the envoy's anecdotes, of which he had a large store. Then, on New Year's Day 1796, the American seamen who had confined to his

visited

been abundantly celebrating the turn of the year in the bagnio taverns, again invaded the envoy's house. 'This house belongs to

Pubhc Treasury', they told the prostrate Donaldson, 'therefore we have as much right to be here as you have'. They loudly the

declared their intention of staying indefinitely and never returning to the bagnios. Joseph Donaldson, however,

man

to be easily intimidated.

taskmasters

He promptly

who came and chased

bagnios by beating them with the ^ *

was not the

sort of

sent for the Moorish

the excited seamen back to the flats

of their swords.

Lisbon, 16 February 1796, David Humphreys to Joseph Donaldson. Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 360. Also The Captives.

ibid.,

^

218

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

Hassan Bashaw, who was very particular about the behaviour of his Christian slaves, was extremely angry when this lack of disciphne among the Americans was reported to him. He ordered that they should be chained together in pairs as a punishment.

James Cathcart claimed that

was only through his particular punishment was not put into effect. Later that evening the Chief Christian Secretary went down to the Bagnio Gallera where most of the Americans were, and told them exactly what the Dey had planned for their punishment, and how it was only through his efforts that they were spared. He reported with disgust that he received no thanks for his pains. ^ Cathcart was a man constantly surprised at the small appreciation shown to him by his fellows. The winter of 1795-6 was marked by particularly severe storms in the Atlantic. Captain Richard O'Brien had wanted to take the Sophia to sea during November 1795, but had been prevented by the foul weather. He finally sailed for England on Christmas Eve. David Humphreys wrote to the Secretary of State during January 1796, 'that the news in Lisbon is that a British fleet of warships and transports bound for the West Indies had sustained heavy losses in two vicious storms'. The bad weather also prevented Humphreys receiving any mail from England or America. In Algiers, on 3 January 1796, the Dey's impatience took a more serious turn. He was now convinced that Donaldson had said that it

intercession that the

the treaty funds were waiting at Lisbon; he therefore professed to be able to see

no possible reason for

than

their non-arrival other

simple fraud. Cathcart did his best to explain the complicated

nature of international finance, as far as he imderstood

it

himself,

but the angry Turk would not hsten. To him, money was either bullion or coin.

One

either

had

it

or did not have

it.

To

incur

debts and financial obligations which one had not the means to

pay seemed to him to be plain dishonest. His making peace with the United States

in the first place

had

cruisers,

who had noted

that American ships seldom carried any defensive

armament and,

been unpopular with the captains of his

^

Cathcart, The Captives.

*O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. Secretary of State.

iii,

Lisbon, 31 January 1796, David

Humphreys

to

^

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

219

made comfortable prizes. Also it seemed entirely illogical to many Algerian Turks to make a poor financial peace with a nation that was too distant and too weak to menace Algiers in any way. It seemed to them that the Dey's game of siding with the therefore,

Americans to annoy the powerful British was very like playing with fire. Hassan Bashaw had very much backed his own judgement when he favoured America, and now it looked as if events were going to prove him wrong. The prospect of an imminent loss of face filled him with fury. He vented this continually on poor Cathcart usually with his tongue, but also now and then with his fists.

On

January the Dey sent word to Donaldson that he must send Sloan to Lisbon to discover once and for all the cause of the delay. He would wait, he said, until Sloan returned. Then, if he did not bring either the cash or a satisfactory answer, he would expel the 'lame Ambassador', cut off Cathcart 's head, and make peace with Portugal. This last, he said, he would be happy to do for even less than he had asked of the United States, for directly the Portuguese squadron was removed from the Straits his cruisers would amply refund the Regency by plundering American shipping bound for Lisbon and Cadiz. Cathcart wrote that when he reported all this to Joseph Donaldson, the envoy merely advised him to take whatever action he thought fit. He must have felt curiously isolated by now. Philip Sloan refused to interpret for him any more, and he did not trust Cathcart. Yet, not knowing any language but English, he had no means of learning what was going on in the city. He became more and more of a recluse, welcoming only the company 3

of the captive captains.

On for fee

4 January 1796, Cathcart chartered a small Moorish coaster

which Donaldson duly issued American papers. The charter and provisioning amounted to 232 dollars, which sum the

own pocket. The Dey instructed Ambassador Humphreys on his behalf and when this was done the ship was dispatched to Alicante under Phihp Sloan's command. Christian Secretary paid out of his

Cathcart to write a

^

Cathcart,

Captives.

stifi"

letter to

'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp.

363-70;

and The

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

220

Honoured Sir [wrote Cathcart in his ornate hand] I am order'd by the Dey to inform you that on the arival of Mr. Donaldson here, he expected the affairs of the United States would have been compleated before this time, that his Excellency the Dey since that period has settled his affairs with the British that a War with the United States would be of more advantage to this Regency than Peace but that nevertheless as he had once concluded a Treaty with the United States he would wait with patience untUl he receives Answers from you for which reason he has dispatch'd Mr. Phihp Sloan in a Moorish Sandal to Ahcant who is to forward these dispatches and keep the Vessel untill the return of the Post from Lisbon. Give me leave Sir to recommend dispatch as delays considering the capricious temper of the Dey may prove dangerous. The Dey has likewise order'd me to inform you of the impropriety of sending a man to transact business that understands no language but his own and begs that when a Consul is appointed it may be one that he can Under.

stand.

.

.

.

.

.

me

leave to inform you that on the 10th of December I bought a NeapoHtan Prize of near 200 Tons, a new Vessel and double decks and every way capable of carrying the Captives to America, should you think proper so to do & will be attended with less expence than freighting a Vessel in Europe. Your most Humble Servant. .^

Give

.

In this

way

.

.

.

did the Chief Christian Secretary paraphrase the

abrupt impatience of a Turkish despot in the culate jargon of a

European

civil

servant.

official

The

and emas-

reference to the

least, to indicate that Cathcart was would come right in the end, and that the captives

purchase of a ship seems, at confident that

all

would soon be released. It also demonstrates the casual way in which Christians at Algiers traded in the looted property of other Christians. Of the eleven American ships captured during OctoberNovember 1793, the fate of only eight is known. One was found to be leaking and was sent into Cadiz and there sold. The rest safely reached Algiers where two were bought by the Spanish Consul-General, three by the Skjoldebrand brothers, and one each by a Spanish and an Italian merchant. ^ Although the corsairs of Algiers often behaved like sea robbers, the Christian nations acted as their 'fences' as well as their victims.

Sloan sailed for Alicante immediately. Although the sandal flew the United States ensign, Philip Sloan was the only American ^ *

'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp. 362 and 363. The James L. Cathcart Papers, 8th item, New York Public Library.

^

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

221

among a crew

of twelve Moors. They reached Alicante the followThe Spanish authorities tended to be slack about quarantine and, in any case, it was out of the plague season, so Sloan was allowed to land immediately. He found that the bad weather had moved into the peninsula from the Atlantic, that roads were waterlogged and rivers in fierce flood, and that as a result no posts had been received from Lisbon for some time. In view of the apparent urgency of the situation. Consul Robert Montgomery decided to carry the Dey's letter to Ambassador Humphreys himself. It was some time, however, before the weather improved sufficiently to aUow him to set off on his overland ing evening.

journey.

He

finally

reached Lisbon on 5 February 1796. Joel

Barlow, on mule back, arrived at Ahcante three days after this date.

At the same time

as Barlow, alarmed at Sloan's account of the

was deciding to remain at Alicante,^ Ambassador Humphreys was deciding that the new envoy must proceed to Algiers immediately he reached Spain. The urgency of the Dey's latest letter alarmed him, particularly as there was still no news from London and it was feared that the Sophia might weU have been lost at sea. On 20 February David Humphreys heard that Barlow had reached Alicante on the same day a letter arrived from Captain O'Brien announcing that there was not an ounce of gold to be had in London. ^ France was in the process of involving the whole of Europe in an expensive war, and there was still the smell of revolution in the air. Bankers understood the rush to purchase gold that had developed on the Continent, but the drastic shortage of buUion in London took even Barings by surprise. They could only suggest situation

in

Algiers,

;

to Captain O'Brien that he take the Sophia across to

Hamburg

and try his luck there. This was depressing news and David Humphreys fully realized that it would now be many months before the Dey saw any of liis money. He beheved that Joel Barlow was better equipped to keep the Turk patient than was Donaldson, particularly as Barlow was S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Alicante, 12 February 1796, Joel Barlow David Humphreys. * ibid., London, 4 February 1796, Richard O'Brien to Secretary of State. ibid., London, 5 February 1796, Richard O'Brien to Secretary of State.

^

to

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

222

an honorary citizen of France; Humphreys, despite all he had been told to the contrary, personally by Captain O'Brien and also the letters of Cathcart,

in

Donaldson,

Pierre

Skjoldebrand, and Joseph

way to a lasting peace He sent an express Algiers immediately. He

believed that the only sure

still

with Algiers lay through French influence. dispatch to Barlow telling him to go to

suggested that he should go in the capacity of acting Consul, sharing responsibility with Donaldson in view of the latter's health. In this way, the

to avoid giving additional consular presents

presents that he had brought with for the Tunis

and

ill

Ambassador hoped, Barlow might be able ;

him from

in

which case those

Paris could be kept

He also told Barlow to and thus save the expense of any

Tripoli negotiations.

travel to Algiers on Sloan's ship

additional charter fee, and he suggested that he take over Sloan's services as interpreter

now

that the ex-Palace Sweeper refused to

serve under Donaldson.^

Joel Barlow sailed for Algiers immediately he received

Ambas-

sador Humphreys' instructions, but he did not travel on Philip

The Ambassador had not yet sent a reply to the and Sloan insisted that he dare not return to North Africa without an answer. Fortunately an American brig, Sloan's ship.

Dey's

last letter

taking advantage of the Algerian peace to explore trading prospects in the Mediterranean, put into Alicante at this time and

Barlow was able to charter her for the short sea voyage. Meanwhile, there had been excitement among the American captives in Algiers. Cathcart wrote in his 'Diplomatic Journal':

Sunday the 21st of February at 8 P.M. the following accident happen'd at the American Masters [Captains] house. Captain Wallace and Captain Furnace was leaning over a Gallery. Some others passing by feU against them. The Gallery rails gave way and they both fell down in the yard. Captain Wallace in his fall catched a large door which gave way and feU on his neck which kill'd him on the spot. Captain Furnace has his arm broke. Captain Moss ask'd me my advice relative to this matter. I advised him to report it immediately and to send for a Surgeon which they did, but was of no service. There has been so many reports relative to this melancholy affair that it is difficult what ^ O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. to Joel Barlow. *

to

S.D.C.D. Algiers

iii,

Lisbon, 16 and 17 February 1796, David

series, vol.

David Humphreys.

i,

part

2,

Humphreys

Alicante, 12 February 1796, Joel

Barlow

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

223

it is generally believed that it was occasioned by intoxicacould be said relative to the behaviour of the people in that house, but it is not my business to censure any man. 22nd Instant I reported this aflFair to the Dey who said he [the dead

to believe but

tion.

Much

certainly gone to hell. That it was a judgment from God because the Americans had not fulfilled their promises but that if they were all to die they should be paid for and added that the Americans were playing with him but that he would let them see how he would play by and by and you Hkewise. I wont forget, you are good for nothing but to bring bad news Andar Andar Andar [Go Go Go]. Thursday the 25th having business with the Dey he made use of language very unbecoming and not fit to be recorded. He said he would wait untill the arival of the Sandal [Sloan's vessel] and not one instant longer. For this some time past I have led a miserable life, the Dey has no one to spit his Venom at but me, I may be call'd his American Spiteometer. Bear up thou Victim use all your Fortitude and scorn to be overcome by adversity. If you are now disappointed of all your fond hopes, let them see you are an unconquer'd Soul, that disappointments cant deject you, let them inflict their crudest tortures. It is for your Country you suffer? Let that one consideration buoy you up in the midst of dangers use it as an all-healing balm in the midst of afflictions and if by your Captivity you render your Country service scorn Liberty and glory in your Chains.^

man] was













It

is

perhaps unkind to mention that these brave words were

written by the owner of seven drinking establishments and a ship of 'near two hundred tons'.

James Cathcart, had

was not to be run foul of his master the month before. 29 January a Spanish ship had reached Algiers carrying letters

envied, for he

On

despite his material prosperity, also

and Donaldson written by David Humphreys on 14 December 1795. These letters announced that the Ambassador had been unable to raise any gold at Lisbon and that O'Brien had been sent to fetch bullion from London, which was bound to entail further delays. Cathcart was not at all pleased at the prospect of having to carry such news to the palace and he tried to persuade Donaldson to give him a present to take to the Dey in Humphreys' name, to soften his anger. This Donaldson absolutely refused to do. He said that he had already exceeded his authority and he was not going to give any more presents to anyone in Algiers. to Cathcart

^

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal

and Letter Book,' pp. 370-1,

:

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

224

In view of this Cathcart decided not to mention the

letters,

but

Dey had his informers. He sent for his Chief Christian Secretary and demanded to be advised of their contents. Cathcart wrote the

the Dey doubted and abused me because I had not a present to strengthen his behef; that he was now convinced that we were trifling with him and desired me to inform Mr. Donaldson that if the stipulations were not comphed within one month from this date he would declare the treaty void and order him out of the country; 'and as for

you Sensa Fede,' he says to me, 'I know what to do with you,' and thus saying he drew his hand horizontally across his throat.

The Dey was now more angry than Cathcart had ever known him before.

He

continued his account,

I informed Mr. Donaldson who laughed and said, 'he [the Dey] would have hard work to cut off my head or his either, we had such short necks.' Mr. Skjoldebrand who was present, offered his influence to have it commuted to a roasting at Bebel Wey'd (the City Buriel Ground) but as I had to bear the brunt of the Dey's invective and abuse, I was no means in a joking mood and sat down to dinner dull enough.^

Hassan Bashaw did not fulfil his threats, Cathcart 's head remained on his shoulders, and peace still stood when Joel Barlow off" Algiers on 4 March 1796, on board the American brig, The weather was too rough for him to land that afternoon,

arrived Sally.

but the next morning Cathcart hired a boat with eight sturdy Moorish oarsmen and fetched Barlow on shore. They all got soaked to the skin in the process. Barlow's arrival in Algiers was markedly different from that of Donaldson six months before. He slipped into the city almost unnoticed no curious onlookers stared, ;

not even a captive seaman greeted him on the quayside. This

was

ironical, for

to the skin,

Barlow was a well-favoured

was perfectly able to bear the

man and, even soaked

critical stares of

Turks,

Moors, Jews, or Christians. Cathcart took Barlow straight to Donaldson's house and introduced the two joint envoys to each other. He then went to his own apartments on the second floor of the palace and changed into dry clothes. After this he reported Barlow's arrival to the Dey. 'Has he brought the money?' was the Turk's first question. Cathcart explained that Ambassador Humphreys was fetching the money *

Cathcart, The Captives.

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES and that Barlow had come

to Algiers in the capacity of Donaldson's

health.

The Dey then demanded

know why he had not been informed

that Barlow was coming

successor in view of the latter's to

225

ashore, so that he could

of five guns.

ill

have been accorded the Consular salute firing of the salute would have

But Cathcart knew the

committed Barlow to the distribution of a consular present to the officers of the government.

He

all

hurriedly explained that

Barlow needed no salute as he was not yet Consul, although some day he might be. 'Nonsense', snapped the Dey, 'the Jews inform me that the new man is a Consul and that he brings Consular presents with him.' Cathcart, who was always eager to tell the Dey what he thought of the Jews, seized this new opportunity to unburden himself about their iniquities, but the old Turk cut him short. 'I know what to do with Americans',^ Cathcart quoted him as saying, as he dismissed him from his presence. It is difficult to avoid the feeling that at times Hassan Bashaw's fierceness was somewhat forced. Joseph Donaldson jun. regarded the new arrival with considerable suspicion, but Barlow had an easy, sympathetic manner and was a good hstener. In a very short time he was on easy terms with both Donaldson and Cathcart. Both gave him the fuU history of the current negotiations, while Cathcart handed over copies of all his correspondence and also his private journal. Micaiah Baccri came forward, too, and he and Barlow held several long conversations in Spanish, for the Jew spoke no English. It was three days before the wild seas abated sufficiently to allow the Sally to enter the harbour with Barlow's heavy luggage. Baccri immediately went to the palace to solicit an interview with the Dey on the new envoy's behalf, while Barlow changed into formal clothes and discussed with Cathcart which of the articles of jewellery that he had brought from Paris would serve best as an introductory present. Cathcart wrote in his private journal that the presents Barlow had brought were quite unsuitable, and that he could have purchased better from the Jews of Algiers for less, even allowing for their profit of 50 per cent. As it happened the discussion about presents proved academic as Baccri soon returned from the palace with the news that the Dey positively ^

ibid.; also

'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp. 371-2.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

226

refused to see any more Americans unless they carried the treaty

money. This was an anticlimax. There was nothing for Barlow to do but change out of his formal clothes and put away the Parisian jewellery.

On 9 March the Fast of Ramadhan began. Further negotiations were now out of the question as the Dey's temper, Cathcart reported, was always made worse by his being forbidden to eat or drink during the hours of daylight. Joel Barlow drafted lengthy reports

on the Algerian situation to the Secretary of State

Philadelphia and to David to his wife

Humphreys

in Lisbon.^

He

in

also wrote

Ruth in Paris and described his new surroundings to her.

is a town built on a mountain that dominates the harbour. has no streets (worthy of that name) but httle black alleys which curve and zigzag between a great confusion of houses thrown together without order or number. It is necessary to have Hved here a long time to be able to walk a hundred paces in this labyrinth without getting lost. It is essential not only to have a guide to take you from house to house but also to have a Turkish guide to guaranty one against being insulted or swept away by the crowd in the streets. The Turks are the only people of consequence here. The Moors who form the bulk of the population are less respected than Christians, and hardly more so than the Jews. Few windows have glass and the houses are poorly built and have hardly any furniture. Neither Turks or Moors ever use chairs, their tables are six inches high, and sometimes there is not one in the house. Their beds are straw mats or sometimes mattresses laid on the floor without blankets, there are no wardrobes, chests of drawers or cabinets and almost no mirrors; very few kitchen utensils, no forks and

Algiers

...

.

it

.

.

.

.

.

few table knives. A turk Uve like this who maybe worth a hundred thousand piastres ... he goes barelegged throughout the year but his clothes are richly embroidered and his fingers stiff with precious rings. You must reahse that there are no carriages here, they are quite unknown in this land. At the best a donkey or a mule is able to pass in these streets, and the tracks outside the town are not made for carriages. Sometimes a sort of sedan chair is fixed on a mule's back for carrying a woman. As for society, one does not see women or girls out and about. It is forbidden for a Mahommedan woman on pain of a savage beating, to show her face to any man except her husband. Fathers become jealous of their sons when they reach ten years, so .

.

.

^ S.D.C.D. Algiers Series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 18 March 1796, Joel Barlow to Secretary of State; also Algiers, 3 April 1796, Joel Barlow to David Humphreys.

la. Street scene in Turkish Algiers.

lb.

A somewhat dramatized impression of slaves being ransomed order of monks.

by an

Ji(lfJ^

!::

O >

c3

bD

< O

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

227

is seperated from his mother and sisters who he sees no more. However this last custom seems so incredible that I must make further enquiries. ... If a woman is taken in adultery the law condemns her to be placed in a sack with a large stone and thrown into the sea, and what adds to the horror of this custom is that the husband sometimes asks and obtains permission to take the law into the same punishment is imposed on a Mahommedan his own hands girl or Avidow who has intercourse with an unbehever (christian or jew). The man in this case escapes with a bastinadoing, unless the woman The last victim of the is of high rank, in which case he dies too. sack was a girl convicted of obhging a christian who happened to be passing, he received the Bastinado. There are an infinite number of mosques in Algiers, they are spacious, devoid of interior decoration but well lit at night, for a Mahommedan must say prayers five times during twenty-four hours, twice during the hours of darkness. One may glance through the door while passing but it is strictly forbidden for an unbeliever to enter a mosque. The penalty for this crime is to become a Mahommedan or be hanged or burnt alive, depending on whether one is a christian or jew. If through intoxication ... I should fall into this pickle ... I shall become a Mahommedan immediately ... as I have not enough rehgion to make a martyr. the other day there occurred an affair which might have ended bloodily, Baccri, the jew, our banker, and a man of much merit, was at our house when someone in great agitation called him. He went immediately. I sent a servant to learn what the trouble was who soon returned saying that it was a most serious affair. Apparently a young jew had cried out in the street that Mahomet was a great prophet and he wished to become a Mahommedan. He was immediately taken before [but here] his courage deserted him the Dey to make good his word and he refused to change his rehgion. Everybody now expected that but happily for the jew would be burnt ahve that very afternoon the poor man, his protector Baccri has great influence with the Dey and the whole affair was settled quietly with the aid of a httle money.^

at that age the poor child

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

whether the young Jew lost or regained his courage when it came to the test but the incident demonstrated forcibly to Joel Barlow the extent of Micaiah Baccri 's influence at the palace. It is just possible that the whole afifair may have been staged for this very purpose. Joel Barlow could do little but listen and watch while the Fast of Ramadhan dragged its weary course. Christians, both free and It is a point

;

*

Q

Barlow Papers, Joel Barlow to

hia wife, 18

March

1796.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

228

and Jews behaved with great circumspection and did their best to avoid irritating the hungry Sons of the Prophet. The Dey's January ultimatum to Joseph Donaldson had expired long since, and Cathcart and Micaiah Baccri were most careful not to allude to it in the old Turk's company. Then, on 28 March 1796, Phihp Sloan arrived back in Algiers. His little Moorish ship had been blown off its return course by gales and he had been obliged to put in at a small harbour forty miles west of Algiers city from where he journeyed overland. He brought Ambassador Humphreys' reply to the Dey's letter of 4 January also covering letters to Barlow and Donaldson explaining that Richard O'Brien had not been able to find any buUion or appropriate coin in London and that he was continuing his search at Hamburg. There now arose a stormy argument between Baccri and Cathcart as to which of them should dehver Humphreys' letter to the Dey. The Christian Secretary complained that the Jews made a point of never bearing any unwelcome news, but directly there was any pleasant intelligence to impart, they slave,

;

immediately insinuated themselves into the proceedings. Hot words were exchanged, but in the end Cathcart agreed to dehver the letter, provided that Philip Sloan went with him.^ In fact, acting as

it

what point there could have been in Baccri 's America's postman as neither he nor the Dey could read

is difficult

to see

one syllable of English.

James Cathcart and

Philip Sloan called on the

Turk

Dey

at six

enough time to take his first food and drink since dawn. Directly Hassan Bashaw saw Sloan he demanded to know where the money was. Sloan confessed that he had brought no money, but he quickly added that he had brought a letter from the Ambassador in its place. o'clock that evening. This allowed the

Cathcart then asked permission to read

it

just

out, but the

Dey

stood

up, slapped his Christian Secretary across the left cheek, snatched

the letter from his hand, flung

it

across the floor of his apartment,

and shouted that they were both 'dogs without

faith.' 'Strike

Effendi,' Cathcart reports himself as saying, 'but hear.'

the

Dey drew

his

sword and the two Americans ran

At

me, this

for their lives,

leaving the Ambassador's letter lying unopened on the floor. This ^

Cathcart, The Captives.

FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES was the second of David Humphreys' positions that was never read.^

carefully reasoned

229

com-

There now existed a certain diplomatic antagonism between Humphreys at Lisbon and the Americans at Algiers. The men on the spot beheved that the man at headquarters did not understand the situation at all; while the man at headquarters felt strongly

men on

that the

the spot did not sufficiently appreciate the com-

plications of the overall picture. It

is

the sort of situation that

all the modern speed of communicamore understandable in the age of the horse and

constantly arises today, with tion

;

it

was

far

the sailing ship. ^

ibid.; also

'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp. 376-7.

:

CHAPTER

12

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

riAViNG been chased out

and Sloan They returned to Donaldson's house where Joel Barlow, Pierre Skjoldebrand, and Micaiah Baccri were waiting with the envoy. They explained what had happened at at scimitar point, Cathcart

did not linger at the palace.

the palace. Cathcart particularly stressed the part where the

Dey

had struck him on his left cheek. At this Joseph Donaldson laughed heartily and said that, 'you [Cathcart] ought to have turn'd him the right allso and fullfill'd the scriptures'. Joel Barlow, on the other hand, was sympathetic and told the Chief Christian Secretary that it was no dishonour to be insulted by a fool or a despot.^

Ramadhan continued. Joel Barlow found it intensely frustrating that he could do nothing actively to assist American

he consoled himself with the belief that the

affairs,

Dey would be

but

unlikely

Donaldson nursed yet another painful attack of the gout the new American envoy occupied himself by making a study of the poKtical arrangements of the Regency. A close look at the situation soon convinced him that the stories he had heard in Paris about Algiers, in which it was described as a nest of sea robbers and fanatical Moslems intent only on propagating their faith and in self-enrichment at Christian expense, was not borne out by fact. The Regency of Algiers was not nearly the unsophisticated organization that northern Europeans supposed it to be. A French traveller and scholar, Venture de Paradis, had visited North Africa not long before Joel Barlow. He wrote to break the peace during a rehgious fast. While Joseph

^

Cathcart, The Captives; also 'Diplomatic Journal', p. 377.

;

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

231

there are in the district of Algiers about 16,000 gardens or small holdings called houch. As the Government Beilik [Treasury] inherits

the property of any man who dies without children, it has come to own a great number of these gardens and small holdings which are employed in providing food supphed for Algerian warships, for supplying the

and members of the government. Algiers, he wrote, has about 5,000 houses including 180 belonging to the Jews. There are no pubhc Squares or gardens in the city and the streets are very narrow. All houses enclose a courtyard which occupy much space. Most of these janizaries

houses have only two storeys, the doorway leads into a vestibule more or less small, where the men of the house receive callers. An interior door leads into a square or oblong courtyard paved with stones or marble. Round this yard there is a gallery supported by columns of stone or marble, all round this gallery are rooms, narrow and oblong in shape which only receive air and Hght through doors or two small windows placed on either side of the doors. Above this gallery there may be another exactly similar which, in turn, supports a terrace or flat roof. Beside the staircase that goes to the galleries, are situated small rooms set aside for domestic servants.^

Paradis claimed that Algiers had a population of 6,000 Coulogies who had a Turkish father and a local Moorish mother)

(or those

there were 3,000 pure Turks, 7,000 Jews, 2,000 slaves Christians,

Biskra

and 32,000 Moors, among

who performed

whom

and other

were the people of

the menial offices of the city.

Biskra was an oasis on the edge of the desert at the southernmost extremity of Turkish influence. The living there was hard

and the people poor. It was the custom for the young men to go work to earn sufficient money to buy themselves brides when they returned home. To the Biskras was reserved the right to do most of the portering in the city. They also worked as dustmen and carted aw^ay the refuse placed in a special niche just to Algiers to

outside the front door of every house last thing at night,

Paradis also recorded that, although there were seldom more than 3,000 Turks in Algiers city, to these should be added those serving on mobile columns and country garrisons, and also the mounted Turkish soldiers who took service under the country

He estimated that there were about 8,000 native-born Turkish soldiers within the territory reckoned to be under Algerian influence. The 3,000 Turks in Algiers city were ^ de Paradis, Algier au XVIII Steele, translated and condensed by the author Beys.

from pp. 2-8.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

232

surrounded, he claimed, by people

who were

many ways

in

their

enemies and yet they managed to maintain perfect order and obedience, but had always to

One

of the

first

show great vigilance,^ made by Joel Barlow was that

discoveries

it

did not really matter that he spoke neither Turkish nor Arabic.

had always looked towards harbour and the merchandise that passed across its quays, Algiers would have remained a very unimportant place. As it was, her streets felt the tread of seamen from every port in the Mediterranean, Some came as merchants, others as Algiers, despite its African hinterland,

the sea. Without

fugitives

from

its

justice

ready to renounce their faith and take

service as soldiers or sailors under the

Turks, and Moors had to find a

Turks of Algiers. Christians, of communication.

common means

This need gave birth to a 'lingua franca' that

all

men

of conse-

quence spoke within the city walls of Algiers. ^ At Oran, in the still in Morocco, the

western part of Algiers and further west

of Spanish words and end of the Mediterranean phrases. In Alexandria at the eastern the language contained much Greek. At Algiers and Tunis much of its vocabulary was Italian. Joel Barlow had half expected to find Algiers governed by a form of piratical anarchy, but he soon learned that the city was administered by an elaborate civil service. At the head of all power was the Dey. His palace was guarded by a nuha or garrison commanded by a General or Aga. During the day this garrison remained outside the palace gate, seated on marble benches. At night it marched into the palace and slept in the upper galleries. There was another guard whose post was just inside the palace gate during the day, but who returned to their barracks at night. The principal civil servant in Algiers was the Hasnagi, or Chief Minister and Treasurer of the Regency. This official was always 'lingua franca' contained a large

to be found at the palace close at

The Ammin Essaka,

hand to attend

or Director of the Mint,

ponsible to the Hasnagi, and 1

number

it

was under

his master's call.

was

directly res-

this official's supervision

ibid.

Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Haedo', RA, No. 86, 1871, p. 94. See also Emerit, 'Le Voyage de la Condamine' ('Notes et Dociiments'), RA, Nos. 440/1, 1954, p. 375; and E. Broughton, Six *

Years' Residence in Algiers, pp. 279-82.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

233

and copper coins were minted. He also supervised the Guild of Jewellers and Goldsmiths which was composed entirely of Jews. It was his duty to assay all gold and silver coins and golden ornaments, and also to value pearls and jewels for estate duties. He controlled the sale of perfumes and fruit essences which were also a Jewish monopoly. The Khodjet-el-Errahba was the Turkish Secretary of Supply. One of his most important duties was to leave his office in the market place at sunset each day and that

all

gold, silver,

personally attend

the

shutting

of the

city

gates.

He

then

delivered the keys of these gates to the palace where they remained during the hours of darkness. The Khodjet-el-Melhn was

Secretary of the Silk Trade, for the Belique of Algiers retained the

market and the Secretary was responsible for He employed a junior secretary and a number of clerks, some of whom were Christian slaves; he locked the silk warehouses every night and himself dehvered the keys to the palace. The Khodjet-el-Djeld was the Secretary to the Hides Monopoly Commission and he performed the same function for this trade as the Silk Secretary did for his commodity. The Khodjet-elGoumerk was Secretary for the Harbour, the Marine Stores, and the Customs Warehouses. His post was under the supervision of the Vekil Khradj, or High Admiral, and his office was at the Admiralty building. The Khodjet-el-Goumerk employed a staff of several secretaries and clerks, as he was responsible for keeping the Admiralty books and was obliged to present balanced accounts every two months. He also was supposed to personally supervise the locking of the warehouses and the delivering of the keys to the palace. Another important functionary was the Mezouer or the Caid of the Night. It was he who commanded the city police and the night patrols. He had under him agents called Harss. The daytime police agents were usually Moors or Coulogies, while the night patrol was recruited from the Kabyles. The Harss could arrest anyone except Turks. The Mezouer kept a register of the city prostitutes and collected a special tax from them. Every two months he was bound to send the product of this tax to the Treasury, and he was entitled to retain ten per cent for his own

monopoly of the

silk

organizing the sale and purchase of this commodity. ^

^

A. Devoulx, Tachrifat, pp. 19-22.

234

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

Thus the Chief of Pohce at Algiers was also the city's He was responsible for the city's prisons, but not the bagnios, and also for the administration of corporal punishment. The Mezouer was also charged with the supervision of executions of all non -Turks. Beheadings were usually performed outside the gate at Bab Azoun and criminals were hanged from the ramparts by the same place. The victim was led through the streets of the city by members of the Harss, preceded by a Berrah or Town Crier, who called out his name and his crime. The rank of Mezouer had once been highly honoured, but since the salary came to be drawn from the city prostitutes it had fallen into salary.

Chief Ponce.

disrepute.

There was the Caid-el-Fahss who was the Commander of the Police in the suburbs of Algiers. His agents carried iron-tipped

and made regular patrols outside the city walls at night. They were also responsible for supervising the hangings ordered by the General in command of country affairs. These were performed beyond the walls at Bab Azoun, at a place where a number of wild olive trees acted as gallows. There was the Caid-el-Abid, the Secretary for Negro Affairs, there being a large number of Negroes both free and slaves at Algiers. The Caid Ezzabel was sticks

responsible for keeping the city reasonably clean.

the Biskri porters and saw to

it

He

supervised

that the city's refuse was thrown

The Caid Echouara was and pavements of the city. The Khodjet-el-Ouzan was the Director of Public Weights and Measures. He patrolled the market place accompanied by a number of tough under-secretaries. Any disputes over weights and measures were brought to him and he gave instant judgement. If a merchant was found guilty of giving short measure he was into the harbour early every morning.

responsible for the upkeep of the drains

Bab Azoun for execution. Either way, all his stock was given away free to the poor. The Director of Weights and Measures was obliged to make a report bastinadoed on the spot or else sent to

and furnish accounts every two months. The Khodjet-el-Ghenaim was the Secretary to the Prize Sales Commission. He was responsible for organizing the sale of all prizes brought into Algiers harbour and for seeing that the products of these sales were allocated according to the laws of the

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

235

Regency. Particularly, he had to make certain that the Pubhc Treasury received its full fees, duties, and share of the booty. The Khodjet-el-Fehama was the Secretary to the City Charcoal Monopoly. He was responsible for collecting the tax levied on charcoal as

it

was brought

into the city.

The Khodjet-Ettout was

responsible for collecting the annual wall tax levied to maintain

the walls of the city.

The Bash-Khodja was Commander of the Corps of Khodjas

or

Turkish Secretaries of Algiers. The number of these secretaries was limited to join the Corps a candidate had to pay a substantial ;

sum of money into the Pubhc Treasury and to pass an examination in pubhc.

The Caid-el-Mersa was the Port Captain and he super-

vised the police of the port and controlled the entry and departure

He employed an under-secretary and a staff of Moslem He hved in the port area and each morning he was obliged to call on the Dey at first hght to advise of

all ships.

or slave Christian clerks.

The Mohtasseb was the Inspector of Markets and Bakehouses. He levied duties by taking a tithe of all fruit, vegetables, milk, and other food supplies sold in the city market. A fixed proportion of these dues had to be sent to the barracks of the janizaries, another portion he was allowed to sell on his own account any surplus was lodged in a government warehouse. The Sheikh-el-Elad was responsible for supervising him of the

situation at the harbour.

;

the activities of

all

artisan guilds such as the guilds of the tailors,

the metal-workers, and the rope-makers.

responsible for

on these various guilds and Pubhc Treasury every was allowed to keep a small percentage of the

collecting the dues for seeing that this

two months. He

and taxes

He was

levied

money was paid

taxes he collected for his

own

into the

pay.

