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UC-NRLF 





THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 




WILLIAM EATON 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

EDITED BY 

JARED SPARKS 



ILLIAM EATON 



By 



CORNELIUS C. FELTON 



Vol. 2 




HARPER & BROTHERS 

PUBLISHERS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON J902 

I 



Added Cop 

A*iF* 

Gin 



$79 

EATON VOL. II 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

Eaton s Birth, Parentage, and early Life. His 
Appointment in the Army. His Marriage 3 

CHAPTER II 

Eaton s Departure to join the Western Army. 
His Altercation with Captain Butler. 
Arrives at Cincinnati. Returns to Brimfield. 
His Engagement in the Recruiting Service. 
Service in Georgia. Trial by a Court- 
Martial, and Sentence 8 

CHAPTER III 

Eaton embarks for Algiers. His Arrival there, 
and Presentation at Court. Departure for 
Tunis. He is delayed by contrary Winds. 
Arrival at Tunis, and Reception by Famin. 
Friendly Warning of the British Consul . 17 

CHAPTER IV 

Treaty negotiated by Famin. Article rejected 
by the Senate. Stipulations. Other Ar- 




M775795 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

tides objected to. Instructions of Mr. Secre 
tary Pickering to the American Consuls. 
Interviews of Eaton with the Bey, and Negotia 
tions with his Ministers 21 

CHAPTER V 

Negotiation continued. Influence of England. 
Presents demanded by the Bey. State 
ment of the Articles required. President s 
Letter to the Bey. Difficulties removed, and 
an Accommodation effected 42 

CHAPTER VI 

Arrival of the Hero with Stores. Apprehen 
sions of War with Tunis removed. Frau 
dulent Conduct of the Bey. Eaton takes 
Charge of the Danish Affairs at Tunis. 
His disinterested Conduct in Relation to the 
Danish Vessels. Letter of the Danish Ad 
miral in Relation to it. Eaton s Quarrel 
with Famin. Chastises him publicly, and is 
summoned before the Bey. Defends himself 
and denounces Famin. Arrival of the Anna 
Maria with Stores, and her Detention in the 
Service of the Bey 60 

CHAPTER VII 

Difficulties between Tripoli and the United States. 
Project of a Commercial Convention with 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Tunis. Its Failure. New Demands of the 
Bey. Determination to send a Squadron into 
the Mediterranean. Outrage upon Mr. Cath- 
cart, and Satisfaction demanded 74 

CHAPTER VIII 

Arrival of the American Squadron. Tripoli 
blockaded. Proceedings at Tripoli. Issue 
of the Expedition. Project of dethroning the 
reigning Bashaw and restoring his Brother. 
Eaton s Voyage to Leghorn. Return to Tunis. 
Reported Capture of Tunisian Vessels 
carrying Provisions to Tripoli. Discussions 
arising from it. A Tunisian Xebec arrested 
and examined by an American Schooner. 
Conduct of the Schooner s Crew, and Trouble 
growing out of it. Eaton s successful Inter 
position 91 

CHAPTER IX 

Intervention of the Bey of Tunis in the Affairs 
of Tripoli and the United States. Arrival 
of the Constellation at Tunis. Demand of 
the Bey for a Ship renewed. Eaton commu 
nicates his Project against Tripoli to the Com 
manders of the Squadron. It is disapproved 
by them. Brig Franklin captured by a Tri- 
politan. Efforts to procure the Liberation of 
the Crew. Further Communications with the 
v 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

exiled Bashaw. Differences with the Com 
manders of the American Squadron, and Diffi 
culties of Eaton s Situation in Tunis. New 
Demands of the Bey. The exiled Bashaw 
leaves Malta for Derne. Arrival of Com 
modore Morris at Tunis. His Arrest. 
Eaton s Rupture with the Bey, and Return 
to the United States ... 103 



CHAPTER X 

Eaton s Arrival in the United States. Visit to 
Washington. Passes the Summer in Brim- 
field. Second Visit to Washington, and At 
tempt to settle his Accounts with the United 
States. Letter to the Speaker of the House 
of Representatives. Appointment as Navy 
Agent of the United States for the Barbary 
Powers. Cautious Policy of the President. 
Return to the Mediterranean and Arrival 
in Egypt. Reception by the Viceroy. De 
termination to join the Bashaw. Arrested 
at the Titrkish Lines. Difficulties surmounted, 
and a Junction with the Bashaw effected. 
Convention concluded between Eaton and, Ha- 
met 124 

CHAPTER XI 

Preparations to march across the Desert. Dif 
ficulty with the Camel-Drivers. March com- 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

menced. Further Difficulties with the Arab 
Recruits. Alarming Intelligence from Derne, 
and its Consequences. Extracts from Eaton s 
Journal. News of the Squadron at Derne. 
March continued. Arrival at Derne. 
Battles with the Troops stationed there. 
Overtures of Peace by the reigning Bashaw. 
Negotiations concluded. Derne evacuated. 
Eaton s Return to the United States, and 
flattering Reception 136 



CHAPTER XII 

Eaton s Visit to Brimfield. Return to Wash 
ington. Proceedings of the House of Rep 
resentatives. Resolve passed by the Massa 
chusetts Legislature. Eaton s Deposition on 
the Trial of Burr. Final Adjustment of 
his Claims. Election to the Legislature by 
the Inhabitants of Brimfield. His Conduct 
as Representative. Failure of Reelection. 
Death of his Step-son. Correspondence with 
the Ex-Bashaw and other Friends. Speech 
in Town Meeting at Brimfield. Last Ill 
ness, and Death. Character 173 

vii 



LIFE 

OF 

WILLIAM EATON 

BY 

CORNELIUS C. FELTON 



WILLIAM EATOK 



CHAPTER I. 

Eaton 1 s Birth, Parentage, and early Life. His 
Appointment in the Army. His Marriage 

WILLIAM EATON was born at Woodstock, in 
Connecticut, on the 23d of February, 1764. His 
parents were in the middling rank of life, and 
brought up a large family, with moderate means. 
His father was a farmer, and for many years eked 
out his narrow income, by teaching school during 
the winter; an employment for which he is repre 
sented as having been well qualified by more than 
ordinary attainments for a farmer. He died No 
vember 23d, 1804. 

William, the subject of this biography, showed 
very early in life, an extraordinary vigor of charac 
ter. The rustic labor of a farmer s life had no 
charms for his lively imagination ; but reading and 
the sports of the field were his special delight. 
When he was ten years old, his family re 
moved from Woodstock to Mansfield ; and here 



BIOGRAPHY. 



. far.* -hardy ,dvetiture was still more un- 
cr. * At tne age of s ixteen he ran away, and 
enlisted in the army. In a little more than a 
year his health failed him, and he was obliged 
to set out for home. On the journey he was 
disabled from proceeding by lameness, and, dur 
ing this awkward interval, supported himself in 
the family of a farmer by mending old chairs 
At the expiration of a few weeks, however, his 
father went after him and carried him back. As 
soon as his health was restored, he rejoined the 
army, and remained in the service until April, 
1783, when he was discharged, having attained the 
honors of a sergeant. 

Soon after this, his mind seems to have taken 
a more decided literary turn ; and in 1784 he 
began the study of the classical languages, under 
the instruction of the Reverend Mr. Nott, 01 
Franklin ; and in 1 785, becoming religiously af 
fected, he was made a member of the church of 
that place. In the same year he was admitted a 
student in Dartmouth College ; and, according 
to the customary indulgence extended by that 
and other colleges of New England, the indigent 
students received permission to teach school dur 
ing the ensuing winter. But Eaton was pre 
vented by domestic embarrassments, from re 
newing his connexion with the College until 
two years later, in 1787, when he was again 



WILLIAM EATON. 5 

admitted, and became a member of the Fresh 
man class. He began his occupation as a teacher 
in November, 1785, in Windham, and continued 
until June, 1786, giving a portion of his time 
to college studies, under the instruction of the 
Reverend Mr. Coggswell. He then returned to 
his father s farm in Mansfield, where he divid 
ed his time between study and agriculture dur 
ing that summer. In November, he recom 
menced his school in Windham, and continued 
in it until March, 1787. In May of the same 
year, he started on foot, his pack on his back 
with a few " notions " to sell, and one pista- 
reen only in his pocket, for Dartmouth College. 
This scanty fund was exhausted when he arrived 
at Northfield ; and in this destitute condition he 
gave way to an uncontrollable depression of spirits. 
This, however, was but transient. What with the 
proceeds of the sale from his pack, and other assist 
ance rendered him on the way, he was enabled to 
complete his journey, and was received by Dr. 
Wheelock, the well-known president of the Col 
lege, with great kindness. He was examined, and 
became, as has been stated above, a member of 
the Freshman class. 

From this time Mr. Eaton continued a member 
of the College, supporting himself, in part at least, 
by teaching win-ter schools. The great exertions 
he was obliged to make, to keep up with the 



6 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

studies of his class, impaired his health, and made 
it necessary for him to take a journey. On the 
25th of August, 1790, he was admitted to the 
degree of bachelor of arts, and delivered, with a 
classmate named Jackson, a poetical dialogue at 
the Commencement of that year. 

Having completed his collegiate course, Eaton 
again opened a school in Windsor, which he con 
tinued up to August, 1791. In the October of 
that year, he was chosen clerk to the House 
of Delegates of the State of Vermont. 

During the next winter, Mr. Eaton made a 
visit to Connecticut, and renewed his acquaintance 
with the respectable family of General Timothy 
Danielson, whose youthful widow he afterwards 
married. In the following March, he received, 
through the influence of the Honorable Stephen II. 
Bradly, a senator of the United States from Ver 
mont, the appointment of captain in the army, 
which he accepted. In May, he received orders 
from the Department of War to proceed to Ben- 
nington, where recruits were assembling under his 
ensign, Charles Hyde, of whom he immediately 
assumed the command, and entered vigorously on 
the recruiting service himself. About this time, he 
.OOK the first three degrees in Freemasonry. On 
the 2 1st of the following August, he was married 
to the lady whom we have spoken of above, 
Mrs. Eliza Danielson, at Union, Connecticut, and 



WILLIAM EATON. 



immediately proceeded with his wife to Windsor, 
Vermont. We have now arrived at the period 
when, properly speaking, the narrative of Mr Ea 
ton s active life commences. 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER II. 

Eaton s Departure to join ike Western Ariny 

His Altercation with Captain Butler. 
Arrives at Cincinnati. Returns to Brimfield. 

His Engagement in the Recruiting Service. 

Service in Georgia. Trial by a Court- 
Martial, and Sentence. 

CAPTAIN EATON, having received marching or 
ders, proceeded in September, 1793, with his 
troops to Albany, and thence to New York and 
Philadelphia. From the latter city he went to 
Pittsburg, where he was presented to General 
Wayne, and soon after joined the army at Legion- 
ville. The only affair of any consequence in 
which he was at this time engaged was a quarrel 
with the adjutant-general, Butler, which, though 
not greatly to the credit of either party, for 
tunately ended without bloodshed. At a general 
review in March, 1793, Eaton was placed in 
command of the left column of the army. I* 
the course of the manoeuvres, the general had 
ordered Eaton s column to form the line in the 
flank, and, after the firing was over, the acting 
adjutant-general directed them to return in the 
same order in which they had marched on the 



WILLIAM EATON. 

ground, by files from the right, countermarch. 
Eaton ordered the two wings to countermarch from 
the left and centre. The adjutant-general then 
countermanded his own order, by directing Eaton 
to countermarch by the left ; but Eaton, being con 
fident that he was bringing the column into the 
right position, continued his march. This resulted 
in a violent altercation on the spot between these 
two officers. Butler rode toward Eaton with up 
lifted sword, and was met in his advance by the 
other, with his espontoon. This disorderly and 
unofficerlike scene was ended by the general, who 
directed the march to continue. But Eaton, 
deeming himself entitled to the usual satisfaction 
of a military man, sent the adjutant the following 
rather enigmatical epistle. 

" Legionville, llth March, 5 o clock, P. M. 
SIR, 

I am to understand, and am to be under 
stood by, Captain Butler. EATON. 
" The acting Adjutant-General." 

The Acting Adjutant seems to have been a little 
-pjzzled about understanding Eaton s despatch ; 
he answered it, however, with a proposition of a 
general explanation in the presence of the gentle 
men who commanded in Eaton s column ; a prop 
osition that met with a prompt acceptance. The 
meeting was held at " Captain Price s hut " ; and. 



10 AMERICAN BiOGRAPHV. 

after some deliberation, the gentlemen to whom 
the subject was referred, judiciously decided, that, 
as both " were unfortunate in being culpable, so it 
is incumbent on both to come forward and bury 
the matter in oblivion, by again renewing their 
former friendship." Captain Butler assented to 
this opinion, offered Eaton his hand, and here the 
matter ended. This anecdote is of little conse 
quence, except that it shows qualities of character, 
which influenced the conduct of Eaton at every 
subsequent period of his life. 

Eaton arrived at Cincinnati, with the army, on 
the 5th of May. He gives a glowing description 
of the beauty and fertility of that region, a picture, 
in some respects, contrasting wonderfully with the 
present cultivated appearance of that populous and 
wealthy part of the country. 

During Eaton s connexion with the western 
army, which continued till February, 1794, he was 
engaged in several skirmishes, and participated in 
the erection of Fort Recovery. Having at this time 
obtained leave of absence, he returned to Brim- 
field, by the way of Philadelphia. The following 
June, he engaged again in the recruiting service at 
Springfield, hy request of the secretary of war, and 
continued in it until 1795, when he was ordered to 
Georgia. He embarked at Philadelphia, with his 
troops, on the 1st of December, and encountered 
a violent storm on the voyage, accompanied with 



WILLIAM EATON. 11 

thunder and lightning, which he commemorated 
in a series of heroic verses, more remarkable for 
sounding words than poetic diction, addressed to 
Mrs. Eaton. He arrived safely at Savannah on 
the 26th of the month, and proceeded thence to 
the station at St. Mary s to report himself to the 
commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry 
Gaither. Captain Eaton s time and labor were 
immediately devoted tc the building of a fort at 
Colerain, which he called Fort Pickering ; " not, 
however," says he, " that I might satirize a good 
man, by erecting his monument in the mud." 
The object of the force at St. Mary s was to 
establish a trading factory, to hold in check the 
Indians and Spaniards, and to repress any violence 
on the part of disorderly citizen?: of Georgia, to 
wards the inhabitants of Florida. In May of this 
year, commissioners arrived, on the part of the 
United States, to negotiate a treaty with the Creek 
Indians, which they effected in the June following, 
and thar- accomplished the main object for which 
the troops had been marched to that station. 

While Eaton was engaged at this place, a mis- 
undei standing grew up between him and Colonel 
Gaither, the commandant, which led to the arrest 
and trial of the former by a court-martial. This 
trial is of some consequence, because an attempt 
was made at the trial of Colonel Burr, in Rich 
mond, to set aside the testimony of Eaton, for rea- 



12 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

sons drawn from these proceedings. Upon a review 
of all the evidence now to be had in the case, 
there can be but little doubt that Eaton was the 
object of unjust and harsh treatment from his com 
mandant. It is very likely that Eaton s manners 
were offensive and impetuous, and that his mode 
of discharging the duties of his office was any 
thing but conciliating to Colonel Gaither. Captain 
Eaton was arrested in August, though he had 
twice, before that time, demanded, in writing, a 
court of inquiry, and once verbally, for the pur 
pose of showing that the reports circulated to his 
disadvantage were without foundation. To this 
privilege he was legally entitled ; but the granting 
of it did not suit the object of Colonel Gaither. 
The court-martial consisted of five members, one 
major, two captains, and two ensigns, all of whom, 
excepting the president, were inferior in rank to 
Eaton. The trial lasted more than a fortnight, 
and every effort was made to crush the character 
of the prisoner. He was charged with speculating 
on the men under his command ; with detaining in 
his hands bounty money, and paying them in 
goods at an advanced price ; with selling public 
corn, and allowing the public horses only two 
quarts per day ; with disobedience of orders ; with 
liberating a soldier, who had been charged with 
causing the death of another, and tearing in pieces 
the charge in a contemptuous manner ; and with 



WILLIAM EATON. 13 

defrauding the troops under his command of rations 
due to them, which were never accounted for to 
the men. To these charges Eaton made a long 
and elaborate reply, which he afterwards transmit 
ted to the secretary of state, Colonel Pickering. 
His defence is minute and able. It is character 
ized by rude, fierce, and sometimes by figurative 
language, that rises to eloquence. He is not 
sparing of invective, and does not hesitate to 
charge his enemies with the basest motives. The 
origin of the commandant s hostility to him he 
expressly attributes to that officer s resentment for 
his refusal to purchase lands held by Gaither in the 
" Yazoo Grants," and obtained in a manner which 
Eaton openly reprobated. He charges upon him, 
also, a close connexion with a person owning large 
tracts in the vicinity of the post, and that the place 
had been selected with a view to gainful specula* 
tions, though wholly unsuitable for a military sta 
tion or a trading factory, for reasons specifically 
detailed. The truth of the latter charge rests not 
on the credibility of Eaton s declaration alone ; for 
Ensign Thompson, a member of the court-martii*!, 
positively asserts, that the commandant had " or 
dered Eaton to make no reports, although the 
secretary of war had given instruction that he 
should." Eaton obeyed the instructions of the 
secretary, and, as his reports were unfavorable to 
the private wishes of Colonel Gaither and his 



14 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

friends, the sacrifice of the subordinate seems to 
have been resolved upon, as a necessary measure 
for the protection of their pecuniary interests. 

The tenor of Eaton s defence is too bold and 
uncompromising for a man conscious of guilt ; and 
the testimonies to his excellent conduct, by the 
people in the neighborhood of his station, forbid the 
supposition that Colonel Gaither s charges were 
founded in truth. The court-martial, also, seem to 
have felt the force of his arguments ; for, though 
a majority were decidedly hostile, and every effort 
was made during five months preceding the trial to 
collect testimony against him, they yet sentenced 
him merely to two months suspension from com 
mand. The proceedings of the court-martial were 
sent to the commandant for his approval ; but, in 
stead of acting upon their decision, as it was his 
duty to do, he arbitrarily imprisoned Eaton in 
Fort Pickering, despatched the proceedings of the 
court to the secretary of war, and ordered Eaton, 
after a month s confinement, to the seat of govern 
ment. The sentence was not confirmed. Eaton 
was told, on application to the secretary, that his 
standing in the army was not changed. 

In January, 1797, Eaton returned to Brimfield, 
and remained there until the following summer. 
In July he was commissioned by the secretary of 
state to execute the orders of a committee of 
Congress; appointed to procure information relative 



WILLIAM EATON. 15 

to Blount s conspiracy. Under this confidential 
commission, he was ordered to proceed to New 
York, and secure the person of Dr. Nicholas 
Romayne, with his papers. Eaton executed this 
order with the greatest promptitude, having brought 
the prisoner to Philadelphia in less than two days 
after his departure from that city. On his return 
from this expedition, he received the appointment 
of American consul in Tunis ; but, previous to 
his departure for the place of his destination, he 
was charged with despatches for Mr. Gerry, then in 
Cambridge, and on the point of sailing for France. 
Having delivered them with punctuality, he re 
visited Brimfield, where he passed the autumn. 
In the winter he made a journey to Ohio, and 
returned in the following March. He remained 
at home from that time till the 12th of November, 
when he received notice from the secretary of 
state, that the vessels destined for Algiers were 
ready to sail. He accordingly took leave of his 
family, and arrived at the seat of government on 
the 18th of the same month. From this time the 
most important period of General Eaton s public 
life commences. He was placed in a station, 
which gave an ample scope to the energy of his 
vigorous character, and to his love of strange ad 
ventures. The theatre of his action henceforth 
was in a barbarous country, the distance and char 
acter of which lend a romantic charm to his way 



16 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

of life and his singular achievements ; though the- 
remoteness of the scene has contributed to throw 
his real claims upon the memory of his country 
men into obscurity. 



WILLIAM EATON. 17 



CHAPTER HI 

Eaton embarks for Algiers. His Arrival there, 
and Presentation at Court. Departure for 
Tunis. He is delayed by contrary Winds. 
Arrival at Tunis, and Reception by Famin. 
Friendly Warning of the British Consul 

MR. EATON embarked on board the United 
States brig Sophia, bound to Algiers, on the 22d 
of December, 1798. The Sophia sailed in com 
pany with the Hero, the Hassan Bashaw, the 
Skjoldabrand, and the Lela Eisha, all destined by 
the United States as payment of stipulations and 
arrearages due to the Dey of Algiers. The 
Sophia had a passage of thirty-six days from the 
Capes of Delaware to the Bay of Algiers, where 
she arrived on the 9th of February, 1799. James 
L. Cathcart, the United States consul at Tripoli, 
had taken passage in the same vessel. Eaton and 
Cathcart waited immediately on Mr. O Brien, the 
Consul-General of the United States for the Bar- 
bary coast, and remained with him until March. 
On the 22d of February they were presented at 
the palace, the armed vessels having been delivered 
to the Regency a few days previously. The fol 
lowing extract from Eaton s journal gives a pithy 
account of the ceremonies on that occasion. 



18 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

"February 22d. Consul O Brien, Cathcart, 
and myself, Captain Geddes, Smith, Penrose, Ma- 
ley, proceeded from the American house to the 
courtyard of the palace, uncovered our headsj 
entered the area of the hall, ascended a winding 
maze of five flights of stairs, to a narrow cark 
entry, leading to a contracted apartment, of about 
twelve by eight feet, the private audience room. 
Here we took off our shoes, and, entering the cave 
(for so it seemed) with small apertures of light 
with iron grates, we were shown to a huge shaggy 
beast, sitting on his rump, upon a low bench, cov 
ered with a cushion of embroidered velvet, with his 
hind legs gathered up like a tailor or a bear. On 
our approach to him, he reached out his fore paw 
as if to receive something to eat. Our guide ex 
claimed, Kiss the Dey s hand ! The Consul- 
General bowed very elegantly, and kissed it, and 
we followed his example in succession. The 
animal seemed, at that moment, to be in a harmless 
mode ; he grinned several times, but made very 
little noise. Having performed this ceremony, 
and standing a few moments in silent agony, we 
had leave to take our shoes and other property, 
and leave the den, without any other injury than 
the humility [humiliation] of being obliged, in this 
involuntary manner, to violate the second com 
mand of God, and offend common decency." 

On the 2nd of March, Eaton sailed from Algiers 



WILLIAM EAT ON. 10 

for Tunis, but was forced by contrary wh ds into 
the Bay of Biserta. Here he went on shore, and 
sent a courier by land with a letter to Azulai, a 
Jewish merchant of Tunis, requesting him to pro 
vide a house with suitable accommodations, that 
should be ready on his arrival. He was unable to 
reembark until the 10th, on account of the surf, 
caused by a strong wind blowing into the mole, 
and a current setting out ; in the mean time he 
accepted the hospitality of Stephen Decoster, an 
Italian, and acting vice-consul for the Emperor, 
Holland, and Ragusa. On the 12th, the Sophia 
came to anchor in the Bay of Tunis. The ship s 
papers were immediately exhibited to the Aga of 
the marine, who promised to send the necessary 
information to the Bey. On the 14th, permission 
was received from the Bey to go on shore, and 
they proceeded immediately in a barge to the 
city. As no house had as yet been provided, 
they took up their abode for the present with M. 
Famin, a Frenchman, who had heretofore been 
the agent of the United States at Tunis. The 
flags of the different European nations at peace 
with the Regency were hoisted at the consular 
houses, and the afternoon of the same day was 
spent in receiving visits. Mr. Eaton was cautioned, 
immediately on his arrival, against placing any 
confidence in M. Famin. The British consul in 
timated, that Famin was a dangerous personage. 



20 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and that Eaton s situation was a very critical one. 
He advised the American consul to unite caution 
and firmness in the negotiation, and told him, "that 
the Bey was a man of acute discernment, and 
generally of fair dealing, but that he was vain 
and avaricious." 

Being thus forewarned, both of the charactei 
of the Bey, and of the French agent of the United 
States, Eaton had his first interview on the 15th. 
As the immediate business, which he had to dis 
cuss with the government of Tunis, grew out of 
an article, in a treaty negotiated by M. Famin on 
the part of the United States, which article had 
been rejected by the Senate, it will be proper to 
give some account of the disputed stipulation, be 
fore proceeding to the diplomatic intercourse of 
Mr. Eaton with that regency 



WILLIAM EATON. 21 



CHAPTER IV. 

