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Payne, John to George Davis re: report from meeting with Sidi Ahmet Caramanli

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02794.132 Author/Creator: Payne, John Place Written: Lazaretto, Malta Type: Manuscript document Date: 1809/02/22 Pagination: 4 p. 23 x 19 cm

Summary of Content: Payne reports that Sidi Ahmet "professed and appeared to feel much satisfaction at the offer made by his brother of the sovereignty of Derna, but requested a guarantee of his safety . . . I demanded to know unequivocally whether he accepted the proposition made him, and His Excellency replying without hesitation in the affirmative, I delivered him the letter with which I was charged by the Bashaw." After describing the negotiations over details of the offer, Payne concludes: "[i]n all my conversations with Sidi Ahmet I have endeavoured to impress upon His Excellency that the Government of the United States are entirely unconcerned in this transaction . . . " Also mentions that Sidi Ahmet plans to send one of his sons to Tripoli as a gesture of good will. Scribal copy bound together with GLC 2794.118, .120-.124, .128-.133, .135-.145 and .147-.151. (Letter #15 in bound volume.)

Full Transcript: Sir. 15. Lazaretto, Malta 22. February 1809.

I arrived at this place on the morning of the 11. Instant, and in conformity to the introductions contained in your letter of the 1st. the moment ...I was permitted to land I delivered, in person, your letter to William Higgens, Esq: and consigned to his care the one address to Sidi Ahmet, requesting him to inform His Excellency of my arrival and the object of my visit to Malta.
His Excellency and sons, accompanied by Mr. Higgens visited me on the 13. instant, when your letter of the 1 st. was delivered and read to him in Italian. He professed and appeared to feel much satisfaction at the offer made by his brother of the sovereignty of Derna, but requested a guarantee of his safety. I informed His Excellency that you felt the most perfect confidence in the amicable intentions of the Bashaw, but professing no authority from your Government you could not use this name in the transaction. - The personal assurances I gave appearing to remove his suspicions, I demanded to know unequivocally whether he accepted the proposition made him, and His Excellency replying without hesitation in the affirmative, I delivered him the letter with which I was charged by the Bashaws.
A short conversation ensued respecting a request which His Excellency desires to make of his brother, of cloathing [sic], arms, servants ect. I advised him to communicate his wishes in a letter addressed to you, in preference to a direct application to the Bashaw. He assented to this proposal and promised to have the letter prepared by thursday [sic] when he would again see me. During - [2] During [sic] the interval I sketched out the enclosed agreements in English, comprising as I thought, all that I was authorised to put into a formal shape. I also made enquiries of Mr. Pulis and others of the amount of Sidi Ahmet's debts, which I found considerably exceeded the sum for which you had authorised Mr. Higgens to become responsible.
On thursday [sic] His Excellency and suite, attended by his principal creditor as Interpreter paid me a second visit. I explained the agreement which I had drawn up and finding that he perfectly approved of it, promised to prepare an Italian translation which His Excellency might execute on sunday [sic]. This delay proceeded from my wish that Mr. Higgens, who had been prevented by business from attending, might be present on the occasion.
The letter which His Excellency had caused to be written to you containing some exceptionable parts, I pointed them out to him, and he requested me to expunge whatever appeared to me improper. This authorised I made a rough draft of his letter, omitting what related to his former possession of Derna and his wrongful expulsion therefrom, and a request that you would send him money for the payment of his debts and the redemption of his Jewels. My reason for the first & evident. Respecting his Jewels I informed him that I would make an arrangement for this recovery, because I found that they were pledged for that debt which you had authorised Mr. Higgens to answer. In regard to the sums due to others (which are of long standing and perhaps amount to $5, 000) I advised His Excellency to conclude an agreement - [3] agreement [sic] with his creditors for their liquidation at a stipulated period after his establishment at Derna. The Interpreter replied he had no objection to this course and would himself allow twelve months provided he could be ultimately secured here. - This point I expect they will all insist upon (and perhaps with some justice) and may raise obstructions to His Excellency's departure, and this being the only difficulty which I anticipated I hope [inserted: that] from the liberality hitherto displayed by the Bashaw, he may be inclined to remove it.
According to appointment His Excellency returned on sunday. He affixed his seal to the Italian copy of the convention which I signed on the part of the Bashaw and to be confirmed by him. His Excellency also dictated a letter to his brother expressive of his gratitute for the important concession he had made in his favor. Both of these papers you will find enclosed.
I advised His Excellency to give a proof of his confidence in his brother by requesting a Tripolina vessel for the purpose of transporting himself and family to Derna; but as he expressed considerable reluctances on this point, and solicited the protection of an English or American flag, I confronted to furnish a vessel of this description.
His Excellency enquired whether he could fend one of his sons to see his uncle. I replied that if it was for the purpose of soliciting any further concessions from his brother I never would give it my sanction; but if it was intended to evince the sincerity of this reconciliation, and as a mark of gratitude, the proposal met my most hearty concurrence. He assured me that it was only to tender his thanks - [4] thanks [sic] for the obligation which his brother had conferred on him and I therefore consented to his departure with the Bashaw's [illegible] Rais Ibrahim.
In all my conversations with Sidi Ahmet I have endeavored to impress upon His Excellency that the Government of the United States are entirely unconcerned in this transaction and that he ought to attribute it's successful issue solely to your personal exertions. He replies that you have twice rendered him life.- by obtaining the liberation of his family and, by enabling him to support them; but that he still relies on the friendship and protection of the American Government.
I have thus detailed the progress I have made in the business you entrusted to my care, and hope what has been done will meet your approbation; it's final conclusion will depend upon your furnishing me such instructions as you may deem necessary.

With high respect
I have the honor to be
Sir, your Mo[st]: Ob[edien]t. Serv[an]t.

George Davis, Esquire, (signed) John Payne
Consul of the United States
of America at Tripoli
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