The Of these the richest and most powerful was the Amin of Beni-M'zab. This guild paid the guilds in Algiers were called Amins.

members performed the functions of bath attendants, shopkeepers, dyers, and charcoal merchants. The Amin of Leghont were the Ohve Oil Merchants. There were also guilds of embroiderers, grass mat-makers, armourers, tanners,

highest taxes in the city. Its

rope-makers, dyers, makers of bracelets from cowhorn, butter and

honey merchants, bakers, soap-makers, and fishermen. Justice in Algiers rested ultimately in the hands of the Dey

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

236

from whose final judgement there was no appeal. Everyday cases, however, were divided between two judges called Qadi. One of these Qadi was a Turk while the other was a Moor. They were chosen because of the general respect in which they were held and also for their knowledge of the Koran. The Moorish Qadi was considered to be the leader of his race in the city. His decisions and judgements could be reversed or overruled by the Turkish Qadi whose own decisions could be set aside only by the Dey.^ There was often confusion in Algiers but never anarchy. The rules for controlling the government of the city and its mihtary and naval forces had evolved over hundreds of years. These rules or habits were altered occasionally, but only with the greatest reluctance. The Turks of Algiers believed very strongly that what was good enough for their forbears was quite good enough for themselves. Every place had its duties and its perquisites. Each man received his reward according to his abihties and the will of Allah. Every crime had its punishment, and punishment was never long delayed. It

was springtime when Joel Barlow reached Algiers but

it

was

already hot in the city. Nevertheless, he wrote to his wife that he

found the climate of Algiers well suited for pleasant hving. 'Although [there is an] African sky there is usually a sea breeze find to its way into the narrow alleyivays of the town', he told her. The American slaves assured him that even in the middle of winter it was seldom cold enough to warrant a fire indoors. Snow was almost unknown and hail was a rare occurrence. The people of the city appeared to be generally robust, but there was a distressingly high incidence of ophthalmia amongst the small children running about in the streets. Barlow was not surprised to find that the plague was such a menace in Algiers for the city's liquid sewage was poured into the public thoroughfares and there remained until it was washed down into the harbour by a passing shower of rain. When Joel Barlow felt in need of exercise and fresh air he walked out of the city gates into the suburbs of Algiers. Beyond .

.

.

^ A. Devoulx, Tachrifat, pp. 22-44. Also Berbnigger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Haedo', RA, No. 90, 1871, pp. 466-9. * The Barlow Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

237

the large burial grounds that clustered round the gates at Bab-el-

Oued and Bab Azoun he found the countryside green, pleasant, and occupied by small, well- tended estates. The hillsides sloping down to the brilliant sea were liberally dotted with cedars and other large trees, and there were many neat orchards of oranges and lemon trees. The gardens of the country houses were filled with cultivated flowers, especially roses. Barlow told his wife with delight that these last bloomed the whole year round at Algiers. The Turks had a great love of flowers and even a fiercely mustachioed warrior was not ashamed to return from a country stroll with a rose stuck into the folds of his turban.

Barlow noted that inside the two main city gates there was always a small guard of Turkish soldiers and a Moorish Secretary charged with collecting taxes and dues on all produce brought into the city. Inside Bab-el-Oued there was a small piazza and to this place came wealthy Moors and Turks to sit cross-legged on rugs, smoking their pipes and watching the people thronging in and out of the city.^ The gate at Bab Azoun was the busiest of all the city gates. It was joined to the gate at Bab-el-Oued by the straightest and widest street in the city and along this street the market was held. Here also many merchants had their warehouses and craftsmen their workshops. This market street was sometimes sixteen, but often only ten feet wide and it was usually crowded with people and beasts. At either end, and wherever it intersected other streets, there were high wooden doors. These were locked at night and were guarded by Kabyle night watchmen. Unlike the practice in Europe, Barlow discovered that in Algiers shopkeepers and craftsmen did not live near their work. This was understandable for the merchants' warehouses and the craftsmen's workrooms were little more than brick caves set in blank walls. The market opened at daybreak, but at three in the afternoon the craftsmen and shopkeepers put up their wooden shutters and went home.

wooden doors leading into the market were firmly closed which had the effect of nearly cutting off the top half of the city from the bottom. After dark it was a common practice for Moors or Christian slaves to break into the backs of the All

the

market shops with crowbars. Their assaults were made ^

E. Broughton, Six Years' Residence in Algiers, p. 284.

easier

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

238

by the

same

fact that the night patrols always kept to the

timetable.^

Joel Barlow wrote to his wife that the buildings of Algiers,

with the exception of the mosque,

all

had

flat

wooden

roofs,

and

they were carefully whitewashed on the outside which gave them a pleasing appearance. The whitewashing, Barlow learnt, had to be

redone once a year by order of the city government.

Many

of the

houses supported each other across the streets by huge wooden

beams, a legacy from the severe earthquakes that had severely

damaged the city in the early days of that century. ^ The bagnios appeared fearful places to Joel Barlow, especially as he sometimes heard shouts, loud curses, and the sound of blows coming from them. But he soon discovered that most of this noise was contributed by the drinkers in the taverns and need not be regarded with too much alarm. Each of the three bagnios. Barlow learnt, had its own chapel and a room for the priest who said Mass every morning before the slaves went out to work at daybreak. The gate of each prison was guarded by a Turkish soldier called the Guardian Bashi who had under him a number of Turkish and Moorish jailers. This Guardian Bashi made a good hving out of selling his permission to slaves to

in the bagnios. for the

run taverns and eating-houses

The bagnio taverns were

seamen from

wrote about the

city's

favourite meeting-places

visiting Christian ships. Joel

Barlow

also

Turkish Barracks they were kept scrupu:

lously clean, largely because every janizary employed a Christian slave to act as his batman. Other Christian slaves purchased concessions to sell tobacco, cooked meats,

and even wines and

spirits

in these barracks.^

Barlow reported

in his official correspondence that the

most

powerful fortress of the city was at the seaward end of the mole.

was octagonal

It

in shape

and had a

tall

beacon built on

its roof.

There was a smaller fortress at the eastern end of the Island of

Penon overlooking the entrance

into the harbour.

Both these

R. P. J.-B. Labat, Metnoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, pp. 225-6. Historical Memoirs of Barbary as connected ivith the plunder of the seas [no author], p. 51. See also de Paradis (ed. E. Fagnan), Alger au XVIII siecle, p. 7; and Bianchi, 'Relation de I'arrivee dans la rade d'Alger', BA, No. 126, 1877, ^

*

pp. 414-15. ^

Barlow Papers. Also Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d^Arvieux,

vol. v, p. 229.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

239

had several batteries of cannon, set above each other. Barlow was told that these batteries were usually manned by Jews or even Christian captives, for it had been discovered that Moorish and Turkish cannoneers often became so excited in battle that they so overcharged their cannon that these blew up in their fortresses

faces.

Barlow reported that there were many renegade Christians serving as soldiers at Algiers, including a

Renegade

number of Irishmen.^

were highly thought of in the Regency as they were able to fight equally well on sea or land, whereas the true-born Turkish janizary seldom felt fully at ease on board ship. No soldiers

Turkish soldier was supposed to marry without his officer's consent and this was only grudgingly given. Directly a soldier did

marry he had to leave the barracks and forgo his privilege of free food and accommodation. On the other hand, when a married soldier died his widow and minor children were entitled to go on drawing his full pay. It was these Turkish soldiers who had originally christened the Ruler of Algiers 'Dey'. In Turkish this word signifies an uncle on the mother's side. The janizaries claimed that the Sultan of Turkey was their father, the city of Algiers was their mother, and their Commander-in-Chief was their mother's brother. 2

An ordinary Turkish soldier was called a Joldach. In time he was promoted to the command of a 'tent' as a section of janizaries was called. This made him responsible for the good behaviour of sixteen to twenty-two men. He was allowed to punish minor breaches of regulations by beating. The beatings, however, were of a mild nature for a tent commander was only allowed to administer a few blows with a light stick, and he must do this while kneeling down and must not raise his hands over his shoulders. Serious crimes committed by janizaries were tried by the Dey and were punished with great severity. From the command of a tent a janizary was promoted, strictly according to seniority, through four successive ranks until he found himself an Aga Bashi, which was roughly the equivalent of a Colonel. There were only twenty Aga Bashi in the army and they represented the ^

*

Barlow Papers; also J. Bruce, An Interesting Narrative Labat, Memoirea du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, p. 259.

etc.,

p. xxii.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

240

stafiF. Every two months the senior Aga Bashi was promoted Aga-in-Chief and during his short period of office he commanded all the Turkish and Moorish troops in the Regency. He lived in a special house in the city and here all punishment and executions of Turks were carried out under his supervision.^ Whenever the Aga of the Two Moons, as he was commonly called, went out he was accompanied by a bodyguard of four

general

hand-picked janizaries called Saluks. These carried scimitars thrust into their silken girdles and wore large copper badges in the

At the end of his term of two months the full pay and became a member of the Dey's Divan with the title of Mansoul Aga. It was from among these Mansoul Agas that the commanders of the tax-gathering and

front of their turbans.

Aga-in-Chief retired on

punitive expeditions into the interior were appointed. In the course of one or two such expeditions a reasonably fortunate Mansoul

Aga

could expect to amass enough booty to see

him through

his

long retirement in comfort. Joel Barlow, wandering curiously through the streets of the city with a Turkish guide, soon noticed that the various ranks and

army wore separate and distinctive clothexample, who were the Dey's military pohce,

special branches of the ing.

The Shaush,

for

always wore turbans shaped

like

pyramids, while their shirts had

very broad cuffs which they turned back from their wrists in such

a way as to leave their forearms bare. Company commanders wore a strip of red cloth hanging from the peak of their turbans. The turban of the Aga of the Two Moons was wider at the top than at the base and was richly ornamented with jewelled brooches.^

The dress of the ordinary people in the street also varied greatly. The country Moors could seldom afford more than a single length of unbleached cotton cloth which they wrapped round their bodies like a Roman toga. A few of the wealthier sometimes had cotton shirts and pantaloons, but this was rare. Moorish and Turkish A. Devoulx, Tachrifat, p. 26. Also F. Knight, A Relation of Seaven Yeares ^

Slavery Under the Turkes of Argeire, 1640, p. 42; and Berbrugger, 'Les casernes de Janissaires a Alger', RA, No. 14, 1858, p. 138. « du Chastelet des Boys (ed. L. Piesse), 'L'Odyssee', RA, No. 72, 1868, pp. 442-7; and Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generate d'Alger par Haedo\ RA, No. 90, 1871, pp. 470-1. ^ Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, pp. 282-3.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

241

went out into the streets, were invariably dressed in white, blue, or black robes which covered them from head to toe. The artisans and Moorish workmen in the city wore loose-fitting cotton shirts and pantaloons and red felt caps with a small turban wound round the base. The wealthy Moors wore silk clothes, embroidered waistcoats, and larger turbans. During the summer all men went bare-legged and many

women, on the

rare occasions they

of the poor barefooted too.

The Turks of

Algiers liked to

wear elegant

They were

clothes.

fond of elaborately embroidered cotton shirts and wore extremely large cotton pantaloons often made from bright red cloth. In winter some of the very wealthy wore red stockings, and nearly

walked about

in yellow

Moroccan leather

slippers.

all

The Turks

wear voluminous cloaks, or burnouses, draped over their shoulders. These had large hoods which hung down their backs and sometimes trailed a brightly coloured silken tassel. Young Turks who were still actively employed as soldiers or sailors wore plain red caps without turbans, and they liked to stroll about the streets barefoot to show their toughness. During the summer wealthy Turks wore black silk burnouses, but during the winter these were

liked to

of fine quality wool,

and often bordered by a

silk fringe in

a bright

wore red burnouses, while the corps of secretaries, the judges, and the preachers at the mosques always wore white. Barlow was told that the woollen burnouses of Algiers were famous they were woven and dyed at a small country town called Tlemcen and were made from a mixture of hair from camels and the fleece of Persian colour. Occasionally very senior Turkish officers

;

lambs.

The Jews of

Algiers city always dressed in black

and wore

three-cornered black caps on their heads. Sometimes they

wound

round these. The Moors and the Turks Jews in great contempt and the children running in the streets quite often spat on them or even threw stones. No Jew was supposed to ride a horse but he was permitted to ride a mule or donkey outside the city walls however, if he saw a Moslem approaching he was expected to dismount and stand on one side until the Moslem had passed. It sometimes happened that Turkish soldiers who had been drinking stopped Jews in the a turban of black

professed to hold

silk

all

;

;

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

242

streets

and made them carry them on

their backs

to their

barracks.^

However, despite these

disabilities, Joel

Barlow quickly noted

that some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the city

were Jews.

A large part of Algerian external trade was in the hands

and bankers, who were in constant corresEurope and the Levant. Marseilles, Leghorn, Genoa, Ahcante, and many other Christian ports, some as far away as Plymouth or Stockholm, conducted trade with North Africa through the Jews of Algiers. In times of famine it was the Jewish merchants of Algiers who arranged for of Jewish merchants

pondence with

their fellows all over

the import of wheat, in times of plenty they found markets for

its

Not all Algerian Jews were wealthy bankers and merchants. Some were as poor as the poorest Moslem and these earned a pittance carrying loads round the city streets when a Biskri porter was not available. But the really poor Jew was an exception export.

most were small craftsmen or shopkeepers. All the silver, gold, and jewellery work was in the hands of the Jews. All the tailors, dressmakers, and embroiderers of the Regency were Jews they also made the tents which housed the janizaries when they were on campaign. They were sometimes armourers and even boatbuilders. Some Jews owned vineyards and made wine; others had the monopoly of distilling hquor out of fermented figs and dates. The Jews lived in ghettos called hara, but this was from choice and not compulsion. When they made money they loved to buy sumptuous jewellery for their women and then they lived in dread of having it stolen. Only at weddings could the Algerian Jews bear to display all their wives' and daughters' ornaments and on these occasions they always hired Turkish soldiers to stand guard at their houses and protect them from Moorish or Christian slave thieves. But the Turks themselves could sometimes turn nasty and when a Dey was assassinated, a not uncommon occurrence in Algiers, it was the accepted custom of the janizaries to loot the ;

Jewish houses. Rabbis were allowed to

sit

in

judgement on

civil cases

between

^ Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d^Arvieux, vol. v, pp. 280-8. Also de Paradis. 'Alger au XVIII siecle', RA, No. 220, 1896, p. 65; and A. Cahen, 'Les Juifs dans I'Afrique Septentrionale', in Recueil des Notices et Memoires de la Societe Archeologique de la Province de Constantine, vol. i, 2nd series, p. 182.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS Jew and Jew but they had no

criminal authority.

243

The Jews of

Algiers presented a close-knit appearance to the outside world,

but there were in fact often schisms among them. There is no record as to when the first Jews reached North Africa in general

and Algiers

in particular.

The

indications are that they were there

long before the land was converted to Christianity. Certainly

nomad

Jews accompanied the Arab armies on their first invasions of North Africa. Later, as active persecution of the Jews increased in Christian Europe, more and more Jews fied to the comparative tolerance to be foimd in Moslem North Africa. During the sixteenth century the rise to power of the Inquisition caused a flood of Jewish refugees from Spain to arrive in Morocco and Algiers. These later Spanish arrivals found it diflScult to integrate with the long-resident and by now completely Africanized Jewish communities. They set up their own synagogues and in Algiers settled down to live in a separate ghetto. They were commercially more successful than the African Jews, as a result of which jealousy and bitterness arose between the two groups and occasionally this barely stopped short of civil war. During the seventeenth century the Duke of Tuscany established a market at Leghorn which specialized in trading captives and prize ships and their cargoes between Moslem North Africa and Cathohc Europe. The trade flourished and the Jews of Leghorn began to send members of their families to live in the North African ports to act as their agents. The Coen Baccris, under the leadership of Micaiah, came to Algiers from Leghorn in 1774, while Micaiah's partner, Nettah Busnach, arrived there only in 1782. Although men hke Micaiah Baccri were tied to their poorer brethren by the bonds of religion, in many ways they found themselves more at home with the European merchants and Consuls of the city than with their own Rabbis and guild craftstribes of

men.^

The Jews of Algiers were allowed

to maintain a butchery inside

the city walls, but in return for this privilege they were required to give the hides, a valuable commodity, to the Pubfic Treasury, ^ Cahen, 'Lea Juifs dans I'Afrique Septentrionale', pp. 166-95. See also Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire generale d'Alger par Haedo', RA, No. 86, 1871, p. 91; de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII si^cle', RA, No. 219, 1895, p. 306; and E. Broughton, Six Years' Residence in Algiers, p. 353.

R

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

244

while the heads and intestines went to feed the Dey's wild animals.

By

the late eighteenth century the Turkish rulers of Algiers

had learned that there was as much money to be made from trade as from assaults on Christian shipping and from frightening tribute from the peasants and nomads of the Algerian hinterland. Accordingly, they began to enter into profitable trading partnerships with certain of the more energetic European Jewish famihes. Micaiah Baccri started with a small grocery and hardware shop in 1774, but by early luck and hard work and by later placing his mercantile skill at the disposal of the Dey Muhammad Bashaw, and after him Dey Hassan Bashaw, he became the richest man in Algiers and, as a result, also one of the most influential. At other times he operated skilfully on his own account. When the Bey of Constantine had visited Algiers in 1795 he wished to make a magnificent

gift to

the Dey's wife.

partner of Baccri's to find a jewel of value.

He

He was

asked a

offered a

brooch decorated with diamonds at a price of 60,000 Spanish dollars.

The Bey bought the brooch and paid

for it in

wheat

delivered at Constantine harbour at a price of four francs per sack

of 100

lb.

Baccri shipped this wheat to Marseilles where, because

of the British blockade, he was able to lb.

In this

way he made

sell it for

50 francs for 100

3,750,000 francs from one jewel brooch

which his agent had bought for him in Paris for 30,000 francs.^ Once the French armies began to march through Europe they had to have North African grain. During one year 240,000 sacks of wheat were exported to France from Constantine alone. The Jewish merchants only paid 6 francs a sack and were able to sell the shipments that avoided the British blockade at an enormous profit. What is not recorded, however, is how much they had to pay Dey Hassan Bashaw for his permission to export the wheat in the first place. This was the sort of transaction that found its way into no books, yet it enabled the ruler of Algiers to live in considerable style and, what was more important, to be generous to his officers and servants. By the time Joel Barlow arrived in Algiers it was the Jewish merchants of the city who were keeping Dey Hassan supplied * Sidy Hamdan-Ben-Othman Khoja, Aper^u Hiatorique Rigence d^ Alger, pp. 141-3.

et

Statiatique aur la

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

246

with the money he required. This, liberally spent, percolated

by degrees the

down

to the lowest echelons of the Turkish estabhshment. If

Dey of Algiers wished

to stay alive

and keep

his

power he must

constantly look to his supports, and the most potent of these were his janizaries.

The janizaries Even if the rest

pay promptly every two months. Regency was suffering from famine and starvation they always received their full rations,^ for hungry soldiers spell trouble. The janizaries did not bother much with drill. Most of them did not even bother to go hunting. A few occasionally went into the hills and shot birds with arquebuses, some joined with members of the Moorish Spahis and chased wild boar on horseback with lances. Like the Moors, the Turkish janizaries seem to have doted on horses. One of their favourite pastimes was to race on horseback two at a time through the country gardens. They practised archery, but only to see how far they could shoot an arrow, never how straight. A great deal of the janizaries' time was spent sitting in the sun smoking their pipes and when it became too hot in the sun they moved across and sat in the shade. It was hinted that they were much given to unnatural vices. Certainly the love songs which they were fond of singing whilst accompanying themselves on the guitar, were usually addressed to young boys. It was suggested that they had a predilection for Jewish boys and often used to abduct these and take them to their barracks. Although they were received their of the

;

supposed to be devout Moslems, the janizaries, like other soldiers, were inclined towards drunkenness. But if they had their vices

They never blasphemed. They never gambled or played cards, except the renegade Christian soldiers who gambled furiously. They seldom fought among themselves, and when they did it never came to more than a bout of

the janizaries also had their virtues.

fisticuffs.^

While Barlow was waiting for something to happen in the Pay took place in Algiers. This lasted for forty days, which enabled soldiers Algerian- American negotiation, the Annual Grand

^

Berbrugger and Monnereau, 'Topographie et Histoire g^n^rale d'Alger par

Haedo\RA, No. *

ibid., p. 516.

84, 1870, p. 511.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

246

all parts of the Regency to come to Algiers and collect money. At Grand Pays every janizary had to appear in person to prove that he was still ahve and entitled to his money. A large tent was set up just outside the city at Bab Azoun, and to this place the Hasnagi, or Regency Treasurer, went at daybreak every morning accompanied by many senior Turks and one of the Dey's two private orchestras. To begin the proceedings two

stationed in their

preachers said lengthy prayers in front of the Treasurer's tent.

The money

pay was brought from the Pubhc Treasury two sacks. It was, of course, heavily guarded by

for the

each morning in

members of the palace guard while being carried through the and while lying in the pay tent. The Hasnagi, or his deputy, sat on a fine rug laid in the centre of the tent. Members streets of Algiers

of the palace guard stood close at hand. In front of the Hasnagi sat

two Moorish

secretaries,

with the sacks of money.

the tent a janizary announced his

who passed

it

on to the Moorish

name

secretaries.

the Regency books and announced

On entering

to an officer of the guard,

One of these searched

how much pay

the applicant

money. The

was

entitled to; the other counted the

laid

a large handkerchief on the ground in front of the sacks of

soldier then

money. The Moorish secretary placed the money in it in full view payment was seen to be correct another officer of the guard picked up the handkerchief with the money inside it and gave it to the soldier. At the same time he put his hand on the man's shoulder, turned him round, and of everybody in the tent. If the

hurried

him out of the

tent. All the while the

Dey's orchestra

played soothing music from the background. Sometimes the

Dey

himself sat for a time in the pay tent.^

The soldiers' pay was one of the few expenses met by the Pubhc Treasury and Joel Barlow was much impressed by the economical way pubhc funds were used in Algiers. Money could only be paid out from the Treasury for expenses that had been estabhshed by long custom. When, for instance, it was decided to strengthen the city's defences after the Danish War of 1770 and again after the Spanish bombardments of 1783 and 1784, aU the inhabitants of the city were expected to give their time and labour free and to assist the Regency slaves in fetching stone from the »

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

si6cle*,

RA, No.

220, 1896, pp. 47-48.

I

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

247

beyond Bab-el-Oued. Even the Turkish and had worked alongside the slaves.^ example grandees had set an In 1775 when Spanish troops landed under General O'Reilly, trenches were ordered to be dug outside the gate at Bab Azoun. Every trade guild gave one day's digging without payment, and the Jews, who were more frightened of the Spaniards than were the Moslems, gave two days.^ When the Spaniards were repulsed and Dey Muhammad came to make good his promise and pay for Spanish heads with gold he raised the money by appeahng to the senior Turkish officers of the Regency and by dipping deep into quarries in the hills

own privy

his

purse. It

was

also considered a patriotic act for

wealthy private citizens to build gun-boats for the city's defence.' In this way the mihtary strength of the Regency increased without the Public Treasury being put to a farthing's expense. So parsimonious were the Deys of Algiers about taking money from the PubUc Treasury that even the pay of the Turkish

was absurdly small.* If a Turk wished to acquire wealth he had to search for more sophisticated duties than purely mihtary janizaries

ones.

The Corps of Khodjas de I'Ogeac

offered

decent financial

rewards to Levantine Turks. If any janizary could earn, loot, or borrow 1,000 pataques,^ and he knew how to read and write, he could apply to join the ranks of the Khodjas, or Turkish Secre-

would first be sent to some country garrison to serve as adjutant and quartermaster. He could then expect to be promoted from garrison to garrison until finally taries.

If accepted the applicant

he received one of the secretarial posts attached to the

city's

government. There was a substantial number of these posts and a Khodja could expect to be appointed Secretary to the Harbour Customs, Secretary to the Turkish High Court, Secretary to the Hides Monopoly Commission, or Secretary to the Public Granaries, or the Water Supply Commission, or the Prize Sales Commission. The City Charcoal Monopoly also had its Turkish Secretary and so did 1

many others.

ibid., p. 70.

All these positions were highly profitable as they 2

ibid.

»

ibid.

L

pp. 40-41. Also Labat, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, vol. v, p. 252. * An obscure coin or unit of Algerian currency that seems to have been worth about one shilling at that time: see Blavin, La condition et la vie desfranQais, p. 29, n. 2; and P.R.O. F.O. 3/7, Logie's Statement, Algiers, 20 March 1790. *

ibid.,

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

248

carried the right to ten per cent of all dues

and taxes levied or

The four Chief Turkish SecreMounted Cavalry, the Secretary of the Palace, the Secretary of Corn Supplies, and the Secretary of Military Supplies, were personally chosen by the Dey from this Corps of Khodjas, or Secretaries. They were chosen purely on merit. All other secretarial posts were held for two years and were received, plus the usual 'aviads'. taries,

the Secretary of

appointed strictly according to seniority. Janizaries

who

could read and write but

who

could not find

1,000 pataques could enrol as secretaries of the Marine. These

acted as chief stewards and pursers on board the Regency cruisers. If a Marine secretary applied himself to learning navigation and seamanship he could take command of one of the warships himself.

The captain of an Algerian warship was not well paid but he was any prize his ship captured and to the personal belongings of the captain of that prize. He also had the power to force any Moor in Algiers city to serve as a member of his crew. This enabled him to threaten wealthy merchants with the 'press', a threat that could always be diverted by the 'gift* of a sum of money. ^ Even if a janizary had no money and was not able to read or write, there were stiU other paths to affluence and an easy old age. A janizary was never ashamed to take up a trade during his sabbatical years. Some became merchants during their stays in country garrisons and dabbled in the corn and produce markets; others married the daughters of wealthy country Moors and thus entitled to a substantial share of

provided for their future with a

A

minimum

of effort.

well-favoured janizary might be chosen by the

his special

Dey

to join

Corps of Commissionaires, and then his future was

assured. There were ten of these Commissionaires, called Shaush

of the Green Robes after the colour of their burnouses.

They were

responsible for arresting Turks accused of crimes and for taking

them

before the

Dey

for judgement. Usually their next

to conduct the convicted

Moons

man

to the house of the

Aga

duty was

of the

Two

was a capital ojBFence to resist arrest by one of the Shaush of the Green Robes, and even a Georgian janizary maddened with rum would generally allow »

to receive his punishment. It

de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII

si^cle',

RA, No.

220, 1896, pp. 72-74.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

249

himself to be led meekly through the streets by his hand or his bandoleer. Below their voluminous green burnouses the Shaush

wore red

silk girdles

and velvet waistcoats of the same

elaborately embroidered with gold thread.

On

colour,

their feet they

wore

half-boots of red Morocco leather tipped with steel to give their

and solemn sound. Across their shoulders they wore cartridge bandoleers of red leather and they carried scimitars in curved scabbards thrust into their sashes. Each Shaush held his office for ten years. They were greatly feared and were easily footsteps a loud

able to

make

their fortunes during this time

by means of

'gifts'

from the nervous grandees of the city.^ Although there was little Joel Barlow could do towards keeping the precarious American peace with Algiers, there was a great deal in the African seaport and its surroundings to excite his interest and curiosity. In the meanwhile James Cathcart found himself involved in a sudden and awkward drama. The Spanish deserters from Oran were men with little hope of redemption and this made them difficult characters to handle. At night discipline inside the bagnios was maintained by Christian corporals who were often bullies of a savage and beastly kind. Now and then they went too far and drove one of their victims to desperation. During March 1796 a Spanish slave, a deserter from Oran in 1788, suddenly turned on two Christian corporals in the Bagnio Gallera with a large cooking knife. One he stabbed to death while the other he severely wounded. There was immediate uproar in the bagnio. The Guardian Bashi who lived in a house next door became greatly alarmed at the noise and sent a message to the palace saying that he feared a revolt had broken out in his establishment. The Dey was awakened and gave his permission for the nearest Turkish barracks to be unlocked and for a section of soldiers to be sent to the trouble spot.

When

arrived at the bagnio the gate was by the nervous guardians and the soldiers entered with their weapons ready. They found the desperate Spaniard standing over the corpse and the wounded man and defying the remaining corporals. The whole macabre scene was lit by flickering candles held up by the excited crowd of slaves. A

the janizaries

cautiously opened

1

ibid.,

pp. 74r-77.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

260

officer pointed his pistol at the man with the knife and on him to surrender, but this the desperate Spaniard refused the Turk threatening to do and a curious stalemate now ensued to fire, but not firing, and the Spaniard defying anyone to come

Turkish called



within reach of his knife. Finally another Spanish deserter from

who had been born in the same village, succeeded in knockhim on the head from behind with a wooden plank. The stunned murderer was chained and removed to the Guardian Bashi's house. The janizaries returned to their barracks, the gates of the bagnio were locked, but it was some time before the Oran,

ing

occupants of the Bagnio Gallera recovered from their excitement.

Early next morning, as soon as news of the previous night's disturbance had spread through the streets and market place, a

crowd of citizens assembled outside the gate to the Dey's They had not long to wait. Soon the chained prisoner was marched into the palace. In a short while he was brought out again. The palace guard cleared a space in the crowd directly in front of the palace entrance. The condemned man was made to kneel down. One of the janizaries then decapitated him with his

large

palace.

sword. Cathcart,

who

witnessed the execution, said that

it

took

the soldier three clumsy strokes before he succeeded in severing the head from the body. At his final success, however, the assembled Moors cheered loudly and shouted that another Christian dog had gone to hell. But James Cathcart soon found that he was more than just a spectator of the affair. Hassan Bashaw now declared that he had been unfairly deprived of two of his slaves and that he intended to be paid for them. The brawl, he said, had been caused by drunkenness, therefore the Christian tavern-keepers must bear the ransom price of 2,000 sequins for each of the two dead slaves, and he added that if the wounded man died he also would have to be

paid

for.

The tavern-keepers pleaded that they could not possibly afford to pay so much money. The Dey rephed by closing all taverns and putting their landlords in chains.

He

sent Cathcart to

demand

his

The tavern-keepers still protested that they could not pay so large a sum of money. The Dey ordered that each should receive a bastinado of five hundred blows and, as the 4,000 sequins once again.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

251

usual preliminary, they were to be starved for twenty -four hours before receiving their beatings.

they would try to

matter was

pay

if

finally settled

the

The tavern-keepers now said that allow them time. The

Dey would

on these terms, but Cathcart claimed

that as the owner of several of these taverns he had to find a large

part of the

money

himself. Financially, Cathcart's luck seems to

have deserted him about now for shortly after

this affair the

Dey decided to demolish the smallest of the slave bagnios to make room for a new mosque. Unfortunately, Cathcart had recently bought the tavern in this bagnio for eight hundred dollars. This he now lost without compensation. '. So much', he grumbled in his journal, 'for Turkish Despotism and injustice.'^ However, to cheer him up somewhat, he was able to score a mark off" Joseph Donaldson. 'March the 21st', he wrote in his journal, 'Mr. Donaldson sent for me and ask'd me whether the .

Dey had I told

with

sent a letter

.

Humphreys [in January]. me why he was not made acquainted

by Sloan

to Mr.

him he had. He ask'd I inform 'd him that it was the Deys

it.

particular orders that

he should not, and in consequence of the good advice he [Donaldson] had given me the 30th of last October I had kept it a pro.'^ found secret. Far away in Lisbon, in the meanwhile, David Humphreys wondered if he might be able to raise some of the money for the Algerian peace in Spain. He wrote to the Royal Treasury at Madrid asking for permission to export Spanish silver milled .

.

dollars to Algiers.

On

March

The permission was

firmly refused.^

Barlow wrote from Algiers to the Secretary of State at Philadelphia. The letter ran to twenty-eight closely written pages. It began, 'Sir, Mr. Humphreys had doubtless explained to you the reasons of his engaging me to come to this place. ... I arrived the 5th inst., and during my stay here, which I hope will be very short, I propose to give you as much useful .' Barlow wrote that the Information as I may be able to collect. Turkish rulers of Algiers were simply adventurers who dominated the local population by the terror of their arms, that the majority 18

1796, Joel

.

.

^

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', pp. 373-6.

«

ibid., p. 376.

'O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. Hvunphreys.

iii,

Madrid, 11 March 1796, Charles Routledge to David

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

262

them thought only of enriching themselves and returning to Turkey, and that they had no real patriotism for Algiers. Only when this was understood, he wrote, would the United States Government begin to find their actions comprehensible. He went on to describe the war that was then being arranged against Denmark. The Danes, he explained, had sinned in two instances. Firstly, one of their vessels carrying a cargo of wheat from Algiers to Marseilles had allowed itself to be captured by a British warship blockading the coast of Provence. Under normal European Prize Law, the Dey was entitled to claim the cost value of the cargo from the British, but Algiers had its own custom, which was that 'the flag protects the cargo'. The Danish Consul was immediately of

bullied into pajdng over a large

sum

of

money

as compensation.

later. A Danish merchant vessel carrying three hundred newly recruited janizaries from Constantinople to Algiers was captured by a Neapolitan warship and taken into Sicily. This was extremely embarrassing for the Danes whose treaty with Naples contained a clause undertaking never to transport Turkish troops. Dey Hassan Bashaw was furious at losing three hundred janizary reinforcements. He first demanded that Denmark should pay him 2,000 sequins for each man, then he changed his mind and insisted that the Danes produce the self-same soldiers or expect war. The Danes asked the Neapolitans to release the Turkish recruits, the Neapohtans refused, and so war it was to be. 'The cruisers will go out at the end of Ramadan', wrote Joel Barlow, 'and the prizes will begin to pour in.' Not that he was greatly impressed by the naval strength of Algiers which, he pointed out to the Secretary of State, had declined during the century. He enclosed two lists giving Algerian naval power in 1724 24 ships carrying a total of 356 guns; and in 1796 II ships carrying 164 guns. On the other hand he was very impressed with the amount of money that was generally supposed to be in the Public Treasury fifty-four million Spanish dollars. He then gave his opinion on the salary a resident American Consul at Algiers would need.

The second instance had occurred a short time





:

I

am an enemy

to high salaries [he wrote]

.

.

.

but this

will

be a

The English Consul here has £1,000 a year. (both without The Spaniard has 1,000 Dollars and all his expenses

difficult subject.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

^

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

253

The Sweed has 4,600 Dollars for himself and Secretary with leave to trade, the Venetians and the Dutch about 3,000 Dollars each with leave to trade. Most of the substantial articles of meet and drink are Cheaper here than they are in Europe. But ... a Consul is obhged to keep a greater number of Servants, and it is really necessary for him to have two Houses, one in town and one in the Country, the first for Business and residence in time of health, and the other as a retreat in times of the Plague, and a place where he can keep his Cows and other cattle and make his wine and Garden stuff. leave to trade).

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Barlow concluded, 'I have been somewhat particular in these knowing the subject in general must be new to you, and some parts of it at least interesting in the present State of our Affairs.' He then added a postscript in his own hand. 'Excuse the bad spelling in this letter. I am obliged to get it copied by a person who would make fewer mistakes in coimting the links of his chain than the letters of a word.'^ Barlow next wrote to David Humphreys about America's vulnerable peace treaty. Donaldson, he declared emphatically, was a sincere, honest man who had made the best peace possible under the circumstances. Nor was it fair, in his opinion, to blame the envoy for not having conducted the negotiations through the Consul-General of France, who at that time was totally opposed to an American treaty. Further, he considered Donaldson was quite entitled by his instructions to assimie that the funds were readily available in Lisbon. Bariow went on to say that he could only suppose that Humphreys was holding back the payment until the treaty had been ratified by Congress and the President. This, in his opinion, was unnecessary and wrong. If these seem strong terms in which to address an Ambassador it must be remembered that Bariow and Humphreys were acquaintances of long standing and possibly Bariow regretted his sharpness when Sloan delivered the letters from Humphreys ten days later and he learnt the true cause of the delay. On 3 April 1796, the blow fell and Bariow wrote another letter to Humphreys which he and Donaldson signed jointly. details,

;

^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

18

March

1796, Joel

Secretary of State. *

ibid., Algiers, 3

April 1796, Joel Barlow to David Hiimphreys.