Treaty negotiated by Famin. Article, reject - 
ed by the Senate. Stipulations. OMe? 
Articles objected to. Instructions of Mr 
Secretary Pickering to the American Consuls. 
Interviews of Eaton with the Bey, ana 
Negotiations with his Ministers. 

JOSEPH ETIENNE FAMIN, who is mentioned in 
the preceding chapter, had been employed by 
Joel Barlow, Consul-General of the United States 
for the Barbary Powers, as American agent in 
Tunis. He had concluded the negotiation of a 
treaty of peace and friendship between the United 
States and the Bey and government of Tunis, in 
August, 1797, which was laid before the Senate 
in the March of the following year. The treaty 
was ratified, with the exception of the fourteenth 
article, which related to the duties on mer 
chandise, to be reciprocally paid by the citizens 
and subjects of the parties in their respective 
ports. The article objected to by the Senate, 
was expressed as follows. 

" The citizens of the United States of Ameri 
ca, who shall transport into the kingdom of Tunis 
the merchandise of their country in the vessels of 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

their nation, shall pay three per cent duty. Such 
as may be laden by such citizens under a foreign 
flag, coming from the United States or elsewhere, 
shall pay ten per cent duty. Such as may be 
laden by foreigners on board of American vessels, 
coming from any place whatever, shall also pay 
ten per cent duty. If any Tunisian merchant 
wishes to carry merchandise from his country, 
under any flag whatever, into the United States 
of America, and on his own account, he shall pay 
three per cent duty." 

The Senate resolved, " that it be recommended 
to the President of the United States, to enter 
into a friendly negotiation with the Bey and gov 
ernment of Tunis, on the subject of the said arti 
cle, so as to accommodate the provision thereof 
to the existing treaties of the United States with 
other nations." 

Although the Senate ratified the treaty, with 
the exception of the abovecited article, there 
were stipulations in others, which were found ob 
jectionable, and of which the American agents 
were instructed by the Secretary of State to ob 
tain modifications. Article eleventh provided, that 
a barrel of gunpowder should be given to the gov 
ernment of Tunis, for every gun fired in saluting 
American ships of war; and article twelfth, that 
" the subjects or citizens of the two nations shall 
be protected by the government, or commandants 



WILLIAM EATON. 23 

of the places where they may be, and not by the 
other authorities of the country," and stipulated 
farther, that the government of Tunis might com 
pel an American captain to put his vessel into its 
service, at such freight as the government itself 
should prescribe. 

The Secretary of State instructed Messrs. 
O Brien, Eaton, and Cathcart to procure, if pos 
sible, a change of the three articles in question 
into the following forms. 

ARTICLE XI. " When a vessel of war of 
one of the parties shall enter a port of the other, 
in which there is a fortification, she shall be saluted 
with fifteen guns ; which salute the vessel of war 
shall return, gun for gun." 

ARTICLE XII. (First part as before.) 
" The subjects and citizens of the two nations, re 
spectively shall be protected in the places where 
they may be, by the officers of the government 
there existing ; but, on failure of such protection, 
and for redress of every injury, the party may re 
sort to the chief authority in each country, by 
whom adequate protection and complete justice 
shall be rendered." 

" In case the government of Tunis shall have 
need of an American vessel for its service, such 
vessel being within the Regency, (and not previ 
ously engaged,) the government shall have the 
preference, on its paying the same freight as the 



24 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Tunisian merchants usually pay for the same sei 
vice, or at the like rate, if the service be without 
a customary precedent." The words in the pa 
renthesis to be omitted, if objected to 

ARTICLE XIV. " All vessels belonging to 
the citizens and inhabitants of the United States 
shall be permitted to enter the different ports of 
the kingdom of Tunis, and freely trade with the 
subjects and inhabitants thereof, on paying the 
usual duties that are paid by all other nations at 
peace with the Regency. In like manner all ves 
sels belonging to the subjects and inhabitants of 
the kingdom of Tunis shall be permitted to enter 
the different ports of the United States, and freely 
trade with the citizens and inhabitants thereof, on 
paying the usual duties that are paid by all other 
nations at peace with the United States." 

Or the following form, if preferred. 

" The commerce of the citizens and inhabitants 
of the United States with the kingdom of Tunis, 
and of the subjects and inhabitants of the king 
dom of Tunis with the United States, shall be on 
the footing of the most favored nations, for the 
time being respectively." 

The Secretary instructed the American agents 
also to offer the Tunisian government a sum of 
money in lieu of the naval and military stores, 
stipulated to be delivered at Tunis, by the United 
States. The estimated value of these stores, at 



WILLIAM EATON. 25 

Tunis, was thirty-five thousand dollars. The 
agents were authorized to increase the sum to one 
hundred thousand dollars, if absolutely necessary. 
But if the delivery of the stores should be finally 
insisted on, and the alteration of the fourteenth ar 
ticle refused without an additional stipulation, they 
were to offer five thousand dollars in cash. If 
more should be required, and the alternative were 
an immediate war, they were instructed to go 
as far as ten thousand dollars. If this should be 
unsatisfactory, the matter was to be referred to 
the American government. They were further 
authorized to offer, instead of the present of naval 
and military stores, a cruiser, not exceeding twenty- 
two guns, six-pounders, either to be built for the 
purpose, or one already belonging to the United 
States. 

If the agents found their efforts ineffectual to 
secure the continuance of peace, they were di 
rected to keep the negotiation pending as long as 
possible, and to despatch letters to the Consul- 
General at Algiers, to the American consuls in all 
the ports of the Mediterranean sea, and to the 
ministers in Spain and Portugal, in order that ef 
fectual measures might be taken to secure Ameri 
can vessels from the perils of anticipated war. 

The stipulations in M. Famin s treaty, whose 
objectionable character rendered this negotiation 
necessary, Mr. Barlow declared were not compre 
hended in the first project of the treaty transmit- 



26 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ted to him in April ; and the insertion of the 14th 
article was accounted for on the ground, that M 
Famin, being a merchant, might derive important 
advantages from a direct trade with the United 
States. The Bey and his government were prob 
ably led to agree to it, either in order to favor the 
project of the agent, or to make it the instrument 
of extorting new concessions from the government 
of the United States, who, they imagined, would 
be willing to pay an additional sum of money to 
have it expunged. The hostile attitude assumed 
by France towards the United States was well 
known to Famin, from M. Herculais, the princi 
pal agent of that nation in Barbary, by whom he 
was first recommended to Mr. Barlow. This 
circumstance might have rendered him a will 
ing accomplice in thwarting the interests of the 
United States. 

He had, however, been promised the Amer 
ican consulate at Tunis, by Mr. Barlow, if he 
succeeded in making a treaty with that power ; 
contrary to the policy adopted by our govern 
ment, of appointing none but American citizens 
to that important office, in any of the Barbary 
States. But his influence with the Sapitapa, or 
Keeper of the Seals, whose agent he was for all 
prizes brought in by that officer s corsairs, and 
his power to injure the interests of the United 
States, made it important to avoid giving him of 
fence, and, if possible, to conciliate his friendship 



W 1 L L I A M E A T O N 27 

To compensate, therefore, the disappointment he 
might feel in being superseded by the appointment 
of another, Eaton was authorized to offer him, on 
the part of the United States, for his services in 
negotiating, first a truce, and afterwards a treaty of 
peace, two thousand dollars, a sum equivalent to 
the consular salary for one year ; and to promise 
him, still further, a handsome present, in case of 
a successful issue to the final negotiation. 

It has been already stated, that Eaton had his 
interview with the Bey on the 15th of March, 
being conducted to the palace and introduced by 
Famin. After the ceremony of delivering cre 
dentials, and kissing the hands of the Bey, coffee 
was brought in, and the conversation commenced. 
He began at once to complain, that he had not 
been informed that the American vessel was a 
vessel of war, that she might have received the 
customary salute ; and that the business of the 
agency had not been introduced to him by his 
ministers, without the intervention of a Jew ; and 
that the stipulated present of naval and military 
stores, though expected a year before, had not 
yet been delivered. To the first part of the 
complaint, the consul replied, that he was unac 
quainted with the custom ; * and to the last, that 
the treaty had been received by the American 

* The consul here gave a diplomatic version of the 
true reason, which was, that the salute would have cost 
the United States about eight hundred dollars. 



28 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

government only eight months before, when the 
plague was raging; and when that ceased, the win 
ter had closed the harbors with ice ; that all the 
means of the country were needed to defend her 
against the depredations of France, with whom 
she was at w r ar ; that the American government 
had objected to several stipulations in the treaty, 
and, when these should be altered, every exertion 
would be made to fulfil the obligations on their 
part. 

The articles and amendments, above explained, 
were then pointed out to the Bey, and he was 
informed by the American agents, as a proof of 
the good faith of their government, that they 
were authorized to stipulate for the payment of 
an equivalent in cash. The Bey replied, in sub 
stance, that he had cash enough, and to spare ; 
but that the stores were peculiarly necessary to 
him at this time, and that the United States had 
found no difficulty in fulfilling their engagements 
with Algiers and Tripoli. It was offered in ex 
planation, that the American government had 
agreed to furnish the Dey of Algiers certain 
aimed vessels, for which he was to pay cash; 
that no difficulty had Deen louja in fulfilling this 
contract, because the vessels carried with them 
their own means of defence. He intimated a 
doubt, as well he might, of the Dey of Algiers 
having paid the cash, and abruptly asked M. 
Famin, why he had hoisted the colors of the 



WILLIAM EATON. 29 

United States, if the treaty had not been ratified. 
Though Famin declared he had received orders 
from the government, the American consuls assured 
the Bey that no such orders had been given, nor 
would be, until the ratification of the treaty, which 
would take place as soon as the few objectionable 
particulars had been adjusted, when despatches 
would be sent directly home, and the obligations of 
the American agent be at once acknowledged and 
paid. The Bey pettishly said, " It cost you but 
little to have your flag hoisted ; it will cost you 
less to have it taken down," and insisted on the 
presents as a condition of peace. The consuls 
pointed out the danger of risking stores, which were 
contraband of war, in the Mediterranean, covered 
as it was with French and Spanish war-boats. 
They proposed, therefore, according to the in 
structions of the Department of State, to furnish 
the Bey with a cruiser, of equal value with the 
presents, provided he acceded to the required 
alterations in the treaty. Taking a hint from this 
proposition, the Bey declared, that he should ex 
pect an armed vessel gratuitously, when the busi 
ness was settled. But he was promptly told to 
expect nothing of the kind ; that the Americans 
had work enough for their navy in defending their 
commerce from the aggressions of France, and 
that it was only to prevent the loss of property in 
such a manner as would strengthen the hands of the 



30 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

common enemy, and to convince him of the honor 
of the American government, that the proposal had 
been made of substituting an armed vessel for the 
naval and military stores. Finding the occasion 
unfavorable to his views, the Bey postponed the 
discussion, and dismissed the consuls, with an in 
junction to make their communications to him 
directly, or through his ministers, and not through 
the medium of a Jew. A few moments after they 
had retired into the area of the palace, the &* k- 
tapa informed them, that the Bey would r^eive 
them again on Monday. 

On the 15th, Mr. Cathcart attempted to go on 
board the ship, for the purpose of departing to the 
place of his destination, but was detained at the 
Goletta all night. He was hospitably entertained 
by an old engineer, in the service of the Bey^ 
who cautioned him not to trust in the honesty of 
Famin, and declared that all the foreign consuls 
regarded him as a spy, and that he was generally 
believed to have furnished the government of 
Tunis with pretexts for demands upon the tributa 
ry nations, for which he received a brokerage- 
These hints of the character of Famin coincided 
with the statements of the British consul. 

The American agents had an interview with the 
plenipotentiary of Algiers, who offered them his 
friendship, advised them to move with caution and 
perseverance, and encouraged them to hope for a 



WILLIAM EATON. 31 

favorable issue of the negotiation. The govern 
ment of Algiers exerted a commanding influence 
over the Regency of Tunis, by reason of its superi 
ority in arms and resources ; but it was neither safe 
nor prudent for any Christian nation to employ the 
mediation of Algiers in negotiations with Tunis, 
on account of the natural kindness existing be 
tween two kindred hordes of pirates. The Amer 
icans, therefore, were not forward to enter into 
confidential relations with the Algerine diplomatist, 
and contented themselves with a statement of the 
general bearing of their affairs . 

On the 18th, another interview was held with 
the Bey, at which the objectionable articles and 
the proposed amendments were laid before him. 
He said, that he was not tenacious of the article in 
its present shape, and was willing to alter the duty 
to six, ten, or an hundred per cent, provided the 
United States would make it reciprocal and de 
mand no partial privileges. The substitute, before 
cited, to the effect that the commercial intercourse 
between Tunis and the United States should be 
on the footing of the most favored nation, respec 
tively, was proposed. The Bey replied, that he 
could not agree to this, until he knew what the 
duties paid in the United States were. In his 
ports the duties paid by the most favored nations 
were three per cent ad valorem, by a valuation 
taken in 1753; and many articles had risen six 



32 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

hundred per cent in value since that time. This 
arrangement had been fixed by a treaty with 
France, and had been adopted as a rule for other 
nations. But the proposed substitute might ex 
pose his subjects to the payment of any duty the 
government of the United States saw fit to impose, 
with the single restriction, that it should not ex 
ceed the duties paid by the most favored nation. 
He therefore proposed to fix the duty at ten per 
cent, respectively, his subjects having the liberty 
of carrying their merchandise under any colors 
whatever. The proposition, however, was inad 
missible, and the further consideration of the arti 
cle was postponed to the next day. 

The first clause of the amendment to the twelfth 
article was then introduced and no objection was 
offered to it by the Bey. The second clause in 
the same article, the Bey declared had been mis 
construed or badly translated from the original ; that 
it was intended to apply to cases of emergency 
only, when he had occasion to send vessels to the 
Levant, or other ports in the Mediterranean, but 
was not meant to extend to vessels of war or of the 
government. He was told, that the demand, even 
with this explanation, was not conceded to any 
nation on earth. It was not reciprocal ; and would 
injure both the American commerce and his own, by 
turning American merchantmen from their course, 
and by deterring the vessels from his ports. The 



WILLIAM EATON. 

following modification was proposed ; "If, in cast 
of emergency the government of Tunis sho^.d 
have need of an American vessel to facilitate de 
spatches to any port in the Mediterranean, suci 
vessel being within the Regency, and not a -essel 
of war, nor belonging to the government oi the 
United States, may be compelled to perform such 
service, on receiving a payment sufficient to indem 
nify the owners and others concerned for such 
43ivice and detention." This was agreed to; and 
t he Bey passed to the delay of the United States 
in forwarding the presents. The reasons for this 
delay were re-stated, and the obstacles, interposed 
6y the constitution of the United States were ex 
plained. The compact was not complete, because 
the Senate had not ratified it, and therefore the 
government were neither obliged nor authorized to 
forward the presents ; no provision would be made 
for this purpose, until the treaty should be amend 
ed and ratified, at which time the government 
would promptly fulfil all their engagements. 

After a moment s pause, the Bey replied, "To- 
morrov ! you have stayed till my dinner is getting 
cold ; 3ome to-morrow at eleven o clock." 

Another interview was accordingly held on the 
19th, at the palace. The Bey touched upon the 
twelfth article again, and ordered his secretary to 
insert his explanation of the first clause in the origi 
nal ; but he pretended, that he did not mean to 

II. 3 



34 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

have the second altered, according to the under 
standing of the Americans, and ordered his secre 
tary to alter the original, so that it should not be 
limited to couriers in case of emergency, but 
might extend to the freight of a merchant vessel, 
when a cargo was to be sent to, or brought from, 
any port in the Mediterranean. It was replied, 
that, if the alteration should be confined to couri 
er? m cases of emergency, and for the immediacy 
service of the government, the United States 
might possibly consent to it, but never would in 
its present form, or, if they should, American mer 
chantmen would never enter his ports. The Bey 
affected great indifference in his reply, and de 
clared, that the United States might reject it, or 
send it back, if they did not like it in its present 
form. 

He then resumed the consideration of the four 
teenth article, repeated what he had said the day 
before, and strongly urged the definite settlement 
of the duty, agreeing to a reciprocity. He was 
told, that the duties could not be exactly defined, 
because the power of laying duties on imports was 
vested in the Congress of the United States. The 
substituted article allowed him the privileges which 
were granted to the best friends of the country, 
and permitted him to impose on American goods 
the same duties, that he imposed on those of the 
most favored nations. It was positively declared, 



WILLIAM EATON. 35 

that the article must be altered, or the negotiation 
was at an end, and the expectation of presents 
must be abandoned. Turning to the eleventh arti 
cle, he inquired what alteration was demanded in 
that. " Strike out the barrel of powder for each 
gun, and reduce the number to fifteen." This he 
declined, but offered to render the terms of the 
article reciprocal by imposing the same duty on 
Tunisian vessels in American ports. 

As this was already implied by the phrasing of 
the translation, he was told, that they would not 
agree to it, that although the expense would be 
but trifling, the demand was humiliating to us and 
not very honorable to him. " However trifling," 
was his reply, " it may appear to you, to me it is 
important. Fifteen barrels of powder will furnish a 
cruiser, which may capture a prize and net me one 
hundred thousand dollars." He was told, that 
both justice and honor would forbid the United 
States acceding to the demand. " You consult 
your honor," said he, " I my interest ; but, if you 
wish to save your honor in this instance, give me 
fifty barrels of powder annually, and I will consent 
to the alteration." This proposition was promptly 
and peremptorily declined. Upon which, turning to 
the Sapitapa, he said, " These people are Cheri- 
beenas ;* they are so hard, there is no dealing 
with them." It was urged, that the United States 

* Merchants from the confines of Persia, 



36 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

had made great sacrifices to obtain a peace, which 
was likely to be useless. The grasping barbarian 
replied, that friends usually made good their pro 
fessions by something better than words ; but he 
was answered, that friendship was reciprocal, and, 
in business of this nature, was wholly out of the 
question ; that, in equity, he would find it hard to 
justify his claims upon those who had never in 
jured him, and who had been treated as enemies, 
though they had never been at war with him. 
" You will be pleased to consider, also, that you 
have never been at peace ; and if it be no favor 
to have a free navigation into the Mediterranean, 
why do you ask it ? " It was proposed to expunge 
the eleventh article altogether. He agreed that it 
should be done, and that no salute should be fired 
without being demanded ; upon which he rose, 
without ceremony, and, as he was leaving the 
apartment, he was asked, if he had resolved upon 
any thing respecting the fourteenth article. " I 11 
think of it," said he; "there are other people to be 
consulted. You will call the day after to-morrow." 
After the Bey s departure, the Sapitapa suggest 
ed to Mr. Cathcart, that the Bey might be induced 
to alter the article by a private present, but that 
the aiticle relative to the powder must stand. 
Upon consulting a few moments, the agents re 
plied, that a gratuity might be expected on the 
successful issue of the negotiation, but no stipula- 



WILLIAM tiTON. 37 



turn to that effect would be made ; that the United 
States had formed a good opinion of the ability 
and integrity of the Bey of Tunis, and it was 
hoped the opinion would be confirmed ; that his 
<nfluence would probably have great weight with 
the Bey, and any friendly offices h^ migni render 
would not be forgotten. He replied, to the intent, 
that he was favorably disposed to the American 
cause, and whatever influence he possessed, should 
be at their service. 

On Thursday, the 21st, the American agents 
attended at the palace again, but no interview was 
held, as the Bey was engaged with letters from 
the East. On the following day, however, the 
subject was again taken up, and the Bey, reverting 
to the fourteenth article, reiterated his proposition 
to establish the duty at ten, twenty, or even one 
hundred per cent, ad valorem; or, if they could in 
form him what duties were paid by other nations in 
American ports, he would determine whether the 
interests of his subjects would permit him to re 
ceive their terms. He was answered, that the 
duties paid in America were various and fluctuat 
ing, and that any further discussion on this point 
would be a useless waste of time. The proposition 
made by them was, to place the Tunisians on the 
same ground, as to commercial privileges, with the 
most favored nations for the time being ; and, as 
the Tunisian merchants would rarely if ever send 



38 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

goods to America, the terms which he urged, could 
not be of much importance to him or his subjects. 
But the Bey assured them, that, as mankind were 
becoming more enlightened, he hoped he should 
send many vessels there before long. It was still 
insisted, that the Tunisians should not be admitted 
to privileges not granted to any other nation, even 
at the risk of war. The Bey was asked, if any 
inducement would prevail on him to make the 
proposed alterations in the treaty; to which he 
replied in the negative, and proposed a substitute, 
to the effect, that the citizens of the United States 
should have liberty to enter the ports of Tunis 
on condition of paying a duty equal to that paid 
by Tunisian traders to the United States ; nine 
months being allowed to obtain the necessary in 
formation, and three per cent only being paid in 
the mean time ; and that the subjects of the king 
dom of Tunis should be admitted to the ports of 
the United States, on paying the duty usually paid 
by the most favored nation. 

The eleventh article, prescribing the conditions 
of a mutual salute, was again discussed, and the fol 
lowing terms were finally agreed upon ; " When a 
vessel of war of one of the parties shall enter a 
port of the other, and demand to be saluted, there 
shall be paid one barrel of powder for each gun 
demanded for the salute ; but, if the demand be 
not made by the consul on the part of the United 



WILLIAM EATON. 30 

States, or by the commandant of the vessel on the 
part of the kingdom of Tunis, no salute shall be 
given, nor payment demanded for the salute." 

It was proposed to send a cruiser instead of 
the stipulated stores. The Bey replied, that one 
cruiser was not enough, and that it would be a 
very good thing to compliment him with a cruiser 
in addition to the stipulated presents. This was of 
course declined ; and the commissioners withdrew 
to the apartment of the Sapitapa, to have the 
alterations now agreed upon inserted in the origi 
nal. The occasion was seized by the Sapitapa, 
to demand a present for the Bey ; the demand 
gave rise to a little sharp-shooting, in which the 
agents had the best of the argument, but the Sapita 
pa showed the most passion. They separated, and 
the next Monday was appointed for another inter 
view. This, however, did not take place until 
Tuesday, when the Sapitapa renewed his demand 
of a present for the Bey. It was evaded on the 
plea, that Americans were not admitted to the 
privileges of all other nations, and ought not there 
fore to be subjected to the same usages, and no 
proposition of this kind would be admitted. But 
Famin pretended to have a letter of Mr. Bar 
low s, instructing him to make provision for this 
demand. The fact was denied, and the letter was 
not produced; on the contrary, it was declared, 
that the American government would never yield 



40 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

to the demand. " Then," exclaimed the Sapita- 
pa, " you may write to your government, that you 
have a truce, but not a peace, with Tunis." An 
angry controversy followed, which ended in an 
agreement to send home to the American govern 
ment a note, drawn up by the Sapitapa, contain 
ing an invoice of the articles furnished by Spain on 
a similar occasion, with the assurance, however, 
that no notice would be taken of it. 

On the 27th a note was received from the 
secretary, dictated by the Sapitapa, insisting upon 
the payment of the claim, on the alteration of the 
treaty. Eaton answered it on the 29th, request 
ing to know, what the presents were, which were 
usually given on such occasions to the Keeper of 
the Seal and the secretary, and alleging, that the 
treaty could not be considered complete until now, 
and that the presents already given were in anti 
cipation of this event. The letter went on to 
declare, that the consul would not govern his 
conduct by Spanish precedents, but perhaps the 
United States might be enabled to adopt the 
usages of the Danes and Swedes. 

The secretary replied, a day or two after, that 
the treaty had been changed by altering and re 
trenching some of the articles, and therefore the 
customary presents would be required. The Bey 
insisted upon receiving not only a gratuity, accord 
ing to the memorandum previously copied, but 



WILLIAM EATON. 41 

something a "little better"; and they were in- 
formed, that if these terms dissatisfied them, the 
Bey would see them at his palace, and commun*- 
cate something more precise for the American 
government. 



42 AMERICAN BIO GRAPH!. 



CHAPTER V 

Negotiation continued. Influence cf England. 
Presents demanded by the Bey. State- 
ment of the Articles required. President s 
Letter to the Bey. Difficulties removed, and 
an Accommodation effected. 

