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Lear, Tobias (1762-1816) to Sidi Josaph Sapatapa of Tunis re: treaty between Tunis and the U.S.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02794.095 Author/Creator: Lear, Tobias (1762-1816) Place Written: Tunis Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1805/08/22 Pagination: 3 p. + docket 19.8 x 8.2 cm

Summary of Content: Draft of GLC 2794.096. Lear writes Sidi Jossaph, the Sapatapa (Prime Minister) to the Bey of Tunis to negotiate more favorable commerce and shipping agreements with Tunis, with the "object . . . to increase the harmony and good understanding which exists between" the U.S. and Tunis. Docketed on verso.

Full Transcript: Tunis August 22d. 1805

Tobias Lear, Consul General of the United States of America for the Regency of Algiers &c

To Sidi Jossaph, Sapatapa and Prime Minister to His Excellency the ...Bey of Tunis


In consequence of the conversation which I had the honor to hold with you yesterday, by order of His Excellency the Bey, on the subject of commerce, and certain articles of the Treaty now existing between His Excellency and the United States of America, I take the liberty of making the following observations, for the consideration of His Excellency and yourself.

As the sole object of the Government of the United States is to increase the harmony and good understanding which exists between them and those nations with whom they are in friendship, they would wish to be placed upon the same footing with his Excellency, in respect to their commercial intercourse, and the reception given to their Citizens as is observed towards other nations with whom his Excellency is in habits of friendship and mutually advantageous commerce. It is therefore preferred that the Article in the Treaty between his Excellency, and the United States, which subjects the Citizens of the Untied States to pay the same duties on merchandize imported into this Regency, under the Flag of the Untied States, which wd. be paid by a Tunisian subject [struck: another nation] carrying Merchandize to the United States, should be annulled; and that the Americans should pay the same and no more duty on merchandize imported by them into the Regency of [2] Tunis, than is paid by other nations the most favoured, where it does not infringe upon any Treaty now existing between His Excellency and any foreign nation.

The article which compels the master of a merchant vessel to charter his vessel to the government, if he should be wanted, deprives the said vessel of the fair opportunity of making such voyages as might be most advantageous to the owners of said vessel, and lays a restraint on commerce which mush be highly injurious to the same. It would therefore be desirable to have the article either differently modified or annulled.

The salute given to [struck: public] Vessels of war of the Untied States, to be returned in the same manner by such vessel, and not by the payment of a barrel of gun powder for each cannon which may be freed in salute of said vessel, as it now stands in the Treaty.

That the Article which relates to slaves taking refuge on board ships of war of the Untied States, would be [struck: altered, and placed] the same as that which relates to the same subject with the most favoured nations.

The existing Treaty between the Excellency the Bey of and the United States of America, having been made by the mutual consent of the parties, and duly ratified, can only be changed by the mutual agreement of the same. The foregoing propositions are therefore made for the consideration of His Excellency the Bey, who will, in his wisdom, be able to judge, if an acquiescence in them will tend to increase the friendship and good understanding between the [3] two nations, and promote their mutual advantage. Should he be convinced that those benefits would result from a confirmation of them, His Excellency will [struck: readily signify his] be pleased to signify his assent thereto; or should he be of a different opinion, he will have the goodness to make such remarks thereon, as may arise in his mind; or suggest other propositions which may produce the same desireable [sic] effects.

Accept the assurances of my high respect and consideration

Tobias Lear


The Prime Minister of Tunis
22d. August. 1805

See More

People: Lear, Tobias, 1762-1816

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)DiplomacyGovernment and CivicsGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyBarbary CoastBarbary PiratesBarbary WarsAfricaPiratesPresidentCommerceMerchants and Trade

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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