Barlow to

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

254

Sir, [the letter read] The Dey has this moment given us to understand through the Sweedish Drogoman, that he has come to the following decision relative to our affair; that in eight days we shall be sent away from this place, that he will then allow thirty days and no more before his cruisers shaD have orders to bring in American ships; that if in that time the money should come to pay the sums stipulated by Mr. Donaldson he will receive it and concluded peace; otherwise it is war ... we have done everything in our power to ward off the fatal stroke Indeed very Httle that has been so long impending in this affair. has been in our power to do, considering the ignorance in which we have been kept relative to the State of the funds, and to your intentions Signed. Joseph Donaldas to fulfiUing the conditions of the treaty. .

.

.

.

.

.

son, Joel Barlow.^

Together with this joint communication Joel Barlow enclosed a personal letter to David Humphreys. In this he criticized the

Ambassador so sharply

for the delay in the arrival of the funds

that he rather lays himself open to the charge of not having read

Humphreys'

last letters

with suflScient care. However, he did also

write, I know you will excuse the freedom of my remarks on a subject so extremely interesting to every feeling of humanity and patriotism. Immediately on our departure from here the American captives will be put to the hardest labour and treated with more cruelty than ever. They will be insulted and spat upon by Jews, strangers as well as by Tm-ks and Moors. ... In speaking of Jews and strangers as our detracThe two Skjoldebrands tors, I ought to make three exceptions. [and] Baccry the Jew is likewise a warm friend. He appears to be a man of uncommon merit for one of a race so degraded and debased, as the jews of Algiers.^ .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

IMeanwhile, approximately five thousand miles to the west, on 2

March

1796, the Senate of the United States of

America had

solemnly and with a two-thirds majority ratified the treaty with

made by Joseph Donaldson Junior. ^ But, as far as that gentleman was concerned, and Dey Hassan Bashaw, and Ambassador Humphreys, and James Cathcart, and all the other American captives, the Senate might just as well have been in session on the moon. Ambassador David Humphreys was becoming increasingly Algiers

^

ibid., 3

April 1796, Barlow

*

ibid.

*

ibid. Filed

and Donaldson to Humphreys.

between 20 February and 9 March 1796.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS distressed at his inability to complete the Algerian business.

had

255

He

in the past been highly critical of Jefferson's handling of

affairs, yet he himself, despite some early success, did not seem to be achieving very much more. If Donaldson's treaty was now to collapse, Humphreys knew he would be held responsible and his career would be bound to suffer. Yet the news reaching him from Algiers was ominous. Early in March the Ambassador had received a letter from Cathcart telling him that the Dey had given Donaldson one month to quit. Humphreys had immediately

Algerian

sent a circular letter to

all

United States Consuls in the ports of

Europe teUing them to warn American ships that the Algerian peace could no longer be relied upon.^ He could do little more now than hope that by some stroke of good fortune Captain Richard O'Brien had managed to raise coin or gold bullion at Hamburg. In the meantime he trusted to Barlow's diplomatic powers and his own letters to hold the peace for as long as possible. Ramadhan came to an end. The temper of all Moslems at Algiers improved noticeably now that they were able to take food and drink during the hours of dayhght. To mark the end of the long fast a fair was held on a piece of flat, sandy ground just outside the gate of Bab-el-Oued. A general hohday was observed in the city. The market did not open and the bagnio slaves were allowed a day off from their labours. No work was done at the harbour. As soon as the city gates were opened at daybreak the citizens began to swarm out to Bab-el-Oued. Banks of wooden swings had been erected here during the previous days and these were soon occupied by Moors and Turks whose loose clothing flapped and soiithern

man tried to swing higher than his neighbours. crowd gathered to watch the professional Turkish wrestlers. These men usually wrestled in the courtyard of the palace or at the houses of wealthy grandees and were not often seen by the man in the street. They were squat and very muscular and they wrestled naked except for the briefest of loin cloths. They smeared ohve oil from their toes to the tops of their shaven heads to make fluttered as each

A

themselves

arms round *

to

difficult to hold.

When

they wrestled they locked their

their opponent's shoulders

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Thomas Pinkney.

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

and together they huffed,

Lisbon, 9 March 1796, David Hiimphreys

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

256

and heaved until one succeeded in throwing the other. At the end of each bout the spectators threw coins on to the patch of sand that served as a ring. These coins were collected up and shared out between victor and vanquished. Bands of Moorish musicians played continually and Jewish pedlars set up stalls that sold sweetmeats and cheap bric-a-brac. Some of the Christian taverners set up temporary bars in tents. A wooden turret was built which had a ladder up its centre and a spiral chute down its outside. A queue of enthusiastic clients paid a coin or two for the puffed,

delight of shding down the chute on grass mats. In one place men were hauling passengers round a short circular track in small

wooden carts. These carts were the only wheeled vehicles in Algiers and they were particularly popular with the mustachioed janizaries who managed to look fierce and delighted at the same time as they were hauled very slowly over the bumpy ground. The fair was a happy hunting ground for beggars who displayed their maimed limbs and blind children to the charity of their fellows. There were quacks seUing medicines for all ailments, love potions and ancient Berber cures for barrenness in women. There were Moroccan fortune-tellers. Near the centre of the ground a well-greased pole its

had been erected with a purse of money

tied to

top an interested crowd stood round this watching a succession ;

up to the prize. Small children ran everywhere carrying little paper windmills on sticks. A holy marabout, fantastically dressed and attended by his Negro slave wandered to and fro receiving alms from the 'faithful'. Turkish and Moorish riders on nervous horses wheeled and cavorted their of agile boys trying to scramble

way through

the noisy crowd on their

way

to race through the

gardens and orchards.^

There was a strong sense of relief at the ending of Ramadhan and the fair gave noisy vent to this. The tavern tents sold quantities of rum and wine. The pedlars of the cool fruit juice called sherbet did a flourishing trade. Turkish soldiers, Moorish citizens, Jews,

and Christian slaves joined together

in one noisy, unsophisticated

^ E. Broughton, Six Years' Reaidence in Algiers, p. 179; Berbrugger and Mormereau, 'Topographie et Histoire g6nerale d'Alger par Haedo', RA, No. 87, 1871, p. 211; 'L'Expedition Espagnole de 1541 centre Alger', by [P.P.], RA. No. 202, 1891, p. 181; Bousquet and Bonsquet-MirandoUe, 'Thomas Hees. Journal d'un voyage k Alger', RA, Nos. 450/1, 1957, pp. 116-18.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

267

saturnalia that lasted from sunrise until the closing of the city

gates at sunset.

The day following the

Bab-el-Oued the Algerian cruisers made ready to put to sea. For some weeks the slaves from the Bagnio Gallera, including nearly all the Americans, had been occupied in loading the xebecs and frigates with stone ballast, fair at

casks of water, stores of food, cannon-balls, and gunpowder.

The

had been patched where absolutely necessary, the worst damaged rigging had been spliced or replaced. The ships appeared

sails

scarcely seaworthy to an Atlantic sailor's eyes but they seemed to satisfy the Algerians.^

The captains and

their ships' officers

went

on board. Those janizaries who were planning to sail with the cruisers went out to the orchards and helped themselves to sufficient fresh fruit to last them for their voyage,^ then they went to the market place and bulhed Jewish shopkeepers into giving

them

figs. Those who drank filled up for voyage in the bagnio taverns some bought small kegs of rum to

the coming

supplies of dried

;

take with them.'

The day before they put to sea each

one uncharged cannon. On hearing this the janizaries collected up their muskets and their belongings and went on board their ships. The next cruiser fired

morning as soon as the Marine Gate opened the Moorish sailors went on board. A bowl of beans was placed by the mast with an empty bowl a few paces farther on. Each man on coming on board took a bean from the first bowl and dropped it in the second. When all the beans had been transferred the crew was considered complete. If some beans still remained in the first bowl the Rais went ashore with his janizaries and rounded up more men at sword point.* At a signal from the senior Rais the cruisers hauled up their anchors and hoisted their huge triangular sails. It was not always possible to leave harbour under sail and then the huge oars, each twenty feet long, were brought into action. The seamen slaves must have watched the confusion caused by these manoeuvres Cathcart, The Captives. Also [Sophie Barnard], Travels in Algiers, Spain, etc., and J. H. Moore, Travels through the Kingdom of Algiers, And several other parts of Barbary. By Doctor Shaw and others, vol. ii, p. 764. » de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA, No, 219, 1895, p, 306, » du Chastelet des Boys (ed. L. Piesse), 'L'Odyss^e', RA, No, 71, 1868, p, 357. * Cathcart, The Captives; also de Paradis, 'Alger au XVIII sidcle', RA. No. 219, *

p. 80;

1895, p. 304.

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

268

amused contempt, but the warships still managed to get under way. They followed each other out into open water firing rounds of cannon and receiving answering salutes from the harbour fortifications. Once they were on the overcrowded

safely

away from

little

ships with

the inshore reefs each warship hoisted

its

ensign, a huge green pennant with verses from the Koran embroidered upon it, then turned its prow towards the shrine of the Holy Marabout who had saved Algiers from the Emperor Charles V. Every man in the crew prostrated himself on the deck and uttered a short prayer for the success of their voyage, The

summer

cruise of the Algerian fleet had begun. The xebecs began their search for Danish shipping dm-ing the last days of March 1796. It was the usual practice not to allow

ships to enter or leave Algiers while the cruisers were at sea.

Because the port was closed, Barlow and Donaldson had to send

Ambassador Humphreys by land route to Tangier. Then, surprisingly, the port was re-opened without warning on 4 April. The following day the joint envoys composed another dispatch to Humphreys and sent it off by a Spanish ship sailing to Alicante. This was a more cheerful sounding document. Joel Barlow, having spent some weeks looking and listening, had begun to act. He was not as averse to tipping as was Donaldtheir joint letter of 3 April 1796, advising

of their dismissal from Algiers in eight days,

Dey

son, but while the

refused to acknowledge his presence in

was not possible for him to call upon any of the influential Turks of the city. However, he was convinced that as many as

Algiers

it

possible of these should be induced to adopt a friendly attitude to

the United States

or,

at least, to cease trying to turn the

against her. Joel Barlow, therefore, Baccri.

The United

made a

bargain with Micaiah

States of America, he stipulated, would

Baccri ten thousand Algerian sequins as and

America was

how much

Dey pay

when a peace with

finally accomplished. Baccri could decide for himself

of this siun he should keep and

how much he

should

distribute in presents to influential Turks. ^ ibid., pp. 304-7; de Grammont, Etudes algiriennes. La course, Veaclavage et redemption d Alger, p. 22; and Devoulx, Le Livre dea aignaux de la flotte de Vancienne rigence d" Alger, pp. 1-2. *S,D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 5 April 1796, Barlow and Donaldson to David Humphreys. ^

la

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS was an ingenious scheme,

259

was steadily and by stipulating that no payment should be made until the peace treaty was finally negotiated, Barlow firmly secured the Jew to the American cause and sidestepped American lack of finance. The Jewish bankers of Algiers were more knowledgeable than the Dey on matters of international finance and they understood the United States' present difficulties better than he did. Baccri's acceptance of Barlow's proposal, however, was something of a personal triumph for the unordained ex -regimental padre. The financial arrangements of the United States had not been conspicuously impressive since obtaining her independence, and there still remained in Europe a strong body of informed opinion that believed the new nation was not an It

for Micaiah Baccri

increasing his influence in Algiers

economically viable unit. There were financial 'experts'

who

pro-

phesied an early descent into a state of insolvency. Baccri, in effect,

was

risking a

gamble because he was impressed with the

new American envoy; it is unlikely that he could have been persuaded to make a similar arrangement for Joseph Donaldson jun. In fact, Donaldson had now become a positive hindrance to the preservation of the uneasy peace. Joel Barlow had written quite

him to both Humphreys and the Secretary of State, but was because he sincerely believed that Donaldson had made as good a treaty as possible and that he had been badly let down on the financial side by Ambassador Humphreys. He was, however, quite aware of Donaldson's diplomatic shortcomings. The envoy's uncouth dress and coarse manners had made him an almost personal affront to the Dey and Turkish officers of the Regency. These were all well aware that Algiers was a small nation and were correspondingly touchy about its honour. It seemed to them that the 'Americanos' thought that any 'old man' was good enough to go as Ambassador to the Algerians. The seamen in the bagnios also considered 'old hickory face' as an affront, and if their impatience with him led them to lay siege to his house again, the Dey was quite likely to punish them with the chains with which he had tlireatened them on New Year's Day. It was apparent to Barlow that it would be a good thing if Donaldson left Algiers. The Deys of Algiers were not usually willing to allow Christian well of this

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

260

diplomats to leave the Regency at short notice. The more regard they had for a Christian Consul the longer they lingered over granting their permission for him to depart, unless they were assured that he intended to return. In Joseph Donaldson's case,

however, Barlow did not expect Hassan Bashaw to raise diflficulties but the envoy's own feeUngs had to be considered. He had ;

was heartily sick of Algiers he was tired of the Turks and Moors, of serpentine Jewish brokers, of the clamouring, impatient seamen captives and he was particularly tired of the Dey's Chief Christian Secretary. However, the fact that Barlow often said that he

;

;

was in Algiers at all rankled with the lame envoy, for Donaldson was not a fool and he knew Barlow's presence was a sign of a lack of confidence in himself. Joseph Donaldson probably recognized as well as anybody that at this juncture in the proceedings Barlow could serve the United States better than he could. He had no wish to

let his pride interfere

with the interests of his country,^

human if he had not required some reason to account for any sudden departure from Algiers that would enable him to 'save face'. Fortunately, such a reason was easily found. In the late eighteenth century Leghorn was a substantial city. It possessed an ancient and strong banking tradition and also

yet he would have been more than

maintained close mercantile links with Algiers. Its importance as a centre of international finance was not as great as it had been in the days when the banking houses of Lombardy represented the

but it was still substantial. Joel Barlow had discussed finance at length with Micaiah Baccri. The Jew had relations at Leghorn, as he had in nearly every port of consequence in the Mediterranean, and Barlow gathered from these conversations that a cousin of Baccri 's at Leghorn believed it possible that gold coin or bullion might be found in that city. It was, therefore, decided between the two joint envoys that Donaldson would go to Leghorn and try to raise the treaty funds there. Donaldson had worked in the United States Treasury and he probably felt that this was a mission that he was well qualified financial nucleus of Europe,

^ Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 392. Also S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 3 April 1796, Joel Barlow to David

Humphreys.

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

261

to undertake, and one he could accept without loss of dignity.

meant leaving Algiers immediately made it doubly attractive. The plague had not yet made its appearance on the coast that year, but it was expected daily. But even if Donaldson's departure had been satisfactorily arranged, Barlow himself was still subject to the eight-day expulsion order pronounced by the Dey on 3 April. Baccri had already invested an undisclosed number of sequins among influen-

The

fact that

it

Turkish oflScers on behalf of the United States, but he still found it impossible to get the Dey to discuss American affairs. However, now the Algerian cruisers began to send in Danish prizes, Baccri reported to Barlow that in consequence of this Hassan Bashaw's temper had improved wonderfully.^ Nevertheless, he did not think that the Turk could easily be persuaded to withdraw the expulsion order. No plain offer of money would be

tial

something out of the ordinary was called for. It is not recorded who first thought of offering a warship to the Dey's daughter. Cathcart, in his account, claimed no credit for the idea, nor did Donaldson in his most likely it was Joel Barlow

likely to succeed

;

;

prompted by Micaiah Baccri. The shipyards of the east coast of North America were at that time building some of the stoutest and swiftest sailing ships in the world. The Dey had stipulated for two American frigates in his first peace demands, and now Baccri's obhque suggestion that the United States might agree to give his daughter a gun-boat, if he would hold the peace for another six months, caught his interest. Joel Barlow originally suggested a vessel of twenty guns, but Baccri had said that twenty-four sounded better. The Dey countered

by insisting that if he was even to consider the proposal the ship would have to carry at least thirty-six cannon. Joel Barlow agreed. It would be pleasant to picture the Dey's daughter as an Amazonian figure accustomed to sailing the Mediterranean in her own warship, but such was far from the case. The lady lived a meek and secluded life with her mother at the Dey's country villa. She probably weighed somewhere in the region of fourteen or fifteen stone, was waited on hand and foot by Circassian slave ^ S.D.C.D. Algiers series, Donaldson to Humphreys.

vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

5 April 1796,

Barlow and

^

262

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

purchased at Constantinople, and showed not the slightest piratical spirit at all. She spent hours over her toilet girls specially

every morning blackening her eyehds and painting her finger and toe nails. Her fingers were so thickly covered with rings that she could not bend their joints and she wore three heavy gold rings in the tops of each of her ears

which caused them to droop down-

wards.^ She was of marriageable age, but was not married.

There were several reasons for offering Hassan Bashaw a warmaking the offer to his daughter was to circumvent a nice diplomatic problem. Joel Barlow had not yet been received at the palace. This meant that officially the Dey did not even admit of his presence in Algiers, and it was clearly

ship but the sole one for

who was not there. Barlow had, in fact, already given Hassan Bashaw's daughter one present. Through Baccri he had offered to the Dey for his daughter, a small but handsomely worked silver chest which he had brought with him from Paris. At the time he had hoped that the sight of such a rich offering to his daughter might have tempted the Dey to recognize the donor's presence just to see what he might get himself. The ruse, however, had not succeeded for the Dey had merely told Baccri that if the present was intended for his daughter, it had better be sent to her direct. This had been done, and James Cathcart wrote in his journal, that Barlow received neither acknowledgement nor thanks for it.^ As soon as Barlow had agreed to the ship being large enough to carry thirty-six guns, the Dey consented to see him and to recognize his presence in the Regency. Joseph Donaldson and Joel Barlow waited on the Dey together. It was not a long audience. Barlow asked if the Dey would consent to allow six months longer for America to find the treaty moneys if he and Joseph Donaldson undertook on the part of the United States to give the Dey's daughter a newly built, fast sailing vessel large enough to carry thirty-six cannon. The Dey replied that he would wait three months for this consideration but not one day longer and to this the joint envoys felt bound to agree. impossible to receive offers from a person

;

E. Broughton, Six Yeara^ Residence in Algiers, pp. 7-8 and 30-33. Cathcart, The Captives, and also 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 372. * Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal', pp. 378-88; and S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. 1, part 2, Algiers, 5 April 1796, Barlow and Donaldson to Humphreys. '

*

1

A CHANGE OF ENVOYS

263

This was the first meeting that Joel Barlow had with Hassan Bashaw. It was the third and last for Joseph Donaldson, who sailed for Leghorn the following morning. Later, the Dey confided to his Chief Christian Secretary that 'Mr. Barlow had something the appearance of a Cavaliero but that the old fellow that went away might be a great man, but he never saw one that look'd less like it than he did'. Pierre Skjoldebrand remarked at about the same time that Donaldson 'was wholly unquahfied for the Business he was sent upon' and that he 'doubted if such another original could be found in the whole United States'.^ Yet President George Washington, Secretary of State Edmund Randolph, and Ambassador Humphreys seem to have cheerfully accepted him for the Algerian appointment. Perhaps the President was so busy and David Humphreys in so much of a hurry to return to Europe that they accepted the first honest-seeming man willing to undertake the mission. The sole references to Joseph Donaldson jun. in the archives of the United States of America refer to the Algerian negotiations. He is a man who has left one footprint in the dusty road of history. Sadly, everyone in Algiers seems to have been pleased to see him leave the captive captains probably more than any, for seven months must surely have exhausted his fund of ;

anecdotes.

Yet Joseph Donaldson had undoubtedly made a reasonable treaty, and it was not his fault that it was now so nearly lost. Whose fault was it? At this distance in time it looks as though circumstances were more to blame than people. Joel Barlow, however, did not hesitate to lay all the blame on Ambassador David Humphreys. 'Donaldson', he wrote to his wife, 'had made a good treaty that had nearly been lost for the lack of a coimtinghouse clerk in Lisbon.'* ^

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal', p. 391. Skjoldebrand's

from The Captives; the wording is slightly different in the * The Barlow Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard.

comments

are taken

'Journal', p. 346.

CHAPTER

13

RELEASE

Ambassador David Humphreys was

duly indignant when,

towards the end of April 1796, he heard of Barlow's and Donald-

on behalf of the United States. He was unable to his tactfully worded and lengthy letters of explanation had not persuaded the Dey to wait in patience for the son's latest offer

understand

why

arrival of the treaty funds.

was amply proving Algiers.

He

He

also felt that the course of events

the futility of trying to negotiate direct

with

chose to believe that had Joseph Donaldson adhered to

United States peace would by then have been by the might and dignity of France. During March 1796 Captain Richard O'Brien had arrived back in Lisbon his instructions, the

securely guaranteed

having failed to obtain any coin or gold bullion in England or Hamburg. As O'Brien had, on his departure from Algiers, received

Hassan Bashaw to personally superfrom America under the terms of the treaty, Humphreys dispatched him to the particular instructions from

vise the collection of the naval stores to be shipped

United States with the U.S. brig Sophia.^ The captain was journeying towards a nation considerably confused about North African aflfairs in general, and those of Algeria in particular.

A

steady succession of appointments to the

name or in fact, had been maintained over a period of eleven years. First there had been

post of Consul to Algiers, either in

John Lamb, the captain from Connecticut, then Admiral Paul Jones, followed by Thomas Barclay, David Humphreys himself, Mr. Gabriels, Captain Heysell, and Joseph Donaldson. Of these, *

O.R.D.S. Spain, vol.

of State.

iii,

Lisbon, 26

AprU

1796,

David Hinnphreys

to Secretary

RELEASE Captain

Lamb had

visited Algiers

265

and had

failed.

Admiral Jones

and Thomas Barclay had each died before receiving their commissions, David Humphreys and Captain Heysell had been refused admittance to Algiers, Mr. Gabriels had got lost in the

United States, and Joseph Donaldson seemed to have succeeded in the first part of his mission. But there was more to come. During August 1795, Timothy Pickering succeeded Edmund

Randolph

as Secretary of State,

reys written in

November

and

in a letter to

David Humph-

1795, he expressed his regret that

Barlow had gone as Consul to Algiers as P. E. Skjoldebrand had already been appointed to the post. In the course of ten years, nine different people had been designated American representatives at Algiers; ten,

if

one counts Colonel Hicheborn whose name,

crossed out, appears on Joel Barlow's commission preserved in

the national archives.^ Joel Barlow's

work proved

departure for Leghorn, even

if

easier after

Joseph Donaldson's

the responsibility was greater. His

objective now was to get the American captives away from North Africa before the plague made its dreaded appearance on the coast, and he was not over-particular how he managed this. He expected Ambassador David Humphreys, and even perhaps President Washington, to disapprove of his ojBFer of a warship to the Dey's daughter, but his conscience was quite clear on the subject and he insisted that Donaldson and he could not possibly have preserved the peace for less 'such a vessel fitted for sea may be delivered in America for 45,000 dollars', he wrote to Humphreys on 5 April 1796. 'Then, as by the terms of the treaty we have to deliver a quantity of long spars and other timber, this vessel will be a proper one to transport a cargo of them to this place, and in this view a saving may be made of about 10,000 dollars in freight.' Barlow then went on to add the $18,000 (10,000 sequins) promised to the Jew Baccri, and continued 'The whole of this new arrangement will cost the U.S. about 53,000 dollars. '^ But Barlow's costing was wrong. On 29 November 1796, Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, Naval Constructors of Philadelphia, first

:

:

^

G.R.D.S. Spain, vol.

iii,

Power of Agency

issued

by Humphreys,

Parig, 30

August 1795. *

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

Donaldson to Humphreys.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, 5 April 1796,

Barlow and

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

266

estimated that a thirty-six gun frigate according to the Dey's specifications would weigh 538 tons and would cost $98,377 to build.

Now that Hassan Bashaw had formally acknowledged

Barlow's

and ready to communicate with him. Shortly after Donaldson's departure from the Regency, he sent the new American envoy what Barlow described as a friendly but presence, he felt able

rather humiliating message.

He said that he had never treated any nation with as much leniency and forebearance as he had the Americans [wrote Barlow to Timothy Pickering, the Secretary of State], and he meant always to do so as long as they should deserve it by their conduct. He believed them a good people, though they had many enemies, but he would be their friend and was now ready to receive the consular present. He thought it best to make it now, although the peace was not concluded, as it would tend to stop the mouths of a great many officers among whom it was to be distributed and who were constantly teasing him to put an end to this business. } .

.

Barlow had strenuously denied being a Consul when he first arrived in Algiers. He considered his appointment was of a very temporary nature and relative only to obtaining the release of the American captives. When he left Paris he had told his wife Ruth that he did not expect to be in Algiers longer than a few weeks and he had protested upon receiving Ambassador Humphreys' commission which also covered Tunis and Tripoli. He had, he stated at that time, absolutely no intention of staying in Barbary long enough to deal with these two states as well. Every time a new Christian Consul arrived at Algiers it was necessary for him to distribute a substantial present. Joel Barlow had first hoped to be able to leave any Consular payment to the permanent official who would be appointed at a later date. However, he did have some elegant clothing and jewellery which he had brought with him from Paris. So when Philip Sloan brought the depressing news from Alicante that there would be a further substantial delay in the delivery of the treaty moneys, Barlow decided to announce that he was the new permanent U.S. Consul and that he was ready to distribute a consular present. At first ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

November *

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

Official

Estimate, item No. 82, 29

1796.

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Secretary of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

17 April 1796, Joel Barlow to

RELEASE Dey

the

267

refused any gifts from Barlow but after Donaldson's

On

Barlow wrote apoloHowever, he pointed out that if, when he left Algiers he told the Dey that he was merely going 'on leave', and if the new man's commission merely designated him 'acting consul', then no further presents should be expected by the Algerians. 'It is perhaps needless to add

departure he changed his mind. getically to

17 April

David Humphreys about

this extra expense.

that an arrangement hke this cannot effect the interest of the

have any idea of receiving any part of the emoluments of the place whatever .'^ Thus spoke out the patriotic U.S. citizen who they may be. had made a small fortune in French Government Stock. Joel Barlow also found the time to write a great many sentiperson appointed ... as

.

mental vie de

it

cannot be supposed that

.

He called her his mon ame', for it was

letters to his wife.

ma vie,

dehce de

her in French, except last occasions

I

'chere, tendre amie,

his habit to write to

when he was very tired. On one of these 'I am alone now and I work hke a slave.

he wrote,

I have sent off today an enormous packet [of letters] to Lisbon He also began now to change his first and Philadelphia. .

.

.'

appalled impressions of Algiers

itself.

But here is a very good society [he wrote], if I had the time to enjoy and a charming country to promenade, a pied et a cheval. The Dey has given me a very fine horse, and I can borrow a saddle. We are going to make a httle journey one of these days. The two Swedes, and the French Hercules are charming lads. And there are some very good Christian women who expect my wife here to embeUish the party. But

it,

they

will

never have that pleasure. Elles m'assurent toutes que cela te

fera faire des enfans.'^

Hercules was the strange

name

of a

new French Commissioner

He was the first French diplomat to come to North Africa who was, in fact, appointed directly by Paris and not on the recommendation of the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles. Officially he regarded the American negotiations with suspicion; however, Hercules was adept at disguising his true feehngs and activities, and soon he and Joel Barlow became, outwardly at least, firm friends.'

who had

»

recently arrived in Algiers.

ibid.

Barlow to his wife, 26 April 1796, Barlow Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard. For a full account of Hercules' activities in North Africa see Fr. Charles- Roux, Lea Travaux d'Herculais. *



THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

268

On

18 April 1796, Joel Barlow wrote to

advising

him

at length on

how

Timothy Pickering

the United States should conduct

He had

diplomatic affairs in the Mediterranean area.

its

still

only been six weeks in Algiers, while before that he had spent the same length of time between Marseilles and Alicante, so his

was limited. But Joel Barlow about ofiFering his advice and opinions. Fortunately, he was an intelligent man who could listen as well as talk and he had acquired a great deal of useful information from people who had enjoyed a longer experience of Mediterranean practical experience of the area

was never

diflSdent

aflFairs.

had come to the conclusion that the United States had not yet even begun to exploit the possibilities offered to her merchants in the Inland Sea. North American products such as dried fish, salt meat, and corn had already found a substantial market in the Italian states, but this trade was largely conducted by foreign merchants using foreign ships. Joel Barlow

The navigation of these Seas [wrote Barlow]

moment

is

an object of such

who have

the priviledge that it is not surprising that they should stoop so low and pay so deare for it ... or Portugal, that they should intrigue against the Peace of each other. great

to those nations

.

.

.

Hambourg, Lubeck and Bremen are habitually excluded. Naples, Sardinia, Tuscany Malta, and the Pope being always at the War with Barbary can do nothing in Communial Navigation Prussia,

.

.

.

.

.

.

nations accustomed to be at Peace [are] one at a time in a state of temporary hostihty. When France and England are at war among themselves, which is about half the time, it increases the number .

.

.

.

.

.

freights for neutrals. The Money taken for freights by Swedish Ships alone in the Mediterranean amount to Twelve Hundred Thousand Dollars a year. Those for the Danish must be considerably more. During the present European War their Profits I presume have Doubled. I instance only those two nations because their Distance from hence is about equal to ours and they may afford to

and Price of

.

.

.

navigate at nearly the same price.^

Barlow's facts were not entirely accurate. Certainly Portugal

was not excluded from the Mediterranean by fear of North African warships. If she did not trade there, this was because her first interests lay in her vast colonial empire. England and Holland ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Secretary of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

18 April 1796, Joel Barlow to

RELEASE

269

were also most interested in their trans-oceanic empires and only traded half-heartedly in the Mediterranean area. France would

have been the major carrier of commerce across the Inland Sea if the initiative had rested with the merchants of Provence, but Paris kept on involving the nation in wars that wasted their naval effort. Sweden and Denmark carried more freight than any other country over a period of years, with Spain and Venice not a great distance behind. It is an indication of the number of Danish ships in the Mediterranean that, at the time Barlow wrote, six Algerian cruisers captured thirteen Danish merchant vessels within a few days of leaving harbour.* It was true that Naples, Sardinia, Tuscany, Malta, and the Papal states were more or less constantly at

war with the Moslem powers of North

Africa.

However, aU

these states had merchant fleets of a sort; that they were not larger

was as much the

result of poverty as of the attacks

by

North African xebecs. Joel Barlow strongly recommended the making of treaties with as many Italian and Levantine states as possible, and that these should be supported as soon as practicable by the appointment of resident consuls. He urged the making of a treaty with the Ottoman Grande Porte at Constantinople. This he said would serve to protect American ships against the Greek pirates that infested the Aegean Sea and the waters round the Peninsula of Morea. It would also help to preserve America's treaties with Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, when these were finally estabhshed. He further suggested that until such time as America appointed her own Consuls in the Mediterranean, France should be asked to act on her behalf, and he enclosed a list of French Consuls in this area, for the State Department's files. Joel Barlow also enclosed in his letter to Secretary Pickering a calculation he had made of the profit that could be expected to accrue to the United States as, and when, she made her peace with the North African powers. This was a wildly optimistic document which served to illustrate that Barlow was rather better with people than he was with figures. He ended this lengthy letter by pointing out to the Secretary of State that, although it was expensive and irritating to have to purchase peace treaties, it »

ibid., 17

April 1796.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

270

would be much more inconvenient for the United States if the Barbary corsairs were annihilated. *It is well known', he wrote, 'that Naples, Genoa and most of the Italian States can navigate cheaper than we can. Their seamen live on nothing except a little dried fruit and coarse bread and their wages are a dollar a month [so] the Italians would do all their own navigation and a good deal more'. It had not taken Barlow long to recognize the fact that a nation that is democratic and at the same time prosperous .

.

.

always tends to price

When

Louis

XIV

itself

out of the international freight market.

of France said, as he was reputed to have done,

was no Algiers he would build one, he was only Ambassador Humphreys was occasionally given to criticizing the naval powers of Europe for not having long since combined to exterminate the North African corsairs. Joel Barlow had discovered one of the reasons for their reluctance to do so.^ By April 1796 Captain Richard O'Brien was on his way to the United States a French general named Napoleon Bonaparte was campaigning successfully in Italy Ambassador David Humphreys at Lisbon was no nearer obtaining the funds for the Algerian treaty. However, more cheering times were in store for David Humphreys. He did not yet know that it had been finally decided to send him as the first American Ambassador to the Spanish Court at Madrid. Relations between Spain and the United States had been bedevilled by the dispute over navigation rights on the Mississippi River. The rarified and unreal atmosphere at the Spanish Court had not helped matters and neither had two consecutive American charges d'ajffaires, William Carmichael and William Short, who had both succumbed to a numbing melancholy that almost entirely prevented them from answering correspondence and writing dispatches. There was to be ample scope for David Humphreys' talents at Madrid. The war, which now involved a great part of Europe, had increased the demand for gunpowder as well as for gold. The result was that the price of both commodities rose dramatically, and Barlow was soon negotiating with Hassan Bashaw for a reduction in the quantity of gunpowder that the United States that

if

there

stating the case for one sort of shipping subsidy.

;

;

1

ibid.,

20 April 1796.

— RELEASE had contracted

to deliver.

271

James Cathcart had,

son's particular insistence, persuaded the

Dey

at Joseph Donaldto substitute other

naval stores for gunpowder in the case of the peace payments. However, according to the treaty, America had also agreed to pay

a further two-yearly tribute of naval stores to the Regency, and Dey positively refused to allow a substitute for the gunpowder in this case. On 2 May 1796, Joel Barlow sent off a full list of the naval stores expected for the biennial tribute. In this letter he the

wrote: In consequence of my objection to the quantity of Gun Powder [and] wishing to have it reduced or the deUvery postponed for two or three years, the Dey sent me this morning the note of an additional number of articles, reducing at the same time the number of cables. ... I presume he sent this additional note with a design that we should take advantage of it in postponing the dehvery of that article [the gunpowder] till 1798. By then the price might be substantially reduced. The following [he continued] is the compleat hst as it now stands: 100 lb.]. 1,000 Quintals Gun Powder [1 quintal 1 ,000 pine planks 22 to 24 pique long, 5 to 6 inches thick [1 pique .

.

.

=

=

25

ins.].

1,000 oak planks. common pine planks as above but 3' thick.

3,000

2,000 pipe staves (Mr. Cathcart thought 20,000 was meant). 1,000 large oars for ships (from 30 to 40 feet long). 500 smaller oars for ships (from 15 to 25 feet long). 100 dozen long tar brushes (such as are used to tarring the sides of vessels).

4 cables 6 cables

18'. 15'.

6 cables 14'. 6 cables 13'.

6 cables 12'. 6 cables 11'. 4 coils of white rope 10'. 4 coils of white rope 9*. 4 coils of white rope 8'. 100 quintals of rope yarn, white. 100 bales of canvas (bolts are meant. No. 1. 25 pieces, No. 2. 50 pieces, No. 3. 25 pieces). 50 quintals of sheet lead (suitable for ship's use in covering shuttles

and hawse

holes, etc.).

100 quintals of spikes, 12^' as per pattern herewith enclosed. 100 quintals of spikes, 10 j'.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

272

100 100 100 100 100

quintals of spikes, 9J'. quintals of spikes, 8'. quintals of spikes, 7'. quintals of spikes, 5|'. quintals of spikes, 4^*.

— 6* — 6' 500-5' 500 — 5'

(500 500

X X X X

9* weight 42 lb. 6" 34 1b. „ 8' 24 1b. „ 1'

Signed.

16



1b.

Joel Barlow.^

By late April Joseph Donaldson had reached Leghorn, from where he was soon writing letters in his own pawky, unpunctuated style.