MR. CATHCART sailed on the 2d of April, 1799, 
for Tripoli, leaving Eaton to conduct the negotiation 
in future alone. On the same day, he waited upon 
the Bey, with additional presents, to be divided 
between hui and the Sapitapa ; the Bev still in 
sisted upon the present, but was told, that his 
demand could not be acceded to, and that the 
government of the United States must be con 
sulted. " If you will not agree to it," said he, 
"you may go home, and consider void all that has 
been done." Eaton replied, that he would go, if 
there was no other alternative. " Very well," 
said he, "I give you ten days to consider the sub 
ject ; and, if you continue in your present resolu 
tion, you may embark in the brig, on her return 
from Tripoli, and go home." Eaton assented, 
and the Bey left the chamber in a rage. The 
conversation was continued with the Sapitapa, who 
asked if the articles were not manufactured in 



WILLIAM E A T -N 43 

America, and if America was not an old country. 
The answer in the negative surprised the learned 
minister ; but he cut the difficulty short, by say 
ing, "The Bey must have his present ; it is indis 
pensable." Eaton urged the minister to use his 
influence with the Bey, in persuading him not to 
insist on a present, which it would be impossible 
to procure, and which would leave no alternative 
but war. As he left the court, he was beset by 
the clamorous demands of the under officers and 
principal slaves of the patace, for money, " accord 
ing to the usages of all other nations," on the 
reception of a new consul. 

The next day, the consul waited on the prime 
minister, and had another interview with the Sa- 
pitapa, whom he found in better temper than 
on the preceding day. He pressed upon him, 
however, that the Bey had been led to expect 
something handsome, in case of admitting the 
alteration ; but, the alteration being acceded to, 
the implied promise seemed to be forgotten. The 
consul replied, that the Bey must have mistaken 
his meaning, or his meaning had not been intelli 
gibly expressed ; that his letter went no farther 
than to assure him, that the United States would 
not follow the example of Spain, and for the best 
of reasons, because they could not ; that gold and 
diamonds were not to be had in America, nor 
anybody to work them. "What are you?" sale 1 



44 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the Sapitapa, a a parcel of countrymen, shepherds, 
and rustics?" "Very much so." "But you 
build ships ? " " Yes." " Well, suppose you 
agree to make the Bey a present of a small, 
handsome cruiser? " Eaton consented to consider 
this proposition, in the ten days that the Bey had 
given him to deliberate on the first, and the Sapi 
tapa promised to use his best endeavors to facil 
itate the measure. 

The following remarks, suggested by the pre 
ceding negotiations, are copied from Eaton s jour 
nal. 

" It is hard to negotiate, where the terms are 
wholly ex parte. The Barbary courts are in 
dulged in the habit of dictating their own terms of 
negotiation. Even the English, as the consul 
himself informed me, on his arrival and reception 
here, had furnished him a present in cash and 
other articles, valued in England at seventeen 
thousand pounds sterling. But Tunis trembles at 
the voice of England. This, then, must be a 
political intrigue of England, to embarrass the 
other mercantile Christian nations ; and it has 
ihe effect. To the United States, they believe 
ih,y can dictate terms. Why should they not? 
Or why should they believe it will ever be oth 
erwise? They have seen nothing in America 
to controvert this opinion. And all our talk of 
resistance and reprisal, they view as the swagger- 



WILLIAM EATON. 45 

ing of a braggadocio. They are at present sen 
ously concerned, through fear that the English and 
Americans are in offensive and defensive alliance. 
The report is current, and I have taken occasion 
to cherish it, by being seen frequently with the 
British consul, dining with him, and holding secret 
intercourse. But, whatever stratagem may be 
used to aid our measures, it is certain, that there is 
no access to the permanent friendship of these 
States, without paving the way with gold or can 
non balls ; and the proper question is, Which 
method is preferable? So long as they hold their 
own terms, no estimate can be made of the ex 
pense of maintaining a peace. They are under 
no restraint of honor or honesty. There is not a 
scoundrel among them, from the prince to the 
muleteer, who will not beg and steal. Yet when 
I proposed to the Sapitapa, to-day, to substitute 
money in lieu of the present, he said the Bey had 
too high a sense of honor to receive a bribe , he 
would receive a present, but it would affront him 
to offer him money." 

How far these strictures were justified by facts, 
Jhe reader can judge from the statements in the 
foregoing pages, and a few specimens of Tunisian 
assurance, like the following. On the 6th, old 
Mustapha Coggia returned the present Eaton had 
sent him, with a message, that he was not accus 
tomed to receive presents of lower value than thosp 



46 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

given to the Sapitapa, who was inferior to him 
in rank, being second minister. The venerable 
statesman was represented as excessively angry, 
but it was intimated, that some small additions 
would soothe his passion, arid make every thing 
right. The next day, the admiral entered a claim 
for a gold-headed cane, a gold watch and chain, 
ana twelve pieces of cloth. The Aga of the 
Goletta, also, demanded the usance for the first 
vessel of war coming to anchor in the bay. These 
are a small specimen of the vexatious extor 
tions to which the American consul was perpetu 
ally subjected. 

An interview was held at the palace on the 
14th. The consul was informed, that the Bey 
had declined the proposal of a cruiser in lieu of 
the present in jewels ; upon which he again sug 
gested a payment in cash, and offered a round sum 
of fifty thousand dollars in full of all demands 
But the Sapitapa answered, that the maritime and 
military presents were very rich, and peculiarly 
necessary at this time; and if two hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars were to be offered, the Bey 
would decline it. Eaton recapitulated the argu 
ments against the justice of the demand, and urged 
again the impossibility of procuring the articles 
The Sapitapa declared, that the Bey must have 
the present at any rate, and, as to himself, he must 
be complimented with a double-barrelled gun and 



WILLIAM EATON. 47 

a gold watch-chain. Such impudence naturally 
enough provoked the consul s somewhat irascible 
temper. He told the diplomatic beggar, that the 
United States would find it cheaper, and better 
policy, to send a force into those seas to defend 
their commerce, than to yield to these accumu 
lated demands. The minister reported to the 
Bey, and the consul was introduced to his apart 
ment. The Bey got into a passion, and rose to 
leave the hall ; but, before he went out, turned 
to Eaton, and said, "Consult your government. 
I give them six months to give me an answer, and 
to send the presents. If they come in that time, 
well ; if not, take down your flag, and go home." 

In a letter, dated July 15th, 1799, addressed to 
the Secretary of State, Eaton writes, " I have yet 
mentioned nothing of further attempts at a cash 
payment in lieu of the maritime and military 
stores, because no well grounded hopes were en 
tertained of success, and because the results of 
projects some time since in operation were not 
known. 

" Interest was making with the governor of 
Porto Farina and the Sapitapa, to influence the 
Bey into the measure, and the prospect was con 
sidered not wholly desperate, though not flatter 
ing. I had assured the Sapitapa, that if he would 
procjre a final settlement and discharge of all 
demands, for any sum short of ninety thousand 



48 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

dollars, he should be entitled to receive ten thou 
sand dollars, promptly, in consideration of his good 
offices. He seemed much inclined to the argu 
ment." 

"On the 28th ult., he gave a dinner at his 
garden." "In the morning of this day, I took 
the opportunity to obtain his decided opinion rela 
tive to the cash substitute. He gave it, that the 
project was not feasible ; said that the Bey had 
purchased, and was purchasing, all the ammunition 
he could procure; that he had sent vessels to 
Trieste, Mahon, and Spain, for maritime and mil 
itary stores, such as he expected from America, 
without being able to procure them. That he 
was sending to Gibraltar and England with the 
same views ; that the delinquency of the United 
States had occasioned great disappointment ; par 
ticularly so at the present crisis. It had operated 
to retard, and indeed to defeat, plans of national 
defence and enterprise, the entire execution of 
which depended on these munitions of war. He 
was authorized again to declare, that no sum of 
money would be considered equivalent to the pres 
ents. He hoped, if the timber could not be pro 
cured immediately, (for I told him it was yet 
growing on the sources of our rivers,) that the 
guns, ammunition, pitch, tar, rosin, cordage, arjd 
such other articles as are to be found in our mag 
azines, would be forwarded without delay. 



WILLIAM EATON. 49 

" It is worthy of remark here, that, while we 
were at dinner, a body of Turks came armed to 
the garden, and even into the court-yard, and 
demanded money, alleging that the government, 
having made peace with everybody, had reduced 
them to famine ; but they were resolved not to 
starve. This circumstance confirms the opinion 
heretofore advanced, that they must be let loose 
upon somebody. : 

About this time, the Portuguese and Sicilian 
ambassadors left Tunis, each having concluded a 
truce with the Bey s government. This was an 
additional cause of alarm to the consul, and led 
him to a renewed effort to bring about a payment 
in cash. Accordingly, on the 4th of July, he 
waited on the Bey, and requested him to state 
what sum would satisfy his claims, and cancel his 
demands. " No sum whatever ; you need not 
think more of it;" was the sharp reply. The 
result of this interview was such, that Eaton con 
sidered the ultimatum which he had been instruct 
ed to propose, as finally rejected He became 
convinced, that the commerce of the United States 
was marked out as the victim of Tunisian piracy. 

At the end of July, the Bey had the insolence 
to call on the consuls of the tributary nations re 
siding at his court, including the American, and 
demanded immediate supplies of naval stores. He 
required of the American consul to charter a ship 



50 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

to bring out the American contribution without 
delay. After wasting three days at the palace, in 
discussion of this reiterated demand, the matter 
was dropped. The Bey was prevailed upon to 
wait until the first of January " I have uniformly 
found the Bey," says Eaton, "a reasonable and 
accommodating man. But the Sapitapa owns 
corsairs, and Famin is his slave ! " 

A further attempt was made, early in October, 
to persuade the Bey to receive ten thousand dol 
lars worth of such articles as he might choose, 
from England, in place of the jewels, but without 
success. He answered, that " he was not a mer 
chant ; he knew nothing of the value of the pres 
ents; they were the usance, and he should neither 
abate nor commute." Such being the condition 
of affairs, the consul thought it prudent to caution 
the other American consuls in the Mediterra 
nean. 

Considering it necessary to communicate infor 
mation of the existing state of affairs to the gov 
ernment at home, Eaton determined to send Dr. 
Shaw, of the brig Sophia, with despatches. He 
was accordingly directed to hold himself in readi 
ness, as early as the 1 2th of October, to proceed 
to England, and consult with Rufus King, the 
American minister at the court of St. James ; to 
deliver him a memorandum of the jewels demand 
ed by the Bey, and take his instructions on the 



WILLIAM EATON. 51 

mode of procuring them at the lowest price ; to 
carry a specific memorandum of the same to the 
United States, and to transmit a copy to the consul 
at Tunis. With these instructions, Dr. Shaw was 
ordered to proceed, with all convenient speed, to 
Philadelphia, the seat of government. This meas 
ure received the approbation of the consul-general 
at Algiers. 

It may not be amiss to quote here a statement 
of the articles of military and maritime stores, 
stipulated in the treaty to be delivered to the 
Regency of Tunis. The document has a singular 
appearance in these days; but we must be content 
with the poor consolation, that other and more 
powerful nations submitted to terms even more 
humiliating. Here is the list ; 

Estimated 
Value. 

26 cannon, 12 pounders, with ship carriages, $ 1,300 

14 8 " " " " . 500 

12000 balls, from 4 to 24 pounds, 2,000 

250 quintals of cannon powder, 3,750 

50 quintals of priming powder, 750 

20 oak keels, 50 feet long, 500 

500 ribs, of the same, 500 

60 masts, for cruisers of from 12 to 36 guns, 2,000 

300 oars, of beech, 34 feet long, 300 

800 oak planks, for sheathing frigates, . . 1,600 

5000 pine planks, of 3 inches, 5,000 

300 pieces of scantling, of 9, 10, 12, ana 13 

inches, 1,200 

JOO oak knees, ........ 200 



52 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

10 cables of 14 inches, and from 110 to 120 

fathoms, ........... 2,240 

10 cables of 12 inches, and the same length, 1,920 
19 hawsers, of 6, 7, and 8 inches, ditto, 



200 quintals of cordage, from 1 to 9 inches, j 

600 quintals of sheet iron, of Sweden, . 3,600 

200 barrels of tar, ......... A ,000 

200 " ofrosin, ......... 1,000 

200 " ofpitch, ......... 1,000 

40 quintals of match-rope, ..... 500 

34,360 
Contingencies, ..... 600 

Total, ....... $34,960 

More than one hundred thousand dollars had 
been already expended in the negotiations with 
Tunis, but peace was not yet secured ; and the 
above stipulated presents, with the Bey s extraor 
dinary demands, would amount to nearly two 
hundred thousand dollars more. With good rea 
son did Eaton urge, that the mode of treating with 
the Barbary regencies ought to be so reformed as 
to remove the impression, that weakness and fear 
had dictated the measures hitherto adopted by the 
United States. In his correspondence with the 
consuls at Algiers and Tripoli, this subject is ad 
verted to with frequency and force ; and his rep 
resentations to the government at home abound 
with views, at once manly and judicious. The 
bistory of the subsequent intercourse between the 
United States and the Barbary powers confirms 



WILLIAM EATON. 53 

the truth of his predictions, and the soundness of 
his arguments, in every particular. 

The measure of sending Dr. Shaw home had 
a beneficial effect upon the dispositions of the 
Bey s government. It was regarded as a proof 
of a sincere intention to fulfil the stipulations of 
the treaty ; the influence of which Eaton had oc 
casion to observe at the next interview with the 
Sapitapa. In a letter to Shaw, dated November 
4th, he says, the Sapitapa " went into an explica 
tion of the causes which had produced in this 
court unaccommodating dispositions towards the 
government of the United States ; the principal 
of which was, an attempt to impose a treaty 
through the medium of Algiers. He said it was 
an indignity offered to the Bey, which no other 
Christian power had ever offered, and it was a re 
sult as ineffectual as it was unprecedented. I an 
swered him, that the government of the United 
States, unacquainted with the true relation, which 
this Regency held with that of Algiers, had been 
seduced into that error by the intrigue of an influ 
ential Jew house at Algiers ; but, when convinced 
of the error, they had reformed their mode of nego 
tiation ; the Bey would never again have occasion 
to imagine himself insulted from that quarter. We 
had some explanations that were personal, as they 
respected himself. The result of all which was, 
expressions of mutual confidence, and a tender of 



54 AMERICAN FIOGRAPHY. 

reciprocal services. As a pledge of his sincerity 
he offered to procure me a tiskery* for as much 
wheat as I pleased to ship." 

Another cause of this change was the Bey s 
belief, that the Americans would send a fitct into 
the Mediterranean, as soon as a peace should be 
concluded with France. The private interest of 
the Sapitapa was also turned to account. He saw 
that the Americans would be his safest carriers to 
Spain, where he had opened an extensive com 
merce, the ships of other nations being exposed 
to the depredations of the belligerent powers of 
Europe, or the Algerine corsairs. Eaton told him, 
that, during his residence at Tunis, propositions 
had been sent to him by the American consul at 
Leghorn and Barcelona, and by two American 
shipmasters, to introduce a trade there ; but that, 
since they had been informed of the articles of 
the treaty, nothing further had been heard from 
them. He was assured, that no American mer 
chantman would voluntarily enter a Tunisian port 
under the present provisions of the treaty. The 
Sapitapa felt the force of these observations, and 
promised his influence with the Bey, to bring 
about a more satisfactory arrangement of affairs 
with America. The Bey also promised forbear 
ance for sixty days, in spite of Famin s attempts 
to convince him, that the government of the United 

*A permit. 



WILLIAM EATON. 55 

States had no intention of fulfilling their engage 
raents with Tunis. The consul, therefore, had, at 
this moment, a flattering prospect of terminating 
the negotiation with Tunis, in a manner favorable 
to the interests of the United States, and conform 
able to instructions of the government. 

On the 27th of December, Eaton received in 
formation, through Mr. O Brien, that the frigates 
United States and Constitution would probably 
bring out the articles intended for the Regencies, 
which he immediately communicated to the Bey, 
with an assurance that they would probably arrive 
in January. January came, but did not bring the 
promised presents. The consul was compelled to 
use all his diplomatic skill to soothe the Bey under 
this unexpected and unfortunate disappointment. 
He found it a matter of some difficulty, and requir 
ing considerable address ; for the spring was at 
hand, and the corsairs were waiting impatiently to 
be let loose upon their prey. Many American 
merchantmen were at anchor in the port of Leg 
horn ; and intelligence had arrived, through that 
city, of General Washington s death. These and 
other particulars were communicated by Famin to 
the minister ; and the impression very naturally 
made upon the Bey was, that the United States 
had violated their pledges, for ships might as well 
be sent to Tunis as to Leghorn. The prospect 
of a speedy adjustment again became overclouded 



56 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

On the 24th of March, 1800, Mr. Eaton receiv 
ed by the Sophia a communication from the Secre 
tary of State, with a letter from the President to 
the Bey. The Secretary s letter contained a few 
instructions in reference to the Bey s demand of 
jewels. Eaton was directed to use every effort to 
do away with the claim, or reduce it to the lowest 
possible amount, but if the presents were necessary 
to preserve the peace with Tunis, he must obtain 
time enough to get them from England, where 
they might be procured for much less than the es 
timated sum. The President s letter was made 
up of compliments and apologies ; compliments to 
the Bey for his attentions to Mr. Eaton and Mr. 
Cathcart, and apologies for the failure to deliver 
the stipulated stores at the required time. But 
the Bey was assured, that the stipulations of the 
United States should be fulfilled, as early as the 
great distance of the country, and the time neces 
sary to procure the stores, rendered it practicable. 

When these letters arrived, the Bey was just 
recovering from a dangerous illness. The consul 
immediately repaired to the palace, was admitted 
to an audience, and, having passed the usual for 
malities, withdrew to the apartment of the Sapitapa. 
He stated the arrival of news from the United 
States, and desired to know when he might make 
a formal communication to the Bey. " Do you 
take u? for dupes ? " he exclaimed. " You have 



WILLIAM EATON. 57 

at one time showed us letters from your minister 
at Portugal, at another from your consul-general 
at Algiers ; at another from your consul at Leg 
horn. At one period your presents were under 
convoy of two frigates ; at another in quarantine at 
Lisbon ; and then we are placed at our windows 
with our spy-glasses, looking for the arrival of 
vessels which sail in air. We are no longer to be 
amused. It is not necessary that you take the 
trouble of a formal communication. I now can 
didly inform you, (a measure which has long since 
been resolved on,) that the corsairs now bound on 
a cruise, have orders to bring in Americans ; and 
for this purpose, they are ordered to cruise off the 
coast of Spain and Portugal." The consul s ex 
planations were impatiently interrupted by the 
Sapitapa s assurance that they were needless, the 
measure having already been fully resolved upon. 
The consul persisted. He informed the Sapitapa, 
that he had already placed his countrymen on 
their guard against this event ; that American 
merchantmen were well armed, and would defend 
themselves. The Sapitapa s attention was aroused, 
and the consul took advantage of the change to 
proceed with his explanation, that the communica 
tions heretofore made were unofficial, and founded 
on letters from ministers and consuls, whose anx 
iety for their country s peace had led them to 
place to^ much reliance upon inaccurate infor- 



58 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

mation. The present communication was diiect 
from the American government, and included a 
letter from the President, written b} his own hand, 
to the Bey, with the treaty ratified, and with as 
surances that a large ship was ready, laden with 
naval and military stores, and that he was, more 
over, authorized to meet the demand of the Bey 
for jewels, in a way which would probably be sat 
isfactory. "It is very well ! This looks a little 
more like truth," said the minister, " but will not 
arrest the cruise. If we make captures of Amer 
icans we will send the Christians (meaning the 
crews) to your house ; your vessels to Porto Fari 
na ; and their cargoes we will safely store. They 
shall be held in sequestration a given number of 
days, in expectation of the arrival of your pres 
ents so much talked about ; on failure of which 
they shall be good prize." 

It was answered, that a step of this kind would 
defeat its own object. The Americans would 
never yield without resistance, and bloodshed 
would be the inevitable consequence of making 
the attempt. To prevent, therefore, the evils that 
would certainly result from this project, the Bey 
ought to see the President s letter, and hear the 
communication. The minister finally said, he 
would see the Bey the next day, and appointed 
the day succeeding that for another conference. 

On the appointed day the consul made the 



WILLIAM EATON. 59 

above communications to the Bey. He was flat 
tered by the President s letter, thanked God, and 
expressed his hope for the safe arrival of the ship ; 
but observed that nothing was said about the jew 
els. The consul replied, that he had been direct 
ed to procure a present of this kind from England, 
but that the sum had been limited much within 
the estimated value of the jewels. "To me," 
said the Bey, " the sum limited is of no import. 
I shall be satisfied, provided the articles come ac 
cording to the note." 

The difficulties, which had threatened the peace 
of the United States for the last five months, were 
at last accommodated. The Sapitapa pledged 
himself, that the last clause of the twelfth article 
in the treaty, inserted by Famin, should be for 
ever suspended, except so far as the customs of all 
other nations at peace with Tunis had conferred 
on the Bey s government the right of exacting 
services on special emergencies, and that the flag 
of the United States should be respected in all the 
ports of the kingdom. This agreeable intelligence 
was immediately communicated by a circular, ad 
dressed to the American consuls in the ports of the 
Mediterranean. For his services in managing 
these affairs, Eaton received the approbation of 
the President of the United States, and warm ex 
pressions of friendship from Mr. Pickering. 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT- 



CHAPTER VI. 

Arrival of the Hero with Stores. Apprehen* 
sions of War with Tunis removed. Frau 
dulent Conduct of the Bey. Eaton takes 
Charge of the Danish Affairs at Tunis. 
His disinterested Conduct in Relation to the 
Danish Vessels. Letter of the Danish Ad 
miral in Relation to it. Eaton s Quarrel 
with Famin. Chastises him publicly, and is 
summoned before the Bey. Defends himself 
and denounces Famin. Arrival of the Anna 
Maria with Stores, and her Detention in the 
Service of the Bey. 

ON the 12th of April, 1800, the ship Hero, 
Captain Robinson, arrived at Tunis and anchored 
at the Goletta. She brought a portion of the stip 
ulated naval and military stores, to be delivered 
to the Bey s government. They consisted of tar, 
rosin, pitch, turpentine, cordage, cables, planks, 
masts, hawsers, and shot. The ship was unman 
ageable and weakly manned, " with just guns 
enough to give the signal of distress "; but the 
stores were of a quality superior to any thing that 
had heretofore been seen in Tunis. This arrival 



WILLIAM EATON. 61 

relieved Mr. Eaton from many embarrassments, and 
took away all ground of apprehension, for the 
present, of war. How strong these apprehensions 
ware, is fully indicated in the consul s letters. "I 
consider," he says to Mr. O Brien, "old Robinson 
as the Mordecai of our nation ; and it is owing to 
his perseverance that we shall escape the misery 
and shame of all being slaves to these miniature 
Indians. In less than six months we should have 
had more than a hundred of our fellow-citizens 
slaves here." Various obstacles prevented her 
from discharging the cargo, until twenty days after 
the regular time, for which her owners were en 
titled by contract to fifty dollars per day, amount 
ing to one thousand dollars. This part of the 
contract gave the Bey an opportunity of practising 
an amusing fraud. The stores were intended to 
be paid for, and a promise to that effect was given 
by the governor at Porto Farina. They were, ac 
cordingly, unloaded and stored away. The Bey 
declined paying, but gave permission to take them 
back. As this would have detained the ship some 
twenty days more, with no means but her own, 
the stores were of course left in the keeping of 
the officers of the Bey s government. 