To the Secretary of State, from Leghorn May the 3rd 1796. Sir, Understanding there is a vessel on the point of Sailing for New York by whome yoo probably may be informed of my being here without being told why or wherefor indeed that's a point Mr. Humphreys must explain for I can not having left Algiers in a Fog as I did Philadelphia when I Embarked with him suffice to say that Twentyfour hours before I left Algiers I conceived our affairs there in a critical situation. .

.

.

Donaldson then went on to explain the events which led up to offfer of the thirty-six gun ship to the Dey's daughter.

the

This arrangement made it was Conjectural I might be of some service here [Leghorn] should Mr. Humphreys use this place as a medium in raising the money at Algiers I could be none he having placed a more able hand there in the Person of Mr. Barlow and thus I came on

Leghorn where I find there will be no difficulty in raising the money but an unfavourable exchange at this moment on London.

On

23

May

he wrote another letter to the Secretary of State

which he summarized his impressions of Algiers and American was almost entirely without punctuation and written in an only occasionally legible hand, but the ideas and the interpretation of the situation were sound and well reasoned. It also demonstrated that Joseph Donaldson was not without his moments of rough dignity, for at one point in this letter he wrote,

in

affairs there. This, too,

with reference to his replacement in Algiers by Joel Barlow,

put down to account of

when the 1

interest of

S.D.C.D. Algiers

or headed).

my

series, vol.

my

ill

health might [have] been

Country was in question i,

part

2,

2

May

1796, Joel

I

am

'this

waved a plain

Barlow (not addressed

RELEASE man and

hence conclude

like plain dealing

matters of State.

.

.

.'

273

me

unfit to negotiate

This letter finished with a characteristic

postscript.

What I have said as to the Swede [the Consul Mathias Skjoldebrand] must not be construed as Censure I behave him to be a Very Honest

Man

but indolent to a fault submits all to his brother his secretary a Man and one I have not been able to penetrate altho on the most intimate footing apparently has had our affairs much at Heart whether he [word illegible] with the Jew to gain his favour or from Patriotic motives I am at a loss to determine.^ subtile cunning

Joseph Donaldson was the only person to voice suspicions of either of the Skjoldebrands. However, James Cathcart, Richard O'Brien, and Joel Barlow

all

strongly advised the Secretary of

them open and the Skjoldebrands were enthusiastic traders. Ambassador Humphreys had by now lost all patience with Joseph Donaldson. He had already complained to his superiors State against allowing U.S. Consuls to trade, as laying to corruption,

that the envoy's gout apparently prevented his writing a legible

hand and

it is

probable that he never did bother to decipher

Donaldson's long summing up of Algerian sador

Humphreys

affairs,

believed that Joseph Donaldson

but

if

Ambas-

had been

safely

shunted into a grassy siding, he soon discovered his error. Leghorn suddenly came into prominence in the Algerian negotiations. Since the beginning of the year 1796 John and Francis Baring and Co. had been obliged to write several apologetic terms their entire inability to supply or gold or silver coin that

payments; and place the full

for the Algerian treaty

undertaking of July 1795 to amount of $800,000 at the disposal of the United this despite their

States negotiators. David later letters,

was needed

letters stating in

any of the bullion,

Humphreys,

in his replies to the Barings'

referred to this undertaking in

more and more

acrimonious terms. The bankers, however, were not solely to

Humphreys not gone immediately off to Paris on Europe from America, Barings could then have supplied him with all the gold bullion he needed at Lisbon. It was only during the last three months of 1795 that gold coin and blame, for had

his return to

^S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part Donaldson to Secretary of State.

2,

Leghorn, 3 and 23

May

1796, Joseph

^

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

274

bullion began to disappear from

quantities of bullion left

England

European markets. Enormous for the Continent to subsidize

those nations fighting the French, and, once Continent,

it

soon found

The Spanish refused

its

way into the hands

it

reached the

of private hoarders.

to allow specie or coin to be exported, while

the Portuguese preferred to hold on to their

own

supplies for the

time being.

However, in late March 1796 a small ray of hope had appeared. David Humphreys at Lisbon received a letter from Baring and Co. announcing that they had heard from their correspondent in Leghorn that gold could be bought there, although the price was high.^ David Humphreys did nothing about this until he heard the surprising news that Joseph Donaldson had arrived in that city. He then promptly wrote to Baring and Co. and instructed them to furnish Joseph Donaldson with a letter of credit for $400,000 to be draAvn through their agents at Leghorn, Messrs. Harry and Abel Fornereau.2 Meanwhile Joseph Donaldson had written twice more to the Ambassador. He followed with another letter dated 7 May 1796. wrote you from hence of 25th ult. in which there was some which I pray you will pardon as it was the result of disappointment. ... I was saluted with a letter from Mr. Barlow under the 17th April wherein he recommends the forwarding dollars and Value on you in his meaning as he says draw Sir,

I

iU nature as well as in a former letter

biUs.

Donaldson continued his letter saying that he could not approve of this procedure as he had no authority from the Ambassador to accept bills of exchange issued at Algiers.^ Ambassador Humphreys replied on 8 June accepting Donaldson's apology and expressing the hope that he had now received Barings' credit for $400,000 and that he had accordingly been able to honour Joel Barlow's bills. In the meantime the U.S. envoy in Algiers had been very active. He apparently carried his anti-Semitism less obviously than either ^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol.

iii,

London,

1

March

1796,

John and Francis Baring

David Humphreys.

Humphreys

*

ibid.,

Lisbon, 19 July 1796, David

*

ibid.,

Leghorn, 7 May 1796, Donaldson to Hximphreys. Lisbon, 8 June 1796, Huniphreys to Donaldson.

* ibid.,

to Secretary of State.

to

RELEASE

276

Joseph Donaldson or James Catheart carried theirs, and he was soon on close terms with Micaiah Baccri and several other prominent Jewish brokers. He suggested to these that all this chasing round Europe after funds was not really necessary. Why, he asked, would they not accept bills drawn on Baring and Co. and themselves supply the cash for the treaty payments? This solution had apparently been suggested earUer, but James Catheart reported that the Jewish brokers demanded a commission of thirty per cent, while Donaldson said that they refused to make any advance of substantial funds until they

had seen some tangible evidence that command, some cash in

the United States either had, or could

Europe. Finance, however,

is

essentially a

matter of confidence

and where there is trust a reasonable solution can usually be found. The Jews of Algiers soon showed a disposition to trust Joel Barlow and to talk in reasonable terms. In Algiers personality seems to have been of more than normal importance. Joel Barlow had seen evidence of this in the sudden improvement in the temper of the Dey after Joseph Donaldson's departure. It now occurred to him that the atmosphere could be further improved by another carefully arranged exit.

The Dey of

Hassan Bashaw, was, despite periods of James Catheart. In this he appears to have been in a minority of one. The First Christian Secretary had, without mahce, alienated nearly everybody in Algiers. He was an able, extremely energetic man and his arrival at the most important position open to a Christian slave was due entirely to his own unaided efforts. But, hke many self-made men, he was Algiers,

anger, genuinely fond of

neither modest, nor sensitive to the feelings of others, except in

the most obvious ways.

that he spent

much

He

said,

and nobody contradicted him,

of his earnings from his taverns on the welfare

of the less fortunate Americans in the bagnios, and yet he did not

seem to

realize that charity

awkwardly given earns more dishke

than gratitude. Dey Hassan Bashaw could teU his Christian Clerk

when he became too

most other was no suggestion that James Catheart was vindictive but he was influential with the Dey, and in consequence commanded politeness if not respect. In short, there was little to check the growth

to 'hold his tongue'

people

T

felt

less free

officious;

to so express themselves. There

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

276

of his self-conceit and, in time, only the

Dey and

the good-

natured Skjoldebrands were able to support his company for long. Cathcart himself seems to have been quite obhvious of the

now and then sad little comments on the ingratitude of human nature appear in his writings. He was firmly convinced that Richard O'Brien was a staunch friend. But in a letter written to Ambassador Humphreys in the spring of 1796 he remarked sadly that he had heard no word from his 'friend' since he had left the Regency, Captain Richard O'Brien, for his part, made no secret of the fact that a httle of the Chief Christian Secretary's company went a very long impression he was making and every

way. His own countrymen found James Leander Cathcart hard to tolerate, but the Jews positively loathed him. Nearly all serious activity in Algiers

was directed towards influencing the Dey, for meant fortune and his disapproval

the Grand Turk's approval

financial ruin, or worse. Life at the

Dey's court consisted of

constant devious intrigues Christians were not supposed to under;

stand these, but Cathcart did. Joel Barlow often remarked, with evident surprise, that the Jews were the most influential group in

James Cathcart thought they were much too influential. that the Jews were out to swindle the Regency and himself up as the Dey's chief protector against their wiles.

Algiers.

He beheved he set

was not a policy calculated to make himself popular with the The Jewish brokers made it quite plain to Barlow that they were ready to consider advancing him enough cash to allow him to free the captive American seamen, but only if he were able to control James Cathcart's officious It

Baccris and their fellows.

activities.

Hebrew frankness gave Joel Barlow the germ of an idea. Dey could be persuaded to send James Cathcart to America

This If the

with a personal letter to President Washington, then the three

months' extension of the peace, purchased with the 36-gun

frigate,

would automatically be increased by the length of time it took Cathcart to journey to and from the United States; for Hassan Bashaw would be unlikely to declare war while waiting for a reply from the President. Joel Barlow made his suggestion obhquely to the Jews so that

RELEASE

277

they might embrace the idea as their own.^ But when Micaiah Baccri put it forward as a definite proposal at the court, Hassan

Bashaw was not

For one thing, he was fundamentally opposed to releasing a slave before his ransom was paid, as he had already done in the case of Captain Richard O'Brien, and for another, he had come to rely heavily on his energetic at all enthusiastic.

Christian Secretary to assist

government. James Cathcart cart's,

him with many of the burdens of knew his ways, and he knew Cath-

and the prospect of having to

train another secretary did

not please him. But the Jews had already found powerful

allies

and had long considered it hardly decent that any Christian should have such an intimate knowledge of Algerian methods. Then there was Cathcart himself who was naturally charmed with the whole idea. Hassan Bashaw was accustomed to the Jewish brokers, his Turkish grandees, and his Chief Christian Secretary intriguing against each other. He was not accustomed to their collaboration. Under their combined pressure he gave way. James Cathcart came jubilantly to Joel Barlow with the news that the Dey had decided to send him with letters to America. He asked the envoy to charter a ship straight away. Joel Barlow pretended to be surprised. He protested that glad as he was to hear the news he could not possibly engage the United States Government in the expense of such a voyage. It was, after all, the Dey's correspondence and he should pay the postage. The unfortunate James Cathcart found himself now caught in the middle. He knew quite well that the Dey was only agreeing to the voyage under pressure and that if he were asked to pay for it he would certainly cancel the whole thing. In the end James Cathcart paid for the journey himself. He already owned a ship, so the expense consisted only in the provisions and wages of the crew. But he was not happy about the arrangement and he was sharp enough to realize that he had been outwitted. On 8 May 1796 James Leander Cathcart sailed away from Algiers having been held a captive there for two months short of

for Barlow's scheme. Nearly all of the Turkish grandees

officers at the court also wanted to see Cathcart depart, for they

*

The Barlow Papers;

1796, Joel

also S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol.

Barlow to the Secretary of

State.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

12 July

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

278

eleven years.

He

carried with

him a

letter

from the Dey to

President George Washington urging the United States to haste with the

money and naval

stores.

He

make

also carried personal

by Joel Barlow to Ambassador Humphreys and Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering. He also letters of introduction written

carried Joel Barlow's bland letter of instructions to himself.

Barlow wrote], As the Dey has given you liberty to leave [and as] I imderstand that in consideryour vessel ation of obtaining your hberty and putting yoiu* vessel in activity sooner than you otherwise could do, you undertake to make your way to Philadelphia at your own expense. ... I desire that you would proceed by way of Lisbon, [and] dehver a packet that I send by you Wishing you a safe arrival and all prosperity to our Minister there. .^ and happiness, I remain sir, etc., etc. Sir, [Joel

this place with

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

On

.

James Cathcart commented,

this

Mr. Barlow does not consider I presume, that by putting my Vessel Every Candid me to a great expence. person will allow that these terms are very hard upon me. ... I can only add it [the expense] to the different sums of Money I have advanc'd to my former brother sufferers during the four years they received nothing from their Country to maintain them, and console myself with the self applause of being conscious of having done everything in my power to relieve their distresses and aleviate their sufferings. ... I am and [I hope] my former Brother sufferers once more on my own [will soon be] restored to their dearest connections and long lost thank God for having placed me in a situation that Patriae, I enabled me to be of essensial service to our cause and reheving the necessity of my distressed fellow Citizens in a wretched state of in activity, it is putting

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Captivity.^

Along with

Bashaw

his letter to President

George Washington, Hassan and he urged that

sent a form of Mediterranean Passport

American ships should be supplied with these as soon as possible. These Mediterranean Passports were something of an oddity, and British vessels had carried them for a very long time. Although they were ornately printed and elaborately worded the vital part was a detachable top with a scalloped edge. On issue this top portion was supposed to be torn off and sent to Algiers. Each Algerian cruiser was furnished with one of these detached tops part 2, Algiers, 8 May 1796, Joel Barlow to ^S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i,

James Cathcart. «

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Jovimal

and Letter Book', pp. 404-6.

;

RELEASE

279

was made simply by fitting this to the scalloped edge of the passport carried by the vessel boarded.^ While this ingenious system saved the captains of Algerian cruisers the necessity of learning to read European script, it was very open to abuse. Thousands of extra passport forms seem to have been printed and almost every British Consul in the Mediterranean area supplemented his income by selling them to foreign ships. The history of British and Algerian relations is full of Algerian and

identification

protests against this abuse of her passport system.

Before leaving Algiers, James Cathcart assured everybody that

would not be long delayed and that he had every first United States Resident Consul on the North African coast. When Joel Barlow heard of this, he wrote in his next letter to Ambassador David Humphreys, 'I am his return

intention of becoming the

told that Mr. Cathcart has hopes of obtaining the Consulate at this place.

He

has neither the talents or the dignity of character

necessary for that purpose though I sincerely wish that he might ;

be employed in the business of the peace presents and the tribute,

which

in

I think his intelligence

to render essential service.'^ Joel

and industry would enable him Barlow in these few sentences

fully confirms the impression Cathcart unwittingly gives of his

own

character and qualities in his account of the Algerian affair

that he was capable, energetic, tactless, and self-opinionated. In fact,

he did return as a U.S. Consul to North Africa.

a great success, but there were

With James Cathcart Joel Barlow

He

now turned

safely

He was

not

many

worse.

away

across the northern horizon,

to Micaiah Baccri

and

his fellow brokers.

pointed out that he had rid them of their most inveterate

was now time for them to fulfil their part him with enough ready money to enable him to ransom the seamen captives. He felt in a particularly strong position to make this demand as he had just received a letter from Ambassador David Humphreys telhng him that Barings had established a $400,000 credit for the United States at Leghorn. He was no longer, in fact, quite empty handed. opponent and that

it

of the bargain and to furnish

*

U.S.C.D. Gibraltar, James Simpson to Secretary of State, Gibraltar, 24

September 1795. *S.D.C.D. Algiers Secretary of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, 4

May

1796, Joel

Barlow

to

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

2go

But the Jews were, at to confess to

least in Algiers,

Joel Barlow that he and

and Micaiah Baccri had

his fellows

simply did not

have enough gold or coin to furnish the ransoms of the American seamen captives. The war in Europe was the cause of their embarrassment for this had had the eJBFect of enormously increasing French demand for Algerian wheat, also for Algerian cow hides for the manufacture of soldiers' boots. But, because of the same war, France was being very slow about paying her bills, and the Algerian brokers found themselves with enormous credits at

no cash at home.^ Joel Barlow was bitterly particularly as the plague was expected to more disappointed, make its annual appearance in the city almost any day. Distressed by the prospect of renewed fatalities among the seamen Barlow Marseilles but with

Dey for permission to rent a large house in the move all the Americans to it, away from the bagnios. But too much water had flowed under of the infections the bridge since Hassan Bashaw had offered to release the seamen into Joseph Donaldson's care. He returned the reply he had given applied to the

country and to

to Pierre Skjoldebrand in 1794, that 'while his slaves

they must work, and

if

they died

not theirs '.2 At the end of

May

bubonic plague occurred in the

it

had

life

should be his misfortune and

the

first

few deaths from the

city.

In the meantime Captain Richard O'Brien had reached Philadelphia, U.S.A.,

where he was enjoying respectful treatment at the

State Department and being asked to give his opinion on the state

of Barbary

James Cathcart had reached Alicante, at which place he paid off his crew of Moorish seamen and shipped them back to Algiers on the Spanish packet boat. He then signed on a crew of Europeans, sold a third share in his ship to raise some ready money, and set sail for Lisbon.^ There, in the meanaffairs. ^

David Humphreys had heard the gratifying news that he was soon to be appointed the first United States Ambassador to the Court of Spain. At the same time his leisurely courtship of the time,

*

* »

Fr. Charles-Roux, Les Travaux d'Herculais, p. 120. Fobs, Journal of Captivity in Algiers, p. 129. S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Memo from

John

A

Department of State to O'Brien, Philadelphia, 6 Jime 1796; also O'Brien to Department of State, Philadelphia, 9 Jime 1796. * Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Jotimal and Letter Book', p. 413.

RELEASE

281

Miss Bulkeley was approaching its proper climax. Fm'thermore his fiancee's father, who was also the banker of the United States Government at Lisbon, now informed him that he had succeeded in accumulating $200,000 worth of gold bullion and that he was prepared to let him have it against a Letter of

amiable

Credit on Baring and Co., London.^

At Leghorn, Joseph Donaldson had some gold buUion. He had arranged

also succeeded in

buying

for a Venetian ship, the

Divina Providenza, to take on board $100,000 worth in order to cany it to Algiers. The Divina Providenza was under charter to Micaiah Baccri and his Leghorn cousin Solomon Baccri. Joseph Donaldson wrote to Thomas Pinkney at Madrid, asking about the insuring of this valuable cargo. ^ This

Thomas Pinkney was

the

U.S. Minister in London, on temporary transfer to Madrid, In

London he had been

in close contact with Sir Francis

Baring about

America's Barbary Fund, and at this time both Joseph Donaldson

and David Humphreys turned to him for advice. Donaldson was probably pleased to have some other person to address on Algerian affairs for,

he was

now

having once apologized to Ambassador Humphreys, furious with him again. He wrote to his friend Tench

Francis of the U.S. Treasury at Philadelphia, bitterly criticizing the Ambassador's handling of Barbary affairs.^ Donaldson had

become involved in a dispute with Solomon Baccri. At the time the peace treaty was signed in Algiers, Micaiah Baccri had advanced Donaldson the money to distribute some celebratory presents. Donaldson now demanded to be allowed to pay this debt in Leghorn. Solomon Baccri protested that as the debt was incurred at Algiers it must be repaid there, and that if Donaldson insisted on paying in Leghorn he must make good the substantial loss on the unfavourable rate of exchange. There was room for debate on the subject and the two of them seem to have also

argued with considerable acrimony.

Joseph Donaldson was also at loggerheads with the Fornereau brothers. Barings' agents and correspondents at Leghorn, and the ^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. iii, Lisbon, 31 August 1796, David Humphreys to Secretary of State. Also Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book*, p. 427. * S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Leghorn, 25 June 1796, Joseph Donaldson to Thomas Pinkney. * ibid., Leghorn, 3 May 1796, Donaldson to Secretary of State.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

|g|

holders of their Letter of Credit for $400,000. Napoleon Bonaparte was at this time marching through Italy in pursuit of Britain's

the Austrians, and he was expected to send troops to occupy Leghorn very soon. This did not worry Joseph Donaldson who,

allies

as an American, adopted a rather superior attitude to

European

wars nor does the prospect of a French occupation seem to have disturbed the Livornese very much; but it did seriously disturb ;

the small colony of British merchants and bankers. The Fornereau brothers, despite or perhaps because of their French sounding

name, became increasingly agitated as rumours of the imminent arrival of French troops grew stronger. They made urgent plans to sail to Corsica, then in British hands, and they were most anxious to have the United States credit completed before leaving the city for there was a British law

making

it

a criminal oflfence

for British bankers to honour bills payable in enemy -held territory, and it looked as if Leghorn would soon enter that category. Joseph Donaldson had already drawn $140,000 of his Barings' credit, $40,000 of which had been used to make the disputed payment to Solomon Baccri, while the remaining $100,000 lay as gold buUion in the hold of the Divina Providenza. Fornereau brothers now urgently suggested that Donaldson should accept the balance of the credit in bills which Solomon Baccri would guarantee to have paid in cash at Algiers. But Joseph Donaldson

down this idea on the grounds that the cost of the various commissions, and losses on exchange would be exorbitant.

turned fees,

He had come

to Leghorn for gold, he insisted, and gold he would have. The agitated Fornereau brothers wrote indignantly to Baring

&

Co. who, in turn, complained to Ambassador David Humphreys. Joseph Donaldson may well have been right in refusing to accept Solomon Baccri's bills as a substitute for gold. The Jewish

bankers, or brokers (they combined the two functions as well as

many

appear at this time to have been engaged in a to force up the value of Algerian currency as against the Spanish, Mexican, and the new U.S. dollar. As an others),

concerted

efifort

instance of this James Cathcart, writing in his 'Diplomatic Journal', rated the masoon, the unit of banking at Algiers, at 40 to the Spanish milled dollar ;i Barlow, however, was prepared to ^

'Diplomatic Journal

and Letter Book',

p. 435.

RELEASE

283

accept the Baccris' claim that the proper rate of exchange was

34 masoons to the Spanish dollar.^ This manipulation of the exchange rate struck Donaldson as being nothing more than a barefaced Jewish swindle. ^ By it he could see his late employers, the U.S. Treasury, being robbed of fifteen per cent of their money at the stroke of a pen.

He

— either in coin or bars.

stuck resolutely to his

demand

for gold

Meanwhile in Algiers city the plague was vigorously making up for its late appearance and soon the daily death rate was hovering around the thirty mark, with the crowded slave bagnios providing their full share of victims. All free Christians left the city for the

comparatively healthy countryside, leaving the

and

their slaves to

fatalistic

Moslems

remain behind. Each morning at dawn the

curving alleys and cobbled stepways of the city were busy with funeral parties hurrying the night's victims to the burial grounds.

Joel Barlow rented a country house and retired to

it.

He was

depressed, frustrated, and very angry with Micaiah Baccri and his partners.

country

The Jews would

air,

also have liked to retire into the healthy but Algerian custom did not allow them this privilege.

Despite the risk of infection Joel Barlow

made

frequent journeys

Jews that he had fulfilled his part James Cathcart's departure, and to demand that they should find some means of fuLfilling their part. But Baccri and his fellows could only shrug their black-robed shoulders and repeat the difficulties of their position. While they had enormous credits accumulated at Marseilles, in Algiers all their coin and gold buUion had long since found its way into the Pubhc Treasury as payments for cargoes of grain, or into the Dey's privy purse as semi-secret payments for export permits. But now a fortunate circumstance came to Barlow's aid. The armies of republican France were consuming huge quantities of Algerian, Tunisian, and Tripolitanian wheat and the Directoire in Paris was most anxious that nothing should interfere with these essential supphes. There had, however, been growing difficulties and

into Algiers city to remind the

of their bargain by engineering

frictions as Paris tried to replace Marseilles' traditional influence in

^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, 12

July 1796, Joel Barlow to

Secretary of State. *

ibid.,

Leghorn, 28 July 1796, Joseph Donaldson to Thomas Pinkney.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

Ig4

The Diredoire had accordingly sent Citizen Hercules on a 8})ecial goodwill mission to these three North African states. Hercules had started his mission at Tunis and had then moved to Algiers where, by this time, he had already been in residence for several months. But Citizen Hercules had brought little to Algiers except goodwill. Certainly he had brought no cash for the anxious Jews and only one or two jewelled trinkets for the Dey himself. these areas.

He

very soon learned, however, that

to retain the friendship of

if

republican France wished

Dey Hassan Bashaw, they must be

something more than a few costly gewgaws. For over twenty years a merchant from Toulon, by the name of

prepared to

oflfer

Meifrund, had lived in Algiers. This

man and Hassan Bashaw had

long been close friends. In the early days their friendship

was

probably based on commercial interests, but later it developed into a genuine affection and esteem. Meifrund, growing elderly and

weary of trading, had obtained permission from the Dey's predecessor, Dey Muhammad Bashaw, to leave Algiers in 1790. He had retired to his ample estates near Toulon ready to pass his declining years enjoying the fruits of his

life's

labours.

But events

were against him. The British occupied Toulon and Meifrund was indiscreet

enough to accept an

city administration. all

As a

official

result, as

position in their short-lived

soon as the British withdrew,

Meifrund 's estates were seized and he was obliged to

flee

to

Algiers to save his hfe.

Hassan Bashaw to see his old friend suffering such persecution and from the moment he became Dey, Hassan Bashaw began to campaign for the restitution of Meifrund's property. He wrote letters to the French Government and continually harried the French Consul-General at Algiers on the subject. But his letters to the French Government either received no answers, or It grieved

unsatisfactory ones, while the French Consul-General, himself

appointed by the old regime, was frightened to support the cause of an anti-republican and emigre such as Meifrund. So, when Hercules arrived in Algiers late in 1795 and loudly announced himself as the personal envoy of the Diredoire in Paris, Hassan

Bashaw

told him in forthright terms that if France wanted to preserve Algerian friendship in the face of British pressure, she

must immediately

restore

M. Meifrund's property and allow him

RELEASE

286

a free pardon to return to France in peace and security. Hercules

duly passed on the Dey's demands to the Directoire who, after some squabbhng, agreed in part to the Dey's demands.^ The news of the Directoire' s decision reached Algiers halfway

through June 1796. Hassan Bashaw was dehghted and asked what favour he could offer the French Commissioner in return. Hercules, possibly at Barlow's suggestion, for by now the two men were

Dey to

him the value of $200,000 from the Public Treasury so that he could pay off some of his country's debts to the Jews. Hassan Bashaw readily agreed to the request for the Public Treasury was well supphed with cash at this time. Hercules took the money and paid it to the Jews. Joel Barlow immediately went to Micaiah Baccri and demanded that the Jews now honour their obhgations and advance him the full §200,000 against his bills drawn on Donaldson at Leghorn. Baccri and his firm friends, asked the

lend

partners agreed without raising further

difficulties.

Joel Barlow

Dey and told him that he was now ready to pay the ransoms of all the American seamen held as slaves. Hassan Bashaw knew quite well that no vessel carrying American money had reached Algiers and he wanted to know from whence this money had come. Joel Barlow told him that it was being advanced by the Jews. The Dey indicated that the Jews must have considerably more faith in America than he had and, because of this, he would only release the captives if the Jews would agree to accept habihty for the whole treaty debt owed by the United States of America. This, Joel Barlow blandly wrote in a dispatch to Philadelphia, Micaiah Baccri and his partner agreed to.^ The Jews of Algiers certainly knew about Joseph Donaldson's credit for $400,000 at Leghorn, but a credit is by no means the same thing as cash, yet their leader, Micaiah Baccri, agreed to assume an obligation that amounted to over $500,000 without anyone in Algiers having seen one cent of real American money. This was a remarkable gesture of faith in the new United States of America and in the person of that nation's representative at Algiers. On the other hand it was also a business deal and the Jews then called on the

Travaux d'Herculais, pp. 118-20. Also A. J. Par6e, Toulonnais a Alger au XVIII ei^cle, pp. 56-57. * S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 12 July 1796, Joel Barlow to Secretary of State. 1

Un

Fr. Charles-Rotix, Les

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

SSe

immediately began to talk down the value of the dollar at Leghorn. This manoeuvre Barlow claimed to have frustrated, although

Joseph Donaldson did not consider he had succeeded in this.^ John Foss, a seaman prisoner, described in his account of his

Behque one evening late in June 1796, and told the Americans that he hoped to have them free in a few days. Two Americans had died of the plague during the preceding weeks and two others seemed to be sickening with it, so it can be imagined how this news was welcomed by the rest. Four evenings later the Turkish Guardian Bashaw announced that the Americans would not be going to labour the following day but would be taken before Hassan Bashaw to receive their freedom. Then Hassan Bashaw was unwell and they spent a restless twentyfour hours waiting. The following morning the Dey had recovered captivity

how Joel Barlow went to

the Bagnio

and the Americans were paraded before him.^ At dawn the gates of the palace were opened and the Americans, including the captains, were drawn up in two lines in the courtyard. The money was brought from the vaults of the Jewish bankers under Turkish guard and was counted in the Dey's presence by two of the Chief Turkish Secretaries. When these had certified that the payment was correct, the money was handed

and sent down Pubhc Treasury, or palace strong-room, under guard. Now one of the Turkish Secretaries handed each American a piece of paper on which was some Turkish writing. This authorized the captain of the port to allow the bearer to embark on any Christian vessel sailing for Europe. After this brief ceremony, Joel Barlow and Hassan Bashaw shook hands and the Americans left the into the care of the Chief Minister, or Hasnagi,

into the

palace. Those ships' masters

who lodged

in the bagnios returned to

went back to

their house,

and those

them, the in private

employ returned to the houses of their masters. Joel Barlow could only find one ship suitable to carry the American captives from Algiers. This was a vessel called the Fortune which belonged, almost inevitably, to Micaiah Baccri. The Fortune had formerly been the Bridget of London, but had been captured by a French privateer and sold in Algiers. She 1 *

Also Leghorn, 28 July 1796, Joseph Donaldson to Foss, Journal of Captivity in Algiers, p. 144.

ibid.

Thomas Pinkney.

RELEASE

287

was intended for Leghorn and already had on board 48 Neapolitans who had just been ransomed. Baccri had been having some difficulty in finding a suitable master for his vessel and the release of the Americans proved timely. He agreed to allow Joel Barlow to charter the Fortune for $1,500 provided one of the released

captains would assume

command

of her. Barlow appointed Samuel

had been captured in October 1793.^ At the same time he provided the Calder, formerly master of the brig Gloucester which

Fortune with papers certifying her to be an American ship, but

couched in rather ambiguous language. Passport. Joel Barlow, Consul of the United States in America in Algiers to all of

whom

these presents shall come.

Know

ye that the

ship Fortune in the service of the United States of America, com-

manded by Samuel Calder citizen of said States, departs this day from the Port of Algiers in Barbary bound to Leghorn, having 137 persons on board, aU in good health, though we are bound to acknowledge that the plague has manifested itself ia this place for about six weeks past, and that it still continues. The whole population of the town is estimated at about sixty thousand souls, and the mortality at present amounts to between thirty and forty persons each day. I pray all governors and other officers and all persons whatever who may visit the said ship, to treat her and her passengers and equipage with friendship and respect and to give them assistance in case of need, as those of my nation would do in like cases. Given under my hand and seal of the Consulate of the United States of America in this 12th day of July, 1796. Signed. Joel Barlow.^

By

the time the Americans went on board the Fortune five had

died in that year's epidemic of the plague and one more remained

on shore

sick.

The

ship sailed out of the harbour on 12 July,

and

the sick man, Joseph Rogers, died on the 13th. That same day the Fortune briefly returned to Algiers and landed one of the

Neapohtans who had contracted the plague. John Foss reported that there was much lamentation among the slaves still left in the bagnios when they departed. Those from Catholic countries were particularly bitter that men who were only half Christian should be redeemed while they were left to rot. Possibly because the Fortune was so crowded. Captain Calder ^

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Secretary of State.

series, >

i, part 2, Algiers, 12 July 1796, Barlow to Passport issued by Barlow, Algiers, 12 July 1796.

vol.

ibid..

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

288

decided to ignore Barlow's instructions to sail to Leghorn and to set course for Marseilles instead. This place was not only one

hundred sea miles facilities for

but was known to have better

closer to Algiers,

performing quarantine.

The Fortune reached

on 20 July 1796. During the had carefully washed the httle

Marseilles

short voyage, the released captives ship from stem to stern

and had thoroughly fumigated her holds

and cabins by burning rope ends soaked in tar.^ But the plague was not to be evaded and Captain Samuel E. Bailey of Newburyport sickened and died before seeing the coast of France. The Consul for the United States at Marseilles was an American merchant named Stephen Cathalan, As soon as the Fortune arrived he

made

Initially, there

all

possible efforts to assist the released captives.

was very

little

which was badly needed.

he could do except provide money

He

wrote to David Humphreys at

Lisbon.

which was very rich in other times, being now Money I, on their demand and my offer, have advanced to their treasurer £2,400 in specie the Gentlemen at the head of that Office are very respectable people who are appointed in all times without any sort of salary they will give us a fuU account of the employ [of the money] and I will continue to advance when it is

The health

office

totally deprived of

.

.

.

.

.

.

necessary.^

The

was a smaU

own on the western side was completely enclosed by two high walls which were guarded day and night to prevent those performing quarantine from escaping. One or two local men stayed in the lazaretto and acted as cooks, but once inside they lazaretto

citadel

on

its

of the entrance to the iimer harbour. It

were held in as strict a quarantine as the seamen. Food was sent into the lazaretto without physical contact and letters could only be sent out after they had been soaked page by page in vinegar. In short, the released seamen now found themselves more closely confined than they had ever been in Algiers. The period of their quarantine was set at eighty days from their landing.

seem

the late ^

*

What would nowadays was accepted philosophically during eighteenth century, and the released Americans recorded

intolerable

TAe Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, 8 February 1797. O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. iii, MarseiUes, 22 July 1796, Stephen Cathalan to Secretary ^ f J

of State.

RELEASE

289

no complaints about this long extra term of confinement that they had to endure. At least they no longer had to labour, and the food was better than any they had been given in the Algerian bagnios. The expenses of the Neapohtans were advanced by a Jewish merchant named Baccri, another of Micaiah's ubiquitous cousins. On 24 July, Captain Timothy Newman sent out a letter, well soaked in vinegar, to be dehvered to Consul Stephen Cathalan. Sir, [he

citizens.

.

the iron is now from our legs God that the like may never happen to any of our You will please return our most cordial thanks to the

wrote from the lazaretto],

and we hope .

.

.

.

.

in

gentlemen of the lazarette for their humanity in using every possible means for Preserving our health. ... I would remind you that the American sailors are a pecuHar set of people from most other mariners, that if the cook will serve being accustomed to very hearty hving them with a httle more meat I doubt not it will give them general



satisfaction.^

was accordingly arranged that each man should receive a pound pound of fresh meat, as well as some rice, greens, potatoes, fresh fruit, cheese, and a bottle of red wine. The It

of bread daily, a quarter

captains received double rations.

Unfortunately Captain Newman's pious hope that no U.S. citizens should ever again be

taken captive to Barbary had already

proved fruitless. When Stephen Cathalan wrote to David Humphreys announcing the arrival of the redeemed captives from Algiers, he also wrote that 'the American schooner Eliza of Boston had been sent into Tunis by a Tunisian privateer '.^ Morocco was a law unto itself. It had never fallen under Turkish control and it had largely succeeded in repeUing the invasions of Bedouin marauders. It numbered among its people a high percentage of Spanish Moslems who had fled there from Christian .

.