The warlike dispositions of the Tunisians being 
diverted from the United States, by the partial 
fulfilment of the treaty stipulations, fixed upon 
Denmark. In 1797, the Bey had demanded a 



62 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

large supply of naval and military stores from his 
friend, the Danish monarch, whom he allowed six 
months to comply with the requisition. The King 
was not sufficiently prompt in executing this com 
mission. He sent a ship laden with timber, in 
1798 ; but it was so far from meeting the Bey s 
expectations, that he rejected the cargo, even after 
it was unladen, and the articles, of which it was 
composed, were left to perish. The Bey s 
thoughts had been withdrawn from the Danes by 
his projects against the Americans. The arrival 
of the Hero had put a stop to his designs in that 
quarter, and the corsairs were accordingly let loose 
upon the commerce of Denmark. A Danish mer 
chantman from Leghorn arrived soon after at the 
Goletta, unsuspicious of danger, information of 
which was immediately communicated by Famire, 
and the master and crew were arrested before they 
could make their escape. Another Danish ship, 
laden with coffee, sugar, and other West India pro 
duce, was sent into Biserta on the same day. In 
consequence of these events, the Danish consul- 
general, Mr. Hammekin, expecting to be compel 
led to leave the kingdom, solicited Eaton to take 
charge of the Danish* affairs. As there were no 
rival interests between the two nations, the propo 
sition was readily acceded to. On the 28th of 
June, the Danish flagstaff was cut down, and war 
was declared by the Bey against the King of Den 
mark ; more than seventy Danes were condemned 



WILLIAM EATON. DO 

to slavery, and the consul was confined to his 
house. A few days afterwards, he and his family 
were ordered to quit the kingdom of Tunis. The 
minister of the Bey detailed to Eaton the causes 
of the war, and attempted to show that the Danes 
were the aggressors. His argument was, " that 
the Bey had a right to demand presents, and that 
the King of Denmark had violated his good faith 
by treating that demand contemptuously." He 
confessed, in conversation, that the war was in 
tended against the Americans ; but the letter from 
the President had suspended the operation for a 
reasonable time, to wait the arrival of the ship. 
He acknowledged, that they had never received 
articles of so excellent a quality from any Chris 
tian nation. " I remarked to him," says Eaton, 
" that, if he had given me the credit which he was 
now convinced he ought, he might have saved 
himself and the Bey much impatience, and the 
entire trouble of arming his navy against us ; but 
I had observed with some concern, that he chose 
rather to hear meddling fellows, who would as de 
liberately betray him as me, if the occasion suit 
ed." "That is past," said he, "and you have had 
your own way of revenge. We are convinced 
you have dealt candidly with us, though we some 
times thought you a little hard-bitted ; but you 
are a sort of Englishmen, you Americans, are you 
not?" "We are not Italians." "Have you nc 



64 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Pope in America?" "Yes; once a year oui 
ooys and girls of the streets, accompanied by our 
sailors and fiddlers, make a Pope and a Devil of 
}ld cast clothes, mount them both on a borrico 
(jackass), and, after driving them about till they are 
wearied, tar and feather and burn them together, 
by way of amusement." He laughed heartily, and 
said, "I believe you are just such another hard- 
headed race as the English ; but, thank God, 
we are friends." 

The Bey, by way of expressing his satisfaction, 
offered Eaton a house at Biserta, by the seaside, 
in which he might pass the summer. As early as 
the 16th of July, eight Danish vessels had been 
captured, and about one hundred men reduced to 
slavery. The estimated value of the ships and 
cargoes, together with the slaves, was four hun 
dred and eleven thousand Spanish dollars. The 
masters of six of the captured vessels had desired 
Eaton to redeem their property, giving him to 
understand that they could open a credit in Leg 
horn He went to the minister, and proposed to 
purchase the vessels in his own name. The pro 
position was accepted, and an agent appointed. 
Eaton examined the vessels, and made an offer. 
During the time taken by the minister to consider 
it, the Danish captains were alarmed into giving 
up the project. The consul s only hope now 
depended on the refusal of the government to 



WILLIAM EATON. 65 

accept Lis terms. He was overbid by Famin ; but 
this proved to be only a ruse to extort a highei 
offer ; for a messenger arrived the next day at 
Biserta to declare the astonishment of the govern 
ment at his departure, because their agent had re 
ceived orders to close with his proposal. He re 
turned immediately, concluded the bargain, and 
fixed on the mode of payment ; but the Danish 
captains failed to fulfil their promises, and Eaton 
was left with six vessels, purchased on credit. An 
opportunity was now offered him of realizing a 
handsome sum by a perfectly fair and honorable 
speculation, with property which had been forced, 
against his will, upon his hands ; but, when the 
difficulties with Denmark were adjusted by the 
sacrifice, on the part of that power, of eight ves 
sels and cargoes and sixty-one thousand four hun 
dred and forty Spanish dollars, for the redemption 
of eighty-six captives, Eaton surrendered the ves 
sels ID his possession to their respective masters, 
s^nply on the condition of his credit with the gov 
eminent beinor redeemed, and his actual disburse 
ments repaid. This was an act of disinterested 
generosity which received the acknowledgment of 
the Danish admiral on the spot, and, subsequently 
more ample and emphatic expressions of gratitude 
from the monarch himself, through the medium 
of the "Board of Affairs relating to the States 
on the Coast of Barbary." The following extract 

II. 5 



66 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

from their letter to Eaton is equally honorable to 
both parties. 

" His Majesty the King, having been informed 
of your kind proceeding towards his subjects, who 
last year had the misfortune of being made slaves 
by the Tunisians ; as also of the service you have 
rendered the owners of six of the captured ships, 
by venturing to purchase them, at the instance of 
the masters, and restoring them since to the said 
owners, though upon a somewhat precarious security 
of getting reimbursed your expenses ; and of the 
friendly assistance which you have lent Commo 
dore Koefoed, as he addressed himself to you ; 
has been most graciously pleased to order us to 
transmit to you the gold box, ornamented with 
the initials of his royal name, which will be de 
livered to you along with this letter, and which 
you will please to accept, as a token of his most 
high satisfaction with regard to the services you 
have rendered the nation." 

The letter was replied to in suitable terms by 
the consul, and transmitted forthwith to the De 
partment of State. 

The intercourse between Eaton and the former 
American consul was not very cordial, as may be 
conjectured from expressions in his journals and 
letters, heretofore cited. About this time, it came 
to a sudden and violent conclusion, in a manner 
characteristic both of the faults and *he excellences 



W1L.L.IAM EATON. 67 

of Eaton s temperament. Finding himself often 
thwarted by the intrigues of Famin, and irritated 
by personal insults, he gave him, on occasion of 
an accidental meeting, a severe castigation with 
a horsewhip. Famin summoned him before the 
tribunal ; but Eaton, nowise intimidated by the 
apprehension of summary proceedings, met him 
there, and boldly denounced him as a traitor and 
a villain ; declaring, that he did not present him 
self there to answer the allegations of the traitor, 
but to denounce him as such, and to withdraw 
from him that protection which he had never 
merited, but had shamefully dishonored. 

" I will send you out of the country," said the 
Bey. " You will do me an honor, which I will take 
care to appreciate." " How dare you lift your 
hand against a subject of mine in my kingdom ? " 
" If your renegade had been in the kingdom of 
heaven, and had given me the same provocation, 
I would have given him the same discipline. But 
the Bey of Tunis has too much penetration to 
believe that abject wretch faithful even to his 
patron. If he were such, if he were a true 
Frenchman, I would respect him as such ; if an 
American, I would protect him as such ; if a good 
Mussulman, I would honor him as such ; or, if a 
Christian, he should be duly respected. He is 
neither one nor the other. I have documents to 
convince you, that he would sell vour head for 



68 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

caroubes, and barter away the reputation of your 
court for piastres. See here his statement to 
an American, who, by this means, has been en 
trapped into his hands. Hear him call your 
prime minister and his mercantile agents a set of 
thieves and robbers." " How ! " " Yes, thieves 
and robbers!" 

" Mercy ! Forbearance ! " cried Famin. 

" Yes, thieves and robbers ! This is the 
man of your confidence ! This is the man of 
mediation between your Excellency and my 
master, the President ; and these are the meas 
ures he uses to maintain the good understanding 
subsisting between us. Had he been faithful, 
either in his representations of your Excellency s 
character to the President, or in that of my nation 
to you, you would long since have received, what 
ever they might have been, the presents stipulated 
as tokens of friendship. It is his treachery, his 
falsehood, his sleek and plausible misrepresenta 
tions, which have generated the misintelligence be 
tween us. Do not suppose I am ignorant of his 
intrigues. Full well I know, he labored three days, 
incessantly, after my arrival at Biserta, to prevail 
on your Excellency to refuse me an audience. 
Full well I know, that, during our negotiation, he 
was playing a double game with us. And full 
well I know that he has uniformly insinuated, that 
my government were flattering you with delusive 



WILLIAM EATON. 

expectations and insincere promises, and that 1 
myself am sent here to be the instrument of this 
hypocrisy." 

" But how do you know these things ? What 
ever passed between him and me on these sub 
jects, was tete-a-tete" 

" Yes, but the fellow had not prudence enough 
to kaep your confidence. Elated with the pros 
pect of success, he blabbed every thing to the 
woman he keeps ; she to her neighbors ; so that 
it has been the topic of conversation in half the 
Christian taverns in Tunis, l that his Excellency 
the Bey was going to send away the American 
consul to accommodate an apostate Frenchman ! 
as if the Bey of Tunis had not independence of 
mind, nor discernment to discriminate between 
the event of insulting a nation and disobliging a 
slave. Permit me to suggest to your Excellency, 
your reputation has been brought into disrespect 
in the event." The Bey listened. Famin was 
alarmed, and began an address in Arabic. " Speak 
French," said the Bey, looking at him frowning- 
]y. He denied Eaton s charges ; but facts were 
brought in evidence, which convinced the Bey, 
who gave Eaton s hand a cordial pressure on 
parting, and said to his court, "The American 
consul has been heated ; but truly he has had 
reason. I have always found him a very plain, 
candid man ; and his concern for his fellow- 



70 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

A letter dated November 1st, 1800, addressed 
to the Secretary of State, gives the following ac 
count of further discussions with the Bey, relative 
to the presents. 

" I was at the palace this morning and yester 
day. Said the Bey, What am I to deduce from 
ill your assurances of punctuality on the part of 
your government ? I answered ; f Your Excel- 
ency will have the goodness to believe, that, when 
nformation of our definitive arrangements was 
received in the United States, the stores, which 
we have stipulated as the condition of peace with 
you, were growing on our mountains, at the 
sources of our rivers. Am I to suppose, then, 
said he, your guns and your powder, comprised 
in that stipulation, were growing on your moun 
tains ? You find no difficulty in discharging your 
obligations with Algiers. Do you suppose me 
less able than Algiers to compel the punctual 
observance of treaties ? By no means, said I ; 
c if we have been more attentive to Algiers than 
to you, it is not because we consider you less 
respectable, but more just than Algiers. We 
must make an end of compliments, said he. c It 
would give me pain to affront you ; but facts 
justify the conclusion, that, if you suppose me 
just, you study to amuse my justice. Denmark 
may furnish you a caution against such a reli 
ance. I suppose, said I, your Excellency can 



WILLIAM EA.TON. 71 

nave no doubt that the residue of our peace pres 
ents have long since been at sea ; but the winds 
have been many days against us. They have 
been against us three years, said he. Your Ex- 
cellency will recollect they were very favorable 
last spring. Not so favorable as I had been 
flattered to believe they would have been, said 
he. < What can be done ? I asked. < Can we 
make war upon the elements ? You can choose 
your measures; and you need not be surprised, 
if I reserve to myself the same privilege, he 
answered. l Permit me, said I, to demand an 
explanation of this. Events will explain it, 
said he. I observed, If this manner of evasion 
cover a menace, I ought to know it for my gov 
ernment, in giving passports to your cruisers. In 
this, said he, you will use your own discretion. 
If you give them, it is an evidence that you are 
at peace with me. If you refuse them, I have 
nothing serious to apprehend from it. " 

Towards the end of the same month, an Amer 
ican ship, the Anna Maria, arrived at the road 
of Porto Farina, laden with plank, timber, masts, 
oars, iron, to the value of twelve thousand dol 
lars. On the 30th, Eaton embarked at Tunis, 
in an open boat, belonging to the Bey, and 
reached the ship, ten leagues off, in the evening 
of the same day. The invoice and bill of lading 
were received the next day. The Bey s gov- 



72 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ernment were compelled to acknowledge the ex* 
cellent quality of the articles forwarded by this 
ship from the United States ; though they affected 
to complain that the plank and the oars were too 
short, and to be dissatisfied that the keels, guns, 
and powder were not forwarded also. " I believe 
the facts to be," says Eaton, "the government 
are dissatisfied, that any thing has come forward 
If this opinion require evidence, I consider it suf 
ficient to state, that the United States are the only 
nation, which have at this moment, a rich, unguard 
ed commerce in the Mediterranean ; and that the 
Barbary Regencies are pfrates." The extraor 
dinary concessions, made to the Tunisians by the 
Christian states of Europe, had greatly diminished 
the importance of a peace with the Americans ; 
and apprehensions were still entertained by the 
consul, that the deficiency of naval and military 
supplies already furnished would be seized upon 
as a pretext for capturing American merchantmen. 
The government, however, treated the consul per 
sonally with great respect, and he endeavored to 
maintain a good understanding by reciprocating 
their civilities. 

Eaton was anxious to obtain the discharge of 
the Anna Maria as soon as possible, to save the 
heavy expense of demurrage, which, if in propor 
tion to the cost of the Hero s delay wou.d have 
amounted to three thousand dollars. The gov 



WILLIAM EATON. 73 

ernor of Porto Farina was head of the admiralty 
and supervisor of all the arsenals. "To him," 
says Eaton, " I paid court, and put into his hands 
an argument, which convinced him of the pro 
priety of discharging the American before the 
Swedes ; and he, faithful to his engagement with 
me, prevailed on the Bey to make this an order." 
But the Sapitapa sent him a message, to the effect 
that the Regency had need of the American ship 
to send to Marseilles. Three days were consumed 
before this matter was arranged. Eaton steadily 
refused to yield to the demand, reminding the 
Sapitapa that it was a violation of the promise 
made in the preceding April. The minister threat 
ened to use force; but Eaton assured him, that, 
put what he might on board, he would order the 
ship to America, and leave the event to be settled 
by the two governments. At length, the Sapi 
tapa, rinding Eaton resolute in maintaining his 
ground, offered a freight of four thousand dollars, 
and perquisites to the captain. These terms were 
accepted in preference to the hazard attending a 
refusal ; the acceptance involving no dishonorable 
wncession to the government of Tunis. 



74 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER VII 

Difficulties between Tripoli and the United States. 
Project of a Commercial Convention with 
Tunis. Its Failure. New Demands of the 
Bey. Determination to send a Squadron into 
the Mediterranean. Outrage upon Mr. Cath- 
cart, and Satisfaction demanded. 

FOR some time previous to the events just re 
lated, the affairs of the United States had been 
verging to a war with Tripoli. Eaton maintained 
a most friendly correspondence with the consul 
stationed there, Mr. Cathcart ; but Mr. O Brien, 
the consul at Algiers, had excited his suspicions, 
by what he deemed improper transactions with 
Jews, with whom he was engaged in commercial 
speculations. The following passage, at the con 
clusion of an able review of the relations of Chris 
tian powers with the Barbary regencies, expresses 
in a few words his opinion of the present position 
of American affairs. "America, in adhering to 
the injunction, Agree with thine adversary quickly 
while thou art in the way with him, has rejected 
counsol of equal authority, and more in point, 
Cast not your pearls before swine. A concise 
statement of our actual situation with these free 
booters, I consider to be war with Tripoli inev- 



WILLIAM EATON. <5 

\table. Tunis, now that the Anna Maria has 
arrived, will let us be tranquil until after the 
residue of our peace stipulations shall have been 
received, and the Bey shall have done with Spain 
At Algiers, if the interests of the United States 
be not betrayed, they are not defended ; nor 
will things alter for the better there, so long as 
ye are represented by Bacri & Co." * At the 
inclusion of the same letter, Eaton intimates a 
vish to return to the United States, as soon as the 
affairs of the agency should be so arranged as to 
promise a few years tranquillity, having already 
been absent from his friends three years. 

The cargo of the Anna Maria was not wholly 
satisfactory to the avarice of the Bey. The 
present of jewels still formed the theme of vex 
atious demands, and Eaton s attempts to evade 
them had but little success. Orders were finally 
given to purchase them in England ; and de 
spatches were forwarded to Eaton from the De 
partment of State, informing him of this determi 
nation, and instructing him to keep the American 
minister at the court of St. James advised of the 
progress of affairs in the Baroary States. In a 
letter to Mr. King, dated December 29th, 1800, 
he says, " At Tripoli, affairs wear a menacing 
front, and I am apprehensive, except Mr. Cathcart 

* A Jewish mercantile house, with which O Brien 
was supposed to be concerned. 



76 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

receive some succor from government, before the 
spring season invrtes the corsairs to sea, we shall be 
insulted by that regency. At Algiers, the United 
States, like Spain, in the pure spirit of Christian 
chai ty, bear all things, endure all things; and 
we shall live in the merit of adhering to this 
Christian principle, so long as a Jew company 
control our affairs there." A few sentences from 
a letter to the American minister at Lisbon, under 
date of January 17th, 1801, exhibit more strong 
ly Eaton s feelings at this period. " I have no 
longer a hope of obtaining any relinquishment of 
this Bey s claims to jewels. The astonishing 
abasement of the Christian nations with these 
regencies the last year, leave us without a pre 
cedent of resistance ; and the almost total neglect 
of government to my reiterated representations 
deprive me of necessary arguments to combat the 
exorbitant exactions of this Regency. I have only 
to lament, with unavailing mortification, that these 
representations have merited so little attention. 
My country will lament also. For it is now 
obvious, that every conjecture I have hazarded, 
both respecting the inefficiency of the guarantee 
of Algiers, and also the dangers we risk by a 
too sparing economy, will be realized." 

The affairs of the United States and Tripoli 
grew more critical every day. The Bashaw s 
demands were too exorbitant to be complied with; 



WILLIAM EATON. 77 

and the examples of other Christian nations, in 
submitting to his degrading exactions, made it 
impossible for Mr. Cathcart to negotiate with any 
success. Eaton wrote him a letter of advice : 
counselling him to seize the opportunity afforded 
by a Swedish frigate, to send Mrs. Cathcart to 
Europe. In February, a circular letter passed 
through the American office at Tunis, from the 
consul at Tripoli, cautioning all American ves 
sels to quit the Mediterranean, on account of 
the threats of the Bashaw. In a letter to Mr. 
Marshall, Secretary of State of the United States, 
dated March 6th, 1801, Mr. Eaton writes; "It 
is certain, the Bashaw of Tripoli is fitting out 
his corsairs against Americans ; and so sanguine 
is he of the success of the expedition, that he 
already begins to calculate his profits, even in 
presence of Christian agents. Mr. Cathcart was 
obliged to leave Tripoli, and charged Mr. Nis- 
sen, the Danish consul, with the American af 
fairs during his absence." Eaton opened a cor 
respondence with that gentleman, for the pur 
pose of making such arrangements as circum 
stances allowed, for the subsistence and comfort 
of any Americans who might be carried as 
prisoners into Tripolitan ports. The consul s 
despatches were sent to Eaton, to be forwarded 
to the United States. He regarded them as ol 
so much importance, that he chartered u Ragu- 



78 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

san brig, to proceed with them directly to theii 
destination, The Bashaw demanded, as a con 
dition of sparing the United States, two hun 
dred and twenty-five thousand Spanish dollars, 
prompt payment, and twenty-five thousand an 
nually ; the Swedes having agreed to these 
terms. In his letter, accompanying these de 
spatches, Eaton says, "If our government yield 
these terms to the Bashaw of Tripoli, it will 
be absolutely necessary to make provisions for 
a requisition of double the amount for the Bey 
of Tunis. Algiers will also be respected ac 
cording to rank. If the United States will have 
a free commerce in this sea, they must defend 
it. There is no alternative. The restless spirit 
of these marauders cannot be restrained." 

In the mean time, the Bey continued his 
importunities in relation to the jewels, and med 
itated new requisitions on the United States. 
He required the consul to inform the President, 
that he needed a supply of guns, for his castle 
batteries. The consul refused to comply, be 
cause his previous experience had taught him, 
that when such a demand was once communi 
cated in a despatch, it was assumed as c( need 
ed. He told the Bey, however, that, if he 
would propose to exchange the guns due to 
him by treaty, for others of a larger calibre, the 
President would probably find no difficulty m 



WILLIAM EATON. 79 

making the arrangement. To this the Bey de 
murred, and finally determined to write to the 
President himself. " While we are in difficulty 
with Tripoli," says Eaton, "it seems to me 
good policy to be on good terms with Tunis ; 
but, if government should think differently, and, 
in lieu of a ship with presents, will consign to 
me a transport, with one thousand marines, be 
tween twenty and thirty-eight years of age, na 
tive Americans, and properly officered, under 
convoy of a forty-four gun frigate, I pledge 
myself to surprise Porto Farina, and destroy 
the Bey s arsenal." The Bey s letter was for 
warded to the United States, in company with 
the despatches from the regencies, by the Ra- 
gusan brig. It contained a demand of forty iron 
twenty -four pounders, as a token of the friend 
ship of the American President. On this oc 
casion, as well as on many others, Eaton was 
urgent in his advice, that the United States 
should make some effectual display of their 
power in the Mediterranean, and change the 
degrading posture they had heretofore occupied, 
of tributaries to a horde of pirates, for a more 
manly attitude, and one more consonant with 
national honor. His representations had been 
disregarded, or at least nothing had been done 
in consequence of them. Eaton attributes the 
apparent apathy of government to the influence 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of Mr. O Brien, the consul at Algiers, whom 
he does not hesitate to charge with corrupt 
dealings with the Jews. It seems, that a strong 
personal hostility had long existed between this 
gentleman and Mr. Cathcart ; and, as Mr. Cath- 
cart s views coincided with Eaton s, it was sup 
posed by the latter, that O Brien s animosity 
lent an additional strength of coloring to his 
representations to the government at home. It 
is probable that the warmth of Eaton s feelings, 
and his attachment to Mr. Cathcart, may have 
warped his better judgment. While he was 
negotiating with the piratical government of Tu 
nis, the war of party was raging with its great 
est violence in the United States. The inter 
ests, involved in our intercourse with the Bar- 
bary powers, were not likely to occupy, to any 
great extent, the attention of the people of the 
United States, amidst the deafening clamors of 
the political strife. The distance of the scene 
of action lessened, probably, its importance in 
the eyes of the cabinet at Washington. We 
may, therefore, account for the tardiness of our 
government in adopting more energetic meas 
ures, without supposing the existence of treach 
ery, or culpable carelessness, on the part of the 
agent at Algiers. 

Before the declaration of war by Tripoli, 
time enough had elapsed to communicate the 



WILLIAM EATON. 81 

alarm to all concerned in American trade through 
out the Mediterranean. The Bashaw, moreover, 
contrary to his usual custom, gave permission 
to the American agent to leave the Regency. 
Hostilities were publicly announced on the llth 
of May, and extraordinary measures were taken 
to communicate information of the event to the 
American minister at Lisbon, and to the govern 
ment of the United States. Mr. Cathcart drew 
up a protest against the conduct of the Bashaw 
and his ministers, showing clearly that it contra 
vened the letter and spirit of existing treaties, and 
unfolding, at considerable length, the subjects of 
dispute, and the cause of the war. It was an 
ticipated by Eaton, that this state of things 
would rouse the attention of government, and 
that a sufficient naval force would be sent into 
the Mediterranean to protect our commerce, and 
punish the aggressors. With his characteristic 
ardor, he proposed to the Secretary of State, 
to leave the affairs at Tunis in charge of Mr. 
Cathcart, whose arrival from Tripoli was daily 
expected, and to join the fleet with a view to 
assist their operations by his superior local knowl 
edge. 

In the mean time Eaton had conceived the 
project of a commercial convention with the 
government of Tunis, by which the existing 
treaty should be amended, and some of its arti- 

II. 6 



82 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

cles rendered more favorable to the United 
States. His ultimate object, in venturing upon 
this unauthorized negotiation, was to place the 
peaceful relations of the two countries on a 
more permanent basis, by engaging powerful 
commercial interests, on both sides, in favor of 
such a connexion. He entertained a high opin 
ion of the Bey s sagacity, and felt assured that 
he could convince him of the advantage to his 
country of an extended commercial intercourse 
with the United States. Considerable progress 
had already been made in effecting his object, 
but he was finally unsuccessful. The causes of 
his failure are thus detailed in a letter to the 
Department of State. 

" My project of a commercial convention 
with this Regency, I am apprehensive will pro 
duce nothing. Two circumstances operate to 
impede it. The protection given by the French 
to the Italian states, and the delays of the United 
States to forward their treaty stipulations. On the 
27th ultimo, entered two corsairs from a cruise, a 
xebec of twenty-four twelve pounders, and a cor 
vette of twenty brass nines, which had been 
boarded and disarmed by a French detachment 
commanded by Vice-Admiral Gaunthomme. The 
affair is so novel, so well done, and at the same 
time so laconic, that it seems worthy of detail 
* Who are you ? hailed the republican. Tunis- 



WILLIAM EATON. 83 

ians, was the answer. l Whom do you cruise 
against? Neapolitans. What! do you not 
know that the Neapolitans are our friends? Dare 
you insult the allies of Frenchmen ? Overboard 
in an instant with every offensive weapon, or I 
send you to the bottom. The order was 
promptly obeyed. Go make the compliments 
of the First Consul to the Bey, your master. 
Tell him, it was not his intention to regard 
your breach of faith in renewing the war. You 
might have remained tranquil and undisturbed 
at home ; but, if we find you abroad in search 
of mischief, we deprive you of the means. Tell 
him to beware of provoking the resentment of 
the First Consul ; it will be terrible to him and 
to hrs country. 