.

much in European Spain as they This made Morocco's behaviour difficult

persecution. Its roots were as

were in Levantine Arabia.

to predict. Sometimes she appeared to walk in close step with

and Tripoh, at other times she took her own erratic had been the first to make a peace with the United a peace which was stiU not ratified. Morocco had her

Algiers, Tunis,

path. Morocco States, >

O.R.D.S. Spain, vol.

iii,

22 July 1796, Timothy

Newman

to

Stephen Cathalan

from the lazaretto. *

ibid., Marseilles,

22 July 1796, Stephen Cathalan to Secretary of State.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

MO

but these had not voyaged against Christian shipping for many years. Instead they had lain mouldering at their anchorages while the country was rent by a three-sided civil war over the cruisers,

royal succession.^ Morocco

had

httle interest in

American

affairs,

but Tunis and Tripoli had been watching the new, far distant, Christian nation's negotiations with Algiers with deep interest.

Although Algiers was the most powerful of the North African states, both Tunis and Tripoh possessed armed cruisers and were well placed to cause much annoyance to American shipping entering the Mediterranean. Directly the news spread that the Americans apparently intended to pay what they had promised Algiers, the two minor Barbary States decided to make their own presences

felt.

Joseph Donaldson and James Cathcart had assured Joel Barlow that the U.S. had already entered into a truce with Tunis for eight

months, through the intercession of Hassan Bashaw's personal representative in that city. Joseph Donaldson was even able to produce a voucher for a sum of money expended towards this end but now the eight months' period was nearly up. During May

when Barlow,

by lack of fimds, had been able to had written to a French merchant resident at Tunis, who had been recommended to him by the French Commissioner Citizen Hercules. He mentioned Donaldson's truce to the merchant, a Monsieur Famin, and asked him to find out on what terms the Bey of Tunis would sign a regular peace treaty.^ It had always been Joel Barlow's 1796,

do

little

frustrated

to help along the Algerian negotiations, he

Dey of Algiers to bully peace even nothing out of Tunis and Tripoli. How ever, as Barlow wrote his letter to M. Famin before the news of intention to use the influence of the

treaties for httle or

Meifrund's reinstatement reached Algiers, and as Hassan Bashaw this time in no sort of mood to influence anybody in

was at

America's favour, he had

felt

obliged to initiate the negotiations

alone and unaided.

Monsieur Famin rephed to Barlow's letter late in June. The of Tunis, he wrote, had never heard of any truce between his

Bey ^

U.S.C.D. Gibraltar, James Simpson to

Thomas Jefferson.

1793.

*S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. to Secretary of State.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

Gibraltar. 23

Aueust ^

18 October 1796, Joel Barlow

^

RELEASE

291

nation and the United States, but he would be very glad to

conclude a peace with that nation for a payment of $50,000, exclusive of the usual presents. In the meanwhile, in order to

allow the negotiations to go forward in a peaceful atmosphere, he

was prepared to grant a truce for six months from 15 June. A few days after receiving this letter, another reached Barlow from the same source. It notified him that the schooner Eliza of Boston,

Captain Graves, master, had been taken by a Tunisian ship on 14 June, and as the capture took place before the truce commenced, the ship had been condemned a prize and her crew declared slaves. However, wrote M. Famin, as the plague was raging in Tunis, the Bey had decided not to put the Americans to hard labour but was allowing them to remain on board their ship.

He demanded

$10,000 as ransom for the prisoners, the schooner, and the nineteen pipes of brandy which represented her cargo. Barlow had no alternative but to borrow the money and settle the Bey's demands. The Eliza and her crew were duly released. It seemed impossible for the Americans to achieve anything in Barbary without spending large sums of money. After all the excitement of getting the American seamen away from Algiers, Joel Barlow looked forward to the rapid and smooth conclusion of the rest of the business. But this was not to be. The principles of international credit were a closed book to Hassan Bashaw, Dey of the warhke city of Algiers. To this unsophisticated Tm-kish soldier money meant gold bars, or else coin such as Algerian sequins, and the more he thought about the redemption of the American seamen the more suspicious he became. After a few days' brooding on the subject he sent for Micaiah Baccri and demanded a detailed explanation of the American payment. Micaiah Baccri had to admit that the sequins he had advanced Joel Barlow had been paid to him by Citizen Hercules. Hassan Bashaw's worst suspicions were fully confirmed the American ransom had been paid out of the Public Treasury. He was surely, he told himself, the victim of an elaborate swindle. While he had held the American seamen he had felt reasonably sure that he would eventually receive his treaty payments and naval stores. But what hostages, he asked himself, did he now have? None at



1

u

ibid.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

292

except the American Consul and one captain who had stayed behind to take passage to Spain. ^ As a result, Joel Barlow found

all,

himself in a far more before.

awkward

situation than he

The Dey accused him, and Americans

had ever been

in general, of being

a parcel of shameless financial twisters. He called the envoy many insulting names and made picturesque threats against his person. All of

which Barlow had to accept with as much patience and good summon up. He took to avoiding the palace

nature as he could

altogether. Ironically, all this occurred at a time

badly needed Hassan Bashaw's good

offices

when Barlow

towards making

modest peace treaties between the United States and the Moslem powers of Tunis and Tripoli. A further comphcation now occurred. On 27 June 1796, a French army finally occupied Leghorn. On almost the same day, British warships appeared on the horizon and blockaded the port. Joseph Donaldson had been slowly accumulating gold bullion against his credit with Barings in London. A few thousand dollars' worth had come from Genoa, some more from Naples, some from Venice. He had $100,000 worth stowed on board the Venetian ship Divina Providenza which he had been anxious to dispatch some weeks before. But the vessel was on charter to Micaiah and Solomon Baccri, and Solomon had held the ship back while he fill her with a cargo of general merchandise.^ Joseph Donaldson wrote a letter to the commander of the

tried to

blockading squadron, explaining that he had gold belonging to the

United States which he wished to ship to Algiers, to redeem American seamen held captive there. In due course he received his reply. It

was

brief, lucid,

and courteous.

It

gave him permission

to send the Dey's gold through the British blockade provided the vessel was not carrying any ordinary merchandise. The letter was

signed

by the commander of His Britannic Majesty's

Leghorn Roads, Horatio Nelson. Meanwhile Micaiah Baccri and

ships in

Jews were beginning foolish to take on the obligation of the whole of the U.S. treaty payments. They had seen no more to feel that they

»

ibid.

*

S.D.C.D. Algiers

his fellow

may have been

series, vol. i, part 2, Leghorn, 21 July 1796, Joseph Donaldson to Timothy Pickering. ' Archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

RELEASE

293

American money than had the Dey, and although they knew, through their Leghorn relatives, that the American credit was genuine, they may have begun to harbour doubts as to the United States absolute solvency. At any event, as soon as they heard that Leghorn was under blockade they took it as an excuse to withdraw from their undertaking to cash any more bills drawn

by Barlow on Donaldson, This meant the prospect of a long delay some distant date when England and France were at peace once again, or at least until French troops had withdrawn from Leghorn. The Dey was certainly not going to agree to such a delay and in the meanwhile he called Joel Barlow to an audience and told him exactly what he thought of both America and her Consul.

until

He would wait no longer [Barlow quoted him as saying in an account of the interview he sent to the Secretary of State], he had been annoyed a whole year by a string of Hes. Is it possible, said he, that your money has been dancing about Europe for a year and has happened to hght at last at Leghorn just at the moment

when theEnghsh were to blockade

— you either have no money in Europe or you never You speak of patience, says he — I have more patience

that Port? No intend to pay it.

than [Allah]. I have resisted all your enemies who have tried to overturn your peace. My heart has struggled against my judgement. I wished to think you honest. But I begin to think you the most faithless nation among aU the infidels.^

The

situation

renewed

was

serious for America.

Denmark at a He was now threatening

his peace with

million dollars.

The Dey had

price of close

just

on half a

the Venetians with war,

but that country's Consul was making strenuous diplomatic efforts to avoid the blow. If he succeeded in this it seemed extremely probable to Joel Barlow that the Algerian fleet would be sent out against American shipping. He feared that there were already a large

number of United

States ships in the IVIediterranean

who

had been encouraged to voyage there by the premature announcement of an Algerian peace in American newspapers. While Joel Barlow did what httle he could in Algiers, Richard O'Brien was making an excellent impression at Philadelphia. He was the first person to reach the State Department who had made a deliberate study of Algerian affairs at close quarters, and his »

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Secretary of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

18 October 1796, Joel Barlow to

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

294

opinions were listened to there with great respect. There had already been ten official appointments made to Consular office at

two of which were still current; it was thought best, make any further appointment immediately. O'Brien was obviously too valuable a man Richard But Captain to be neglected, and he was urged to make all haste back to the Mediterranean area and to employ all his efforts there to maintain Algiers,

therefore, not to

America's precarious situation. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering wrote in a letter to Ambassador David Humphreys on 18 June 1796, at Philadelphia,

An agreement had as

Commander

month. This

been made with Captain O'Brien fixing his pay

of the U.S. Brigantine Sophia at two hundred dollars a

may seem

his services as

a very large compensation; but independant of master of the Sophia, his knowledge of Algerian affairs

acquired by a long and painful apprenticeship was deemed of great value and the appHcation of it particularly useful in the present state of our affairs with the Dey; and his services therefore not hghtly to be dispensed with.

The Secretary had some reason for embarrassment over the size of O'Brien's salary, for it was exactly double that being paid to Joseph Donaldson, a fully accredited diplomat. In the same letter Pickering wrote to David Humphreys, 'there appears to be no ehgible alternative but to confirm the engagement of Messrs. Barlow and Donaldson; the President has determined to direct the building and equiping of such a frigate as they promised.' It would be pleasant to know exactly what George Washington said on learning that America had contracted to give a thirty-six gun warship to the daughter of a

Muhammadan

potentate.

A

week earher Secretary Pickering had written regarding the naval stores required by the Algerian peace treaty, there is Httle chance of getting the enormous masts stipulated till the ensuing winter. Mr. Donaldson estimated them at thirty dollars each. In the district of Maine every mast is estimated at four hundred .

and

fifty

.

.

Unfortunately, the whole estimate is extremely erroneous; instead of sixty thousand, the stores will cost the United States at least one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. dollars.

.

.

.

.

.

.

In fact, it was James Cathcart who had valued the naval stores together with Micaiah Baccri and one of the Dey's Chief Turkish 1 F. L. Humphreys, The Life of David Humphreys, vol. ii, pp. 244-8.

RELEASE Secretaries.

ment and,

295

But the unfortunate Donaldson had signed the docu-

therefore, could not avoid responsibility for its contents.

Meanwhile, James Cathcart had sailed into Lisbon harbour on board his former Neapolitan prize on 27 June 1796. He found

Ambassador Humphreys out of town so he delivered his dispatches to the American Vice-Consul at Lisbon. By 4 July the Ambassador had returned and Cathcart was bidden to dine on that date. 'Nothing of consequence was discuss'd their being a mix'd company', wrote Cathcart. Then again, 'Friday the 15th I again dined with Colonel Humphreys but neither was there anything mentioned relative to our affairs in Barbary'.^ David Humphreys did not seem in any great hurry to hear Cathcart's news or views. Perhaps he had been forewarned of the late Chief Christian Secretary's immense articulateness. James Leander Cathcart left for the United States on 19 July, .

.

.

but almost immediately he encountered the U.S. brigantine Sophia beating into harbour, so he turned his ship about and returned to Lisbon. The next four days he spent in the company of his old comrade in slavery, Richard O'Brien. Their reunion

months' separation was only slightly marred by Cathcart reproaching his friend for not having once written since his departure from Algiers. In fact, O'Brien seems to have had ample after ten

excuse for he had been at sea for the major part of this time. James Cathcart sailed again for the United States on 23 July.

The

time he had voyaged across the broad Atlantic Ocean had been as an ordinary seaman possessing only youth, energy, and last

boundless self-confidence. slavery, he

Now,

older

by ten years of Moslem

walked the quarterdeck as captain and majority owner

of a substantial ocean-going vessel.

During the four days O'Brien and Cathcart spent together, the crew of the Sophia had already started to prepare their vessel to carry to Algiers the gold bullion that had been collected by John Bulkeley and Son. Ambassador David Humphreys was delighted to be able at last to do something positive about the Algerian

He was above all heartily sick of writing apologetic letters. He was not, however, altogether happy about placing the full affair.

amount of $200,000 worth of gold ^

in one small ship.

But Richard

Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Joiimal and Letter Book', p. 426

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

206

O'Brien

made

light of his fears.

He

assured

Humphreys that

the

Sophia was an excellent weather ship and, furthermore, he pointed out that he carried Hassan Bashaw's personal passport to guaran-

him protection from the unwelcome attentions of other North African corsairs.^ Accordingly, the U.S. brigantine Sophia took on board all the gold and sailed out of Lisbon on 2 August 1796. On 16 August, David Humphreys heard from Marseilles the moving news that all the surviving American captives had been released from Algiers and were performing quarantine at that port. Quite suddenly the whole Algerian affair, with which he had been involved so unhappily for so long, seemed to have taken a marked turn for the better. As though to confirm this impression, he next received a letter from James Simpson, the U.S. Consul at Gibraltar, announcing that he had seen the Sophia pass safely through the Straits on 12 August. ^ It was several months before he heard what happened on the following day. The Bey of Tripoli had a favourite captain, an English renegade tee

named Peter

Lyle,

known

in Tripoli as Rais Morat. This Peter

Lyle had been mate on board the ship that had taken Charles Logie to Algiers in 1785. The ship had gone on to Tripoh where Lyle had fallen foul of the captain and had deserted and entered the service of the Bey, leaving a wife and three children at

Wapping

London. Shortly after this a revolution broke out Bey had been forced to flee to Turkey. Peter with him, and when the Bey was reinstated some

Steps,

at Tripoh and the

Lyle had

fled

him as a firm favourite and as High Admiral of Tripoli's tiny fleet.^ Peter Lyle ahas Rais Morat was, during August 1796, cruising in a small Tripohtanian warship close to the Algerian coast and just east of the Straits of Gibraltar with the express object of capturing American shipping. His master, the Bey of Tripoh, had heard through his Jewish bankers that the United States would soon be asking him to sign a peace treaty and he was most anxious to be able to bargain from a position of strength. Lyle had already taken one American prize, years later, Lyle returned with

^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. iii, Lisbon, 6 October 1796, David Humphreys to Secretary of State. * ibid., Lisbon, 31 August 1796, David Humphreys to Secretary of State. » P.R.O. F.O. 76/5, Tripoli, 5 June 1794, Simon Lucas to Henry Dundas; and 26 July 1796, Lucaa to the Duke of Portland.

RELEASE the Betsey from Boston, and

297

when Richard O'Brien came saihng

along proudly flying the Stars and Stripes at his masthead, Lyle promptly laid his warship alongside the Sophia and boarded her. The Sophia was a better ship than the Tripolitanian vessel and O'Brien could have made ofi" without difficulty, but he was so confident in the potency of Hassan Bashaw's passport that he did not bother to try to escape. He had reckoned without the lure of gold. Peter Lyle, a pirate, a corsair, a privateer of long standing, had

never before boarded a ship carrying $200,000 of solid gold bullion in its hold. He and his crew were far too excited by its dull glitter to bother about the

Dey

of Algier's passport. Richard O'Brien

and his crew were bundled out of the Sophia on to the warship and the three ships made sail for Tripoli. The voyage took them a very long time as the wind blew hard against them the whole way and Lyle was forced to make long tacks to the north. This terrified the Tripolitanians as it took them close to Sicily and Malta where they greatly dreaded losing their loot to the Christian corsairs of those places.

The three ships finally reached Tripoli safely. The Bey was enchanted with the success of his renegade captain. Both the Sophia and the Betsey were immediately declared good prizes and their crews

condemned

to be slaves.

The gold

bullion

was un-

loaded from the Sophia and placed under guard at the palace. After two days, however, the

Bey

of Tripoli began to have some

He was already on very bad terms with the Bashaw of Benghazi, his Eastern neighbour, and was on no better terms with the Bey of Tunis, his western neighbour. The prospect of having the powerful Dey of Algiers as yet another enemy filled him with apprehension. Fear can sometimes work a stronger magic than gold. After a week in a Tripolitanian slave bagnio Richard O'Brien and his crew were quietly returned on board the Sophia. Two days later the gold was just as quietly reloaded. On the twelfth day two Tripolitanian Ambassadors and a quantity of concihatory presents were emsecond thoughts about the whole

affair.

barked. Thirteen days after being brought under prize crew into Tripoli, the ^

Sophia again put to

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

to Secretary of State.

i,

part

sea.^ 2,

Algiers, 18

October 1796, Joel Barlow

298

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

had heard from David Humphreys in Lisbon that Captain O'Brien had sailed from that port on 2 August with a cargo of gold bullion. Barlow, by the time he received the letter, knew that if all had gone well O'Brien should have already arrived at Algiers. There had, a week or two previously, been a rumour in the city's coffee-houses and taverns that people farther west along the coast had sighted a TripoHtanian warship sailing in company with two American prizes. Barlow Meanwhile Joel Barlow

Algiers

in

judged from the general description that one of the vessels could have been the Sophia. This, he deduced, could be the only explanation for the delay in O'Brien's arrival, for

it

was already

September by the time Ambassador Humphreys' letter reached him. He went to Micaiah Baccri and told him that what he suspected had occurred. He also told Baccri that O'Brien carried the Dey's personal passport and that he had no doubt that the Sophia would soon be released. That being so, he asked, would the Jews on the arrival of the part shipment of gold agree to cash his bills on Leghorn for the full amount of the peace payment? 13

Baccri indicated that the arrival of a shipment of American gold

would certainly restore Jewish confidence in the United States; and they would be the more ready to oblige him now as he and his fellows had recently received remittances from Marseilles and now possessed ample supplies of cash.^ Joel Barlow had been keeping away from Hassan Bashaw for some weeks, hoping in this way not to remind the Dey how overdue the American peace payments were. But he now sent and asked for an interview. His Turkish dragoman carried the message to the palace. Each Christian Consul at Algiers was furnished with a Turkish dragoman by the Dey. He acted partly as interpreter, guide, and

He was responsible for seeing that his Consul received courteous and honest treatment in his domestic dealings in the city and for ensuring that he was not insulted in the crowded streets. He supervised the Consul's Moorish servants and in some cases acted as overseer of his country estate. He also acted as the keeper.

Dey's spy and kept him informed of activities.

The position of dragoman 1

ibid.

all

his Consul's private

to a Christian Consul

was one

RELEASE

299

of considerable honour. Retired military officers and warship

commanders were proud

to be

nominated 'dragomen' and they

lived on perfect equality with their Consuls sharing their table

and roof.^ The appointment was also not without its profits and any Moorish domestic or tradesman having dealings with a Christian Consul was expected to congratulate the dragoman with a suitable present. Joel Barlow wrote an account of the reception accorded to his dragoman when he requested this interview for his Consul with Hassan Bashaw. '[What]', exclaimed the Dey, 'is it possible that that man has the impudence to [wish to] appear

my presence?' 'But', said the messenger optimistically, good news to announce to you'. 'Good lies', said the Dey, 'I suppose you mean. He has not got the money, and it is not possible for me to beheve any more of his lies till he shows me the money. But let him come.' The Dey received the American coldly, but he did listen. Joel Barlow did not think the time yet ripe to accuse Tripoli of having seized the Sophia, so he merely explained that Ambassador

again in 'he has

Humphreys had

Dey and Divan of and Donaldson's undertakings, and that the frigate for his daughter was already in process of construction. Meanwhile the Ambassador, he told the Dey, had finally America had

written to say that the

ratified all his

succeeded in collecting

all

the

money

for the peace

payments.

This had been shipped on board the Sophia under the care of Captain Richard O'Brien forty days previously and he, Barlow,

was at a loss to think what could be delaying the vessel. Joel Barlow then described the ending of the audience. After hearing this he [the Dey] gave well conceal the pleasure I

me

had discovered

a stern look which did not

and said to me, 'Why', said I, 'Effendi, I know you believe it. That severity in your face is but the mask of an excellent heart, and you esteem the Americans despite all their enemies,' He then gave me his hand and said, 'We will be friends a Httle longer. '^ 'Do you think

in his face,

I believe all this?'

The Sophia arrived in Algiers harbour on 1 October 1796. Dey Hassan Bashaw had had to wait exactly one year and twenty-five days for the money he had been promised by 'the lame ambassador'. *

*

E. Broughton, Six Years' Residence in Algiers, pp. 350-69. S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 18 October 1796, Joel Barlow

to Secretary of State.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

300

expected to wait three months and had been paid a thirty-six gun frigate for another three months, but for the remaining six he had been obliged to depend on his own patience. It is hardly surprising that Barlow reported that the Turk's fear-

He had

some mustachios often bristled alarmingly. Much store was set by mustachios in Algiers and Joel Barlow wrote to his wife that he had been obliged to grow a pair himself in order to obtain a proper respect from the inhabitants of the town.^ He had also been obliged to have a pair of ornate gold epaulettes sewn on the shoulders of his coat for the same purpose. As soon as Richard O'Brien landed on the mole Joel Barlow went with him to the palace. Hassan Bashaw received them immediately and Captain O'Brien told the story of how the English renegade had defied the Dey's personal passport and captm-ed his gold. He explained that, in fact, the Dey had proved luckier than he had, for the Bey of Tripoli had restored all the Dey's gold, while he had lost $500 and all the ship's stores which had been seized as loot by the Tripolitanian crew. He laid emphasis in his account on the insult offered to the Dey's passport by Peter Lyle and his master the Bey of Tripoli. Describing this part of the interview in a letter, Joel Barlow quoted, 'Well', replied the Dey, 'I shall take care of that business.' Then turning to me, 'My friend', said he, 'I have long admired your con. stancy and courage. I now find you are true to me, as well as to your country. I have treated you with great severity, but you must allow that I have had uncommon patience; for I always felt something at

the bottom of my heart which told me that man cannot lie. God has rewarded you for all your sufferings. We will be friends for ever. If you have any favours to ask, let me prove my sincerity.'

who was not

the man to let such an opportunity immediately complained about the actions of Tunis and Tripoli. Both these states, he pointed out, had started to seize American ships without reason, and he feared that they meant to make war with the United States. His government, he said, would Joel Barlow,

slip,

pay Tunis

thousand dollars for a peace treaty and Tripoli forty thousand. He intended to send Captain O'Brien in the Sophia to propose treaties on this basis and he would be grateful if the 1

*

fifty

Woodress, A Yankee's Odyssey, p. 185. Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', p. 435. J. L.

RELEASE Dey would

furnish

states, written in

letters to the rulers of these

to agree to the

friend, [answered the Dey], I will

have not asked enough. Your nation

money

prepared with the of Tunis to look to

two

such language as they were accustomed to

them

respect, advising

My

him with

301

me

is

American proposals. this, and more, for you brave and good, you are not

do aU

to send to those places. I will tell the

for the

money

Bey

for his peace. I will take the pay-

ment on myself. ... As for Tripoh, the Bey of that country is poor. The money for him must go in the Brig by Captain O'Brien. I will give it [to] you from my own treasury. And your nation shall find me these two sums whenever it is convenient. I am not in want of money. When I find a nation good and honest like yours, I know how to be generous. Your peace with those two States as well as with Algiers is under my guarantee and never while I five shaU it be interrupted. It will be necessary that you estabhsh a consul in each of those places, but it is no matter what he is, provided he be an American; for my minister residing in each place shall be your consul and procure you justice in all cases.

Only

let

there be an American to take care of your commerce.

I will be answerable for the rest.^

Fine words, and

if

they were scarcely related to reality they

were probably no less sincere for that. It is sweet to have an outstanding debt finally paid it is perhaps sweeter still to have a ;

personal faith finally vindicated. Hassan

Bashaw had a double

reason for cheerfulness. *

S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

to Secretary of State.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

18 October 1796, Joel Barlow

CHAPTER

14

CONCLUSION

As

this account comes to its end it is perhaps appropriate to quote an extract from Joel Barlow's dispatch to the Secretary of

State written at the time of the release of the captives from Algiers.

When we demption to

know

as

is

on the extravagant sums of money that this reUnited States, it affords at least some consolation not expended on worthless and disorderly persons,

reflect

will cost the

that it is the case with some other nations who are driven, like us, to this humiliation. Our people have conducted themselves in general with a degree of patience and decorum which would become a better condition than that of slaves. And though after they are landed in their .

.

.

country it would be useless to recommend them to any additional favours from the government, yet I hope they will receive from merchants that encouragement in their professional industry which will enable them in some measm-e to repair their losses, and from their

feUow

citizens in general that respect which is due to the sufferings of honest men. Several of them are probably rendered incapable of gaining their hving. One is in a state of total blindness; another is reduced to nearly the same condition; two or three carry the marks of immerciful treatment in ruptures produced by hard labour; and others have had their

constitutions injured by the plague. Some of these are doubtless objects of the charity of their countrymen; but whether this charity should flow to them through the channel of the Federal Government, is a

question on which

it

would be impertinent

for

me

to offer

an opinion.^

Joel Barlow's dehcately worded hint to the U.S. Federal Government was not taken up, for no official assistance was

rendered to the captives on their return to America. Indeed, by ^S.D.G.D. Algiers Secretfiry of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2, Algiers,

12 July 1796, Joel

Barlow to

CONCLUSION the standards of those times,

it is

doubtful

303 if

they deserved special

treatment. James Cathcart claimed that the bagnios of Algiers

were

less

unbearable than the former British prison hulks in

New

York harbour had been. The labour in Algiers' stone quarries and down at the harbour was often painfully hard and the food given to captives was always inadequate. Yet crossing the Atlantic in fifty-three days on board a small schooner with water rationed and hard tack food most of the way can hardly have been any less arduous. The city of Algiers was certainly disease-ridden at certain times of the year and some of the thirty-one American captives

who

died there of the plague or smallpox might have

survived longer in other parts of the world, but during the eighteenth century a

man

could easily die of yellow fever in

it being an unusual occurrence. It was a an American seaman to be deprived of his freedom and held for ransom in Algiers, but it was almost equally terrible for him to be pressed into service on board a British warship, as many were. Nor was it pleasant to founder on a small ship in an Atlantic gale, or to be ambushed and scalped by Indians in the interior. The truth was that this was an awkward century for men who only wanted to live long, comfortable hves. The interest and indignation aroused in the United States over the Algerian negotiations was largely the result of a sense of national humiliation. The collections that were made privately to assist the 'poor Algerian captives' were prompted as much by anger with the Federal Government for its apparent inabihty to take any positive action, as by sympathy with the plight of the Algerian victims. Today one supposes that a group of American citizens returning from a similar experience would be greeted by generous relief funds, together with massed bands and motorcades. On 9 February 1797, eighty-two seafaring men, the survivors of the epidemics, hard labour, and drunken brawls of Algerian captivity arrived back in Philadelphia on board the Swedish barque Jupiter. They were met by a crowd of interested spectators on the road into the city. They were conducted to the Indian Queen tavern where they were cheered and presumably supphed with a quantity of free hquor. Their arrival was a one-day wonder in the city's press. It was suggested half-heartedly that a collection

Philadelphia without

terrible thing for

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

304

to provide funds for their individual journeys home.^ The next day the newspapers had other things to write about. The Algerian captives were forgotten. Those who were able

should be

made

about earning their daily bread, and those who were not able were obliged to depend on the charity of their friends and families. A few actually benefited from their experiences. If it is better to be a diplomat than a seafaring man, then both James Cathcart

set

and Richard O'Brien benefited, for it was Algerian slavery that launched them on their diplomatic careers. They, together with William Eaton, returned to North Africa as the first resident American Consuls to Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. Here they spent

demands of these city states within reasonable bounds. But the North Africans had been several years trying to keep the

allowed the run of the Mediterranean too long unchecked. Their hunger for tribute was intense. As soon as one Moslem potentate had been temporarily satisfied his neighbours began a loud clamour

even warships. Every year more American trading vessels entered the Mediterranean and peace with the Barbary powers became more vital. The three Consuls wrote

for

money, naval

stores,

copious letters to the State Department urging the absolute

some naval force to support them in their was insufficient without the stick. They got their way in the end and the United States Mediterranean Fleet came into being, but the enormous distances involved made life very difficult for the first American Consuls in Barbary, and there was much friction between them and their superiors at headquarters. There was an awesome gap between the mental processes of a Moslem prince in North Africa and an elected pohtician in North America, and, in their attempts to bridge this necessity of sending

negotiations, for the carrot

gap, the Consuls did not improve their popularity with either side. It is sad that a President of the U.S. should have, at a later

James Cathcart and Richard O'Brien were no more than a 'pair of troublesome Irishmen'.^ No insult could have stung them more deeply for, despite their foreign birth, they were date, implied that

both immensely patriotic Americans, while each in his way was a remarkable man. Joel Barlow had a particularly high opinion *

The Daily

*

C. F.

Advertiser, Philadelphia, 8

Adams

(ed.).

and 9 February 1797. The Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, vol. v,

p. 163.

^

CONCLUSION

305

of Captain Richard O'Brien. In 1796 he wrote to the Secretary of State from Algiers, I beg you to remark the superior sagacity and talents displayed by Captain O'Brien. ... [I am] convinced that a more suitable person than he cannot probably be found to be placed here as Consul for the United States. He has a singular talent in which is called Algerine management. The blemishes that arise from a defect in the rudimental parts of his education will appear only in his correspondence. The jargon of this country called 'lingua franca', in which all business is done by word of mouth, puts the scholar and the sailor on a level, and the University of Algiers is better for certain purposes than New .

.

.

.

.

.

Haven.

Probably as a result of

this

recommendation Richard O'Brien

received the senior appointment of Consul to Algiers, and

filled

the post with some distinction. The dispatches he wTote to the State Department were models of clarity and unaffected good

Hassan Bashaw once urged him to become an Algerian him a member of his family for a wife, together with a substantial fortune and supreme command of the Algerian Regency cruisers. ^ Richard O'Brien always politely refused these offers on the grounds that his loyalty to America was too great to allow him to contemplate any change. This loyalty was sorely reason.

citizen, offering

when, having retired to the United States, he was kept fully occupied trying to persuade the Treasury to settle the considerable debt that he believed was owed him.^ tried in his later years

James Cathcart was not a

successful Consul. His peculiar ability

to irritate almost everyone with

whom

he came in contact proved He married on his

a great handicap to his diplomatic career. return from captivity and his wife bore children

who

first

saw the

light of

day

him a

large

number of

in such widely separated

and Lisbon. The last twenty years of his life he lived in Washington working in the office of the Second Comptroller. His daughter wrote that he was 'so faithful to his country ... he never took a summer vacation'.*

places as Madeira, Tripoli, Leghorn, Cadiz,

^S.D.C.D. Algiers

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, 18

October 1796, Joel Barlow

to Secretary of State. *

ibid.,

Algiers,

vol.

ii,

p.

141,

January 1797, Richard O'Brien,

'Political

Remarks'. *

*

L. B. Wright and J. B. Macleod, The First Americans in North Africa, 'Finale'. Cathcart, The Captives.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

306

How

James Cathcart

like

descendants to

tell

and how

this was,

everybody about

like

one of his

it.

Ambassador David Humphreys moved to Madrid in 1797. He was, to quote his biographer, Frank Landon Humphreys, 'now at the height of his career. He had succeeded where others had

The Algerian matter was now a thing of the past.' This last statement was true only in the narrowest sense. The American captives had been redeemed and a sort of peace had been established with Hassan Bashaw. However, not all David Humphreys contemporaries believed the Ambassador deserved much credit for this. James Cathcart praised him extravagantly in his corresfailed.

pondence, Richard O'Brien kept his opinions to himself, Joel

Barlow said that

'the negotiations nearly failed for the

counting-house clerk in Lisbon fiercely

and continuously

V

critical.

want of a

while Joseph Donaldson was

David Humplireys' journeys to

the United States in 1794 and to Paris in 1795 do appear to have

He does seem also to have fallen into the error common amongst those near headquarters of thinking too big. From Philadelphia and Lisbon it may have seemed a relatively been very

ill-timed.

so

simple matter to impose treaties on Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoh

through the influence of France yet, in the end, this proved quite ;

David Humphreys never fully understood the Algerian relationship with France, or with other Christian states. It would have been remarkable if he had done so, for the Aigerian scene could not easily be comprehended from a distance. When Thomas Jefferson became President, David Humphreys' diplomatic career came to an end, for he was essentially a Washington man. He returned to America and took up farming. In 1802 he obtained permission from the Spanish Government to import a flock of one hundred pedigree Merino sheep. ^ This single thoughtful act may well have contributed more towards his impossible.

country's later prosperity than

all his

well intentioned diplomatic

efi"orts.

Joseph Donaldson Junior grumbled out of the State Depart-

ment records hke some slowly dying summer storm. His declared ambition, once he left Algiers for Leghorn, had been to raise the *

*

The Barlow Papers; Algiers, 26 April 1796, Barlow to his wife. Humphreys, The Life of David Humphreys, vol. ii, chapter XV.

F. L.

CONCLUSION

307

whole of Barings' $400,000 credit in gold, ship it direct to Algiers, and so deprive the Jews there of their exchanges and commissions. But mischievous powers seem to have been working against him. He raised the first $100,000 in bullion with little diflSculty but was prevented from shipping it out of Leghorn by an untimely British blockade.^ Then, for

when he had gone

to

some trouble

to arrange

conditions to overcome this obstacle, he heard that the

war on Venice. The Divina Providenza was a Venetian ship. It was thirteen months before he succeeded in shipping any gold from Leghorn, and that first $100,000 was all he ever did manage to get away. Algerians had declared

It

is

difficult

to determine

how much Joseph Donaldson's

presence at Leghorn assisted Joel Barlow's efforts at Algiers.

Would Barings have established their credit there without him? Would Micaiah Baccri have loaned America the cash to pay the ransoms without the credit? These are questions it is impossible to answer with any confidence. What can be stated with confidence is that Joseph Donaldson made the first bona fide treaty of peace between the United States of America and the 'warlike city and kingdom of Algiers' and it was certainly not his captives'

fault that it so nearly foundered.

where they are legible, are a joy; for the vast man remains imdiminished by the passing of the years. Having made himself unpopular with the Fornereau brothers for refusing to accept their bills instead of gold, he began to issue his own biUs on Barings after the French occupation of Leghorn. David Humphreys was alarmed at this for he feared that His

letters,

irritation of the

Barings might be legally prevented from accepting bills drawn in enemy -held territory. ^ He wrote to Donaldson expressing these fears

and enclosed, perhaps rather unkindly, a

letter

he had

received from Baring Bros, which criticized Donaldson for not

accepting Messrs. Fomereau's 'paper' prior

to their

hurried

departure from Leghorn.

The

'plain

man' rephed promptly

in

two

sizzling, if slightly

confused letters, ^ S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. Donaldson to Thomas Pinkney.

*O.R.D.S. Spain, vol. Secretary of State.

X

iii,

i,

part

2,

Leghorn, 21 and 15 Jvily 1796, Joseph

Lisbon, 17 August 1796, David

Humphreys

to

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

308

you say you will request them [Barings] to Pay my Bills consult their convenience? Direct them. ... I beg Pardon I see the errors [by me] gone into drawing Bills, ... I should have waited until I have received Mr. Humphreys further instructions which a change of circumstances was rendered necessary, no inconvenience Sir

.

.

.

.

.

.

why

arise from a delay of eighty days [to the U.S. should be considered] elapsed time to at and from Lisbon [provided it contributed] to the pleasure and convenience of Messrs. Barings. [In your letter of the 5th September I found] a transcript of a letter from the Messrs. Barings .

.

.

my proceedings with Fornereau together with your remarks thereon, having taken it for granted that Barings have told you the whole truth what they told you favored their design insinuation to the predjudice of Mr. Donaldson and one moments reflection would [have] told you it was to retaliate what they term ... an aspersion which was not intended as such or would have been so considered by them had it not touched them in a tender part. commentary of

.