" The Admiral wrote to the Bey in the same 
style. His chagrin and mortification may be 
better imagined than described. These were 
two of his best cruisers. But the contempt is 
more grating than the injury done him. He 
cannot aspire to avenge himself of the French. 
He dares no more look for prey from Italy. 
What shall he do ? The Americans are a spe 
cies of Christians, somewhat similar in their re- 
ligioi and government to the French, and must 
thereiore expiate the affront. We are now the 
only nation on earth, against which Barbary can 
safely cruise ; the Spaniards are included in the 



84 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

list of French allies. For these reasons, this 
example of the French, though it is the only 
one worthy of imitation with these people, that 
has happened since my residence here, is ex 
tremely prejudicial to our affairs, and its influ 
ence is instantaneous. Since it took place, the 
Bey has totally changed his tone of treatment, 
has abruptly broken off the discussion of our 
commercial convention, and has formally an 
nounced to me, that, except the entire peace 
stipulations arrive in four months, I shall have 
his passport to leave his kingdom. I shall make 
my arrangements accordingly. 

"The whole goes to prove the exactness oi 
an opinion which I have long since advanced, 
that the mania of piracy is so blended with the 
system of these States, that it cannot be cured 
but by sovereign treatment. The arguments I 
have used with the Bey, to effect the object I 
proposed to myself, uniformly attracted his at 
tention, received his assent, and induced flat 
tering prospects of a favorable issue ; but, when 
they came into contact with his cruising views, 
availed nothing. This piratical enthusiasm is as 
obstinate as religious bigotry, which yields to 
no force of reasoning or sense of humanity." 

Soon after the date of the above-cited letter, 
a fire broke out at night in the Bey s palace, 
which destroyed fifty thousand stands of arms 



WILLIAM EATON. 85 

In a few days after this event, a message came 
to the American consul, requiring him to wait 
upon the Bey. Eaton was ill at the time, and 
could not comply ; as soon as his health per 
mitted, he attended at the palace, and was sur 
prised by a new demand upon the United States. 
The Bey informed him, that he had apportioned 
his loss among his friends, and the quota of the 
American governrr ent was ten thousand stands 
of arms ; and that he must state the demand to 
his government without delay. The consul pos 
itively refused, insisting, that it would be impos 
sible for the United States to comply with so 
unreasonable and extraordinary a demand, and 
that the Bey s government was in a much more 
eligible position to order the arms from Europe, 
than the government of the United States. " If 
the Bey had any intention of purchasing the 
arms from Europe," said the minister, " he could 
do it without your agency. He did not send 
for you to ask your advice, but to order you 
to communicate his demands to your govern 
ment." 

Eaton replied, that he came to assure them, 
that no such communication should be made. 
" The Bey will write himself," said he. In 
that case, the consul replied, it would become 
his duty to forward the letter. But he assured 
the minister, that he would never receive a sin- 



86 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

gle musket from the United States, and told 
him plainly, that a respect to decency, if not a 
sense of gratitude, ought to restrain the Bey 
from such an extraordinary claim. Within the 
iast eighteen months, two large ships cargoes 
had been received as a present, and another ship, 
laden for him, was already on its passage. The 
minister replied, that the supplies already re 
ceived were only in payment of a stipulation, long 
since due as the condition of peace ; the other 
claims were such as were made upon all friend 
ly nations once in two or three years, and the 
Americans, like other Christians, would be oblig 
ed to comply with it, as an established custom. 
Eaton was inflexible. He persisted in declaring, 
that the treaty stipulations were the condition 
of a perpetual peace, and when their payment 
was completed, an end would be put to all fur 
ther contributions to Tunis. 

The minister was angry, and told Eaton that 
he might prepare himself to leave the kingdom 
very soon, if he persisted in holding such lan 
guage. " If change of style on my part," said 
the consul, " be the condition of residence here, 
I will leave the Bey s kingdom to-morrow morn 
ing." "We will give you a month," said the 
minister. " I ask but six hours." " But you 
will write ? " " No." " It is your duty to 
write." "For delinquency in duty, this is not 



WILLIAM EATON. 87 

the place where I am to be questioned." " I 
tell you again/ continued he, "your peace de 
pends on your compliance with this demand of 
my master." " If so," said Eaton, " on me be 
the responsibility of breaking the peace. I wish 
you a good morning." 

As had been anticipated, the conduct of Tri 
poli, and the urgent representations of Cathrart 
and Eaton, roused the new administration, in 
which Mr. Jefferson had succeeded Mr. Adams 
as President of the United States, and Mr. 
Madison had been placed at the head of the 
Department of State, to a more efficient course 
of measures with the Barbary powers. It was 
determined to send into the Mediterranean a 
squadron of three frigates and a sloop of war, 
under the command of Commodore Dale, to be 
employed in the defence of American commerce 
against the piracies of Tripoli, and of any oth 
er Barbary states, that should follow her per 
fidious example. 

The time was considered by the government 
as peculiarly favorable for exhibiting an impos 
ing force in the Mediterranean, as the country 
was at peace with all the rest of the world, and 
the naval power might be thus employed with 
out adding much to the expense of support 
ing it at home. Great reliance was placed on 
Eaton s local knowledge, to give the measure 



88 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the most advantageous impression to the char 
acter and interests of the United States. He 
was instructed to use all his endeavors to sat 
isfy the Bey, that his government was desirous 
of maintaining peace with all nations, and that, 
if the flag of the United States should be en 
gaged in war with either of the Barbary re 
gencies, it would be a war of defence and 
necessity, and not of choice. He was, also, 
authorized to inform the Bey, that a vessel was 
preparing to take in a cargo, which would com 
plete the presents due to him, and that jewels, 
to the amount of ten thousand dollars, had been 
ordered to be prepared in London. 

Eaton s position at Tunis had been so em 
barrassing, with so little to lighten the burden 
of incessant negotiations, and his representations 
had been treated at home with so much appar 
ent neglect, that he had become disgusted with 
his situation, and repeatedly requested permission 
to return. But the new aspect of affairs en 
couraged him to hope, that the Barbary powers 
might be brought to assume a less insolent at 
titude towards the United States. His opinions 
had finally prevailed, and the President, unwilling 
to lose the services of so efficient an agent, at 
such a critical moment, urged him to remain at 
his post. 

Another cause of discontent was removed. 



WILLIAM EATON. 89 

It has been seen, that his differences with Mr. 
O Brien were the source of perpetual disquie 
tude, and even led him to suspect that gentle 
man s integrity. O Brien had lately requested 
to be replaced by another consul ; his request 
had been complied with, and, after this testi 
monial of his government s approbation, Eaton s 
situation was rendered more satisfactory. His 
correspondence shows that he engaged in the 
difficult and delicate duties of his office with new 
ardor. His letters to Mr. Cathcart, who had 
embarked for Leghorn, on the declaration of 
war by Tripoli, are marked by his characteris 
tic determination and bold patriotism, and are 
written in a tone of undiminished friendship and 
respect. 

In his- passage to Leghorn, Mr. Cathcart had 
been pillaged by the commander of a Tunisian 
corsair, notwithstanding the inviolability of his 
person, as a public agent of the United States. 
As soon as Eaton received intelligence of this 
outrage, he presented himself at the palace, and 
demanded satisfaction for the insult offered the 
nation in the person of its representative. The 
Bey refused to comply with the demand, and 
avowed his determination never to admit Cath 
cart into his kingdom. Eaton returned to his 
office, and immediately addressed a long and 
energetic letter to the Bey, in French, in which 



90 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

he recapitulated the recent indications of a hos 
tile disposition on the part of his government, 
towards the United States, exposed the intrigues 
of the Jews at Algiers, and explained the causes 
of their enmity to Mr. Cathcart. The letter 
concluded by demanding permission for Mr. Cath 
cart to return to Tunis, and await the orders 
of his government, and claimed full satisfaction 
for the insult offered him by the Tunisian corsair. 
The next morning a polite note was sent to 
Eaton from the palace, requesting an interview, 
and promising him entire satisfaction. He went 
accordingly, and was listened to with attention. 
The Bey promised to bastinado the captain of 
the corsair, and to consider further of the ad 
mission of Mr. Cathcart. Eaton learned, sub 
sequently, that his suspicions of Jewish intrigue 
at Algiers against Mr. Cathcart were correct, 
and that letters had been written from Tripoli 
to Tunis, soliciting the Bey not to receive him 
into his dominions. At his next interview, he 
spoke of Cathcart s coming to Tunis, as a thing 
settled, and was not contradicted. 



WILLIAM EATON. 91 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A~rival of the American Squadron. Tripoli 
blockaded. Proceedings at Tripoli. Is- 
sue of the Expedition. Project of dethron 
ing the reigning Bashaw and restoring his 
Brother. Eaton* s Voyage to Leghorn. 
Return to Tunis. Reported Capture of Tu 
nisian Vessels carrying Provisions to Tripoli. 
Discussions arising from it. A Tunis 
ian Xebec arrested and examined by an 
American Schooner. Conduct of the Schoon- 
er s Crew, and Trouble growing out of it. 
Eaton s successful Interposition. 

ON the 17th of July, 1801, Commodore Dale 
arrived at Tunis, in the United States frigate 
President, with the sloop Enterprise, and the 
day following Captain Bainbridge, in the Essex. 
After taking in a supply of fresh water and 
provisions, these ships of war proceeded imme 
diately to their destination. The arrival of this 
fleet produced a strong sensation at the palace. 
Eaton ascertained, from a confidential friend, that 
Tripoli was already in a famishing condition, and 
dependent on Tunis for supplies ; and it was 
intimated to him, that he would immediately re- 



92 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ceive application for passports of safe conduct 
for several Tunisian vessels, already taking in 
cargoes of provisions for Tripoli. 

To evade such an application, to turn the 
occasion to the best advantage in striking a 
olow at the enemy, Eaton immediately issued 
a circular, declaring Tripoli in a state of block 
ade, and that all vessels attempting to enter 
that port would be dealt with according to the 
laws of nations applicable to such cases. As 
all commerce was monopolized by the govern 
ment, this proceeding caused a great commotion. 
The principal commercial agent was sent to 
Eaton s house, with a demand, that the block 
ade should be so modified as not to effect the 
interests of the Tunisian Regency. A long dis 
cussion ensued, but Eaton firmly maintained his 
ground. 

The agent declared, that he was authorized 
to state, that adherence to this position would 
endanger the peace with Tunis, and left the 
house in a violent rage. In a letter to Com 
modore Dale, Eaton writes ; " Tripoli is in great 
distress. The corsairs are all at sea. She is 
starving in her capital, and will be thrown into 
consternation at your unexpected appearance. 
If this position, which the good providence of 
God gives us, can be sternly held a few months, 
Tripoli will be compelled tc ask peace on our 



WILLIAM EATON. 83 

own terms. The object is so desirable, that it 
seems worth exertions; more especially so, as 
Algiers and Tunis are looking to this rupture 
as a precedent for their intercourse with the 
United States." 

Commodore Dale, having been joined by the 
frigate Philadelphia, appeared before Tripoli on 
the 26th of July. The Bashaw proposed a 
truce, but his terms were rejected. The prin 
cipal effect, however, of this expedition, during 
the present season, was to maintain the block 
ade, in which the Commodore concurred, and 
to prevent American merchantmen from falling 
into the hands of the Tripolitan corsairs. 

The reigning Bashaw of Tripoli, a few years 
oefore the American war, had usurped the throne, 
rightfully held by his elder brother, Hamet Car- 
amelli, whom he had driven into exile. It was 
suggested originally by Mr. Cathcart, that ad 
vantage might be taken of this state of affairs 
to inflict a signal chastisement on the perfid 
ious Bashaw, by restoring the banished prince 
to his dominions. The conduct of the Tripol 
itan government justified this measure; and the 
prospect of holding up to the other Barba- 
ry powers an ominous example of what they 
might expect from a war with the United States 
encouraged the American consuls to attempt it. 
Besides, it was generally understood,, that the 



94 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

people of Tripoli were suffering severely from 
the blockade, and were ripe for a revolt against 
a usurper, whose oppressions, added to his origi 
nal crime against his brother, had already ren 
dered his government intolerable. Hamet, the 
exile, was residing at Tunis, under the pro 
tection of the Bey. Eaton sought him out, 
and found him ready to enter into the scheme. 
It was concerted between them, that an attack 
should be made upon the usurper by land, while 
the navy was engaged in active operations by 
sea. Nothing, however, could be immediately 
attempted. 

The following passage is from a letter, writ 
ten about this time, to Mr. Samuel Lyman, 
a member of Congress. " To avoid the ex 
pense of prolonging the war, Tripoli should 
be bombarded. This is a very practicable meas 
ure. Commodore Dale thinks, that four frigates 
and three bomb-ketches are an ample force tc 
do it effectually. He also supposes a descent 
on the coast at the same time would have good 
effect. I am of the same opinion, and am so 
confident of its practicability, that I will volun 
teer in the enterprise, in any character consist 
ent with my former military rank and my pres 
ent station, with two thousand active light troops, 
Perhaps it is my duty, and, if so, will not be 
deemed vanity to say, that, in case our affairs 



WILLIAM EATON. 95 

continue tranquil in Tunis, of which there is a 
moral certainty, I could be more serviceable to 
my country at Tripoli than here, because I 
know the tactics of the Barbary and Turkish 
land forces, their mode of attack and manner 
of fighting, and for this reason should probably 
have the more influence in assisting the ma- 
no3uvres of an assault. If such an enterprise 
should be resolved upon, an adjutant and in 
spector general to the troops would be requi 
site. I should be willing to take the responsi 
bility of that office upon myself during the 
war." 

Such was Eaton s view of the proper mode 
of conducting the war with Tripoli ; and there 
can be no reasonable doubt, that the project 
would have been crowned with complete sue 
cess, had his suggestions been listened to. He 
was destined, however, to attempt and execute 
a more hazardous and brilliant enterprise, as 
will be seen in the sequel. 

On the 1st of December, the ship Peace 
and Plenty, Captain Richard Woods, arrived at 
Tunis, under convoy of the George Washing 
ton, with another supply of naval and military 
stores. After attending to the unloading of the 
cargo, Eaton obtained permission of the Bey to 
leave the affairs of the United States in the hands 
of Dr William Turner of the United States 



96 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Navy, then at Tunis. The declining state of 
his health made it necessary for him to resign, 
for a short time, the labors of his office, and 
to take a voyage for its recovery. The George 
Washington offering him a passage to Leghorn, 
he embarked for that port on the 13th of De 
cember, having furnished Dr. Turner with full 
and precise instructions by which to govern his 
conduct during the consul s absence. 

The ship arrived at Naples on the 21st, and 
was ordered into quarantine, at the conclusion 
of which he seized the opportunity of submit 
ting to his Sicilian Majesty s prime minister the 
question, whether the Americans would be al 
lowed to land Moorish prisoners in his territory, 
in case of need, and on what terms ; and sug 
gested to him the advantages, that would accrue 
to both nations from a commercial treaty. The 
prime minister and other distinguished persona 
ges of Naples were profuse in their civilities 
and attentions to the American consul, and ex 
pressions of a cordial sympathy with the cause 
of the United States. He had also a private 
audience with the King of Sardinia, who hap 
pened to be in Naples, and obtained permission 
for the fleet to enter the ports of his island 
and procure provisions. 

On the 30th of January, 1802, he arrived at 
Leghorn. The benefit of the voyage to his 



WILLIAM EATON. 97 

health was less than he expected, and he de 
termined to hasten his return to Tunis. This 
resolution was confirmed by the receipt of in 
telligence, that the Bashaw of Tripoli was mak 
ing overtures to his exiled brother, for the pur 
pose of frustrating the concerted enterprise, above 
explained, against his territories. Eaton was 
anxious to be in Tunis before this consumma 
tion could be effected. He arrived on the 12th 
of March, and found Hamet on the point of 
yielding to the Bashaw s proposition. The gov 
ernment of Derne, a province of Tripoli, was 
offered him, and he was about to depart to as 
sume the command. 

Eaton represented to him the impropriety 
and danger of such a step, and that probably 
his brother s sole object was to cut his throat. 
He told the frightened prince, that, if he depart 
ed, he should consider him in the light of an 
enemy, and should use his best efforts to send 
him and his retinue prisoners of war to the 
United States. Hamet proposed going to Mal 
ta and waiting the issue there ; but Eaton would 
only consent at present, that he should go to 
Leghorn or Sardinia. The refusal of the Bey 
to furnish any further supplies of provisions, add 
ed to the alarm and distress of the unfortu 
nate man ; and he readily yielded to any terms, 
which the consul saw fit to prescribe. It was 

IT. 7 



98 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

finally agreed that he should depart for Malta, 
with letters of recommendation from Eaton to the 
American commander, there to await the arri 
val of the fleet ; thence to go with the fleet to 
Tripoli, and demand the restitution of his throne 
and his rights. Precaution was taken, however, 
to guard against a change of Hamet s resolution 
and a violation of his engagements, by a pre 
concerted plan to arrest him, if he should at 
tempt to shape his course for Derne. The 
final agreement of the exiled Bashaw was ac 
complished in part by the assistance of the 
Sapitapa, to whom Eaton promised ten thou 
sand dollars on the successful issue of the ex 
pedition. 

Meantime the intercourse between the con 
sul and the government of the Bey was not 
of the most friendly character. An angry in 
terview in April terminated by the Bey s or 
dering Eaton to quit his court, and hold him 
self in readiness to embark on board the first 
American ship of war, that should arrive in port. 
The consul turned short upon his heel, return 
ed to his office, and ordered, that no more pass 
ports should be filled out for Tunisian cruisers. 
This proceeding was immediately reported to 
the Bey, and his commercial agent hastened to 
beg, that the order might be countermanded, in 
timating that the Bey had no wish to provoke 



WILLIAM EATON. 90 

a war by sending away the consul, but only to 
obtain another more capable of cherishing peace 
than Eaton. He was answered, that the consul 
had taken his ground, which would not be sur 
rendered until the Bey had changed his posi 
tion. 

A few days after, he was invited to the pal 
ace by the Bey, and discussed with him the 
relative advantages of peace and war. The min 
ister professed a willingness to maintain the peace 
with the Americans on the same footing as with 
the other small Christian nations, but they must 
have a consul with less fantasia, and more 
friendly to the Barbary interests. Eaton replied, 
that he daily expected permission to return to 
the United States, and to be succeeded by his 
colleague, Mr. Cathcart. The Bey pretended 
astonishment, and declared, that Mr. Cathcart 
should never come into his dominions on any 
pretext whatever. 

About this time, a rumor reached the Bey, 
that an American frigate had captured four 
coasting vessels belonging to his subjects, bound 
to Tripoli, laden with wheat, barley, oil, and 
other provisions. The consul was summoned 
to the palace, and immediate restitution of ves 
sels and cargo was demanded. The Bey as 
serted a right to carry provisions, in all rases., 
to his friends, and maintained the principle of 



X 

100 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

" free bottoms, free goods." Eaton denied the 
right, and affirmed, that the principle was never 
construed to extend to a blockaded port. Sea 
sonable and formal notice of the blockade of 
Tripoli had been given. If, after this, he per 
mitted his subjects to carry provisions to that 
port, he took the responsibility on himself; if 
they engaged in these enterprises without his 
consent, it was a voluntary risk on their part, 
and they had no reason to complain in case of 
capture ; since the captures, being made accord 
ing to acknowledged maxims of war, were, of 
course, good prize to the captors. 

The Bey talked of reprisals, and Eaton of 
retaliation. The Bey desired Eaton to write 
to the American commander to capture no more 
of his vessels, but to turn them from their course 
if they were found carrying provisions to Tri 
poli ; the request was declined, but the inter 
view was concluded without the usual display 
of anger on the part of the Bey. It was after 
wards ascertained, that the report was without 
foundation, the captures having in fa ,t been made 
by the Swedes. The only use of these discus 
sions, therefore, was to give the Bey an intima 
tion of what he might expect, whenever his ves 
sels should be captured by the Americans under 
Jike circumstances. 

\n incident occurred in the Mediterranean 



WILLIAM EATON. 101 

this season, which gave Eaton great concern, 
and brought temporary dishonor upon the Amer 
ican name. A Tunisian xebec was arrested 
and examined by the commander of an Amer 
ican schooner, Lieutenant Sterrett. It was after 
wards ascertained, that several articles, of no 
great value, had been plundered, and, on the 
arrival of the crew, ht , Tvois ; , loud, cpm plaints 
were made to the government. Every; term of 
reproach and insult was.he/aped -upj,the Amer 
icans, and for a time the worst cbiteequences 
were apprehended. Eaton was instantly sum 
moned to the palace, and found the Bey in a 
towering passion. " You, Sir," said he, " you, 
who boast eternally of the rectitude and honor 
of your government, by this act stand convicted, 
that you represent a nation of pirates. What ! 
do you bring your warriors from your country, 
destitute of shirts,* commissioned to fall upon 
and strip my defenceless subjects. Had you 
captured this vessel, I should have viewed the 
act in a different light ; but the protection of 
your right to navigate the sea freely, as your 
President expresses his motive for sending a 
squadron before Tripoli, I find to be a system of 
plunder. But, to show you that I am not to 
be the subject of your aggressions, I will im- 

* Among 1 the plundered articles was a shirt belong 
ing tc Rais Mustapha, commander of the Xebec. 



102 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

mediately send every American you have in 
port, in irons, to work at the Goletta, yourself 
at their head." By energetic assurances, that 
restitution should be made for every article of 
property plundered, and that the criminals should 
receive exemplary punishment, Eaton succeeded 
in calming the rage of the Bey. The consul 
was indefatigable R ; bis* exertions to fulfil his 
promise ; and he had the - satisfaction of proving 
to the < B<?;JY *haf thfe crime was confined to one 
marine and two common sailors of the schoon 
er s crew, and that no officer was in the slight 
est degree implicated. 

Intelligence was received from Lieutenant 
Sterrett, that the Bashaw of Tripoli was mak 
ing great defensive preparations, but that gen 
eral discontent pervaded all classes of his sub 
jects, not excepting the Turkish soldiers, who 
derived most benefit from the war. The exiled 
Hamet was known to be in Malta, waiting for the 
arrival of Commodore Truxton, who had been 
appointed to the command of the American 
squadron in the Mediterranean. The prospect 
of success was promising, and no doubt was en 
tertained, that the issue of the war would be 
(avorable to the American arms. 



WILLIAM EATON. 103 



CHAPTER IX. 

Intervention of the Bey of Tunis in the Affairs 
of Tripoli and the United States. Arrival 
of the Constellation at Tunis. Demand of 
the Bey for a Ship renewed. Eaton commu 
nicates his Project against Tripoli to the Com 
manders of the Squadron. It is disapproved 
by them. Brig Franklin captured by a Tri- 
politan. Efforts to procure the Liberation of 
the Crew. Further Communications with the 
exiled Bashaw. Differences with the Com 
manders of the American Squadron, and Diffi 
culties of Eaton s Situation in Tunis. New 
Demands of the Bey. The exiled Bashaw 
leaves Malta for Derne. Arrival of Com 
modore Morris at Tunis. His Arrest. 
Eaton s Rupture with the Bey, and Return to 
the United States. 

On the 24th of May, Eaton was summoned, 
by a note from the prime minister, to the 
palace. On his appearance there he was sur 
prised to find the Bey in an unusually com 
plaisant mood ; and, in conversation with the 
minister, he ascertained, that the Bey s object 
was to make a proposition of peace with Trip- 



104 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

oli, through the mediation and under the guar 
antee of the government of Tunis. 

The minister informed Eaton, that he was 
authorized to propose the negotiation. It was 
replied, that the United States had no induce 
ments to desire war with any nation, and if 
Tripoli would make suitable retractions, the sub 
ject of peace might be considered ; but even 
then it would be considered hazardous to treat 
with the reigning Bashaw, after having seen 
such flagrant violations of faith. The remaining 
part of the interview is given in Eaton s own 
words, in a letter to the Secretary of State. 

" If the Bey of Tunis would act as media 
tor between the parties, and take upon himself 
the guarantee of the peace on the part of Trip 
oli, would it remove this difficulty ? 

" We have great reliance on the good faith, 
equity, and magnanimity of His Excellency the 
Bey of Tunis, and should be very secure in 
his responsibility ; but is it certain, that this Bey 
w r ould take upon himself the guarantee of a 
peace in behalf of Tripoli ? 

" Yes. But if you talk of retractions and 
indemnities, it would be idle to talk of peace. 
On the contrary, according to all custom, you 
must make the Bashaw a small present; though 
he would be willing to put up with something 
less than what he at first demanded. 



WILLIAM EATON. 105 

u c We were not tne first to violate the peace. 
We are not the first to demand it. If Tripoli 
be solicitous for it, she must abandon the idea 
of imposing conditions ; she will most certain 
ly never receive a caroube * in consideration of 
her friendship. We do not set any value up 
on it. 

" Nay ; but if you place no value on her 
friendship, the security of your commerce in 
this sea, and the saving of the expense of ar 
maments, are objects of consideration, in which 
you consult your own interest. 

" * We never supposed our commerce in this 
sea more secure than at present, notwithstand 
ing the war with Tripoli ; and, as to the ex 
pense of armaments, we accumulate nothing on 
that score from making the Mediterranean the 
mano3uvring ground of our seamen. We shall 
probably always have a squadron in this sea. 

" But Tripoli is very poor ; she cannot sub 
sist without the generosity of her friends ; give 
something then on the score of charity. 

" Tripoli has forfeited her title of friend. 
Besides, there is a vast difference between the 
beggar who seizes my horse by the bit, and, 
with a pistol at my breast, demands my purse, 
and him , who, with one hand pressed to his 
heart, and the other hanging with his hat, asks 

* Fifty-two caroubes make a dollar. 



106 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

charity for the love of God. The former iner 
its chastisement ; the latter excites commisera 
tion. I leave you to apply the figure. 

" I feel it. But the Barbary Regencies nev 
er make peace without presents. 

" c It is high time, then, that there should be 
a precedent. 

" But you say you are disposed for peace. 

" c Yes ; but you are not to understand me that 
we either wish or will accept it on dishonorable 
terms. 

" ( There can be nothing dishonorable in mak 
ing a small voluntary present to Tripoli. 

" l Drop the subject, if you please. Tripoli 
is not in a right position to receive expressions 
of our hospitality. Nor am I vested with powers 
to negotiate. I can only express to you the 
general, but fixed sentiment of my government 
and country, that we prefer peace to war, if 
we can have it on honorable terms; and you 
are at liberty to express this sentiment to Trip 
oli. She may take advantage of it if she thinks 
proper. Otherwise, four or five years of warfare 
with that state will be but a pastime to our 
young warriors. 

" I shall send off a cruiser, said the minister, 
* with the result of this interview. 

" At evening the commercial agent was at my 
house. Went over the same ground. Was sure, 



WILLIAM EATON. 107 

that we should never have a peace without pay 
ing something ; it would disgrace the Regency ; 
but he seemed extremely solicitous to have per 
mission to write something promising to Tripoli 
on the subject of a negotiation. He said, what 
the minister had asserted in the morning, that 
the only pretext the Bashaw of Tripoli had for 
breaking faith with the United States, was that 
the peace was not voluntary on his part, but 
forced on him by Algiers. 

" These overtures go to prove the embarrass 
ed situation of our enemy ; and promise, if suit 
able advantage is taken of it, a peace on our 
own terms. We hold the high ground of him 
at all points. I am partial to my original plan 
of restoring the rightful Bashaw, though nothing 
was said on the subject at the palace to-day, 
I think it highly probable, that the reigning Ba 
shaw has offered more powerful arguments to 
engage this minister in his interest, than either 
his brother had the means or myself the dis 
cretion of offering. Besides, the Bey of Tunis 
is ignorant of that project. It will be seasonable 
enough to inform him of it after having insured 
ts success. In the mean time let us amuse the 
usurper with his own propositions." 

Towards the end of May the United States 
frigate Constellation, Captain Alexander Murray, 
arrived at Tunis, bringing the arm? prepared 



108 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

for the Bey in London. They were immedi 
ately presented, and found highly acceptable ; 
but a former demand was instantly revived 
through the minister, for a corvette or brig of 
war, such as had been given to Algiers. He 
was referred to the treaty stipulations, and the 
claim, for the present, was silenced. 

Mr. Eaton gave an account of his measures 
with Hamet, to Captains Barron and Bain- 
bridge, of the squadron, immediately on their 
arrival. His sanguine expectations were some 
what disappointed by the severe criticisms, which 
those officers made upon his plans. Captain 
Murray coincided in their views, and rejected 
the scheme, says Eaton, " in an air of authority 
and reprimand, which I should not expect, even 
from the highest departments of government." 
The conduct of these commanders was regarded 
by Eaton with contempt, and he did not fail 
to represent it in language of strong complaint. 

The measures objected to had been concert 
ed with the approbation of Mr. Cathcart, and 
others whose local knowledge and soundness of 
judgment entitled their opinions to the highest 
respect. The consul reasonably thought, that a 
plan formed under such auspices, and sanctioned 
by such authority, was deserving of more attention 
than these gentlemen seemed inclined to accord 
to it. " How is it," he asks, " that every com- 



WILLIAM EATON. 109 

mander, as well as everybody else, who has 
acted on this coast, comes into this measure ; 
and that three only, who have scarcely or nev 
er been here, take on themselves to reject it?" 

Captain Murray, however, in the absence of 
Commodore Truxton, felt bound to put a check 
to measures, which his instructions, in his opin 
ion, did not authorize him to participate in, and 
which were likely to cause considerable ex 
pense to the United States. Whether his opin 
ion was correct or not, there can be no doubt 
that he acted from a conscientious regard to 
his duty. 

On the 6th of July, the American brig 
Franklin, Captain Andrew Morris, was carried 
into Biserta, captured by a Tripolitan corsair. 
Information was carried to Eaton by express, 
from the vice-consul stationed there. The cor 
sair s first plan was to march the ship s crew 
to the city of Tunis, and thence by land to 
Tripoli ; but the Bey was apprehensive of trou 
ble with the Americans, and objected to the 
passage of American slaves through his country. 
The ship and cargo were sold by auction to 
the commercial agent of the Bey, and the men 
were chained in the hold of a Tripolitan galley. 
Every effort was made by the consul to allevi 
ate the sufferings of these unhappy men, but he 
was prohibited from even exchanging a word with 



110 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

them. Information was despatched in all direc 
tions, and strong representations were made, of 
the importance of watching the harbor of Tu 
nis, which had become a rendezvous for the en 
emy. The American commanders were urged to 
attempt the recapture of the prisoners, before 
their arrival at Tripoli, whither they had been 
despatched in the galley. The labor was 
vain ; the crew of the Franklin were transport 
ed to their place of destination, and held in 
slavery. A claim was immediately made for 
their release, on a promise to surrender seven 
American prisoners in return for a number of 
Turks who had been released by Commodore 
Dale the preceding summer. Instructions were 
also forwarded to Mr. Nyssen, the Danish con 
sul, and acting consul for the United States 
since Mr. Cathcart s departure, that provision 
should be made, at the expense of the Amer 
ican government, for the support and comfort 
of the prisoners. These measures were final 
ly unsuccessful, but the prisoners were set at 
liberty at the instance of Algiers. 

The presence of Hamet, the exiled prince, 
at Malta, caused great alarm at Tripoli; and 
the Bashaw immediately seized and confined 
the chiefs of some of the principal villages, 
to prevent an insurrection. His subjects, how 
ever, with few exceptions, regarded the event 



WILLIAM EATON. Ill 

as a signal interposition of heaven, and looked 
forward to the restoration of their rightful sov 
ereign, and the reestablishment of peace with 
the United States. The situation of Hamet 
was such, m the mean time, that Eaton was 
obliged to furnish him with funds for the sup 
ply of his present wants, as appears from the 
following letter, dated August 6th, 1802. 

To His EXCELLENCY HAMET CARAMELLI, BASHAW 

OF TRIPOLI. 
" SIR, 

"I have had the honor to receive your 
Excellency s letter of the 16th ultimo; and I im 
prove this first opportunity to request Mr. Pu- 
lis to furnish you with two thousand hard dol 
lars on the credit of the United States; which 
I hope will be a relief to your situation until 
the arrival of our Commodore, who is hourly 
expected here. He arrived at Gibraltar early 
in June, but has been detained in that quarter 
for the arrangement of public affairs with the 
Emperor of Morocco. I hope your Excellen 
cy s patience will not be exhausted. Remem 
ber that your brother thirsts for your blood 
I have learned from a certain source, that his 
project of getting you to Derne was to murder 
you. He is now more determined than ever, 
because he has intercepted some of your letters 
to your friends in Tripoli. You cannot be safe. 



112 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

therefore, in any part of your Regency unless 
you enter it in your true character of sovereign. 
L believe in God, the mighty and the just, that 
this event is not far distant. In the mean time, 
permit me to recommend to your Excellency 
to keep up a correspondence with those of your 
party in Tripoli, and with your subjects of the 
country. Let them be persuaded, that your 
friends will not abandon you, until, by the help 
of God, they shall see you restored to your 
faithful people. Give them assurances to redress 
their grievances and to treat them like a mild and 
just prince. And do every thing to detach them 
from the interest of the usurper. 

" I have the honor to be, Sir, &tc. 

" WILLIAM EATON." 

The situation of the consul became more and 
more difficult and disagreeable every day. The 
differences between him and the officers of the 
squadron, not only annoyed his feelings in pri 
vate, but lessened his influence as a public 
agent. He was exposed to many perplexing 
obstacles in the discharge of his duties, and his 
representations were received with sneers. The 
following passage from a letter to the Secretary 
of State, presents a strong picture of his condi 
tion at this moment. 

" My exile is become insupportable here 



WILLIAM EATON. 113 

Abandoned by my countrymen in command, 
no advice from government to regulate my con 
duct, and my own exertions failing of effect, 
I am left subject, though not yet submissive, to 
the most intolerable abuse and personal vexa 
tions. Anxiety, perplexity, and a climate un 
favorable to my constitution, waste my health. 

"The position I have taken and held with 
this Bey, in regard to passports for his mer 
chantmen for Tripoli, has excited a temper and 
disposition in this court, to distress me in my 
personal concerns. I have frequently stated, that 
my sakry is an inadequate support. The check, 
which Captain Murray thought proper to put 
on my public measures, has not less affected 
my public character. Thus situated, I am con 
suming life, property, and perhaps public repu 
tation here, without the consoling prospect of 
having the merit of being useful to my country. 
Why should I remain at a post which is no 
longer tenable ? Again I repeat, my individu 
al resources are insufficient barriers against the 
avarice of this regency. From the first moment 
of my agency here, it was apparent to me, that 
submission to the demands of this Bey would 
only sharpen avidity. I stated this apprehen 
sion in my communications to government ; it 
was thought too lively ! My measures to chas 
tise a perfidious enemy are now branded by com- 

ii. 8 



114 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

manders as speculative ; the effusions of a dis 
ordered fancy ! Is it not enough, that I have 
sacrificed almost four years to the service of my 
country, in a state of painful sequestration from 
all rational enjoyment ? Will anybody allege, 
that I have not discharged my duty with an up 
right zeal ? And are such the rewards of my 
services ? To be branded, unheard in my own 
defence, and by a solitary captain of a frigate, 
with speculation and insanity ! 

11 It were impossible to keep these things con 
cealed here, even if they had been transacted 
with less publicity. The Bey says, I always 
told the American consul he was a madman, 
(because I have not been his obsequious slave, 
as are half the consuls near him,) and it ap 
pears the commanders of his nation are of the 
same opinion. 

" I am constrained, therefore, not less by a 
regard to the interest and honor of my country, 
than to my own individual interest and honor, 
to request the President will permit me to re 
sign the trust I have the honor to hold under 
\he government of the United States, unless more 
active operations shall be resolved on against the 
enemy ; in which case it would gratify me to re 
main on this coast till the issue be determined." 

The Bey made new requisitions upon the 
United States. Through his minister he com- 



WILLIAM EATON. H5 

municated to Eaton a formal demand of a 
frigate of thirty-six guns. The claim was of 
course resisted, and even the statement of it to 
the government declined. The Bey then de 
termined to write with his own hand to the 
President of the United States; and, not satis 
fied with Eaton s pointed refusal to communi 
cate his demand, attempted to gain the point 
by requesting him to make the form of a letter, 
which should be sent to the President under 
the Bey s own signature. According to Tunis 
ian logic, this would have become the consul s 
own act, and therefore a promise. Eaton un 
derstood this perfectly well, and peremptorily re 
fused. He argued, from the treaty compact, 
against the demand, and put the question point 
edly to the minister if he was not ashamed to 
make it after having received lately such valu 
able presents from the United States. The min 
ister replied, that the presents were a mere 
peace stipulation, the payment of which had long 
been delayed. He recapitulated the history of 
the negotiation, and concluded by insisting on the 
frigate as a token of the " veritable friendship 
of the prince of America." 

The demand for a form of a letter was re 
peated to the drogoman, who had been instruct 
ed to reply, that the consul would write neither 
directly nor indirectly. This was not the last. 



116 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Again the minister demanded of Eaton, person 
ally, the form of a letter, in still more imperi 
ous terms, but to no purpose. The consul was 
firm, and could not be frightened by the min 
ister s menace, that the Bey would write in 
English himself; a menace which his Excellen 
cy would probably have found some difficulty 
in executing. The object of this requisition, as 
the Bey probably never supposed it would be 
complied with, must have been to provide a 
plausible pretext of a rupture with the United 
States, if circumstances should encourage a hope 
of plunder, or of greater concessions. The fol 
lowing is a translation of the letter, as it was 
finally written. 

"Tunis, 8 September, 1802. 
"The Bashaw, Bey of Tunis, to the President 

of the Republic of the United States of 

America. 
" MR. PRESIDENT, 

" With equal pleasure and satisfaction, 1 
have seen arrive, and have received successive 
ly, all the military and naval stores, as well as 
the superb jewels, which your government has 
sent forward for my Regency and myself, in ex 
ecution of our conditions for the confirming and 
consolidating of the good harmony and alliance, 
which, thank God, have been established and 
actually subsist between us. 



WILLIAM EATON. 117 

" While I am happy to give you this assur 
ance, indeed sincere, of my full contentment, 
I ought not to dissemble that I do net, at the 
same time, see myself treated with the same 
distinction and the same regard that you have had 
for your other friends ; and, since I am equally one, 
I avow to you, with frankness, as I have already 
declared to Mr. Eaton, your consul, that it would 
have been infinitely agreeable to me if you had 
also made me a present of a vessel of war. 

" Mr. Eaton not finding it convenient to charge 
himself with the communication of this demand 
to you on my part, I am determined to testify 
to you directly, by the present, that it would 
be very agreeable to me that you should send 
me a good frigate of thirty-six guns, which 
would add to the high esteem I have for your 
nation, and would more and more cement the 
ties of our friendship, which on my part I shall 
maintain firm and inviolable. 

" Convinced as I am beforehand, Mr. Pres 
ident, that this demand, taken into considera 
tion, will obtain the full effect which I expect 
from it, I renew to you the assurance of my 
most distinguished esteem, and I pray Almighty 
God to have you in his holy keeping. 

" HAMOUDA BASHAW BEY, 
"Prince of the Princes of Tunis, the 
City well guarded, the Abode of 
Happiness. 1 



118 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Captain Murray, after reconsidering the con 
sul s scheme, in relation to the exiled Bashaw, 
fell in with it so far as to oiier to take him on 
board his ship, and convey him to Derne. This 
was contrary to Eaton s wishes, in the most im 
portant particulars. His ohject was to prevent 
the prince from resorting to that province, in 
order that he might appear before Tripoli with 
the American fleet. The Bashaw finally de 
termined to leave Malta for Derne in an Eng 
lish brig. Eaton lamented this determination, 
as fatal not only to his own plans against the 
enemy, but as likely to expose the Bashaw him* 
self to destruction. The conduct of the squad 
ron was by no means satisfactory to the consul s 
ardent temperament. He regarded it as dila 
tory and inefficient, and extremely prejudicial 
to the interests of the United States. The 
blockade of Tripoli was but imperfectly main 
tained, and ships laden with provisions often suc 
ceeded in entering the harbor, and affording the 
enemy essential relief. Add to this, the Bey 
was becoming more haughty in his tone, and 
more insolent in his demands, apparently en 
couraged by the inactivity of the fleet. The 
imperious style of his letter to the President of 
the United States, Eaton regarded as an indica 
tion and expression of the contempt that potentate 
was encouraged to entertain for the character 



WILLIAM EATON. 1U) 

of the American nation. He then writes to 
the Secretary of State, under date of October 
22d, 1802. 

" The indignities I have suffered at this court 
latterly are insupportable. On the first appear 
ance of our squadron, this Bey behaved re 
spectfully ; he has grown insolent in proportion 
to the moderation of their movements and the 
success of the enemy. I have in no instance 
yielded to his exactions. But, again permit me 
to repeat, without more energetic support I 
cannot maintain the position I have taken here; 
a position which has hitherto received the ap 
probation of every distinguished officer of the 
general government with whom I have had the 
honor to correspond. And, suffer me to add, 
if further concessions are to be made here, I 
desire / may not be the medium through whom 
they shall be presented. The rich presents I 
have already given this Bey, in the name of 
the Chief Magistrate of the United States, serve 
only to show him our wealth and our weakness, 
and to prompt his avarice to new demands. 
Three years ago I apprehended this conse 
quence of our yielding expressions of amity* 
The same effect will result from the same cause 
so long as the latter exist." 

Such being the state of things, Eaton deter 
mined to return to the United States. He felt 



120 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

assured, that he could render no important ser 
vice to his government by a longer residence in 
Barbary ; and he began to suspect, that the Bey 
of Tunis would not hesitate to seize and hold 
him in durance as a hostage, in case of a rup- 
tnre with the Americans, for which he was 
supposed to be seeking a pretext. He was 
also desirous of repairing to the seat of gov 
ernment in person and settling his accounts ; a 
step rendered necessary by the fact, that for 
many items he had no regular vouchers, and 
that the vouchers of others required explanation. 

His measures with Hamet had involved an 
expense of about twenty-three thousand dollars, 
for which he had obtained the cash on credit 
in Tunis ; and for the repayment of which it 
was necessary that immediate provision should 
be made. To meet this heavy expense, which 
was now regarded by him as useless, since the 
frustration of his plans, Eaton had no private 
resources. All his means had been exhausted 
by the rapacity and extortion of the horde of 
pirates, among whom the last few years had 
been spent. The Regency viewed him, as he 
supposed, with a jealous eye, and regarded him 
as an enemy to the Barbary interests. 

At length Commodore Morris arrived at Tu 
nis. The hostile temper of the Bey s govern 
ment was not slow to show itself, in the conduct 



WILLIAM EATON. 121 

of its officers towards this commander. A dis 
pute between him and the Bey s commercial 
agent determined the Commodore to leave the 
city without a formal visit to the court; but he 
was detained for the payment of the loan, above 
mentioned, which Eaton had negotiated with the 
commercial agent. The consul warmly remon 
strated against this act of violence, insisting that 
he was alone responsible in his representative 
capacity. The plea was unavailing, and imme 
diate payment was insisted on. The Commo 
dore returned to the American house, and Eaton 
presented himself immediately to the Bey and 
inquired if this detention were by his order. 
He found there was no alternative, but that the 
Commodore would be compelled to satisfy the 
demand before he could obtain permission to em 
bark. The French commissary-general engaged 
to advance the money on his bills on Leghorn ; 
and Eaton proposed to execute an assignment 
of all his property in the United States, as a 
security to the Commodore, for the reimburse 
ment of this sum, in case the contingent charges 
which occasioned the loan should not be admit 
ted on final settlement with the government. 

The next day, the Commodore, Mr. Cathcart, 
who had lately been appointed Mr. O Brien s 
successor in Algiers, Captain Rogers, and Mr. 
Eaton, waited on the Bey at the palace. Eaton 



122 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

remonstrated with the Bey, in pointed terms, 
against the national indignity and breach of hos 
pitality, in the detention of the Commodore, ex 
plained at large the means in his possession of 
meeting the debt, and declared that he had been 
hindered from a more seasonable payment, by 
the frauds of the minister, who had absolutely 
robbed him. 

The Sapitapa was affronted, and charged Eaton 
with madness, and the Bey ordered him to quit 
the court. The consul replied, "It is well. I 
am not dissatisfied to quit a court where I have 
experienced little else than violence and indig 
nity." The Bey said to the Commodore, " The 
consul is a man of a good heart but a wrong 
head. He is too obstinate and too violent for 
me. I must have a consul with a disposition 
more congenial to Barbary interests." He charg 
ed Eaton with violating the laws of the coun 
try, by bastinading his subjects. The chastise 
ment of Famin was acknowledged. " But 1 
denied," says Eaton, " that he was his subject, 
though I knew him to be his voluntary slave. 
His conduct towards me had merited chastise 
ment ; it had been treacherous, dishonest, and 
base. Finding no other means of justice, I had 
used the discipline, which I would again use 
in similar circumstances." 

The Bey acknowledged, that Eaton had not, 



WILLIAM EATUW. 123 

in his public agency, been wanting in any point 
of duty, or in respect to himself, as a prince. 
Eaton reiterated that he had suffered every spe 
cies of outrage and insult in the Regency, 
and thanked the Bey for ordering him out of 
it; he should depart, at least with the consola 
tion of leaving behind him the impression that 
he was not a slave. They parted with mutual 
expressions of regard, and Eaton left the court. 
Having made arrangements to intrust the af 
fairs of the United States to the hands of Dr. 
George Davis of New York, he took passage 
on board the squadron, determined to repair, 
immediately on his arrival, to the seat of gov 
ernment, to render an account of his public 
services during the four years of his agency at 
Tunis. 



124 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER X. 

Eaton s Arrival in the United States. Visit to 
Washington. Passes the Summer in Brim- 
field. Second Visit to Washington, and At 
tempt to settle his Accounts with the Vnitea 
States. Letter to the Speaker of the House 
of Representatives. Appointment as Navy 
Agent of the United States for the Barba- 
ry Powers. Cautious Policy of the Pres 
ident. Return to the Mediterranean and 
Arrival in Egypt. Reception by the Vice 
roy. Determination to join the Bashaiv. 
Jlrrested at the Turkish Lines. Difficulties 
surmounted, and a Junction with the Bashaw 
effected. Convention concluded between Ea 
ton and Hamet. 

MR. EATON accompanied the squadron to 
Gibraltar, where it arrived on the 23d of March, 
1803. From thence, he took passage on board the 
merchant ship Perseverance, and arrived in Bos 
ton on the 5th of May, and immediately re 
joined his family in Brimfield, from whom he 
had been separated four years and a half. Ear 
ly in the summer he repaired to the seat of 
government, for the purpose of adjusting his ac- 



WILLIAM EATON. 125 

cojnts, and of urging the adoption of vigorous 
measures against Tripoli, particularly by em 
ploying the exiled Hamet against the reigning 
Bashaw. The settlement of a part of his ac 
counts, requiring the action of Congress, was 
postponed to the next session, and Eaton re 
turned to the quiet enjoyment of domestic life. 
The summer and autumn he devoted to the care 
of his family, the education of his children, and 
the management of his farm. 

In January, 1804, he again repaired to Wash 
ington to complete his unfinished business with 
the government. The Department of State 
having refused to allow the twenty-two thou 
sand dollars expended in concerting measures 
with the exiled Bashaw, and other smaller claims, 
Eaton addressed a long and able letter to the 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, in 
which he recapitulated the most important trans 
actions of his agency, explained the grounds on 
which his expenditures had been made, and 
went into an elaborate defence of his projected 
plan of attack on Tripoli. In this document, 
the character and policy of the Barbary re 
gencies are drawn with extraordinary vigor, and 
the expediency of resisting their insolent de 
mands, by an effectual display of military and 
naval force, is fully exhibited. With his usual 
vehemence, he does not hesitate to arraign before 



126 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the Representatives of the nation, the conduct of 
the American commanders, who had opposed his 
plans. He defended his own character from 
the imputation of speculative views, which some 
of his opponents had thrown out against him, 
by a triumphant array of facts, exhibiting hi? 
disinterestedness, ntegrity, and honor. 

During this period his leisure time was occu 
pied with his domestic affairs. His private and 
family letters show in a pleasing light the af 
fectionate zeal with which he devoted himself 
to the welfare of his children. Their education 
was a subject on which he felt the liveliest in 
terest, and nothing was left undone, and no ex 
pense was spared to procure for them every ad 
vantage within his power to bestow. 

In April of this year, Eaton was appointed 
Navy Agent of the United States for the Bar- 
bary powers. The exiled Bashaw had placed 
himself at the head of an army of Arabs at 
Derne, and had already gained some advanta 
ges in the field over the usurper. He pro 
posed to the President oi the United States 
such terms, as induced him to promise an ef 
fectual cooperation against the common enemy, 
the reigning Bashaw of Tripoli. 