.

He

then went on to relate a

gossip

and

complex piece of

.

financial

in reference to the complaints against himself

he

continued, Mr. Fornereau ought to have done [me] justice so far by declaring had afforded him every accomodation [in offering to receive bullion or coin] reconcilable to a methodical man however he is somewhat .

.

.

I

excusable having let his fears [for the approaching French] get the better of his understanding for at that time I beheve he did not know he had a head [and if] he stood on it or his heels for certainly his

conduct was

little

short of madness.^

Ambassador Humphreys

replied

on 29 November 1796.

'I

notice with considerable concern, the ironical sneers with which

you seem to intimate that you thinli me capable of having wished you had injured the Pubhc service. '^

To which Joseph Donaldson rephed on

14

March

1797, that

am

above insinuations and you ought to have known me so well by this time as to [have] been persuaded that I am neither afraid or ashamed to speak plain to any point.' And later, 'Had I been timely informed the intention of the Executive ... the Devil might [have gone] on their negotiations for Mr. Donaldson. '^ 'I

But

this letter

is,

on the whole, apologetic

^O.R.D.S. Spain, vol.

iii,

in tone

and

for a

good

Leghorn, 9 September and 11 October 1796, Joseph

Donaldson to David Humphreys. *

ibid.,

»

ibid.

Lisbon, 29 November 1796, David Humphreys to Joseph Donaldson. Leghorn, 14 March 1797, Donaldson to Humphreys.

CONCLUSION

309

was now on the brink of a scandal. The ship Fortune, which had transported the redeemed American seamen from Algiers to Marseilles, had been covered for this limited purpose by a certificate of American ownership issued byJoel Barlow.^ On its very next voyage it was captured by a British reason. Joseph Donaldson

warship as

it

tried to slip

through the blockade into Marseilles

with a cargo of Algerian wheat. The Fortune still had Americans on board, for Micaiah Baccri who owned both ship and cargo, had

engaged a number of the redeemed seamen to act as officers and crew. She continued to fly the American flag and carried documents certifying that her owner was Joseph Donaldson of Philadelphia. Despite these curious papers and the American crew, the Fortune was condemned by the Admiralty Court at Elba, to

where she was taken, on the grounds that she had formerly been a British ship, the Bridget of London. The cargo was also condemned as being bound for an enemy port.^ Algiers was permanently at war with many of the Italian states and also Malta, and it was therefore inconvenient to operate a trading vessel under an Algerian flag. By engaging an American crew to work the Fortune the Baccris sought to imply that she was an American ship. Joseph Donaldson's certificate was intended to clinch the matter. Algerian maritime custom was that the flag of ownership protected the vessel and its cargo. The result of this was that Hassan Bashaw insisted that Joel Barlow must undertake on behalf of the United States to pay the Baccris forty

thousand dollars compensation for their loss. Joel Barlow was understandably furious, so were David Humphreys and the State Department. Joseph Donaldson protested that the whole afiuir was the result of a misunderstanding, but it is more than probable that Solomon Baccri at Leghorn had persuaded him to issue papers covering the Fortune in return for an interest in any profits the ship must earn.

Joseph Donaldson now advised the Secretary of State that he had two married daughters living in England whom he was anxious to visit, and with one final grumble at David Humphreys, Joel *

S.D.C.D. Algiers

aeries, vol.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, Certificate issued

12 July 1796. *

J. Foss,

Journal of Captivity in Algiers, pp. 147-51.

by Joel Barlow,

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

310

Barlow, Baring brothers, the Baccris, and the Fomereau brothers, left Leghorn and the diplomatic life for ever, James Cathcart

he

claimed that Donaldson was a tireless raconteur of anecdotes.^ On his return to Philadelphia he must have been able to regale his friends

The

with

many drawn from

his Algerian experiences.

effusively friendly sentiments expressed

by Hassan Bashaw

October 1796 towards America and her Consul Joel Barlow had by the end of that year, given way to a more reserved and in

sombre tone. The dehvery of the thirty-six gun frigate and the payment of naval stores was delayed in America by lack of enthusiasm and by an outbreak of yellow fever. President George

Washington himself strongly expressed his disgust at the delays, and by April 1797 Hassan Bashaw was his old furious self. An American vessel carrying the first delivery of naval stores to Algiers was captured by the Spanish and held by them until it was long overdue, so that Joel Barlow once more found himself making excuses for delays. 'You are a liar', said the Dey, 'and your government is a har and I put you in chains at the marine and declare war.' Now I beg all those whom it may concern [wrote Joel Barlow in a letter to the Secretary of State] not to be offended at good Hassan Bashaw for this sort of language. There is not a government, king or consul that what has been saluted with precisely the same expressions as occasion has offered. ... As to his threat, it had been too much repeated to will

.

excite

much

.

.

alarm.

This letter was written from the lazaretto at Marseilles where Barlow was performing quarantine during the month of August 1797.

The mission

which he had undertaken believing than eighteen weeks, had stretched out to as many months. Joel Barlow felt the long separation from his wife most keenly but he still managed to pass the time in Algiers in a largely cheerful frame of mind. He found the company of that

it

would

to Algiers,

last less

several of the free Christian residents and their wives pleasant enough, and he amused himself doing some gardening at his rented country house.* He also found time to transact some business. Cathcart, 'Diplomatic Joiimal and Letter Book', p. 358. The Writings of Oeorge Washington, vol. xxxv, p. 136. » S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Marseilles, 24 August 1797, Joel Barlow to Secretary of State. * The Barlow Papers; Barlow to his wife, Algiers, 1797. 1

*

J. C. Fitzpatrick (ed.),

:

CONCLUSION

311

From the beginning of his African venture Joel Barlow had been on the look-out for commercial chances. When he had first arrived at Marseilles he had written to his wife in a disappointed tone complaining that he had been unable to execute any business there as all the commerce between that city and Algiers was in the hands of the Baccris.^ But a year later, on 6 February 1797, Joel Barlow wrote to his wife from Algiers, 'I have told you many times of your brigantine the Friendship.' This was a vessel he had bought at Algiers and had registered in his wife's name. It has arrived safely at Tunis and delivered up its cargo there, it is chartered at 450 dollars a month to my good friend the Ambassador of France, to carry him to Tripoli and then to Naples. This service ended it will take a freight for America. The other ship called the Rachel ... is of 250 tons. It left here the day before yesterday. It is going along the coast to load a cargo for Spain. Both these ships are paid for. I leave it to the two captains to travel the world as they see fit, but with orders to remit the profits to

Wm.

Little of Boston,

who

will invest these in public funds.^

handsome profit. when he was on good terms with

Later, Barlow sold both vessels at a

Joel Barlow on one occasion,

Hassan Bashaw, was invited to go on a hunting expedition into the interior.

He

wrote a colourful report of this to his wife

Last week we made a grand hunting party in the Numidian style The Minister of Marine invited the English Consul, the Swedish Consul and the father of all Consuls (which is what they call your poor husband who is the father of nothing) to a wild boar hunt. This took place fifteen miles away in the bush and we were away three days altogether, and were two nights under canvas. The hunting party numbered about a hundred all well mounted and carrying lances as the ancients did. We killed 14 boars and one hyena. ... It is necessary to say 'we' because I only watched and did not spill a drop of blood the whole time. The speed and courage of the Moorish huntsmen is incredible. They pursue an animal, gallop right up to it and plant a lance in its body, when the beast is perfectly capable of killing both horse and rider in a moment. On this occasion there were three or four men and several horses injured. The hyena which was chased by one Moor and killed with his lance a few paces from where I was, was quite .

.

.

capable of killing our whole party. * ibid., from Marseilles, January 1796. * The Barlow Papers; Barlow to his wife, Algiers, 6 February 1797. See also J. L. Woodress, A Yankee's Odyssey, p. 185; and C. B. Todd, Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, p. 145.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

312

Joel Barlow

may have

exaggerated the savageness of North

African wild animals, but he

made no attempt

to inflate his

own

abilities as a horseman. In the same letter he wrote, 'At tAvo in the afternoon I was so excessively tired I dismounted from my

On the return of the hunting party to Algiers, Hassan horse. Bashaw asked why the American Consul had found the hunt so tiring. The IVIinister of the Marine gallantly replied that it was because he had a very difficult horse. Bariow commented on this, 'the horse was excellent but the Cavalier was not'. Nevertheless, the Dey insisted on sending the American Consul a better horse .

.'

.

and Bariow wrote. 'Yesterday the horse arrived. It is superb, now I have been given two. They may give me two hundred but it will never make me a Cavalier, and I shaU never again pursue the wild .'^ boar, but it is a good thing to have seen once. Joel Barlow might have been able to wind up his mission and to have left Algiers sooner had he not been delayed by two events the affair of Joseph Donaldson's certificate covering the ship Fortune, and the muddle over the Tunis treaty. On 6 March 1797, Joel Barlow wrote to Joseph Donaldson at Leghorn, .

.

I hope you understand better than I do the motive that induced you to cover that ship [the Fortune] with your name. You know how things are managed here. ... It is very probable that the United States will have to pay for that cargo though I would not wish that Solomon [the Baccri at Leghorn] should know that I have any such apprehension. I treat it here as a thing I have not, and will not, have anything to do with; and I tell the Jews that if they say one word to the Dey of forcing me to pay, I will expose more of their crimes than they are aware of It is possible that the threat of my vengeance wUl induce them to throw it on the EngUsh. Nothing else would save us.'^ .

.

.

.

.

.

It is interesting to speculate what these crimes were, but the threat of their exposure does not seem to have alarmed the Jewish brokers

greatly. Certainly it did not prevent Micaiah Baccri

from making his

complaint to the Dey, and enlisting his authority to force Joel Barlow to promise to pay compensation for the Fortune'^ cargo on behalf of the United States. Joel Barlow beheved strongly that the Jewish >The Barlow Papers; letter to his wife, Algiers, 30 December 1796; also see Todd, loc. cit. * S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Marseilles, 24 August 1797, Joel Barlow to Secretsury of State.

.

CONCLUSION banker's influence with Hassan

313

Bashaw was far too great, and he much under their controh

wrote to the Secretary of State, 'he is as as

any slave

in Algiers

The Turks

is

.

under the control of the Dey.'

are vihfied to an insufferable degree

And again,

and the Jews are

The house of Baccri There are two distinct powers. and the Dey. No peace can be made or maintained, no commerce can be carried on, no officer can come into place, without the leave of that house. This Jewish power arose with the present Dey, and it will sink with him. It is probable that not a single member of the houses of Baccri and Busnah will survive the Dey for one hour. They wiU be massacred.^ cherished.

.

.

.

.

.

.

In the outcome Joel Barlow's prophecy was only partially

The Jewish bankers survived Hassan Bashaw, and although at least one of Micaiah Baccri 's sons was later publicly fulfilled.

beheaded at the palace,^ they continued to increase their influence up to the time of the French invasion and the expulsion of the Turks from Algiers. Joel Barlow's prophecy was probably prompted by subconscious wishful thinking, for he suffered much annoyance and frustration during his last few weeks at Algiers as a result of Joseph Donaldson's ham-fisted activities and the astuteness of the Jews. As early as January 1797 Barlow had written to Ambassador Humphreys, 'I suppose Mr. Donaldand son will have written you that the Jews have cheated me .' What Donaldson had done that he has outjewed the Jews. was to take unauthorized discoimts when paying the biUs drawn by Barlow on him at Leghorn. Solomon Baccri had not bothered to argue the toss over these. He made certain, however, to have all Donaldson's deductions independently witnessed and in due course Micaiah Baccri presented these for payment in Algiers. 'And I have', wrote Barlow wearily, 'about eight thousand dollars .'^ But despite some hard words about the Jews of to pay. Algiers in general and the Baccris in particular, Barlow thought highly enough of the latter to recommend that they open a branch

in Algiers right

.

.

.

,

.

.

.

of their business at Philadelphia.* *

* ^

28 August 1797, Joel Barlow to Secretary of State. E. Broughton, Six Years' Residence in Algiers, p. 204. S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 12 January 1797, Joel Barlow ibid., Marseilles,

David Humphreys. The recommendation does not seem to have been taken up, but Baccri did do some business with the United States. See S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 16 January 1797, Richard O'Brien, 'Political Remarks'.

to

*

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

314

that he encountered in trjang to establish a peace treaty with Tunis further contributed to delay Joel Barlow's

The

difficulties

return to Paris. It also touched him on a sensitive spot. The envoy was, at one and the same time, both an American patriot and a Francophile, and

it

him

distressed

particulariy

when

his

two

favourites found themselves at cross purposes. When he had initiated negotiations with Tunis during 1796 he employed as his

agent in that city a French merchant named Famin, recommended to him by the French Special Commissioner in Barbary, Citizen Hercules. However, when Captain Richard O'Brien reached Algiers with the gold bullion from Lisbon the Dey erpansively undertook to make America's peace with Tunis him-

and M. Famin receded into the background. Months passed by and, despite an invasion of Tunisian territory by an Algerian military column,^ the commander of which reported back splendid victories that had been won only in his imagination, no apparent progress was made. Then Hassan Bashaw, growing impatient at the delay in the arrival of his promised naval stores from the self,

United States, lost all interest in doing that nation any favours. Unfortunately at almost the same time Joel Barlow was reluctantly forced to the conclusion that not only M. Citizen Hercules,

who had

since

moved on

Famin but

also

to Tunis, were actively

working against America's interests in North Africa. M. Famin's letters from Tunis constantly raised new obstacles that he claimed stood in the way of an American peace there. Joel Barlow finally became completely disillusioned when his Tunisian agent suggested, in a letter written during May 1797, Bey of Tunis would insist on a peace treaty including a clause stipulating that all goods shipped from Tunis should be

that the

allowed into America duty free. Barlow knew perfectly well that North African potentates were interested in tribute payments of cash and military and naval stores and not at all in terms of trade and tariff agreements. This clause was obviously M. Famin's own invention.

When

Joel Barlow finally left Algiers in July 1797, the

Tunisian peace was

still

not settled and he wrote to the Secretary

of State from the lazaretto at Marseilles, 1 S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. to Secretary of State.

i,

part

2, Marseilles,

17

August 1797, Joel Barlow

CONCLUSION

315

May it is only necessary to reflect a merchant [and] that Tunis is the entrepot of a great deal of India and Levant goods, which introduced into the United States without duties would yield immense profits. ... To get rid of [Famin] however some delicacy should be used. He is the right hand man and project maker of Josouf Haggia, the Sepatapa or Keeper of the Seals, who is an intriguing young man, a Georgian renegade, and has a great influence with the Bey.^ To account

for that of the 26th

that he [Famin]

The

is

arrival of

.

new United

.

.

States Consuls to the North African

had been delayed, and by the summer of 1797 Joel Barlow would wait no longer. The Dey was reluctant to let him leave, partly because he liked Barlow and partly because he continued to regard him as a sort of hostage for America's still unpaid commitments. Joel Barlow only succeeded in getting Hassan Bashaw's permission to embark from Algiers by assuring him that he was only going to France to fetch his wife and furniture and that he would soon return. In this way Joel Barlow had kept the peace that Joseph Donaldson had made: by mixing a few lies with a few truths and by covering it all with a steady good states

nature.

Joel Barlow returned to Paris, to his wife and his literary friends.

The same

intellectual curiosity that

accept the mission to Algiers, led

him

had persuaded him

to

into other unusual fields.

He met and supported a young American named Robert Fulton, who was experimenting with the idea of the first submarine. Barlow was fascinated and remained

closely associated with Fulton

many years. In 1805 he returned to the United States from He had left America in 1788 as an impoverished young man who had started to study for Holy Orders but who had lost

for

France.

He, reversing the usual procedure, left America to make his fortune and returned there wealthy and highly respected. In 1810 the Federal Government sent him on a special his sense of vocation.

diplomatic mission to France. American ships were being con-

by French

and men-of-war on the pretence that they were really British. Once a ship was seized it took a very long time to obtain its release and this occasioned much hardship to its owners and crew. There was a treaty existing between France and the United States which should have put a stantly captured

privateers

1

ibid.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

316

stop to this practice, but the

the trouble to sign

Emperor Napoleon would never take

it.

Joel Barlow and his nephew, carrying the treaty with them, followed Bonaparte on his campaign into Russia. Inevitably they

got caught up in the confusion of the great retreat. After suJBFering greatly from the intense cold, and seeing many appalling sights.

Barlow was stricken with pneumonia and died in Poland on 24 December 1812.^ His old Yale classmate, David Humphreys, survived him by five years. Of Hassan Bashaw's probable successor, Joel Barlow once wrote, 'it is hardly to be conceived that he should not be more tractable, more patient, and have more extensive ideas of justice than his present master.' However, at a later date he wrote, [Hassan Bashaw's] character so much in my it is time I should say something of his virtues. For I have long perceived that he had them, though I did not feel in a humour to say so. He is not personally avaricious, though he appears so but he deals out his money with remarkable Uberahty though often with little judgement. His attachments are as strong as his resentments, though they are both subject to an ungovernable caprice. He has a high sense of Barbarian honour. His dismissing the Dutch ships with such scrupulous integrity at the begining of his late war with that nation, [they had been captured during the period of grace allowed between the declaration and the actual commencement of hostilities] is a trait would have done honour to any state in Europe. Had the Romans done such a thing it would be known to every schoolboy in our day.^

have abused

I

former

.

.

letters

.

.

.

his

that

.

.

.

.

Hassan Bashaw once said, when referring to his afiFairs with the United States, that 'he had the patience of God'. There was some

The tributary nations of Europe obhgations reasonably promptly and the

justification for his remark.

usually paid

their

Moslem princes of North Africa were not accustomed to being kept waiting for what they considered were their rightful dues. Hassan Bashaw signed the first peace treaty between the United States and Algiers

in

September 1795. Joseph Donaldson told him he

C. B. Todd, Life and Letters of Joel Barlaw, p. 282; and J. L. Woodress, Yankee's Odyssey, p. 305. ^ F. L. Humphreys, The Life of David Humphreys, vol. ii, 428. 1

A

p.

»

S.D.C.D. Algiers

Secretary of State.

series, vol.

i,

part

2,

Algiers, 18

October 1796, Joel Barlow to

CONCLUSION money within

317

months and dehvery of the payment the Dey received from America, apart from a nominal peace present, was the redemption money handed over in June 1796; and this seemed hardly like a genuine payment as the coins came indirectly from the Public Treasury. The balance was paid in October 1796, when Richard O'Brien arrived with a shipment of gold bullion. It was not until March 1798 that the thirty-six gun frigate promised to could expect his

three

naval stores in a few more. The

first

the Dey's daughter arrived in Algiers.

Some part

of the naval

stores stipulated in the original treaty reached Algiers

between

October 1797 and March 1798, but not all, for one transport had had to jettison a large quantity of these stores when it got into difficulties in an Atlantic gale. Another transport vessel laden with stores

was

cargo of

by the Spanish and taken into Cadiz. Here its canvas was allowed to get damp, with the result that had rotted by the time it was opened in Algiers.^ seized

sail

most of it But if all these annoyances brought Hassan Bashaw close to the limits of his patience, he was also approaching the hmits of something more basic, life itself. On 25 April 1798, Captain Richard O'Brien, recently appointed Consul-General of the United States at Algiers, wrote, 'I think it proper to inform you that the Dey is at present very unwell

.

.

.

indeed I

am

thinking a few days will

Hassan Bashaw died on 15 May 1798. ^ He had ruled at Algiers for a little under seven years. He had been responsible for two major innovations. The first of these was the Hundred Years Truce with Spain which he helped to initiate during his brief and comfortable captivity at Cartagena during the winter of 1775-6. The truce was signed by his predecessor during 1785 and as a result the Public Treasury of Algiers and Hassan Bashaw's privy purse benefited enormously. An outcome of this truce was the cession of the Spanish enclave at Oran to Algiers. This act of national abasement was deliberately delayed by the Spanish Government until their friend, Hassan Bashaw, was elected to power in 1791. The second innovation for which Hassan Bashaw was responsible determine his

fate.'

^ S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. iii, Algiers, 5 March 1798, Richard O'Brien to Secretary of State. * ibid., Algiers, 25 April 1798, Richard O'Brien to Timothy Pickering.

THE PRISONERS OF ALGIERS

818

was the making of a peace treaty with the United States of America. But whereas the Spanish truce brought him much wealth and prestige, the American peace brought the Dey comparatively little money and a great deal of irritation. However, Hassan Bashaw was prepared to be more than usually patient with the Americans for he liked them as people, Joseph Donaldson excepted, and he particularly admired the manner in which the rebellious colonists had defied the awesome might of England. He also formed the curious idea that Americans were not Christians, a point which told heavily in their favour. How could they be Christians, he would ask rhetorically, since they had never roasted any Moslems and the hated cross did not appear on their flag; and he added that it only lacked a crescent to be like their own.^ Hassan Bashaw had been a successful corsair in his time, both in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea. With his sailor's eye he was quick to recognize the excellent qualities of American-built ships his fancy set the fashion for the whole Barbary Coast. Ironically, despite the financial stringencies under which America's early diplomatic activities in North Africa laboured, by 1800 European nations were already accusing her of throwing her money about in Barbary. United States extravagance there, they protested, was making things difficult for everybody else.^ This was a criticism to which Americans were to become accustomed ;

over the years. 1 S.D.C.D. Algiers series, vol. i, part 2, Algiers, 18 October 1796, Joel Barlow to Secretary of State. * R. W. Irwin, The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary

Powers, 1776-1816, p. 80.

BIBLIOGRAPHY DOCUMENTS, ARCHIVES, AND UNPUBLISHED WORKS Tunis and Tripoli. Public Record Office, London, Dispatches from United States Consuls in Gibraltar {U.S.C.D.), :

British Consular Records, Algiers,

Vol.

i,

1791-95. National Archives, Washington. General Records of the Department of State {G.R.D.S.), Vol. iii, 'Dispatches from United States Ministers to Spain, 1795-97'. National Archives, Washington.

Records of the Foreign Services Posts of the Department of State, American Consulate, Tunis. National Archives, Washington. State Department Consular Dispatches {S.D.C.D.), Algiers Series. National Archives, Washington. L'Amirautd d' Alger. Notice Historique. Privately printed by the French

Naval Authorities, The Barlow Papers. Houghton Library, Harvard, The James L. Cathcart Papers. New York PubUc Library. Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 (J.C.C), 34 vols., ed. by W. C. Ford (vols. 1-15), G. Hunt (16-27), J. C. Fitzpatrick (2^31), and R. R. Hill (32-34). Washington, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1904-37. Papers of the Continental Congress in the Library of Congress [J.C.C. vol. 34, p.

635

et al.].

PUBLISHED WORKS Adams, C. F. (ed.), The Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, 12 :

vols.,

Philadelphia 1874-7.

[Barnard, Sophie], Travels in Algiers, Spain, etc. etc., London [1820]. Berbrugger, L. K.,Le Pegnon d" Alger, Algiers 1860. Blavin, Joseph, La condition et la vie desfranQais dans la rdgence d' Alger, Algiers 1899.

Boyd, still

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, in appearing, Princeton 1950-54.

J. P. (ed.).

many volumes and

Broughton, E., Six Years' Residence in Algiers, London 1839. Bruce, James, An Interesting Narrative of the Travels of James Bruce, Esq. into Abyssinia to Discover the Source of the Nile, Boston 1798. Cahen, A., 'Les Juifs dans I'Afrique Septentrionale', in Recueil des Notices et Mimoires de la SociiU Archiologique de la Province de Constantine, vol. i, 2nd series, Constantine 1867. Cathcart, J. L., The Captives (compiled by his daughter, J. B. Newkirk), Indiana 1899.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

320

•The Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book of James Leander Cathcart, 1788-1796', Proceedings of the American Antiqiuirian Society, October 1954.

Channing, Edward,

and London

A

History of the United States, 6 vols.,

New York

1905.

Charles-Roux, Fr., Les Travaux d'Herculais, Paris [1928]. Coe, S. G., The Mission of William Carmichael to Spain, Baltimore 1928. Dan, Pierre, Histoire de Barbaric, et de ses corsaires, Paris 1637.

Devoulx, Albert, Les Archives du Consultat giniral de France a Alger, Algiers 1865.

Le Livre des signaux de

la flotte

de Vancienne rigence d' Alger,

Algiers 1868.

Le Rais Hamidou, Algiers 1858. Le Eegistre des Prises Maritimes, Algiers 1872. Tachrifat, Algiers 1852.

Fisher, Sir Godfrey,

The Barbary Legend, Oxford 1957. The Writings of George Washington, 39

Fitzpatrick, J. C. (ed.),

vols.,

Washington 1931-45.

A Journal of Captivity in Algiers, Newburyport 1798. Gautier, E. F., Les Siecles Obscurs du Maghreb, Paris 1927.

Foss, John,

Grammont, Henri Delmas

de,

Un

Acadhnicien captif a Alger, 1674-

1675, Algiers 1833.

Etudes algiriennes.

La

a Alger,

course, I'esclavage et la redemption

Paris 1885.

Hidy, R. W., The Hcnise of Baring in American Trade and Finance,

Harvard 1949. Memoirs

of Barbary as connected with the plunder of the seas including a sketch of Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis [no author given], London 1816.

Historical

Humphreys, Frank L., The Life of David Humphreys, 2 vols., London and New York 1917. Irwin, R. W., The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary Powers, 1776-1S16, North Carolina 1931. Knight, Francis, A Relation of Seaven Yeares Slavery Under the Turkes of Argeire, suffered by an English Captive Merchant, London 1640. Labat, R. P. Jean-Baptiste, Memoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, in 6 vols., Paris 1735.

La Haye,

A., Etats des

Royaumes de Barbarie, Tripoly, Tunis

et

Alger,

Paris 1704.

Masson, Paul, Histoire des dtahlissements et du cmitnerce franqais dans VAfrique Barbaresque (1560-1793), Algdrie, Tunisie, Tripolitaine, Maroc, Paris 1903. Moore, John Hamilton, Travels through the Kingdom of Algiers, And several other Parts of Barbary,

1780.

By

Dr.

Shaw and others,

2 vols.,

London

BIBLIOGRAPHY

821

Morison, S. E., The Maritime History of Massachussetta, 1783-1860,

Boston 1941. A., A History of the Dollar, New York, 1957. Paine, R. D., Ships and Sailors of Old Salem, London 1924. Pananti, S., Narrative of Residence in Algiers, London 1818.

Nussbaum,

Un

Pares, A. Jacques,

Toulonnais d Alger au

XVIII

siicle,

Meifrund,

Pierre- Joseph, 1723-1814. Paris 1931. Paullin, C. 0., Diplomatic Negotiations of American

Naval Officers, 1778-

1883, Baltimore 1912.

Plantet, Eugene, Les Consuls de France a Alger avant la Conquete, 1579-

1830, Paris 1930.

Correspondanceldes Deys d' Alger avec la Cour de France, 1579-1833, 2 vols., Paris 1889. Plaj^air, R. L. (compiler). Bibliography of Barbary States, 2 vols.,

London 1888-1898. Poiret, J. L. M., Voyage en Barbaric, in 2 vols., Paris 1789.

Ross, Frank E., 'The Mission of Joseph Donaldson, Jr. to Algiers 1795reprinted for private circulation from The Journal of Modern vii. No. 4, December 1935. Rousseau, Alphonse (trans.), Chroniques de la Rdgence d' Alger, Algiers 97',

History, vol.

1841.

Index to the Papers of Thomas Princeton 1954. Sidy Hamdan-Ben-Othman Khoja, AperQu Historique et Statistique sur la Rdgence d' Alger, Paris 1833. Smith, Charles, The City of Cork, 2 vols., Dublin 1750. Soames, J., The Coast of Barbary, London 1938. Todd, Charles B., Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, New York 1886. Venture de Paradis (edited by E. Fagnan), Alger au XVIII sidcle,

Sherwood, E.

J.

and Hopper, I. by J, P. Boyd,

Jefferson (edited

T.,

q.v.),

Algiers 1898.

Woodress, James L., A Yankee's Odyssey, Philadelphia 1958. Wright, L. B. and Macleod, J. B., The First Americans in North Africa, Pi'inceton 1945.

Wriston, H. M., Executive Agents in American Foreign Relations (Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History, 1923), London 1929.

PERIODICALS Revue Africaine, published in Algiers from 1856-1962. :

;

:

INDEX Abdurrahman, Tripolitanian Ambassador, 81-82, 98

Accountancy, 142 98,

115

Adams, John Quincy,

212, 304 Admiralty (see also Marine), 141,160,166,233 Admiralty Court, 29, 309 Adultery, punishment for, 227

29,

136,

Alicante, 169, 200, 242, 258; Barlow at, 204-6, 222, 268; Donaldson at, 127-8, 131, 148, 150-1, 153, 158-9,

Aegean Sea, 269 Africa, heathen powers, 105

Aga Bashi, 239-40 Aga-in-Chief (Aga of the Two Moons), 64, 88, 130, 195, 239-40, 248 Agriculture, 12-13, 16, 21, 48, 106, 138 Alchemy, 135 Alcohol, forbidden by Koran, 50 (see also Drink) Alexandria, 15, 86, 211, 232 Algarve coast of Portugal, 1 Algiers also (see subject headings throughout the index) Administration see Belique Charles V's attack on (1541), 47, 77-78, 139 Crew of Maria reach, 8-10, 26-38 :

references:

see

American

captives)

Crurency

:

see

;

if

he turned Moslem, 95,

305; strength, 108-9, captains' share of prizes, 135,

161, 164, 172-4, 194; Humphreys' joxuTiey to, 106, 112, 114; presents

deposited at, 105-7; Sloan at, 128, 131, 219-22, 266; U.S. Consul, 84,

107,124,128,210 Altona, 130-1, 202 Amalfi, 156 see United States of America American-Algerian peace treaty, negotiating mission under Lamb (1786)

America

:

faUs, 71-76, 79-83, 94; choice of

leader for

new

mission,

Humphreys' mission

99-101

(1793) sets refusal to

101-21; Dey's out, negotiate, 107, 132, 151; Captain Heysell's abortive attempt to initiate negotiations (1795),

Currency

Description and impressions of, 8-9, 26-27, 29-30, 138-9; by Barlow, 226, 236-40, 267; by de Paradis, 230-1 by Donaldson, 272-3 Fleet, 4, 53, 76, 100, 106-11, 247, 261, 269, 278-9, 293; use of Straits of Gibraltar, 4, 79, 102-3, 105, 110; frigate captures Maria, 4, 79; captures Dauphin, 40, 79; kept ready for sea by slaves, 43, 55, 93, command promised to 257;

O'Brien

:

:

Adams, C. F., cited, 304 Adams, John, 68, 70, 72-74, 81-83,

(later

Gates to city see Gates Historical background, 1 1-25 Peace treaty with U.S. see AmericanAlgerian peace treaty Shipping position, 152 Spanish assault on (O'Reilly) (1775), 22, 39, 56, 74, 76-79, 247 Spanish bombardments (1784), 3940, 56, 246 Strategical importance declines, 192 Suburbs, 236-7

252; 248;

summer cruise, 257—8 French bombardment (1682-3), 69 French invasion, 54, 58, 152, 313

116-

Donaldson mission (1795) under Donaldson, Joseph),

129, 132; (see also

121-33, 148-87, 188-229, 251-63, 272-3; terms accepted, 185-7; treaty signed, 193; Barlow joins mission, 201-6, 224-8, 310, 314^15; treaty ratified by Senate (1796), 254; later relations, 306-7, 310, 318 Accepted by Dey to annoy British,

185,191-2,219 Dey's letter to President taken by Cathcart, 277-8

European powers' attitude

to,

157-8,

182

Expulsion threats and orders against Americans, 178-9, 182-3, 185, 219, 224, 228, 255, 261

INDEX

324

American-Algerian peace

(contd.):

Jews accept

285, 292-300, 316-17;

292-

liability for treaty debt, 285,

money

293;

paid

over,

286,

291-3,301,307 French influence considered necessary: aee under France: United States and Frigate for Dey's daughter see under Frigates Release of captives after ransoms paid see under American captives :

:

American Antiquarian Society Proceedings, cited, 59, 88

American

Biography,

Dictionary

of,

cited, 73

American captives

(see

also

Slaves),

reach Algiers (1785), 8-10, 26-38,40 Accident in house, 222-3 Allowances see Relief, below :

American attitude

to, 215,

303-4

Assistance after release, 302-4 Captains, 41, 85, 87, 217, 219, 263, 286; exemption payments, 85, 134-5; accident, 222-3 Citizenship,

offers to change, 135, 305; surrendered, 87-88; 'turning Moor' suggestion, 189 Conditions and treatment, 85-86, 93-101, 108-9, 113, 120, 254, 303

Conduct, Barlow quoted, 302 Deaths from plague or smallpox, 118,286-8,303 Earnings, 87 Invade U.S.

envoy's

house,

86,

214

217-18

Labour

see under Slaves Leaders, unofficial, 132, 134 Letters, writing and receiving, 93 108-9, 113, 182 Likeness to Englishmen, 33, 37 :

Move from bagnios

proposed,

189

280

Number, Palace

86, 94, 108, 153,

staff,

on

:

202-3

see Palace

:

Domestic

slaves

Peace, and, 188-91, 198, 206, 211 to Congress, 85, 94-95

Petitions 113

Prisons see Bagnios :

Ransoms aee that title Release after payment of ransom money, ship purchased, 220; sail from Algiers (1796), 287-8, 309; quarantine at Marseilles, 288-9, 296; at Philadelphia, 303-4; redeemed seamen as crew of Fortune, 309 :

Financial demands, stores and presents, Algerian, 126-30, 169-72, 175-87, 191-8; difficulties in raising money cause delays, 200-7, 210-12, 215-29, 251-66, 270-83,

Relief funds, 85, 94, 100, 107, 113, 114, 188-9, 303-4; allowances for captives, 85, 87, 94, 188-9 'Turning Moor', 189 American Revolution, 38, 66-67, 88, 149-50

American ships British blockade effect, 130-1, 309 British seamen on, 34, 87, 134

Capture, by Algerians, 4, 71-72, 97, 102-10, 153, 180, 215; origin of idea to seize ships, 71, 110; detailed list of losses (1794), HI; renewed threat of, 254-5, 269, 293 captures by Tunis and Tripoli, 289, 296-8, 300; by Spanish, 310, 317; by French, 315 Common type, 67 Defensive armament lacking, 218 Development of industry, 66-67

Mediterranean trading, 82, 106, 113, 157, 278, 290, 293, 304 Qualities recognized, 318 'Ajnericanos', 33