The President at first determined to send 
out, as a loan, some field artillery, a thousand 
stands of arms, and forty thousand dollars, and 



WILLIAM EATON. 127 

Eaton undertook to lead in an enterprise for 
recovering the American captives in Tripoli, 
and imposing terms of peace on that Regency. 
by bringing a rival and an army upon the en 
emy s rear. But, before the squadron was ready 
to take its departure, information arrived that 
the Bashaw had retired to Alexandria, in Egypt, 
for want of supplies. This apparent reverse in 
the exile s fortunes checked the hopes of the 
administration, and the supplies were withheld. 
Eaton was ordered upon the expedition, with 
out any special instructions, for himself or Com 
modore Barron, the commander-in-chief, who was 
intrusted with a general discretion in regard to co 
operation, and referred in vague terms to Mr. 
Eaton, as the American agent for the Barbary 
regencies, and a man who was likely to be ex 
tremely useful. This cautious policy of the Pres 
ident was annoying and irritating to Eaton in the 
extreme. He regarded it as an attempt on the 
part of the Chief Magistrate to shield himself 
from responsibility if the enterprise should fau\ 
and to secure the honor in case of success. 

The situation of Eaton was embarrassing. 
He bore with him no evidence from the gov 
ernment of their friendly disposition towards the 
Bashaw. No alternative was left but to assume 
to himself the task and responsibility of con- 
ymc ng the exile and the world of the fidelity of 



128 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the United States, though he was convinced, that 
the administration had been guilty of a breach 
of good faith. He was aware, moreover, that 
expectations had been formed by the American 
people, which his friends looked to hjm to 
fulfil. He was determined not to disappoint 
them, though he felt that the enterprise was 
forlorn and perilous. " I am convinced," he 
says in a letter, "that our captives cannot oth 
erwise be released without ransom ; and, as an 
individual, I would rather yield my person to 
the danger of war in almost any shape, than 
my pride to the humiliation of treating with a 
wretched pirate for the ransom of men, who are 
the rightful heirs of freedom." 

Eaton embarked in June, on board the squad 
ron destined for the Mediterranean, consisting 
of the frigates John Mams, the President, the 
Congress, the Essex, and the Constellation, un 
der the command of Commodore Barren, and 
Captains Rogers, Barron, Campbell, and Chaun- 
cy. He arrived at Malta on the 5th of Sep 
tember, from which place he addressed a letter 
to the Secretary of the Navy, in which he says, 
"The advantages calculated to result from a 
cooperation with him (the exiled Bashaw) seem 
not to have diminished in prospect from any 
occurrences, which have happened since these 
proposals were made. The reigning Bashaw 



WILLIAM EATON. 129 

persists in his demand of a ransom for our cap 
tives. But the distress, which must be occa 
sioned by the means he is obliged to use in 
support of these pretensions, cannot but increase 
the discontent of his subjects, and ripen them 
for revolt. For such of them as subsist ordi 
narily, by cruising or commerce, being barred 
these resources by a harassing blockade ; and 
such as depend on labor for subsistence, being 
compelled to serve for his defence without pay, 
will be very apt to seize an opportunity to re 
lieve themselves from that distress, when it of 
fers, on principles so consistent with their prop 
er allegiance and religion. Those subjects, who 
were heretofore in the interests of the friendly 
Bashaw, are still so. Through these instru 
ments, I firmly believe, the enemy may be tak 
en from his sofa at the same instant that our fel 
low citizens are rescued from chains. The only 
obstacle, that seems to oppose the success of 
this measure, is want of supplies to put it in 
operation. These are not in the fleet ; and the 
Commodore is not decided whether any con 
struction of the President s instructions extends 
to a discretion of procuring and furnishing them. 
He will probably express himself on this subject 
after having fixed on his plan of operations." 

The squadron arrived at Alexandria on the 
25th of November, and the next day anchored 

II. 9 



130 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

.a the port. On the 1st of December the adven 
turers entered the mouth of the Nile, and arrived 
at Grand Cairo on the 8th of the same month, 
and were received with many marks of respect 
by the Viceroy. 

A war was raging in Egypt between the 
Mameluke Beys and the government of the 
Viceroy. The exiled Bashaw had been reduc 
ed by a series of disasters to the necessity of 
Coining the former, and was at this time actual 
ly with them, commanding a few Tripolitans 
and other auxiliaries, and besieged in the vil 
lage of Minyeh, in Upper Egypt. This state 
of things added further embarrassments to Ea 
ton s operations, by making personal intercourse 
with the Bashaw difficult if not impossible. He 
was still farther harassed by the uncertainty of 
obtaining the Viceroy s firman for the Bashaw s 
departure, in case he should be detached from the 
army of the Mamelukes. He resolved, therefore, 
to throw himself on the honor and hospitality 
of the sovereign, without further delay. Accord 
ingly he left the British consular house, accompa 
nied by Captain Vincents, to whom he had 
brought letters from Sir Alexander Ball, the Brit 
ish Governor of Malta, and with Dr. Mandrici, an 
Italian, whom he had known at Tunis, to make 
a formal visit to the Viceroy, by appointment 

They were accompanied by a numerous es- 



WILLIAM EATON. 131 

cort, and preceded by lighted flambeaux and 
torches. The streets were lined with curious 
spectators, eager to get a sight of " the men who 
had come from the new world." They were 
received with great state and magnificence in a 
large and splendid hall. The Viceroy met them 
with dignity and affability, seated Eaton next 
himself, on a sofa of embroidered purple and 
damask cushions, and arranged the rest of the 
company on the right and left. After the cus 
tomary ceremonies, and some conversation on 
indifferent topics, the court were directed to re 
tire, leaving the Viceroy and his interpreter 
alone with his visiters. The occasion was seized 
by Eaton to make a full and candid expla 
nation of his object. He gave a rapid sketch 
of the events which had led to the war with 
Tripoli, and of the negotiations with the exiled 
prince, adding many reflections, well adapted to 
flatter the pride and prejudices of his Excellency. 
The Viceroy approved the plan, and prom 
ised his influence in promoting its success, with 
the reservation, however, that if the Bashaw 
should have joined the Mamelukes, it might 
change the dispositions he would otherwise make 
concerning him. It was replied, that an object 
of distress should not draw down the resentment 
of an exalted mind, and that it was more like 
God to pardon than to punish a repenting ene- 



132 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

my. The Viceroy was pleased with this ingen 
ious flattery, and assented. He promised to send 
couriers in search of Hamet, and no doubt was 
left that permission would be obtained for the 
embarkation of the Bashaw and his suite. The 
only embarrassment remaining, was the difficulty 
of withdrawing him from the Mamelukes without 
exciting suspicions, which would be fatal. The 
Viceroy immediately granted him a letter of am 
nesty, and permission to pass through the Turkish 
army unmolested. Eaton had already found at 
Cairo the prime minister, and one of the confi 
dential governors, of Hamet Bashaw, in concert 
with whom he despatched secret couriers with 
the letter of amnesty and passport of safe conduct. 
While waiting for the issue of these meas 
ures, he employed himself in finding out Tripo- 
litan emigrants in Egypt, and ascertaining their 
feelings towards the rival brothers. A letter came 
from the Bashaw in answer to Eaton s first de 
spatch from Cairo, informing him of a place which 
he had selected for an interview ; but, as Eaton s 
subsequent letters had advised him to repair to 
the English house at Rosetta, under the guar 
antee of the Viceroy s passport, he determined 
to go thither himself. Receiving no intelli 
gence on his arrival, he proceeded to Alexan 
dria, and there received another letter informing 
him that the Bashaw adhered to his first se- 



WILLIAM EATON. 133 

lection of a place of interview, near lake Fay- 
oum on the border of the desert, and about one 
hundred and ninety miles from the seacoast. 

Eaton determined on attempting a journey 
thither, notwithstanding the hazards of travelling 
through a country exposed to all the horrors 
of civil war. Accordingly he left Alexandria, 
with two officers from the Argus, and an escort 
of twenty-three men, indifferently mounted ; but 
had proceeded only about seventy or eighty 
miles on his route, when he found himself ar 
rested at the Turkish lines. Circumstances were 
strong enough to excite the suspicions of a less 
vigilant commander than the general of the Ot 
toman troops, and it was not surprising, that a 
body of armed foreigners, shaping their course 
towards the enemy s rendezvous, and with no 
other ostensible object than to find a refugee 
Bashaw, should not be permitted to pass unmo 
lested. 

Their situation was extremely embarrassing. 
Eaton quieted the Turkish commander s sus 
picions by adroitly complimenting the correct 
ness of his military conduct, and assuring him 
that, knowing his magnanimity, he was deter 
mined to have an interview, in full confidence 
that he would aid a measure, so humane, and 
so favorable to the Turkish interests in Egypt, 
even in case he would not permit him to pursue 



134 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the object personally. To this was added, that he 
had it in charge to tender him a douceur, as a 
testimony of the exalted opinion entertained of 
his name and merits. The Turk was overcome. 
He called a young Arab chief to his tent, re 
lated to him the business, and asked him if he 
could give any account of Hamet. The young 
man exclaimed, that he knew all, and added, 
that twenty thousand Barbary Arabs were ready 
to march from the Egyptian border, to recov 
er their native country and inheritance, and that 
he would pledge his head to the Turkish gen 
eral to bring Hamet Bashaw in ten days. 

He was accordingly despatched the next morn 
ing on this errand. The suspicions of the gen 
eral were not yet wholly removed. He kept a 
vigilant eye upon the Americans, but extended 
to them every attention, dictated by politeness 
and hospitality. In a few days a messenger 
arrived from Hamet, with information that he 
was in the vicinity, accompanied only by his 
suite of about forty persons. The Turk s sus 
picions were now removed ; he took Eaton by 
the hand, applauded his candor, and invited him 
to a dinner at his camp. 

After joining the Bashaw, they proceeded to 
Alexandria ; but the intrigues of the French 
consul, who represented the Americans as Eng 
lish spies in disguise, exposed them to new dif- 



WILLIAM EATON. 135 

ficulties, by persuading the admiral of the port 
and governor of the city not to admit the Ba 
shaw, nor suffer him to embark. The Bashaw s 
progress, however, was not much impeded ; for, 
having resolved to march by land to Derne and 
Bengazi, he moved round Lake Moeris, and 
formed his camp at Arab s Tower, about thirty 
miles west of the old port of Alexandria. In 
the mean time Eaton informed the Viceroy of 
the contempt with which his letter of amnesty 
had been treated, upon which his Excellency 
forthwith addressed a firman to the governor, 
commanding immediate compliance, and impos 
ing a fine of twenty-five thousand piastres. 

Preparations were now making to take up 
the line of march through the Libyan desert. 
The party at present consisted of five hundred 
men, one hundred of whom were Christians re 
cruited on the spot. They were to proceed to 
Bomba, and there await the arrival of Captain 
Hull, with supplies and reinforcements, which, 
it was supposed, would place them in a condi 
tion to make themselves masters of the provinces 
of Derne and Bergazi. To secure to the United 
States an indemnity for the expenses of this ex 
pedition, Eaton entered into a convention with 
Hamet Bashaw, by which the latter pledged the 
tribute of Sweden, Denmark, and the Batavian 
Republic. 



136 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XL 

Preparations to march across the Desert. Dif 
ficulty with the Camel-Drivers. March com 
menced. Further Difficulties with the Arab 
Recruits. Alarming Intelligence from Derne, 
and its Consequences. Extracts from Eaton s 
Journal. News of the Squadron at Derne. 
March continued. Arrival at Derne. 
Battles with the Troops stationed there. 
Overtures of Peace by the reigning Bashaw. 
Negotiations concluded. Derne evacuat 
ed. Eaton s Return to the United States, 
and flattering Reception. 

In March, 1805, the caravan was arranged at 
Arab s Tower, and the forces organized. The 
caravan consisted of one hundred and seven 
camels, and a few asses. The troops were, nine 
Americans, including Lieutenant O Bannon, and 
Mr. Peck, a non-commissioned officer, and six 
private marines ; a company of twenty-five can- 
noniers, commanded by Selim Comb, and Lieu 
tenants Connant and Roco; a company of thirty- 
eight Greeks, commanded by Captain Luca Ul- 
ovix, and Lieutenant Constantine ; the Bashaw s 
suite of about ninety men ; a party of Arab cav- 



WILLIAM EATON. 137 

airy ; making the whole number about four hun 
<ired. Before the march began, the camel-driv 
ers, fearing that, if they performed their servi 
ces before being paid, the Christians would de 
fraud them, refused to proceed. The Bashaw 
was irresolute ; but Eaton ordered the Chris 
tians under arms, and, pretending a counter march, 
threatened to abandon the expedition, unless they 
advanced without delay. This measure was ef 
fectual, and the mutiny was suppressed. A few 
days after the march commenced, a courier from 
Derne met the Bashaw, and informed him that 
the province had taken up arms in his cause 
This good news produced demonstrations of 
joy among the advanced troops, which proved 
nearly fatal to the Christians who were escort 
ing the caravan. The foot forces of the Arabs, 
hearing the fire, and thinking that an attack had 
been made by the wild Arabs of the desert, 
were only prevented by the prudence of one 
of their companions from disarming the Chris 
tians and putting them to death. 

On arriving at a castle, called by the Arabs 
Masroscah, Eaton learned, for the first time, 
that the caravan had been freighted by the Ba 
shaw only to this place, and that the owners 
had received no part of their pay. They re 
fused to proceed to Bornba, or to wait for the 
money, alleging that their engagement with the 



138 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

Bashaw was already fulfilled. They were prom 
ised payment on condition of proceeding two days 
further, to which they finally assented. Eaton 
raised among his men a sufficient supply of 
money, added to what the Bashaw procured 
from his followers, to pay off the caravan ; which 
being done, instead of performing their engage 
ment, they deserted, and turned their steps to 
wards Egypt. 

A plot was discovered among some of the 
Arab chiefs to proceed no farther, until assurance 
was received that the American vessels had ar 
rived at Bomba ; a report having been put in 
circulation, that a body of eight hundred caval 
ry, and large foot forces, were on their march 
from Tripoli, for the defence of Derne. A res 
olution was finally taken, without consulting the 
commander, to remain on the spot, until a run 
ner should go to Derne and return. Eaton im 
mediately ordered their rations to be stopped, 
He resolved to seize the castle and fortify him 
self there, until relief could be procured from 
the squadron, and to draw off the Christians, leav 
ing the Arabs to devise the means of their 
own subsistence and safety. This decided con 
duct had tLe effect of bringing back a part of 
the insurgents, who agreed to proceed two days 
further. 

On the 26th of March 5 a courier brought in- 



WILLIAM EATON. 139 

telligence from Derne, that five hundred of the 
reigning Bashaw s cavalry, accompanied by great 
numbers of Arabs, were but a few days march 
from that place. This information produced 
great alarm in the camp ; the Bashaw hesitated 
about proceeding further; the camel-drivers fled 
with their caravan, and the Arabs seemed de 
termined to return to Fayoum. One of the 
principal chiefs, the Sheik el Tahib, refused to 
advance without certain intelligence of the Amer 
ican squadron at Bomba. Eaton reproached him 
with want of courage and fidelity. He left the 
camp in a rage, swearing that he would join 
them no more, arid carried with him a small 
detachment of his tribe. The Bashaw was anx 
ious to recall him, but Eaton refused to ask as 
a favor, what he claimed as a riirht, and imme 
diately issued orders to march. 

The Sheik, finding the commander was in 
flexible to threats, came back with his whole 
party. The following extracts from Eaton s 
Journal, show with what difficulties his progress 
through the desert was beset. 

"March 28th. I perceived a manifest reluc 
tance in the Bashaw to advance, and evident 
calculations for a retrograde march . Joseph Ba 
shaw s forces had seized on all his nerves. He 
now took from my officers the horses he had 
given them for the passage through the desert, 



140 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and gave them to some of his footmen ; drew 
off his Mahometans, and stood balancing, after 
the troops were drawn up for the march. I 
reproached him with indecision, want of perse 
verance, and of consistency in arrangement. I 
demanded the horses for my officers. High 
words ensued. I ordered the march in front. 
The Bashaw retrograded. We proceeded in 
front with the baggage. The Bashaw came up 
in about two hours ; and, making us some com 
pliments for our firmness, said he was obliged 
to dissemble an acquiescence in the wishes of 
his people to render them manageable. We 
proceeded twelve miles and a half to a castle 
Shemees, and camped at one o clock, P. M. 
In the evening, discovered that the Arabs, who 
had joined us on the 25th, and who, as we ex 
pected, were following us, had all taken up 
their march for the borders of Egypt. The 
Sheik el Tahib had discouraged and dissuaded 
them from pursuing the expedition. The Ba 
shaw sent off a general officer with sundry horse 
men to bring them back by persuasion. 

" Hamet Gurgies, the officer who went for 
the Arabs, did not return this day, 

" March 29th. Remained in camp, waiting 
for Hamet Gurgies. At this castle, which is a 
rough stone wall, laid in clay mortar, about ten 
feet high, without bastions, and one hundred feet 



WILLIAM EATON. 



square, there seems to be some trade with the 
inhabitants of the interior of Africa. We find 
here cattle, sheep, butter, fowls, eggs, and dates, 
but very dear; and for which we bartered rice 
at great disadvantage. The situation is enchant 
ing; vast plains, capable of high cultivation; 
good well water, and some enclosed gardens of 
fig and palm trees. But every thing bears the 
ruinous aspect of ravage and war. About four 
P. M., Hamet Gurgies came up with the Arabs, 
who separated themselves from us on the 27th. 
"March 30th. At six, A. M. resumed our 
march with the Christians and baggage, leaving 
the Bashaw to follow with his Arabs, who were 
mounted for the purpose. At this instant a dis 
pute arose between the Sheik el Tahib and Sheik 
Mahamet, concerning the distribution of one thou 
sand five hundred dollars, which the former had 
received of the Bashaw to be equally distribut 
ed, a part of which he had concealed; and 
grew so warm that Hamet swore he would 
proceed no farther. Three other Sheiks and 
several other considerable Arabs took part with 
him, and retrograded. The Bashaw in vain en 
deavored to reconcile the parties. Sheik Ma 
hamet persisted in quitting the expedition, and 
with his party moved rapidly off. The Bashaw 
left them, and hastily pursued us, with a view 
of arresting our march, having sent back Hamet 



142 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Gurgies and two other officers to endeavor to 
recover the malecontents. We had gained fifteen 
miles ahead, when he came up with us at two 
o clock, P. M. But it was necessary to retro 
grade three miles to water, and there encamp. 
The expedition could not proceed without those 
chiefs, as they had many people and powerful 
influence with the Eu ed alii tribe near Derne, 
to which they belong." 

At five o clock in the afternoon they encamped. 
The Bashaw, with twelve horsemen and the in 
terpreter, returned to the castle, intending if 
possible to reconcile the Sheiks and bring up 
their party. This caused a new delay. 

" From Alexandria to this place," says Eaton 
.n his Journal, " we have experienced contin 
ual altercations, contentions, and delays among 
the Arabs. They have no sense of patriot 
ism, truth, or honor ; and no attachment where 
they have no prospect of gain, except to 
their religion, to which they are enthusiasts 
Poverty makes them thieves, and practice ren 
ders them adroit in stealing. The instant the 
eye of vigilance is turned from an object on 
which they have fixed a desire, it is no more 
to be found. Arms, ammunition, and provisions 
most engage their furtive speculations ; but sun 
dry of our people have been robbed of their 
clothes and other articles. With all their de- 



WILLIAM EATON. 143 

pravity of morals they possess a savage inde 
pendence of soul, an incorrigible obstinacy to 
discipline, a sacred adherence to the laws of 
hospitality, and a scrupulous pertinacity to their 
religious faith and ceremonies. Day before yes 
terday I was admitted, as a mark of special 
distinction, within the walls of their castle. Cu 
riosity brought every Arab about me who be 
longed to the tribe. They examined the lace 
of my hat, epaulettes, buttons, spurs, and mount 
ing of my arms. These they took to be all 
gold and silver. They were astonished, that God 
should permit people to possess such riches, who 
followed the religion of the Devil!" 

The interpreter undertook to explain to them 
that the religion of the American people dif 
fered from that of other nations who wore hats, 
this being, in the eyes of the Arabs, the dis 
tinguishing mark of a Christian. He told them 
that they believed in God, and respected all 
his revelations, but made no distinction between 
the believers in different creeds ; a statement, that 
puzzled them not a little. They had heard, 
however, that Eaton was a good man and a 
great friend of the Musselmans, and lamented, 
that, being an infidel, he must unquestionably 
be damned. They urged him to secure his 
admission to Mahomet s paradise by repeating 
after them a simple formulary, implying that 



144 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Mahomet was the prophet of God. He re 
plied, that the Americans were promised a- 
heaven distinct from that of the Papists and 
Musselmans, but that all good men would be 
admitted to it, and excursions would be allowed 
into the paradise of Mahomet and the heaven 
of the Pope. He told them that he was assured 
himself of a civil reception by those opposite 
prophets, inasmuch as he had many friends 
among the followers of both. They smiled at 
this representation, but confessed they should 
be glad to see him in their paradise, though they 
had some doubts whether Mahomet would allow 
him to come even on a visit, unless he professed 
his religion and became a true believer. 

The Journal continues, " April 1st. Sheik 
el Tahib put himself at the head of five Sheiks, 
three of whom were of the caravan, and present 
ed himself at my marquee, to demand an aug 
mentation of the ration. I refused. He menaced. 
I reproached him as the cause of all our delays 
in the march, and with a total failure of all his 
engagements with me. He had engaged me foui 
hundred mounted Arabs of his tribe at the Mara 
bout, and to bring me to Bomba in fourteen days. 
His whole number of men consisted of but twen 
ty-eight ; we had now been twenty-five days ii> 
gaining half our distance ; and, instead of encour 
aging our progress, he was on all occasions throw- 



WILLIAM EATON. 145 

ing obstacles in our way. He recriminated the 
Bashaw and other Sheiks. 1 thought the Bashaw 
and Sheiks he accused were better men than him 
self; and would not hear them calumniated. He 
believed me partial. I said to him, if he had ex 
perienced any evidence of my partiality, it was 
in his favor until after his hypocrisy betrayed it 
self. It was true I now held him in no consid 
eration, for I could place no reliance in any 
thing he said or undertook. He seemed very 
indifferent about the opinion I entertained of 
him, provided he could obtain his object. He 
cautioned me against persisting in the resolution 
I had taken not to augment the ration ; it would 
unavoidably produce an insurrection. The other 
Sheiks and caravan would leave me. As for 
himself, he could not subsist on rice alone ; he 
would have bread also. I asked him if he 
thought to compel the measure. He said, with 
a menacing tone, * Remember you are in a des 
ert, and a country not your own. I am a great 
er man here, than either you or the Bashaw. 1 I 
retorted ; *I have found you at the head of every 
commotion, which has happened since we left 
Alexandria. You are the instigator of the pres 
ent among the chiefs. Leave my tent ! but 
mark ; if I find a mutiny in camp during the 
absence of the Bashaw, I will put you to in 
stant death as the fomenter of it. He left the 

ii. 10 



146 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

tent ; mounted his horse ; and, with two other 
Sheiks, took himself off. The Bashaw s has- 
nadar (treasurer) had been called into my tent 
on the entrance of the Sheik el Tahib. He had 
the influence to pacify the other chiefs, or to 
engage them to wait at least till the return of 
the Bashaw. At two o clock the Sheik el Tahib 
returned ; entered into the tent of my officers ; 
regretted that he had lost my confidence ; ap 
prehended that some secret enemy had insin 
uated unfavorable impressions against him ; was 
devoted to me ; would even abandon the Ba 
shaw to follow me ; and begged Messrs. Farquhar 
and Peck to use their influence for a reconcil 
iation. 

" At five o clock he came to my tent ; profess 
ed eternal obligations and attachment ; would 
seek every occasion to give proofs of it; and 
hoped that an opportunity would offer to him 
at Derne to convince me that he was a man I 

" I replied, that I required nothing of him 
by way of reconciliation, but truth, fidelity to the 
Bashaw, pacific conduct among the other chiefs, 
uniformity and perseverance in this conduct. 
These he promised by an oath ; and offered me 
his hand." 

" Visited the Arab camp. Their young men, 
young women, and children are perfectly well 
made, and though copper-colored, are hand- 



WILLIAM EATON. 14T 

some. Never saw teeth so universally sound 
and white, even, and well set. The women do 
not veil ; have nothing of the affected reserve 
and bigoted pride of the Turks ; yet in their 
general deportment modest and bashful. I took 
dates in the tent of their principal Sheik; one 
of his wives served them in an osier pannier, 
and seemed elated with the visit. I compli 
mented her elegant proportion and symmetry. 
She smiled, and said there were much hand 
somer young women in camp than herself. I 
doubted it. To give me proof, sundry fine 
girls and you.ig married women were invited in. 
I admitted they were very handsome, but could 
not give up my first opinion." 