Amins

:

see Guilds

Amirauted' Alger, L\ cited, 18, 28 Ammin Essaka, 232-3 Amsterdam, 204 Animals, tolls on, 138-9 Appalachian Mountains, 112 Arabia, and Arabs, 13, 15-18, 21, 58, 86, 107, 155, 243, 289; Arabs in Algiers, 31, 50, 52, 89 Arabic language, 17, 148, 199, 232 Arian heresy, 14 Aroudj, 19-20 Arrest,

power of, 248-9

Artisans, 31, 43-44, 49, 55-56, 235

Asia Minor, 62, 156 Asiatic tribesmen, 14 Assassination, Dey and, 41, 89, 199, 242 Astronomy, 86 Atlantic, 1-2, 5-6, 69, 83, 108-9, 123, 158, 192, 206, 216, 295; Algerian

warships and, 4, 24, 40, 67, 102-3, 105, 180, 257; storms and gales,

218,221,303,317

1

INDEX Atlas Mountains, 91-92, 145

7,

Atrocities suffered

by Christiana, 57

14-15, 21, 58, 77,

246; gate, 91, 138-9, 234,

237, 247

Bab-el-Oued, burial ground, 87, 90, 224; gate, 138-9, 199, 237, 247, 255-7 fair, 255-7 Baccri, House of (Marseilles), 204, 289 Baccri, Joseph, 195, 197-8 Baccri, Micaiah Coen, 210, 213, 230, 244, 281, 286, 289, 292, 298, 310; biographical, 243-4; richest man ;

and most influential in Algiers,

160,

244, 311; vmable to speak or read English, 173, 225, 228; meeting

with Americans, 160, 162, 164; part in peace negotiations, 167, 170, 177, 179, 181-3; and value of naval stores, 185-6, 191, 294; agrees to

advance

funds, 195, 281, 285, 291-2, 307; draws up Hst of gifts, 195-8, 207; relations with Barlow, 225, 227, 254, 258-62, 265, 275-7, 279-80, 283, 285-7, 312-13; influence with Dey, 227-8, 244, 261-2, 277, 312-13; owner of Fortune, 286-7, 309, 312 Baccri, Solomon, 281-3, 292, 309, 312313

Bagnios (slave prisons) {see also under their names), 44-57, 136-7, 303 Barlow's description, 238 Bunks, renting of, 52, 87, 188 Chapels, 52, 238 Day off, 255 Demolition of the smallest, 25 Distxirbance (1796), 249-51 Dress of slaves, 173 Sanitary system, 51-52 Staff, 49, 238; presents from slaves, 198 Taverns and eating-houses in: see

191,

121,134,269,304 Barcelona, 74 Barclay, Thomas, 73, 83, 99-100, 105, 123, 264-5; dispatches cited, 8586, 95, 99 Baring, Sir Francis, 281 Baring (John and Francis) and Company, 200-1, 203, 205, 212, 216-17, 221, 273-5, 279, 281-2, 292, 307-8,

310 Barlow, Joel, biographical, 120, 130, 201-3; leaves Algeria (1797), 310, 314-15; later life, 315-16; death in Poland (1812), 316 Algerian mission, 131, 201-6; at Alicante, 204-6, 221; ordered to Algiers as acting Consul, 222; at Algiers (1796), 224-8, 230, 232,

244-6, 249, 251-5, 298-302, 306-16; Consul, 266; rents 283, 310; leaves

68, 75,

268, 280, 314 Corsairs, 17,67,270

100, 143, 266,

258-87, 290-4,

commission as country house, Algiers

(1797),

310,314^15 Appearance, grows mustachios, 300; dress, 300 Baccris, relations with, 225, 227, 254,

258-62, 265, 275-80, 283, 285-7,

312-13 Bagnios, description of, 238 Barlow Papers, cited, 202-4, 227, 236, 238-9, 263, 267 and passim Blockade rimning, 130-1, 202 Commercial ventures, 311 Consuls' salaries, on, 252-3

Denmark, on war being arranged against, 252

Descriptions

and

impressions

of

Algiers, 226, 236-40, 267

Dey, relations with

Taverns Bailey, Captain Samuel E., 288 Balkans, 19 Baltimore, Ireland, 24

Barbary Coast,

demands,

73-76, 82-83, 290-1; Barbary Fund, 200-1, 216, 281 History, 17, 86 Peace treaties with powers, 68, 70-74, 82-83, 98-99, 103, 109, 115, 120, 130-1, 149, 191, 304 Piracy, 151-2 United States and, 25, 127, 150, 289, 318; representation in, 115, 117Financial 160,

Austria-Hungary, 20 Austrians, 282 'Aviads', 62, 248 Avignon, 203

Bab Azoun,

326

:

see

under Hassan

Bashaw Dispatches

cited, 70, 221-2, 226, 253-4, 258, 260-2 and passim 'Father of all Consvds', 311 Fortune, issues passport for, 287, 309,

312-13

INDEX

S26

Barlow, Joel (corUd.): France, living in Paris, 120, 130-1, 194, 201-2; Honorary Citizen of France, 120, 222; returns to Paris from Algiers, 314-15 Horseman, as, 312 Hunting party, 31 1-12 Jews, on influence on Dey, 312-13 Mediterranean area, on, 268-9 National Convention, letter to (1792), 268

Naval stores for tribute, list 271-2 Peace treaty, on, 253-5, 269-70

of,

Bordeaux, 73, 99, 131, 156 Bosporus, 19, 77, 156 Boston, Massachusetts, 49, 110, 116, 201, 311; shipping, 1, 10, 67, 291, 297 Theatre Benefit Performance, 114 Bougie, 19 Bousquet, cited, 256 Boyd (American merchant), 210 Boyd, J. P., cited, 72-75, 82-85, 99 Brazil, 97, 133 Bremen, 268 Bresnier, L. J., cited, 77 ;

Bridget see Fortune :

Ships, purchased, 311

Bristol, 69

Spelling, apology for, 253

Britain,

Turks of Algiers, on, 251-2 Barlow, Ruth, 202, 204, 226-7, 236-8, 266-7,300,310-11,315 Barnard, Sophie, cited, 29, 80, 84, 257 Bashaw (rank), 64, 96 Bash-khodja, 235 Bastinado, 57, 64, 98, 163, 234, 250; described, 53, 64; for slaves, 43, 51, 85; Cathcart threatened with, 172, 178, 184 Bastons Prison, 89, 90 Baths, palace, 37-38; public, 144-5, 235 Bebazon Gate, 88-89 Bedouins, 16-17, 21-22, 58, 77, 86, 135, 289 Belique (municipal government of Algiers), 46, 62, 64, 134, 140, 232-6,

247-8 Belique, Bagnio

of, 45, 49-55, 136, 286 Belisarius, Count, 14

Belly dancers, 145 'Benevolence' letter, 114

Benghazi, 297 Beni-M'zab, Amin, 235 Berbers, 17, 21, 58, 155, 256 Berbrugger, L. A., cited, 19, 22, 26, 43, 46—47, 53 and passim Berrah (town crier), 234 Betsey, 297 Beys, 231 Bianchi, cited, 238 Biskra, 34, 231 Biskri Moorish porters, 34, 182, 185, 231, 234, 242 Black Sea, 76,97, 318

Blackden, I., 116 Blavin, Joseph, cited, 44, 50, 52, 57, 157, 163, 166 Bombshells, for tribute, 272

and British

Algiers, relations with, 68-69, 74, 80.

97; decline, 132, 192; abuse of passport system, 279 American-Algerian peace, attitude to, 81 Dey accepts terms to annoy the British, 185, 191-2, 219 Cathcart's attitude to, 143 Consuls at Algiers (see also under their names), 4, 34-35, 81, 142, 155, 158, 192, 279, 311; salary, 252 Corsica, and, 133, 192, 214^-15 France, relations with, 102-3, 150, 192; war with, 200, 282, 284, 292293 blockade see under France King of England, 4, 7, 34, 37, 74, 80, 192 Mediterranean area, and, 69-71, 102-3, 152-3, 268 Navy, 53, 66, 69, 71, 102-3, 134, 218, 292, 309 Prison hulks in New York harbour, 38, 133, 303 Privateers see Privateers Shipping, 66-70, 278 United States revolt against, 4, 7, 25, 34, 37, 66-67, 71, 80, 82, 318; Treaty of Friendship (1794), 149150 Broughton, E., cited, 52, 54, 91, 137-8, 152, 156 and passim Bruce, James, cited, 183, 239 Bubonic plague see Plague Buildings of Algiers, 238 Bulkeley, Miss, 101, 107, 206, 217, 280-1 Bulkeley(John)& Son, 101,127,281,295 Bullion see Coin and bullion Burial grounds, 87, 90, 138, 224, 237, ;

;

:

:

:

:

283

INDEX Burnouses, 31, 33, 80, 241, 248-9 Busnach, Nettali, 243, 313 Byzantine (Eastern) Empire, 86, 156 Byzantium, 14-16, 21, 68 Cadiz, 1, 113, 219-20, 306, 317 Caffagees (coffee-servers), 42-43, 89, 137, 140 'Caffre' (Turks' name for Kabyles, q.v.), 91

Caftan (robe of honour), 89-90 Cahen, A., cited, 242-3 Caid Echouara, 234 Caid-el-Abid, 234 Caid-el-Fahss, 234 Caid-el-Mersa, 235 Caid Ezzabel, 234 Caid of the Night see Mezouer Caid Zaubie, 51 Calabrians, 60, 69 Calder, Captain Samuel, 109, 287 Camels, 13, 15, 22, 31, 34, 138j warriors, 77-78 Canot (boat), 26 Cape of Good Hope, 156 Car (two Irish-bom men), 145-6 Caribbean, 66-67, 157 Carmichael, William, 73, 82, 86, 100, 116-17,270 Cameros d'Oran: see Oran: Deserters Cartagena, 78, 317 Carthage, 12, 17, 21 Carthaginians, 68, 86 Carver, Robert, 67 Casbah, the, 62, 139 Castile, 46 Cathalan, Stephen, 203, 288-9 Cathcart, James Leander (mentioned and cited passim), background, 133-64; on board Maria when :

captured, 1, 3-4, 7-8; Bagnio Clerk, 141-4; Dey's Chief Christian Secretary, 146-8; diplomatic career,

304-5

Affluence, 137, 146, 223

American

trip,

scheme

327

out of Dey's palace, 228, 230; relations with: see under Hassan Btishaw 'Diplomatic Journal and Letter Book', cited, 4, 59, 88-90, 92-93, 96, 143 and passim Dispatches cited, 132, 205 Dress, 173, 187, 208, 213 Execution threatened, 219, 224 Family, large, 146 Finance, 147, 215, 218 Handwriting, 198, 206, 220 Interpreter, as, 3-4,

275-7,

283; voyage, 277-80, 295 British men-of-war, service on, 88,

134 British prisoner, as, 38, 133, 303 Captives, The, 134; cited, 1, 29, 4041, 44—45, 47-50, 63 and passim Character, 178-9, 213, 276-6, 279 Dey of Algiers, Chief Christian Secretary to (1794), 146-8; chased

31, 37, 199,

Jews and, 148,276 Letter to Humphreys, 198-9 Nationality, Irish-bom but became American, 35, 134, 304; British citizenship claim, 143

Papers cited, 84-86, 101, 146, 183, 188, 220 Peace mission, and, 150-6, 168-87, 191-4, 197-200, 206-8 Savings offered to Dey, 176 Ships, ownership of, 211, 219-20, 223, 277-8, 280, 295 Slave, as, 42, 87, 93, 135-41, 147, 187, 207-8, 277-8, 303; unofficial leader, 132, 134

Taverns, ownership of, 53, 140-3, 147, 189-90, 211-12, 223, 249-51, 275 Women, and, 143, 145 Cazenave, J., cited, 40, 48, 79 Cervantes, 24, 57 Cemeteries: see Burial grounds Chambers of Commerce, 166-7, 179, 267 Charming, E., cited, 67, 112 Charcoal monopoly, 235, 247 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, 22, 47, 77-78, 139, 268 Charles Martel, 156 Charles-Roux, Fr., cited, 155, 267, 280, 285 Chief Minister see Hasnagi China, 156 Christian corporals, 61, 53, 140, 249 Christian Mission Hospitals, 45—46 Christian Secretary, Dey's Chief, 37, 42-43, 120, 146-8, 163, 160; James L. Cathcart {q.v.) appointed, 147; donation on appointment, 147; ransomed at signing of peace treaty, 120, 146 Christianity, 13-16, 20-23, 243 :

for,

7,

213, 226

INDEX

328

318 Baths, use of, 145 Burial ground, 87, 138 Execution, 57, 227, 250 Free, 86, 163-4,283,310 'Lingua franca', 232 Muhammadans, and, 135, 227 Population, 231 Ships and seamen, 4-5, 8-10, 24,

Americans

as,

68-59, 88, 104-5, 107, 143, 238, 244, 286, 290 Slaves see Slaves :

60

Taiffe, in,

Treatment of other Christians, 151-2, 220 Visitors, 97

Women,

5,

28

Circassian slave girls, 261-2 Citizenship, Algerian, 135, 305; American, 36; British, 25, 34, 87-88, 143; American citizenship surrendered,

87-88 Civil service, 62-63, 141,

Claypoole's cited,

213,

192,

Christians

232

American Daily Advertiser,

215

CHmate of Algiers,

212, 236 Coe, S. G., cited, 73 Coffee-cup gratuities for slaves, 42-43, 89, 137, 169,

208

Coffee -servers see Caffagees Coffee shops, 30, 144, 158

269-60,

European colony

266,

298-9;

in Algiers,

44;

salary needed, 252-3

Consumption, death from, 86 Continental Congress see under United :

States

Cooks, 42, 63, 132, 196 Coral fishermen, Corsican, 214 Com Supplies, Secretary of, 248 Corsairs, 23-25, 318; Algerian, 102, 106 220; Barbary, 17, 67, 270; Chris tian, 297; Greek, 20; Moslem, 19 23, 77, 84, 152-3; Naval powers attitude of toleration, 152, 270 North African, 23-24, 270, 296 Corsica, 133, 192, 214, 282 Cost of living, 43-44 Coulogies, 231, 233 Coimcil of Algiers see Divan :

Country

districts,

61—62

Craftsmen, 44, 237, 242-3 Criminals,

in slave prisons, 48, 53; Moorish, 55 Currency, Algerian sequins, 129, 147, 172, 198, 217, 261; attempt to force up value, 282; pataques, 247-8 {see also Coin and bullion) Customs, dues, 98; officers, 139, 247; warehouse, 233 Cutting, Nathaniel, 101, 105, 107, 114

:

Coffin, Captain, 41, 85, 87, 93, 134-5, 139

Coin and bullion, treaty funds, 216-18, 264, 273-4, 281-3, 292-3, 295-300, 307, 314; minting, 217, 233; shortage, 221, 223, 228, 255, 264, 273-4, 280; captured by Tripolitanian vessel but released,

260,

297-300 Colonialism in Algiers, 58 Commissionaires, Corps of, 248-9 Confederacy (frigate), 133 Congress of the U.S. see United States: Continental Congress Cormecticut, 71, 114, 264 Constantine, 92, 244 Constantine, Bey of, 77-78, 88-92, 95, 244; Cathcart's description of :

reception, 88-90

Constantinople, 15, 63, 76, 78-79, 145, 252, 262, 269 Consul, word defined, 125 Consuls (see also under country concerned). Christian, 56, 149-50, 162,

Daily Advertiser, cited, 215, 288, 304 Dan, Pierre, cited, 52 Dansa, Simon, 24

Dauphin

40-41, 43, 49, 54, 72, 120 Deas, William A., 201 Debtors' prisons, 53 Defences of Algiers, 137-9, 238-9; strengthened by voluntary efforts, 246-7 Delaware River, 122 (brig),

79, 93-95,

Denmark Algerian ships off coast, 24 Algiers, relations with, 185, 252, 293 Fears of American peace, 158, 163-4

Mediterranean area, in, 23, 68, 70, 116,269 Munitions for Algiers (1774), 17 Naples, and, 252 Ships,

1,

58, 105, 116, 252, 258, 261,

268-9

War (1770), 246 Devoulx, Albert, cited,

9,

41, 44, 60,

62-63, 76, 98, 233, 236, 240, 258

:

:

INDEX 'Dey' (word), 63, 96, 239 Deys of Algiers {see also under their

names,

Bashaw;

Hassan

afid

Muhammad) Assassination, 89, 199, 242; soldiers' right to, 41

Domestic slaves

:

see

under Palace

Election, 63-64, 96 succession (1791), 96-97 ; congratulatory presents, 97 ;

Food

prices, and,

209-10

Judicial powers, 57, 65, 235-6 King of France, and, 157

;

Palace see Palace of the Dey Powers, 41, 61, 65, 232, 248 :

Slaves, attitude to, 44, 208 Dictionary National Biography, of cited, 67 Diggins (Irish renegade), 146 Diplomatic appointments, titles given

124-5 Diplomatic relations, 147 Dispatch (schooner). 111 Divan or Council of Algiers, 39, 41, 65, 88-89, 147, 177, 205, 240 Divina Providenza, 281-2, 292, 307 Djeld, Khodjet el, 233 Domestic slaves (see also under Palace), 41-43, 55-56, 120, 136-7, 166-7, 173, 286; tipping, 42-43, 89, 137, 169, 207-9, 258 Donaldson, Joseph (jun.) Appearance, 161, 178 to,

Character, 73-75,

329 177; expulsion order, 178-9, 182-3, 185; terms agreed, 186, 189-91, 193-5, 197-205; presents exchanged with Dey, 198, 212; report on negotiations, 199; his credentials confirmed after Dey's letter, 205-6; delays over money, 207225, 228, 230, 251; expulsion again threatened, 219, 224, 228, 255; attitude to Barlow's arrival, 224-5, 230, 260; joint letters with Barlow, 253-4, 258 Senate ratifies treaty suggested 254; (1796), departure from Algiers, 259-60; new offer with Barlow, 262-4, Leghorn mission: see 272;

178-9, 306, 310,

318 Daughters in England, 122, 309 Dispatches cited, 122, 129, 199, 258,

above;

272-3,

replacement 315;

money

Algiers,

in

delivered,

300 Release of American captives, and, 189, 280 Sloan refuses to serve under, 206,

211-13,222 Tunis truce, on, 290 Donkeys, 31, 34, 138

Dragomen, 167, 182, 254, 298-9 Drains, upkeep of, 51, 234 Dress, 31, 33, 38, 80, 173, 240-1 Drink, 50-51, 140, 143, 163, 188-9, 238, 250, 257

du Chastelet des Boys,

cited, 8, 9, 145,

240, 257

Dunkirk, 156 Duquesne, Admiral, 69 Dutch see Holland Duties, levied on tavern-keepers, 50-51 :

261-2, 265, 273-4, 281, 283, 286, 292, 307-8 Dispute with Baccri and Fomereaus, 281-2 Fortune, ownership of, 309, 312-3

Humphreys,

relations with,

124r-5,

161, 174, 181, 206, 273, 281, 307-9; criticism of, 273-4, 306, 310

'Lame Ambassador',

161, 172,

175,

178, 183, 214, 219, 260, 300

Leghorn mission to raise treaty funds, 260-3, 265-6, 272-5, 281-2, 285-6, 292-4, 306-10, 312-13. Peace mission (1795), 121-33; commission and instructions, 124-8; salary, 127; at Alicante, 127-33, 148-9, 151, 153, 158-9; at Algiers, 160-87; meetings with Dey, 168-9, 177, 186, 262-3; his own account,

Earthquakes, 238 East Africa, 102 Eastern Empire see Byzantine Empire Eaton, William, 304 Education, 86 Egypt, 16-17 El Djezair (Arab name for Algiers), 18 Elba, 309 Eliza (schooner), 289-91 Emerit, M., cited, 26, 43, 46-47, 51, 61, 144, 167-8, 189, 232 Emperor's Castle, 139 England, and English see Britain English Channel, 24 English language, 31, 173 Errahba, Khodjet el, 233 :

:

Escaped

slaves, 53 Ettout, Khodjet-, 235

INDEX

330

Europe. 16-19, 21-23, 44, 68, 70-73, 152,

157,

192-3, 260, 270, 273-5 Aljjerian goodwill mission to,

204,

102,

108-9,

126,

147,

212-13

Community

of free

Europeans

in

Grain prices, 209 Jews, 242-4 Northern, 14, 68, 152, 156 Prize Law, 252 Southern, 23, 67, 79, 109, 255 United States and, 68, 71-72, 149-60,

Wars, 282

1,

160,216,259

17, 200, 221, 268, 270, 280,

:

;

210-11,213,244,283 238 255-7

cited,

Fair, described,

see

29,

under Barlow, Joel

Britain and, 102-3, 150, 192 British blockade of, 130-1, 244, 252, 292-3, 307, 309 Caribbean possessions, 66-67

Commissioner, 267, 285 Consuls, 157, 171-3, 180, 182-4, 269,

284 Diplomats in North Africa, chosen by Marseilles

Executions, of Christians, 57, 227, 250; Turkish, 64-65, of the 240; Hasnagi, 90; roasting alive, 138, 170-1, 178; of slaves, 208, 250; Cathcart threatened, 219, 224; of women, 227 of non-Turks, 227, 234 Expilly, Count d', 79, 81,85, 112 Exports, grain, 209-10, 242; permits,

Fagnan, E.,

Barlow and

1, 10,

Bombardment of Algiers, 69

Algiers, 44, 143

156, 167-8,

Fortune, 286-8, 309, 312-13 Foss, John, 190, 286-7; cited, 45, 48-49, 52 and passim Fox, Josiah, 265 France, and French

Directoire, 130, 150, 155,

283-5

Finance, 200-3, 267, 280 Goodwill mission to Algiers, 284r-5 Grain for armies, 244, 280, 283 Invsision by Moslem armies, 155 Invasion of Algiers, 54, 58, 152, 313 King, 69, 79, 157 Mediterranean, and, 103, 156-6, 269 National Convention, 268 North Africa, and, 22-23, 68-71, 79, 157, 267, 284 Religious orders, 84, 1 89 Revolution, 84, 102, 130, 200, 202,

Famin, Monsieur, 290-1, 314-5 Famine, 242 Far East, 18,69, 102, 156 Fehama, Khodjet-el-, 235 F^raud, L., cited, 17, 57, 152 Ferdinand, King of Spain, 19 Figs, fermented (mahie), 50, 242 Finance, Algerian model {see

Chambers of Commerce,

157, 267

216 Slaves escape to warships, 53 Spain, and, 79, 102, 112, 158 Trade, 165-7 also

Treasury), 215, 218; money in Treasury, 97, 252; economical use of pubhc funds, 246-7 Finance, international, 218, 221, 259-60 Fisher, Sir Godfrey, cited, 11, 17, 64,

63,70 Fisherman, Gate of the, 139 Fitzpatrick, J. C, cited, 310

Trading post near Algiers, 86-87 United States and, 70-71, 101, 125-6, 130, 149-50, 155, 158, 164-5, 315316; debts in France, 73; influence considered necessary for Algiers peace, 120, 125-6, 128, 130, 150-1, 163, 158, 164, 171-3, 180, 182-4, 222, 253, 264, 267, 306; unsigned treaty with, 315-16

War,

Flissa (tribe), 92-93

200, 221, 274, 280, 282, 292-3 Warships supplied to Algerians, 106 Francis, Tench, 121, 174, 281 Franklin, Benjamin, 68, 70, 72 French Africa Company, 214

Flowers, 237

Friendship

Food, 6-8, 32, 48, 231, 289, 303; prices, 43-44, 209-10 Forged documents, 133

Frigates, defined, 8 ; demanded as gifts, 129, 169, 176-7, 191, 261; as gift for Dey's daughter, 261-2, 265-6,

'Flag

protects

the cargo' custom), 252, 309 Flemish, 24

(Algerian

Fomereau, Messrs. Harry and Abel, 274, 281-2, 307-8, 310 Fortifications see Defences :

(brig),

311

272, 276, 294, delivered, 317

Fulton, Robert, 316

299-300,

310;

INDEX Fiimace, Captain, 222

Grenville, Lord, 97

Guardian Bashaw (Chief Jailer), 49, 50-52, 286 Guardian Bashi, 238, 249-50

115, 118, 122, 264-5

Gabriels,

I.,

Gaiseric,

King

:

see Gtenseric

Gallera, Bagnio, 45-46, 137, 140-1, 143, 147, 218, 249-51, 257

Galleys and galley slaves, 5, 23-25, 45, 56, 59, 104 Gardens and gardeners, 42-43, 85, 135,

231,237 Garrotte, 64^65 Gates to city of Algiers (see, also their names), 138-9, 233, 236-7, 255 Gautier, E. F., cited, 11-12, 16

Genoa, and Genoese,

89, 140, 156, 171,

242, 270, 292; ships, 105-6 Genseric (Gaiseric), King, 14 George (brig), 111, 113 G«orge III, King, 35 Georgians, 76, 248, 315 German slaves, 32, 198 Ghenaim, Khodjet-el-, 234 Ghettos, 242-3 Gibbs and Channing, Messrs., 113 Gibraltar, 71, 99-104, 142-3, 164; British Consul, 93 Humphreys at, 101, 103-4, 123-5, 127-8, 131, 174; Spanish threats against, 74; U.S. Consul, 84, 106, 119, 296 Gibraltar, Straits of, 8, 14, 24, 296; Spanish blockade, 4, 40, 79, 102; Portuguese blockade, 97, 102-3, 105-6, 110,219 Gibraltar Bay, 102, 106 Gloucester (brig), 287 Gold, 39, 133, 233, 247, 270; treaty funds, 216-17, 260, 273-4, 281-3, 292-3, 295-300, 307, 314; shortage, 221, 223, 255, 264, 273-4, 280; captured by Tripolitanian vessel but released, 297-300. Goumerk, Khodjet-el-, 233 Governors for country districts, 61 Grain (see also Wheat), 112, 209-10, 244, 283 public granaries, 247 ;

;

Grammont, H. D. cited,

de, Etudes algeriennes

17, 35, 50, 60, 63,

78, 86,

258; other works cited, 23-24, 52, 54, 59, 63-64, 68-70, 91, 152, 173 Grand Pay, annual, 245-6 Graves, Captain, 291 Great Britain see Britain Greece, and Greeks, 23, 156, 269; in North Africa, 14-16, 19-20, 86 Greek language, 232 :

331

Guilds (Amins), 235, 243, 247 Gunpowder, 6, 55, 270-1

Hadj-Sadok, M., cited, 91-92 Haggia, Josouf, 315 Hague, The, 212-3 Haj Ali, 213

Hamburg,

130, 160, 202, 221, 228, 255,

264, 268

Hamet ben Aly,

121

Hamilton, Alexander, 216 Hanseatic League, 130 Hara see Ghettos :

Harbour of

Algiers, 20, 26-28, 56, 60, 139-40, 160, 233, 235 Harding, Captain Seth, 133

Harmet, James,

94

85,

Harss, the, 233-4 Hasna see Treasury :

Hasnagi (Chief Minister), 181,

146,

217,

232,

62,

89,

246,

97,

286;

garrotted after dispute with Bey, 90-91, 96; presents to, 130, 195 Hassan Bashaw, Dey of Algiers (earlier Sidi Hassan) (reigned 1791-1798), biographical, 76-80, 95-96; as High Admiral, 74, 76-80, 95, 135, 140; Chief Minister, 96; elected Dey (1791), 96, 146; death (1798),

199,317

American captives, and,

80, 95-96, 189-90, 194, 218, 280, 285-6, 291-2 Barlow, and, 204, 224-6, 258, 262-3, 266, 276, 280, 290, 292, 298-301, 309-12, 315-16. Britain, relations with, 128, 132; accepts American peace terms to annoy the British, 185, 191-2, 219 Cathcart, tribute from, 96; relations with, 140, 198, 275-7 appointment as Chief Christian Secretary, 146— 148 struck on cheek, 228, 230 Corsican coral fishermen, and, 214 Daughter, description, 261-2; marriage offer to O'Brien, 135; peace presents, 129, 172, 195, 262; offer of frigate see under Frigates Denmark, and, 293 ;

;

:

Donaldson, exchanges presents, 198, 212; relations with, 210-11, 213214, 217, 261-3

INDEX

332

HaA.san Bashaw, Dej' {corUd.): Export permits for wheat, refused, 210-11. 213: income from, 244,283 Forged documents shown to, 133

France, and, 284-5 and, 151, 168, 198, 205-7, 219-21, 228, 251, 264 Jews, and, 244-5, 285, 312-13 Meifrund, restitution of property,

Humphreys,

284-5 tribute, and, 270-1 O'Brien and, 80, 95, 135, 198, 305 Passport for ship, personal, 296-8, 300 Peace presents, 129, 172, 191, 195, 197-9,223-5,267,284,317 Peace treaty with America, attitude

Naval stores

112-13, 116, 131, 133; and Donaldson mission, 148, 151, 153, 158-60, 165, 168-84; sum demanded, 124, 127, 129-30. 132, 169, 176, 191; accepts American terms, 185-7, 189—92; on delays in payment, 199, 204-7, 210, 219-21, 223-6, 228, 254. 259, 261-3, 278; ransom money paid over, 286, 291-2, 317; complications, 293, 298-9; payments made, 299-301; delay over naval stores, 314^15; his part in treaty, 316-18 Portugal, and, 103, 112 Slaves, claim for two, 250-1 Spain, capttired (when Sidi Hassan) by Spaniards, 78-79, 317; work for to, 96, 107,

Spanish truce, 79, 97, 317; relations with, 109, 128 Tripoli peace, and, 290, 292, 300-1 Tunis peace, and, 290, 292, 300-1,

314 Turkey, mission to, 76-79 United States, attitude to {see also Peace treaty, above), 80, 107, 146, 290, 301, 310, 314, 318; his liking for Americans, 192, 266; idea that

Americans were not Christians, 318 Washington, George, letters to, 278 Wife, 129, 159, 165, 172, 195, 244

Hassan Pasha, Bath of, 144—5 Hercules (French Commissioner), 79, 267, 284-5, 290-1, 314 Heysell, Captain H., 116-20, 122, 124, 129,132, 159, 169,264-5 Hicheborne, Colonel, 130-1, 201-2, 265 Hides, 233, 243, 247, 280 Hidy, R. W., cited, 200-1, 205

High Admiral

(Vekil Khradj), 76, 95,

136-7,140-1,146,233

Memoirs

Historical

of

Barbary

.

.

.,

238 Holland, and Dutch, cited,

17, 101, 153 Algerians war against, 113, 316; peace treaty (1794), 120, 146-7, 151, 158, 170-1, 184-5, 187, 197 Barbary treaty credit in, 71, 73 Consul at Algiers, 142, 253 Mediterranean area, and, 22-23, 58, 68, 70-71, 268-9 Slaves, 32

Holy men see Marabouts Holy Order of Trinity, 46 Hope (ship), 111 :

Hospitals, 45-46, 54

Houch

:

see

Gardens

Houses, described, 29-30, 32, 36, 226, 231,238 Huguenot women, 55 Humphreys, Colonel David, biographi100-1, 306, 316; Ambassador at Lisbon, 100, 118, 120, 125, 151, 168; Ambassador at Madrid (1797), cal,

117,

120,270,280,306

Algerian peace mission, sets out on first lap (1793), 100-1, 103-6; at Alicante, 106-7, 114; returns to Lisbon after Dey's refusal to negotiate, 107, 109-18, 132, 151, 168, 265; returns to America (1794), 118-21, 128, 174, 306; leaves for Europe (1795) to be associated with Algerian negotiations, 122; at Gibraltar, 123-8, 131 names and instructs Donaldson as negotiator, 124^8, 161, 164, 169-70, 174, 194; saUs for France, 128; in Paris, 130-1, 148, 151, 154—5, 306; money at his disposal, 176, 180—1; peace terms to be brought to Lisbon for his approval, 193-4; financial difficulties, 200-1, 205, 215-17, 223-4, 273-4; favours Barlow for Algiers, 201-3, 266; returns to Lisbon (1796), 203-6, 211-12, 215, 218, 226; Dey's letters to and replies, 205-7, 219-22, 228-9, 251; orders Barlow to Algiers, 221-2, 251; diplomatic antagonism, 229; criticized for delay in arrival of funds, 253-5, 258-9, 263; and gift for Dey's daughter, 265-7 money finally shipped, 298-9 ;

:

:

INDEX American captives, proposes lottery for relief, 101, 116; remits for, 188; receives

news

funds 288-9,

of,

296 Barlow, and, 201-3, 221-2, 253-4, 263 Cathcart and, 198-9 CoTirting banker's daughter, 101, 107, 206, 217, 280-1 Dey of Algiers, and, 151, 168, 198, 205-7, 219-22, 228, 251, 264 Dispatches cited, 118-19, 121, 123-4, 128, 200-1 and passim Donaldson, relations with, 124—5, .

161,174,181,206,273,281,307-9;

instructions to, 125-8 France, relations with, 130, 150, 180,

222 Peace Commission, Secretaxy

of, 100,

115 Salary, complains of, 212

Sloan, letter from, 206, 211-13 Spain, and, 251

Humphreys, Frank Landon,

333

Dey, right to assassinate, 41

115,294,306,316

Humphreys, Joshua, 265 Hunting expedition described, 311-12

election of, 96, 146

Dress, 29, 59, 240 Guards, 29-31, 33, 35-36, 166-6, 186,

237 Jews, and, 241-2 Marriage rules, 59, 239, 248 Moimted, 231 Nimiber, 231 Pay, 62, 98, 235, 245-7 Promotion, 239-40, 247-9 Recruitraent and organization, 5865, 239-40 Recruits captured, 252 Seafaring, 60, 239, 248, 257 Taverns, and, 50, 52, 57 Vices, 245

Jay

(schooner), 108, 111 Jay, John, 72-73, 82-83, 150 Jefferson, Thomas, 73, 75-76, 82-85, 99-100, 104, 115-18, 189, 255; 68,

70,

dent, 306; 82-85, 99

Papers cited,

Jewellers and Goldsmiths, Guild Jewellery, 233, 242, 244

Import

Jews

duties, 140, 215 Independent Gazetteer, cited, 215 India, 102, 156, 315 Indians, American, 33, 149, 216, 303 Intellectualism, 86 InteUigence service, Jews and, 84-85, 1 60

Ireland,

and

Irish, 7, 24, 35, 134, 145-6,

183, 239, 304

(Mathew and Company, 40

Irvin

Thomas)

and

Irwin, R. W., cited, 98-99, 109, 216, 318 Islam, 15-20, 44-47, 86, 135, 153 Italian language, 31, 199, 232 Italy,

and

Italian, 7, 23, 47, 54, 60, 112,

220; France's campaign in, 102, 270, 282; Papal States: see that title; shipping, 68-70; slaves, 20, 32, 35, 44, 145, 167; States, 23, 268-70, 309

Jane

(brig). 111 Janizaries (Turkish soldiers)

Bagnio disorders, called Barracks, 57, 59, 238 Characteristics, 245

to,

249-50

83,

115; ransom prices quoted, 73, 75-76, 82, 97; Secretary of State, 83; resigns, HI, 115, 117; Presi-

Ifriquja, 17

Icosium, 18

and

Discipline, 21

Peace Commissioner,

cited, 107,

;

72-75, of,

233

African, 243

Anti-Semitism, 274 Assaults on, 163-4 Bankers, 160, 189, 242, 259, 282, 296, 298 Baths, not admitted to, 145 Brokers {see also Baccris), 158, 160, 200, 214, 275, 277, 282, 312-13 Burial groimd, 138 Butchery, 243-4 Cannoneers, as, 239 Cathcart and, 148, 171-2, 225, 228 Civil cases between, 242-3 Civil Service, in, 63 Coffee-shops, 144 Dress, 31, 33, 241 Executions by, 64 Ghettos, 242, 243 History, 243 Houses looted by janizaries, 242 Intelligence service, 84-85, 160 Jewellers, 233, 242 Merchants, 21, 242 Mint operated by, 217

INDEX

334

Jews

Muhammadans and, 227-8 Poor. 242 Population, 231

Power and

Ransoms

260 raising of treaty funds in, 260, 273-4, 279, 281-2, 286-6, 292-3, 298, 307 Le Havre, 128, 156 Levant, 69, 156-7, 208, 242, 247, 269, 289, 315 Lincoln, B., cited, 116 'Lingua franca', 232, 306 Liquor see Drink ;

(contd.):

influence, 84, 170, 242, 276

for captives,

of, 43, 54,

arrangement

84-85, 96, 189, 276, 280,

286 Slave market, in, 35, 41, 54 Spaniards, fear of, 77, 247 Taverns, in, 50, 53 Trtiding, influence, 242-6

Treatment, 241-2 Treaty debt, accept liability for, 285-6, 292-3 Joldach, 239 Jones, Admiral Paul, 66, 72, 99, 125, 264-5 Journal of Modem History, cited, 193 Judaism, 15 Judges, 236, 241 Jupiter (barque), 101, 105, 303 Justice, in Algiers, 57, 235-6, 242-3, 247

Kabyles

(people), 14-16, 21-22, 58, 77-78, 91-92, 135, 138, 209, 233,

237 Kheir-ed-Din, 19-20, 26, 55, 58-59, 144 Khodjas, 233-5, 241, 247-8 Khodjes de I'Ogeac, Corps of, 247-8 Khoja, Sidy Hamdan-Ben-Othman, cited, 21, 62, 197, 209, 244 King, Rufus, 201 Kiosk of the Marine, 28, 31 Knight, Francis, cited, 240 Koran, the, 17, 60, 86, 236, 258 Labat, R. P. J.-B., cited, 9, 26, 29, 31, 33, 56, 62, 68, 80, 239-40, 242 La CaUe, 86-87 La Haye, A., cited, 65 Lamb, Captain John, 71-76, 79-83, 93-96, 112, 122, 126, 163, 176, 193, 216, 264^5 Lark (schooner), 104 Lateen sail, 104 Lee, Henry, 83 Leghonfc, Amin of, 235 Leghorn, 243, 260, 263, 287-8, 306; British blockade, 292-3, 307; Donaldson's mission to, 263, 265, 272-4, 281-2, 286, 292, 306, 309310, 312-13; French occupation, 282, 292; Jews in, 96, 214, 242-3,

:

Lisbon, 113, 124-7, 188, 190, 193-4, 204-6, 218, 263-4, 296, 306-6; Humphreys at, 100-1, 113, 115, 118, 120, 124, 203, 229, 280, ;p(M«im; raising of treaty funds in, 190, 203,

211, 217, 223, 253, 270, 273-4, 281, 296, 298, 314; U.S. Consul, 99

William, 311 Liverpool, 69 Charles, British Logie, Little,

Constd

at

Algiers, 74, 80, 85, 132, 142-3, 296;

receives

and

American

houses

captives, 34-36, 41, 86, 87, 110, 134, 139; accused of urging Alger-

ians to seize American ships, 71, 110; relations with Dey, 97, 192; arranges Algiers-Portugal truce, 103,

106,

110,

132,

148,

dispatches cited, 54, 68,

183;

74,

88

and passim Lombardy, 260 London,

69, 82, 150, 160, 221, 223, 296;

John Adams

in, 73, 81 U.S. funds 200-1, 216, 281, 292 Lottery for ransoms. State, 101, 116 Louis XIV, of France, 270 Louisiana, 39, 75, 112 ;

in,

Lubeck, 268 Lucas, Simon, cited, 76, 296 Lyle, Peter (Rais Morat), 296-7, 300 Lyons, 203 'Macaroni Barracks', 69 Mace, Charles, 132, 155,

192, 214; dispatches cited, 40, 54, 132, 152,

156, 158, 192, 209, 214 Macleod, J. B., cited, 70, 305 Madeira, 306 Mad-house, 86-87 Madrid, 73, 82, 106, 131, 133; Lamb in, 73, 83; U.S. representation: see under Spain Mahie, 60 Maine, 167, 294 Majorca, 18-19, 192 Malaga, 106

:

8

INDEX Malta, 56, 59, 132, 211, 268-9, 297, 309 Malta, Knights of, 24

Mansoul Aga (title), 240 Marabouts (holy men), 77-78, 92, 256,

88,

91-

258

Maria, seized in high seas and crew taken to Algiers, 1-11, 28, 37, 40, 54, 72, 79, 82, 93 (see also

American

captives)

Marine, the, fountain, 28, 31; Secretaries, 248; slaves working in, 56, 93, 136-7, 140-1, 161; stores, 233 Marine Gate, 29, 34-35, 45, 51, 139, 160, 162, 172, 257 Markets, 31-32, 61, 235, 237-8 Marriage, rules for janizaries, 59, 239, 248; daughters of country Moors, 62, 248 Marseilles, 96, 171, 203-4, 244, 252, 268, 280, 283, 298; Chambers of Commerce, 156-7, 267; released captives at, 288-9, 296; quarantine at, 288-9, 296, 309-10, 314; trade, 69, 156-7, 242; U.S. Consul, 203, 288 Marthurians, 84 Masoon (banking unit), 282-3 Massachusetts cod, 67, 118 Masson, Paul, cited, 87 Mauretania, 21 Mazzaredo, cited, 39 Meals, domestic habits, 136-7 Medical science, 86 Mediterranean Americans and, 7, 25, 71, 82, 106, 112-14, 157-8, 179, 222, 268-70, 290, 293, 304 Christian shipping in, 20, 23 France and, 103, 155-6, 269 North African Moslem ownership, 23-24, 70, 82 Passport, form of, 116, 278-9 Ships in, tj^es, 2, 8; seaworm attacks on wooden hulls, 93 Trade in, 17, 68-70, 152, 268-70 Meifrimd, Joseph, 76, 284-5, 290 Melhn, Khodjet-el, 233 Menagerie in pala>ce gardens, 42, 45, 93, 244 Menial offices, 231, 234 Merino sheep, import of, 306 Mers el Kebir, 1 Metal workshops, 34, 235 Mexico, gold, 133; silver, 39, 133; value of doUars, 129, 197, 216, 282 Mexico, Gulf of, 149

335

Mezouer, the, 233-4 60, 69

Mezzo Morto,

Military Supplies, Secretary of, 248 Minerva (ship). 111 (brig). 111 Mint, at Algiers, 217, 232-3 Mississippi River, navigation rights, ;

112,270 Mistresses, 44

Mitidja, 138, 209

Mohtasseb, the, 235 Mole, of Algiers, 56

Moncado, Don Guiller Ramon de, 45-46 'Money was God' in Algiers, 192, 207 Monnereau, Dr., cited, 19, 26, 43, 47, 53, 84 and passim Monroe, James, 130, 150, 202, 204 Montgomery, Robert, 107, 124, 128-9, 204, 210, 221

Moore, J. H., cited, 31, 138, 257 Moors, 21, 31-35, 47-48, 51, 55, 62, 141, 226, 237, 255-6 Artisans, 31, 43 Cannoneers, 239 Cavah-y, 61,91 Cemetery, 138 Chamberlain, 184 Civil Service, in, 63 Coastal, 62, 77 Coffee shops, 144 Dress, 240-1

Farms, 138, 209 JaUers, 49, 55-56, 140, 188, 217, 238 Jews, and, 241

'Lingua franca', 232 Musicians, 256

Names, 90 140 PoUce, 91,233 Population, 231 Officials, 98,

Porters: see Biskri Prostitutes, 59, 98, 146

Qadi (judge), 236 Religious bigotry, 44 Row-boats, 24, 26-27, 104, 160, 224 SaUors, 6-8, 22-25, 221, 248, 257, 280 Secretaries, 237, 246

Servants, 298-9 Soldiers, 240, 245 Standing, 135

Taverns, in, 50, 52 Taxes, 215, 237 'Turning Moor', 189 Wall decorations, 80 Morea, Peninsula of, 269 Moriscos (Spanish Moslems), 18

INDEX

33G

Morocco, 14, lft-17, 24, 67, 71, 86, 119, 124, 243, 289-90; Emperor, 100, lingua franca', 232; U.S., 123; proposed treaty, 68, 73, 82-83, 99-100, 102, 105; treaty (1785), 123, 289 warships, 2, 289-90 Moslems, Muhammadans: Captives, 24, 48 Christians, and, 55, 57, 77, 86, 230 ;

Conversion

to, 16, 44, 95, 135,

Corsairs, 19, 23, 84, 152-3

Criminals, 53

Drink, and, 50, 163, 255

295;

slaves,

rowing

89,

-270 Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor, 202, 270,282,316 Nationality see Citizenship :

stores, gifts

304;

227

220,

168-9, redemption, 136-7, 146, 287, 289; truce with Algiers, 136, 153, 171; war with Moslem powers, 268 59;

galleys,

Naval

Civil Service, in, 141

ship,

prize

under

treaties, 185,

demands under American

treaty, 185-6, 191, 194, 200, 264; reduction in quantity of gunpowder, 270-1 list of stores for biennial tribute, 271-2; delays in delivery, 278, 291, 294-5, 310, 314; delivered, 317 Navarro, General Pedro, 18, 47 Navigation Act (British), 67 Neapolitans see Naples Negroes, 7-9, 30-31, 37, 145, 166, 190, 234, 256 Nelson, Horatio, Lord, 67, 292 Nepean, Evan, cited, 34 New England, 67, 114, 157 New York, 67, 83, 106, 110, 120, 216; British prison hulks in harbour, 38, 133, 303 ;

Jews and, 227, 241 Kabyles as, 92 Mediterranean, ownership of, 23-24, 70,82 Plague, and, 86, 283 Powers, 39, 47, 77, 133, 269; proposed treaties with, 67-68, 72, 115, 120, 155. 191

Sabbath, 56, 165 Spain, refugees from, 16-18, 52, 289; relations with, 39, 47, 247 Turks as, 20 United States and, 184, 215 Warships, 69-70, 97, 102-3, 105, 107, 116, 123

Women, 226-7 Mosques, 35, 46, 227, 238, 241, 251 Mosquitoes, 32 Moss, Captain, 222

Mount Pleasant, Vermont, 119, 120 Mounted Cavahy, Secretary of, 248

:

Newburyport, 288 Newkirk, J. B., cited, 29 Newman, Captain Timothy, 289 Newport, Rhode Island, 118 Newspapers, 215 Night patrols, 233-4, 238 Nile river, 16

Moussa, Maitre, 52

Nomads, 12-13, 15-17, 21-22.

Muliammad, Prophet, 15-17, 192, 207 Muhammad Bashaw (Baba Muhammad

60-61, 86, 244 North, Frederick, 214 North Africa Britain and, 68-69, 103 France and, 22-23, 68-71, 79, 157,

Osman), Dey of Algiers (reigned 1766-1791), 39-40, 74-76, 78-81, 88-93, 132, 244, 247, 284; biographical, 37; death (1791), 96, ben

199; and American captives, 37, 74-75, 81, 83-84; attitude to Britain, 74, 80 97,

Muhammadans

:

see

Moslems

Municipal government of Algiers: Belique Miu-ati, P., cited, 92 Mustachios, 300

see

Names, duplication of, 90 Naples, and Neapolitans, cruisers, 105, 121, 211, 252; Denmark, relations with, 252; gold bullion from, 292;

33, 58,

267, 284 Europe, and, 13, 22 History and origins, 1 1-24, 58, 86 Invasion difficulties, 22, 68-69 Jews in, 242-3 Naval strength, 70-71 Romans m, 12-18, 21-22, 58 Spain and, 4, 16-22, 39, 47-48, 68-69,

79

Standard of living, low, 106 Trade, 155-6, 242 Tribute payments, 179, 314 United States and, 67-68, 70-73, 8284,

126, 269-70, 318; diplomatic

;

;

INDEX appointments, 304, 315

125,

264-5,

279,

War on

Christians with equipment supplied by Christians, 151-2

Nuba

(garrison),

232

O'Brien, Captain Richard, master of Dauphin when captured, 40—41 biographical and character, 95, 134-5, 304; diplomatic career,

304-5 Barlow and, 304-5 Bullion, failure of journey to London and Hamburg to obtain, 217-18,

221-3, 228, 255, 264; sails with cargo from Lisbon, 295; captured but released, 297-9; lands at Algiers, 300, 314, 317 Cathcart, and, 276, 295 Consul at Algiers, gives recommendafor

tions

post,

appointment

as,

119,

125;

his

Dispatches cited, 67, 70, 74, 81, 96, 101 and passim Dress, 173 Lamb, and, 75, 112 Letter-writing, talent for, 123-4; letters cited or quoted, 85, 98, 189 Logie, and, 71, 110 'Money was God' in Algiers remark, 192, 207 194,

Peace

Trading by Consuls, on, 273 Tunis and Tripoli, proposed mission to,

301

United States, journey

to, 264, 270; at Philadelphia, 280, 293; agreement with Secretary of State, 294

returns to Lisbon, 295 Ochiali, 60 Officials,

Government,

51, 140-1, 158,

166, 232-6, 247-8; dependence for income largely on presents and

percentage of dues collected, 97247-8; donations to 98, 235, Treasury on appointment, 147; dress, 241; presents to, 169, 194-8, 200, 207

Branch (brig). 111 Olive oil merchants, 235 Olive trees, 12 Olive

Ophthalmia among children, 236 Oran, 18, 37, 48, 232; Spanish deserters

from (carneros d'Oran),

305

Day (Hassan) and, 80, 95, 135, 198, 305

Naval

337

47, 48, 51,

55-66, 89, 137, 249-51; as penal settlement, 48; fortress ceded to Turks of Algiers, 96, 100, 104, 317 Orchestras, Dey's private, 246 O'Reilly, General Alexander, 22, 39, 56, 74, 76-79, 247 Orient, 156 Ottoman Empire, 19-20, 23, 58, 155,

269

Ottoman

soldiers see Janizaries :

stores, to supervise collection,

Ouzan, Khodjet-el-, 234

264 with

Pa^o Zrwnar system, 134—5, 146

Algeria, and, 131-2, 148-50, 153, 155, 158; figure of six million dollars mentioned, 124; uses forged document, 133; at arrival of Donaldson, 160-4; part in negotiations, 170, 172-3, 177, 179-80, 187, 190, 306; list of terms, 191; carries draft treaty to Lisbon, 193-4, 198-200, 205

Promised naval command

if

he took

Algerian nationality and turned Moslem, 95, 135, 305 'Records of the Foreign Services .', 157, 191 Posts Sailmaker, as, 80, 135 Salary fixed, 294 Slave, as, 108; in care of British Consul (Logie), 41, 87, 134, 139; exempt from labour, 93, 134—5; .

.

unofficial leader, 132, 160; release

before ransom, 277

Paganism, 13 Paine, R. D., cited, 67 Palace of the Dey, 36-38, 88-90, 160, 165-9; baths, 37-38; domestic 37-38, 41-43, 49, 63, 85, 87-89, 93, 120, 135-6, 147, 166-7, 173; garrison, 62, 165, 232, 246; keys of gates delivered to at night, 233; menagerie, 42, 45, 93, 244; prison, 40; Secretary, 248 Pananti, S., 145; cited, 6, 29, 31, 145 slaves,

Papal States,

17, 24, 56, 68, 152,

268-9

Paradis, Ventiire de, 230; cited, 3, 7, 23-26, 29, 31 andpassim Pares, A. Jacques, cited, 155, 285 Paris, 130, 156, 213, 266-7 Jefferson in, 73, 75, 82; Humphreys in, 148, 154, 200-1, 273, 306; Barlow and, 120, ;

130-1, 194, 201-2, 314-15 Pashas (rank), 63-64, 96

INDEX

338

PaaM|xjrts for ships, British, 4, 25, 40,

214, 279; abuse of system, 279; Danish, 116; Mediterranean, 116,

278-9; American, 287 Pataques, 247-8 Pavy, cited, 70 Peace Commissioners in Europe, Committee of. 71-73, 83, 100, 115 Peace presents see under Presents Peace treaties, with Algiers: aee American -Algerian peace treaty; with Barbary powers, 68, 70-74, 82-83. 98-99, 103, 109, 115, 120, 130-1, 191, 304; Christian powers model for, 193 Pearce, David, 108-9 Peasants, 62, 244 Pennsylvania, 68 Pennsylvania Mercury and Universal Advertiser, cited, 1, 40, 215 Penon, 19-20, 55, 136, 238 Persia, 156 Peruvian gold, 39 :

Pettit, Colonel, 121

PhUadelphia, 40, 49, 67, 110, 278, 280, 285, 306, 310; Algerian fund, 114; Baccris branch proposed, 313; Continental Congress at: see under United States; Federal capital, Humphreys in, 118-20; 216; O'Brien in, 280, 293; return of captives, 303-4 Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Advertiser, cited, 215 Pickermg, Timothy, 265-6, 268-9, 278, 294 Piesse, L., cited, 8, 145, 240, 257 Pilfering, 140-1 Pilgrims, to Alexandria, 211; request for ship to fly

American

colours,

211 Pinkney, Charles, 72, 83 Pinkney, Thomas, 281 Piracy, 1, 19, 24, 67, 84, 106-7, 152, 157, 269; piratical flag, 88; supposed beneficial effects, 152, 270 Pisa, 156 Plague, 44-45, 126, 146-7, 188, 236, 253, 261, 265, 291, 302; deaths from, 86-87, 108, 118, 140-2, 280, 283, 286-7, 303; 1788-92 outbreaks, 139-43; quarantine, 221,

288

Poland, death of Barlow

in,

316

Police, 98, 233-4, 240 Political power,

62-65

i'o%{brig), 10, 111 Population of Algiers, 231 Port, closed and reopened, 258; captain, 235 Porters see Biskri Portugal, and Portuguese Algiers truce (1793), 103-5, 108, 132, 148, 183; ended, 110-11; terms for treaty too high, 110, 112, 132, 151, 153, 187; possible peace, 180, 192, 219 Blockade of Straits of Gibraltar, 97, 102-3, 105-6, 110,219 Britain and, 102; arrangement of :

truce see Algiers truce, above Captives, 5-6, 8, 28-29, 31 Coast, 1, 7, 40 :

Coin supplies, 274 Colonial empire, 268 Fishing boats, 1, 5, 102 Mediterranean, and, 268 Queen, 103 Spain, and, 112 U. S. Ambassador {see also Humphreys, Colonel David), 100, 120, 151 Posts, delayed, 218, 221

Preachers, 241, 246 Presbyterians, 142 Presents, system of present-giving, 97, 148, 248-9; consular presents, 97, 203, 222, 225-6, 266-7; peace presents, 279, 281, 317; extras distributed as 'aviads', 62; list of Dey's demands, 129-30; lists of suitable gifts, 191, 195-7; gift of frigate to Dey's daughter see under Frigates President (ship). 111 Prisons, 234; for slaves: see Bagnios Privateers, 1-2, 17, 66, 286, 289, 297, :

315 Prizes, Sales

ship

Commission, 234-5, 247;

captain's

share,

248;

law,

252 Prostitutes, 59, 98, 142-3, 145-6, 233-4 Provence, 69-70, 76, 156, 252, 269

Prussia, 268

Plantet, Eugene, cited, 152

Plymouth,

Poiret, J. L. M., cited, 31, 145, 166 Poitiers, Battle of (732),155

69, 242

Punishment

{see

also Bastinado;

and

Executions), 163, 227, 234, 236; of

h

:

INDEX slaves, 43, 51, 63-57, 218, 250-1;

of Turkish offenders, 64^65, 240, 248 for adultery, 227 ; of soldiers, ;

239 Punitive expeditions, 61, 240

Qadi

236

(judges),

Rabat, 99 Rabbis, 242-3

:

252, 255-6 IVIr.,

Release of American captives: see under American captives Salem, collection to supply (1700), 67 Spanish, 44, 73, 81, 137, 146 State lottery plan to finance, 101, 116 Tunis, demands ransom for American crew, 291 Rattlesnake, H.M.S., 71 Refuse collection, 231, 234 Release of captives see under American :

Rachel (ship), 311 Ragusa, 182 Ragusanbrig, 159-60, 194 Rais El-Arbi, the, 4, 7, 9 Rais Morat see Lyle, Peter Ramadhan, Fast of, 198, 226-7, 230, Randall,

74, 82

Randolph, Edmund, 111, 114-21, 124, 128, 180, 201, 216, 263, 265

Ransoms Appropriation for voted by Congress (1792), 98 Corsica coral fishermen, 214-5 Dead slaves, Dey claims ransom price, 250-1 Dutch, 120 Earnings of skilled slave saved for, 44

French religious order, arrangement

captives Relief funds for captives: see under American captives Religion, 15-16, 44, 52, 95, 163, 238 Renaissance, 17 Renegades, Calabrian, 60, 69: Christians, 7, 60, 63, 239, 245; corsair captains, 25; English, 296, 300; Georgian, 315; Irish, 7, 145-6,

239 Revue Africaine, cited, 22-24 and passim

Rhode Island,

7-9, 19-20,

110, 118

Robertson, John, cited, 41, 44, 48 Robin, N., cited, 91 Rogers, Joseph, 287

Roman Catholics, Romans

in

46, 49, 105, 171, 287

North Africa, 12-18, 21-22,

58

191; offer of release from laboiirs pending arrival of money refused, 189-90, 279; delays in payment, 214-15, 279-80; payment, 285-7, 307 release of captives see under

Rome,

86, 156

Rope-makers, guild, 235 Ross, F. E., cited,

xi,

193

Rousseau, Alphonse, cited, 78 Routledge, Charles, cited, 261 Rowboat (type of vessel), 2, 104

Rowing galleys Russia, 76,

O"*,

:

see Galleys

103, 316; Consul, 100

:

American captives Neapolitans, 136-7, 146, 287 Negotiations (1786), 74-76, 81, 94; 'do nothing' policy, 84, 97, 100, 159; (1792), 98; (1795), 125, 129132, 153, 170, 181, 183; treaty, 187, 189-90; terms agreed, 191 Officials, automatic ransom on conclusion of peace, 120, 136 Petitions to Congress, 85, 94—95 Prices, Algerian demands, 73, 81-84, 93-94, 96-97, 129-30; covmterproposal, 170, 181; terms agreed, 191 Private redemption, 85-86 Release before ransom paid, 277

z

3,

Rhdne, 203

through, 84

Jewish brokers, arrangement through for wealthy slaves, 43, 54, 84-85, 96, 189, 276, 280, 286 Money for ransoms, terms agreed,

;

339

Sacerdoti, A., cited, 70 Sahara, 11-12, 15-17, 22, 86 Sailing ships, deep-draught, 24

Vincent, Cape, 108 Salem, 67 Sallee, 67 St.

Sally (brig), 224r-5 Saluks, 240

Sanitary system, 51-52 Sardinia, 23, 268-9

Scandinavia, 171, 179 Schiekh-el-Elad, 235

Sea captains, Algerian, 60; and diplomatic missions, 1 19-20 Secretaries, Turkish, 233-5, 241, 247-8, 286, 294-5

INDEX

340

Release,

Septimae, 76, 78-79 Serfs, 12-14 Sewers and sewage,

51,

146,

234,

:

Dey of Algiers Sidi Muliammad, 135 Silk trade, 233

133,216,233,273 Simpson, James, 100-6, 111, 119, 124,

Silver, 39,

cited,

94,

100,

103-6,110-11,158,279,290 Skjoldebrand, Mathias, 101, 147, 155, 163-4, 173, 210-12, 220, 254, 273,

276 Skjoldebrand, Pierre, 135, 209-12, 220, 224, 230, 254, 263, 273, 276, 280; refuses post as U.S. Consul at Algiers, 119, 121-2, 125, 131, 265; and American peace negotiations, 131-3, 148-50, 153, 155, 158-9, 163-4, 170-3, 175, 177-82, 185, 190, 222; financial help for Cathcart, 147 Slaves (see also subject headings throughout the index) American see American captives Christian, 28-32, 41-57, 64, 77, 84, 95,139-44, 147,238-9 Civil Service open to, 63 Deaths from plague see under Plague :

:

Domestic

:

see

Domestic slaves

Dress, 38, 173 Escapes, 53 Labour, 93, 135-7, 139, 146, 188, 208, 233, 235; exemption payments, 85,

134-5

Lamentation when Americans departed, 287

Loans to, 43 Market, 35-36, 40-41 Money owed, 189 Nvunber, 231 Prisons see Bagnios :

Punishment Redemption

:

:

ransom, 277; of under American

captives

Tipping, 42-43, 89, 137, 169, 207-9,

Shopkecping, 235, 237, 242 Short, William, 270 Sicily, 47, 252, 297 Sidi Betka, 78 Sidi Hamouda, Bagnio, 46-47 Sidi Hassan (Moorish Chief), 90-93, 95 Sidi Hassan (Turk) see Hassan Bashaw,

dispatches

see

Requirements from, 44 SkUled, 43-45

236 Shaush, the, 240, 248-9 Ship dues for hospitals, 46 ShipbuQder, as gift to Day, 109

296;

before

Americans:

see

Pimishment

see

Ransoms

258 Warders, presents for, 198 Wealthy, 43, 54, 189 Slavs, of Constantinople, 15 Sleeping accommodation, renting of bunks, 52, 87, 188 Sloan, Philip, biographical, 120; peace negotiator, 119-22, 127-8, 131, 149, 153; in Algiers, 160, 165-7, 170-3, 179-87, 190, 194, 207; at Alicante, 204, 219-23, 266; relations with Donaldson, 173, 206, 211-3, 222; back in Algiers, 228, 230, 251, 253; dispatches cited,

204, 206, 212 Smallholdings, 231 Smallpox, 303 Smith, Charles, cited, 24 Smyrna, 58 Soames, J., cited, 11 Social life in Algiers, 143-6

Sophia

(brig), 122-3, 128, 180, 217-8, 221, 264, 294-9, 300

South America, 102 Spahis, 88, 245 Spain, and Spanish Algiers, attacks on, 22, 39-40, 56, 74,

76-79, 246-7

;

'one

hundred years'

truce' with (1785), 4, 39-40, 79, 81, 96, 102, 124, 187, 317-18; relations

with, 113-14, 128, 132

American

colonies, 39, 66, 75, 112,

149

Blockade of Straits of Gibraltar,

4,

40, 79, 102

British Consul, 74

Consul at Algiers, 158-9, 200, 220, 252 Currency, 217, 251, 274, 282-3 Deserters, 48, 51, 89, 249-51 Inquisition, 77, 243 Jews, 243 King, 18, 39, 79, 117 MiUtarj^ strength, 112 Moslems expelled from, 16-18, 52, 289; relations with, 39, 47, 247 North Africa, and, 14, 16-22, 39, 47-48, 68-69, 79, 152 Portugal, and, 112, 19

;

INDEX Priests, 45-46, 73

Religious orders, 189 Sheep import, 306 Ships and seamen, 2, 5, 17, 19, 70, 210, 223, 258 Slaves, 28-29, 32, 44, 48, 73, 81, 136-7, 146 United States, and, 75, 112-13, 116117, 270, 310, 317; representation in, 116-17, 281; 73, 85, 100,

Ambassador

(see

Humphreys),

117,

270, 280, 306

Women, 5, 28, 54-55, 142-3 Spanish Gazette, 133 Spanish Hospital, 45, 54, 73, 95 Spanish language, 3, 4, 7, 17, 30-31, 33, 37, 80, 199, 204, 225, 232 Spanish packet boat, 131, 159, 194, 280 Spelling, Barlow's apology, 253 Sterling, British, 216 Stevens, Captain Isaak, captured with crew, 1-4, 8-11, 27-28, 31, 35, 108; separate life from ordinary slave, 37, 87, 93, 134^5, 139; letters petition cited, 41, 82, 85

and

Stockhohn, 242 Stone quarries, 5, 55-56, 208, 246-7, 303 Submarine, first, 315 Suleiman the Great, 19 Supply, Secretary of, 233 Sweden, and American peace, 158, 173; Consvd at Algiers, 101, 113, 119, 132, 146, 149, 163, 167, 253, 311; peace treaty (1723), 193; peace with Algiers re-established (1792), 101, 185; ships, 100-1, 105-7, 268, 303; trade in Mediterranean area, 23, 68, 70, 269 Sydney, Lord, 74; cited, 102

341

tax-gathering expeditions, 61, 240 Taylor, James, 113 Thieving, 49, 51, 55, 140-1, 242

Thomas

(ship). 111

Tipping of slaves see under Slaves Tlemcen, 241 Tobacco, 53, 61, 238 Todd, C. B., cited, 40, 31 1-12, 316 Tolls, on animals, 138-9 Toulon, 2, 69, 105, 192, 284 Town crier, 234 Trafalgar, Cape, 105 Treasury (Hasna), 134, 140, 215, 233, 235, 243, 283, 317; money held in, 97, 252; officials' donations to on appointment, 147; America's payments to, 185—6; economical use of funds, public 246-7; repays co\antrj''s debts to Jews, 285-6; money used for American ransoms, 291,317 Tribute pajTnents, 61, 98, 179, 215, 244, 271-2^304,314 TripoU, 20, 106-7, 289-90, 305, 311 Attacks on shipping from, 20, 22, 24, 106-7, 290, 296-8, 300 Bey of Tripoli, 296-7, 300-1 Dey's representative, 213 France and, 283-4 TripoUtanian Ambassador, 81-82, 98 :

United States Consul, 119, 122, 125, 266, 304 United States peace negotiations, 68, 73, 81-82, 98, 126, 176, 222, 269,

290,292,296,300-1,306 Tunis,20-22, 69, 232, 311 Attacks on shipping from, 22-24, 106-7,289-91,300 Bey of Tunis, 157, 290-1, 297, 301, 314r-15

Tabarca

district, 47, 51

Tagvis River, 112 Taiffe (Guild of

Warship Captains),

60,

U.S. Consul, 119, 122, 125, 266, 304 United States peace negotiations,

63, 76, 107, 135

Tailors, 235, 242

Tangier, 106, 258 Taverns, and tavern-keepers, 46, 256; in bagnios, 45, 49-53, 87, 94, 140-3, 163, 188-90, 217, 238, 250-1, 257, 275; in barracks, 57; free of excise, 51; Cathcart as tavern-owner, 53, 140-3, 147, 189-90, 211-12, 223, 251, 275; Dey's claim against,

250-1 Taxes, 98,

215,

Dey's representative, 213 France, and, 156-7, 283-4 Invasion by Algerians, 314

233-5,

237,

248;

68, 73, 82, 98, 126, 176, 213, 222,

300-1,

290-2, 269, 314-5.

306,

312,

Turbans, 31-33, 80, 241 Turkey, Empire see Ottoman Empire :

navj', 76;

Xorth Africa, and, 20-21,

157; Sultan, 20, 58, 76, 78, 96, 239;

war with Russia,

76, 97, 103 Turkish language, 148, 199, 232 Turkish Secretaries see Secretaries :

INDEX

342

Turks: Algiers, of. 20, 48, 68, 77, 92-93, 96, 101. 132, 193, 226, 232, 236, 251-2;

expulsion from Algiers, 313 Cemetery. 138 Dress, 241 Farm owners, 138 Goodwill mission to Europe, 212-13 Grandees, 42, 55, 148, 277 Jailers,49, 140, 188,238 Janizaries see Janizaries :

Jews, and, 241, 244 Kabyles never conquered by, 91-92 Marseilles, delegation to, 204 Moslems, 20 Names, 90

21,

:

votes

215-16 Journals and Papers cited, 40-41,68,71-72,82 Currency, 53, 216-17, 282, 286 Dey of Algiers, liking for Americans, 146,192,318 East coast ports and merchants, 25, 109-10,115,149-50 Europe, and, 68, 71-72, 149-50, 155, 157-8,160,216,259 Exports, of crops, 112; exaggerated ;

Financial position, 133, 216, 293; reported difficulties, 160, 259 France, and see under France Government Bonds, sale, 200-1, 205, :

Soldiers see Janizaries :

Taverns, and, 50, 52 True-bom Turk, 135 United States, and, 132-3 Tuscany, 268-9 Tiiscany, Duke of, 243

212,216

House of Representatives,

•Uncle', 63-64

United States of America

85, 99, 113 Ideas of, 83-84 Independence, 1, 4, 7, 25, 34, 37, 66-67, 71, 80, 82. 149, 192, 318 Indians, 33, 149, 216, 303 Mediterranean area, and: see Mediterranean Americans Militia, arming, 216 Morocco, peace with, 68, 73, 82-83, 99-100, 102, 105; treaty (1785), 123, 289 Navy, 99, 109, 114-16, 122, 124, 215-16, 304 Negro slavery, 190 North Africa, and: see under North Africa :

with;

see

American-Algerian peace treaty Army, enlargement, 216 Britain, revolt against, 4,

253;

191,

for frigates, 109, 114, 124,

Extravagance, 318 Financial agents in London, 200

62-65 Population, 231-2 Qadi,236 Religious bigotry, 44 Seamen, 7-9, 19, 22-23, 25, 60

treaty

109-10,

98-99,

money

in forged dociiment, 133

Officials see Officials

Political power,

Algerians in, 121 Algiers, peace

and letters to, 41, 71-72, 94-95; Committee and Commission for making peace treaties, 67-68, 7073, 82-83; and money for peace treaties and ransoms, 71, 82-83,

7,

25, 34,

66-67, 71, 80, 82, 192, 318; Treaty of Friendship, 149-50 37,

Capital, federal, 216

Captives in Algiers: see American captives Congress: see Continental Congress,

below Consuls at Algiers (see also under their names), 100, 115, 122; succession of appointments, 264r-5, 294; need for languages, 199; salary needed, 252-3; Barlow as, 222, 266-7; and trading, 273; first resident appointed, 134, 304r-5, 317 Consuls to Barbary, 115, 117-21, 134, 269, 279, 304, 315; Cathcart as, 134,279 Continental Congress, 150; petitions

Senate, 85, 99, 113,254 Ships see American ships Spain, and, 75, 112-13, 116-17, 270, :

310,317 State debts, refunding, 216 Treasury, 121-2, 305 Tripoli and Tunis, peace negotiations

with

:

see

under Tripoli and Tunis 72 ;

War reported with Algeria,

Valine, Langoisseur de la, cited, 40

VaUiere, Monsieur, 131, 149-50, 153, 155, 157-8, 164, 171, 180, 183 Vandals, 14, 21, 58, 86

INDEX Vekil Khradj see High Admiral Venice, Algerian threat of war, 158, 293, 307; bullion from, 292; Consvil at Algiers, 158, 171, 253; Mediterranean area, and, 23, 69, 156, 269; ships, 58, 281, 292, 307 Vermin, 5, 31-32, 35 Vermont, 114, 119 Versailles, 157 Vienna, 19 'Vinegar room', 64 Virginity, 54 :

Wall decorations, 80 Wall tax, annual, 235 Wallace, Captain, 222 War, Christian nations and, 101, 151-2 Warehouses, 27, 237 Warship captains, Guild of: see Taiffe Warships as peace payments: see Frigates Washington, 305 Washington, President George, 109-10, 121, 150, 160, 205, 215, 294, 310; Hiunphreys' relations with, 117120, 126, 154-5, 164, 180, 201, 263,

343 265,

278 Watbled,

306; Dey's

letter

to,

276,

cited, 19, 20, 64

Water supply, 6, 27, 51-52, 247 Weights and measures, 234

WeU Dedi (marabout), 77 Werner, Dr.,

95,

142-3

West Africa, 102 West Indies, 66-67, 156, 218 Wheat, 158, 209-10, 213, 242,

244, 252,

280, 283, 309

Women,

5, 28, 33, 54-55, 226; bathers, 144^5; Cathcartand, 145-6; dress, 241; mistresses, 44; prostitutes: see that title; punishment for adultery, 227 Woodress, J. L., cited, 120, 130, 201-2,

300,311,316 Woulfe, John, 75-76,

79-80, dispatches cited, 40, 71 Wrestlers, 255-6 Wright, L. B., cited, 70, 305

Xebec (type of vessel), Ximenes, Cardinal,

2

18, 22,

Yellow fever, 303, 310

47

125;

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