On the 2d of April, the Bashaw returned 
with the Sheiks, who had left the party a few 
days before. He had overtaken them, at a 
distance of fifty-nine miles on the route to the 
province of Bahara, after riding all night and the 
following day, exposed to a fall of rain and severe 
winds, and subsisting on milk and dates, which 
were occasionally supplied by the Arabs of the 
desert. 

The evening of the same day Eaton held a 
meeting of the Bashaw and all the Sheiks at 
his tent, and urged upon them the importance of 
union and perseverance to insure the success of 
the enterprise in which thev were engaged. They 



14:3 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

listened to his representations and pledged their 
honor to abide by his counsels ; and orders were 
accordingly given to resume the march at the beat 
of the reveillee next morning. The whole num 
ber of effective men on the ground was found to 
oe oetween six and seven hundred, exclusive of 
camp followers and Bedouin families. The move 
ments of the following day are thus detailed. 

"April 3d. Marched at six, A. M. Ad 
vanced only ten miles in front, when the Arabs 
pitched their camp and insisted on remaining 
here until they could send a caravan five days 
march into the interior of the desert, to a place 
called Seewauk to procure dates. We were in 
a valley upon the centre of a vast elevated plain, 
and had excellent cistern water. I urged the 
march ahead. The Arabs positively refused to 
proceed. They were short of provisions, and 
had no other resort. I said those wants would 
be supplied at Bomba. They replied, that this 
depended on contingency ; we could not com 
mand the sea. I threatened to take off the 
Christians. They entreated I would halt till 
the next morning. To this I consented on con 
dition, that they would solemnly promise to 
throw no more impediments in the way of our 
progress to Bomba, and that they would here 
after yield implicit obedience to my orders; 
threatening at the same time to embark with the 



WILLIAM EATON. 149 

Bashaw and his suite at that place, and proceed 
directly to Tripoli, leaving them to contend for 
the provinces of Derne and Bengazi alone, in 
case of any infraction of these conditions. They 
pledged themselves ; and we encamped. Theii 
caravan went off for Seewauk, to join us again 
at Bomoa." 

The following extract contains a still more 
striking picture. 

" April 8th. Marched at six, A. M. De 
scended the western declivity of the mountain. 
At nine called a halt near a cistern of excellent 
rain water, excavated in a solid rock, at the 
bottom of a deep ravine, by the torrents of 
water and small stories which rush down the 
mountain by this avenue during the rainy sea 
son. This was a precious repast to our thirsty 
pilgrims. 1 went with a small party to survey 
the seacoast and reconnoitre the country, intend 
ing to pursue the march as soon as the army 
should have refreshed themselves. But, during 
my absence, the Bashaw ordered the camps 
pitched. On my return I demanded his reason 
for so doing. He answered, that the exhaust- 
ei situation of the troops and people required 
at least one day s repose. I discovered, how 
ever, that his real intention was to remain on 
this ground until a courier should return, which 
he was about to despatch to Bomba ^o quest oi 



150 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

our vessels. We had only six days rations of 
rice ; no bread nor meat, and no small rations. 
I urged this circumstance as an impulsive reason 
why the march should continue. He said the 
Arab chiefs were resolved to proceed no farther 
till the camp should have recruited themselves 
by a little repose. I told him, if they pre 
ferred famine to fatigue, they might have the 
choice ; and ordered their rations stopped. The 
day passed confusedly among them. At three, 
P. M. the Bashaw, compelled by his Arab host, 
struck his tent, ordered his baggage packed, 
mounted, and took up a march for Fiaume by 
the mountain. I waited without emotion the re 
sult of this movement, not choosing to betray a 
concern for ourselves. Discovering, however, 
an intention in the Arabs to seize our provisions, 
I beat to arms. My Christians formed a line 
in front of the magazine tent. Each party held 
an opposite position for the space of an hour. 
The Bashaw prevailed on the Arabs to return ; 
they dismounted ; and he pitched his tent. 

" Supposing the tumult tranquillized, I ordered 
the troops to pass the manual exercise, according 
to our daily practice. In an instant the Arabs 
took an alarm; re-mounted, and exclaimed, The 
Christians are preparing to fire on us ! The 
Bashaw mounted and put himself at their head, 
apparently impressed with the same apprehension 



WILLIAM EATON. 151 

A body of about two hundred advanced in full 
charge upon our people, who stood their ground 
motionless. The enemy withdrew at a small dis 
tance, singled out the officers, and, with deliberate 
aim, cried, Fire ! Some of the Bashaw s officers 
exclaimed, For God s sake do not fire ! The 
Christians are our friends. Mr. O Bannon, Mr. 
Peck, and young Farquhar, stood firmly by me. 
Selem Aga, (captain of cannoniers,) his lieu 
tenants, and the two Greek officers, remained 
steadfast at their post. The others were agitat 
ed, and in fact abandoned us. I advanced to 
wards the Bashaw and cautioned him against 
giving countenance to a desperate act. At once 
a column of muskets were aimed at my breast. 
The Bashaw was distracted. A universal clam 
or drowned my voice. I waved my hand as a 
signal for attention. At this critical moment 
some of the Bashaw s officers and sundry Arab 
chiefs rode between us with drawn sabres and 
repelled the mutineers. I reproached the Ba 
shaw for his rashness, or rather weakness. His 
hasnadar asked him if he was in his senses. 
The Bashaw struck him with his naked sabre. 
The fracas had nearly resumed its rage, when 
I took the Bashaw by the arm, led him from 
the crowd, and asked him if he knew his own 
interests and his friends ! He relented ; called 
me his friend and protector; said he was too 



152 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

soon heated; and followed me to my tent, giv 
ing orders at the same time to his Arabs to 
disperse. After a moment s breath, he said, if 
I would give orders to issue rice, it would quiet 
every thing. This I would not do on any oth 
er condition than his promise to march to-mor 
row morning at reveillee beating. He promised, 
and provisions were issued. Confessions of ob 
ligation and professions of attachment were re 
peated as usual on the part of the Bashaw and 
his officers; and the camp again resumed its 
tranquillity. The firm and decided conduct of 
Mr. O Bannon, as on all other occasions, did 
much to deter the violence of the savages by 
whom we were surrounded, as well as to sup 
port our own dignity and character. After the 
affair was over, the Bashaw embraced him with 
an enthusiasm of respect, calling him the brave 
American. The Chevalier Davies, my aid-de 
camp, acted a part which I would rather attrib 
ute to an amiable disposition than to weakness 
of nerve. My doctor behaved decidedly like 
a coward, and a base one. Mr. Farquhar con 
ducted with manly firmness. One of the Arabs, 
during the agitation, snapped a pistol at his 
breast. Happily it missed fire ; had it been 
otherwise, the fire would most probably have 
become general and the result serious. 

" We find it almost impossible to inspire these 



WILLIAM EATON. 153 

wild bigots with confidence in us, or to persuade 
them, that, being Christians, we can be otherwise 
than enemies to Mussulmans. We have a diffi 
cult undertaking." 

The Bashaw continued to show signs of dis- 
truut. It had been intimated to him, that the 
Americans designed to use him only for the 
purpose of obtaining a peace with his brother, 
and the intimation filled him with alarm. How 
much ground existed for this suspicion will ap 
pear in the sequel. A council of war was held 
on the 10th of April, and an insurmountable 
reluctance was manifested, on the part of the 
Arabs, and some of the Bashaw s people, to 
proceeding further without intelligence of the 
squadron. Eaton was forced to yield, and agreed 
to halt after two days further march. 

Happily the courier, who had been despatch 
ed to Bomba, arrived the same evening, with 
information that the vessels were off that place 
and Derne. In an instant the gloom and dis 
content were changed to enthusiastic rejoicings. 
The Arabs resumed their confidence, and the 
Bashaw promised to force the remainder of the 
march to Bomba. In five days more, having 
endured great hardship from want of provisions 
and water, they reached that long desired port ; 
but Eaton was astonished to find there no trace 
of a human being, and no indications of the 



154 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

vessels. The Arabs became outrageous and 
abusive, and resolved to depart the next morn 
ing. Eaton proposed to attempt reaching Derne, 
but it was thought impracticable. Finally, he 
drew off with his Christian followers, and kept 
up fires on a mountain in the rear all night. 
At eight the next morning the discovery of a 
sail spread joy and exultation through the camp. 
It proved to be the Argus. Captain Hull 
had seen the fires and stood in. Provisions 
were sent ashore for the suffering troops. The 
next day the sloop Hornet arrived, with a still 
further supply. The army passed three days 
in refreshing themselves after their weary march, 
and making preparations for continuing it to 
Derne. Their journey was resumed on the 23d, 
and they now began to approach cultivated fields 
Measures were taken to prevent pillage. A 
herald proclaimed throughout the camp, " He 
who fears God and feels attachment to Hamet 
Bashaw, will be careful to destroy nothing. Let 
no one touch the growing harvest. He who 
transgresses this injunction shall lose his right 
hand." On the 24th they encamped in a pleas 
ant valley, about five hours march from Derne. 
Information was received, that the governor had 
taken his position, and was determined to de 
fend the city, and that the army of the reign 
ing Bashaw was in the neighborhood, and would 



WILLIAM EATON. 155 

probably, by a forced inarch, arrive at Derne 
first. 

The Arabs were again alarmed, and the Ba 
shaw desponded. The next morning, when or 
ders were given to march, the Arabs mutinied, 
and the Bedouins refused to strike their tents. 
By persuasions, reproaches, and the promise of 
two thousand dollars to be shared among the 
chiefs, they were prevailed on to advance, 
and the same afternoon the camp was pitched 
on an eminence overlooking Derrie, from which 
the place was reconnoitred. The governor s 
defence was found to consist of a water battery 
of eight nine pounders towards the northeast, 
a few temporary breastworks and walls of old 
buildings on the southeast; and on the front of 
the bay, about one third of the inhabitants, in 
the interest of the reigning Bashaw, had provid 
ed their terraces and the walls of their houses 
with loopholes. The governor had also mount 
ed a howitzer on the terrace of his palace. 
Several Sheiks came out in the evening to visit 
the Bashaw, and assured him, that the remaining 
two thirds of the inhabitants were loyal to his 
person, but that, as the governor could bring 
eight hundred men into the field, and was mas 
ter of all the batteries, the breastworks, and the 
seaboard, it would be difficult to dislodge him. 

The next day the Nautilus came in sight, 



156 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and the A.rgus and Hornet the day after. On 
his first arrival, Eaton had sent in to the gov 
ernor a flag of truce, which was returned, with 
the laconic answer, " My head or yours." The 
morning of the 27th, the army was put in mo 
tion towards the city. The Nautilus and Hor 
net approached the shore, and one of the field- 
pieces was drawn up the precipice. The troops 
advanced to their positions, and a fire com 
menced on the shipping, which was returned by 
Lieutenant Evans, who stood in and anchored 
within a hundred yards of the battery, and by 
Lieutenant Dent, who had taken a position, from 
which he brought his guns to bear on the bat 
tery and the city. Captain Hull anchored the Jlr- 
gus near enough to throw a twenty-four pound 
shot into the town. A detachment of six Amer 
ican marines, a company of twenty-four can- 
noniers, another of thirty-six Greeks, under 
the command of Lieutenant O Bannon, with a 
few Arabs, occupied a position opposite the en 
emy, who had taken post behind their tempo 
rary parapets at the southeast quarter of the 
town. The Bashaw seized a castle overlooking 
the town on the south-southeast, and posted his 
savalry on the plain in the rear. The firing be 
came general before two o clock, wherever Amer 
icans and Tripolitans were opposed. The bat 
tery was silenced in three quarters of an hour 



WILLIAM EATON. 157 

and most of the enemy precipitately withdrew 
from that quarter to reinforce the party opposed 
to Katon and his handful of men. The fire of 
the fieldpiece being slackened by the loss of 
the rammer, and the discharge of the enemy s 
musketry continually increasing, the troops were 
thrown into confusion, and it was impossible to 
reduce them to order. Eaton was convinced 
that a charge was the last resort, and accord 
ingly rushed with his men against a body of 
the enemy ten times his number. They fled, 
keeping up an irregular fire from the palm trees 
and walls in their way. 

At this moment Eaton received a ball through 
his left wrist, which disabled him from using his 
rifle. Mr. O Bannon pressed on with his ma 
rines, the Greeks, and as many of the cannon- 
iers as could le spared from the fieldpiece. 
They passed through a shower of musketry, 
took possession of the battery, and planted the 
American flag on its ramparts. The guns were 
turned upon the enemy, who were driven from 
their outposts, and took refuge in the houses, 
from which they were speedily dislodged by a 
heavy and wnll directed fire poured into them 
from the vessels. The Bashaw took possession 
of the governor s palace, and a little after four 
o clock the troops had entire possession of the 



158 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

town, the battle having raged about two hows 
and a half. 

The governor took sanctuary in the harem of 
an old Sheik, in a division of the city favorabte 
to the Bashaw. He was demanded of the aged 
chief; but neither persuasion, bribes, nor menace 
could overcome his determination not to suffer 
the hospitality of his house to be violated. He 
declared, that, whatever might be the weakness 
or crimes of the Arabs, no instance was known 
among them of giving up a fugitive to whom 
they had once accorded their protection ; and, 
should he transgress that sacred principle, the 
vengeance of God, and the odium of all man 
kind, would justly fix on him and his posterity- 
Finding that the governor, Mustapha Bey, though 
shut up in his sanctuary, was an active, intriguing, 
and dangerous enemy, Eaton determined to seize 
him by force ; but the demonstrations of resist 
ance, even among the friendly inhabitants, were 
so unequivocal, that he soon found it prudent 
to desist from the attempt. " The Christians 
no longer respect the customs of our fathers and 
the laws of hospitality," was the universal out 
cry, and all Eaton s arguments were unavailing. 
That night the Sheik aided the governor to es 
cape to the enemy s camp, with a retinue of 
fifteen or sixteen Turks. 

Five or six days were employed in putting 



WILLIAM EATON. 159 

themselves in as good a state of defence, as the 
means they possessed rendered possible. Eaton 
took up his post in the battery, raised parapets, 
and mounted guns, to be prepared for all events. 
The moment of gaining Derne was peculiarly 
fortunate, as the army, sent from Tripoli for its 
defence, was less than three days march dis 
tant on the day of the attack. 

Contrary to Eaton s expectations, the Trip- 
olitan troops, being joined by the governor of 
Derne, advanced upon the town and offered bat- 
l/e. An engagement took place on the 13th 
oi* May The enemy attacked a detachment 
of about one hundred of Hamet s cavalry, who 
were posted a mile from the town. The de 
tachment was overpowered by superior numbers, 
and pursued into the city, and almost to the 
palace held by the Bashaw, whose supporters 
opened upon the pursuers a warm fire of mus 
ketry. The guns from the Argus and Nautilus, 
and from the battery, together with the field- 
pieces, were kept in continual action ; but, such 
an obstinate determination to seize the person of 
the Bashaw was manifested, that Eaton began to 
fear the day was lost. Not being able to make a 
sortie for the Bashaw s relief, on account of the 
weakness of his post, he turned his guus upon 
the town, and a shot from one of the nine-pound 
ers killing two of the enemy near the palace, 



160 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

a retreat was instantly sounded, the town was 
abandoned at all points, and the enemy were 
pursued by Hamet s cavalry, under the shot of 
the vessels, which galled them severely in their 
flight. Before three o clock in the afternoon, 
the city was reduced to tranquillity, and the en 
emy were to be seen only on the neighboring 
heights. The loss of the Tripolitans was twenty- 
eight men killed and fifty-six wounded. Of the 
Bashaw s troops, the killed and wounded amount 
ed only to twelve or fourteen. 

In the following days several attempts were 
made by the Tripolitans to renew the assault. 
They endeavored to collect camels for the se 
curity of their front and flanks, and surrounded 
their camp with parapets. But the Arabs were 
afraid to advance within reach of the cannon > 
and refused to use their camels as breastworks. 
Eaton was desirous of attacking their position by 
a coup de main ; but circumstances prevented 
the attempt. The enemy continued to show 
themselves in a menacing attitude. A company 
cf fifty or sixty foot, covered by a troop of 
horse, fell upon several Arab families, who were 
encamped in the rear of the town, and drove 
off cattle and camels. They were pursued, three 
of them were killed and wounded, and the plun 
der was retaken. Eaton marched out from the 
garrison with a small detachment, with a view 



WILLIAM EATON. 161 

of cutting off their retreat. They made but a 
momentary resistance, and fled before a charge 
of the bayonet. Their captain and five men 
were killed, and two taken prisoners. The en 
emy s camp beat to arms, moved towards the 
pursuing party \n a body, but did not approach 
within musket-shot, fearing to be drawn into an 
ambuscade. 

The next morning they resolved to avenge 
themselves by an attack, advanced with their 
whole force, and took post on an eminence in 
full view of the town. Preparations were made 
to receive them ; but, when orders were given ftp- 
the attack, the Arabs mutinied and marched off, 
and the Tripolitans were compelled to follow 
them. On the 2d of June another attempt was 
made with similar success. The Arabs refused 
to advance, alleging, that they were willing to 
fight an enemy in their own mode of warfare, 
but would have nothing to do with Americans, 
who fired enormous balls, that carried away men 
and camels together, or rushed on them with 
bayonets, without giving them time to load 
their muskets. Another attack was feigned the 
following day, which was repelled with loss 
On the llth of June, the enemy, having re 
ceived fresh reinforcements of Arabs, appeared 
on the heights that overlooked the town, but 
seemed irresolute. There was only one pas?- 

ii. 11 



162 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

through the steep and rough ledge of rocks, on 
the side of the mountain, through which cavalry 
could descend. About half way between this pass 
and the town, the Bashaw had posted a small 
body of cavalry to serve as videttes. A large de 
tachment of the enemy descended the pass to 
cut off the post, but were resisted and repelled. 
Small reinforcements came up on both sides, until 
the battle became general. The Argus annoyed 
them with her shot, whenever they were uncovered 
from the ridges, and one of the field pieces was 
occasionally brought to bear on them from the 
advanced battery. The action lasted four hours, 
when the enemy gave way and were chased 
back to the pass in the mountain, and many of 
their horses were left in the hands of the vic 
tors. The number of the Bashaw s killed and 
wounded was between fifty and sixty ; the 
enemy lost between forty and fifty killed, and 
had upwards of seventy wounded. The battle 
was fought chiefly under the direction of the 
Bashaw. Eaton had doubts whether he should 
be justified in continuing offensive operations, for 
reasons which will appear in what is about to 
be related. 

Colonel Tobias Lear had been appointed con 
sul-general of the United States at Algiers, and 
commissioner to negotiate a peace with Tripoli. 
He was instructed to act under the advice ol 



WILLIAM EATON. 163 

Commodore Barren, commander of the Ameri 
can forces in the Mediterranean, as to the selec 
tion of a favorable moment to open the nego 
tiation. That moment had now arrived, in the 
opinion of the commodore, and he hastened to 
communicate this opinion to the consul. Ac 
cordingly he repaired to Tripoli in the United 
States frigate Essex, and opened a communica 
tion with the Bashaw. The Bashaw demanded 
two hundred thousand dollars for peace and ran 
som, the delivery of all the Tripolitans, and the 
restoration of their property. These terms were 
rejected at once, and the ultimatum proposed 
was a mutual delivery of prisoners ; and, as the 
Bashaw held about two hundred more than the 
Americans, the payment of sixty thousand dol 
lars for their ransom. To prevent fruitless al 
tercation, the consul refused to go on shore until 
these terms were formally acceded to. On the 
3d of June the preliminaries were completed, and 
sent off to the Essex, with the Bashaw s seal. 
The consul immediately went on shore, and the 
officers and crew of the frigate Philadelphia, 
who were held in captivity, were immediately 
set at liberty. The bravery of the Americans 
at Derne, and the idea that they had a large 
force and abundant supplies at that place, had 
made a strong impression on the Bashaw The 
consul took advantage of this impression, and 



164: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

endeavored to make an arrangement favorable 
to the exile ; but he could only persuade the 
Bashaw to engage, that, if his brother would with 
draw peaceably from his dominions, his wife and 
children should be restored to him. 

These facts were speedily communicated to 
Eaton, with orders to evacuate Derne, agree 
ably to the articles of stipulation between Mr. 
Lear and the Bashaw of Tripoli, by Commo 
dore Rogers, who had succeeded Commodore 
Barren in the command of the squadron. The 
information filled Eaton with disappointment and 
indignation. He had looked forward with en 
thusiastic ardor to the prospect of driving the 
usurper from his throne, reinstating the exiled 
brother, and setting the American captives free, 
without conditions and without ransom. He 
anticipated with pride, that by his means and 
through his agency the United States would in 
flict a signal chastisement on an unprincipled 
usurper and pirate, and teach the other regen 
cies a lesson of respect for the American name ; 
which they would not be likely soon to forget. 
He felt, moreover, that the honor of the country 
tvas pledged to the cause of Hamet Caramelli, 
ind that to desert him at this period, when perfect 
success seemed on the point of crowning the 
enterprise, would justly expose the American 
people to the charge of selfishness and bad faith 



YyA 



WILLIAM EATON. 165 

It would show a disposition on their part to use 
the unfortunate exile so far as his influence and 
his name promoted their own interests, by hold 
ing up the delusive expectation of cooperation 
to the end ; but, the moment the reigning Ba 
shaw should be frightened into the acceptance 
of moderate terms of peace, to leave the un 
happy prince to his fate. It was seen, that his 
condition would now be worse, than if the en 
terprise had never been attempted. 

The terms on which peace was concluded 
met Eaton s decided reprobation. The payment 
of sixty thousand dollars for the prisoners of 
war, " but not a cent for peace," he regarded 
as an insult to the understanding of the peo 
ple ; because, he very justly argued, the capital 
of the largest province in the Bashaw s domin 
ions, containing twelve or fifteen thousand in 
habitants, was in the possession of the Ameri 
cans, and the enemy despaired of recovering it 
by force of arms. So far, therefore, from not 
paying a cent for peace, a kingdom had been 
surrendered to secure it, a concession which he 
pronounced needless and prodigal. 

Eaton s representations were unavailing, and 
he was obliged to comply. His situation was 
certainly embarrassing, and, to a man of his 
ardent temperament, mortifying in the extreme. 
Perhaps his own wishes led him to attribute 1 



166 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

more meaning to his instructions from the com 
manders in the squadron, than an unprejudiced 
reader would discover there. Certain it is, he 
had no idea, that the Bashaw was to be used 
merely as an instrument of bringing about a peace 
with the usurper ; and, when Hamet had been 
alarmed by an insinuation to that effect, in the 
early part of the march across the desert, he took 
the greatest pains to do it away. There can 
be no doubt, that his anticipations of success 
in an attack on Tripoli would have been 
completely fulfilled. The victories already gain 
ed, the popularity of Hamet s cause, the hatred 
of the people for the tyrannical usurper, the dis 
tress caus-ed by the blockade, and the whole 
some terror inspired by the exploits of the Amer 
ican arms by sea and land, held out every 
prospect of entire success. 

Such being the state of things, it must be 
admitted, that Mr. Lear was too precipitate in 
his overtures. The least he was justified in 
demanding was an unconditional surrender of all 
American prisoners, a peace on the terms of 
the most favored nations, and stipulations for 
the entire security of Hamet and his followers, 
under the guarantee of the United States. The 
Bashaw would have been forced to yield every 
one of these demands, or, if he refused, the 
Americans would have been fully justified in 



WILLIAM EATON. 



167 



marching upon his capital, and driving him from 
his throne. The payment of the money was 
adding another link to the long chain of dis 
graceful concessions made by Christian nations 
to the exactions of the Barbary pirates. 

That the Americans were bound to proceed 
with Harriet at all events, is more than can 
fairly be asserted ; on the contrary, it seems ev 
ident, that they were bound to accept an hon 
orable peace, whenever the reigning Bashaw saw 
fit to propose it. They had nothing to do with 
the fact of his being a usurper; he had been 
the recognised sovereign of Tripoli, and diplo 
matic agents from the United States had been 
received and acknowledged at his court. To 
interfere, then, in the internal affairs of the king 
dom, by assuming an arbitration upon the claims 
of two rivals contending for the throne, might, 
with some appearance of justice, have been con 
demned in the eyes of the world as a departure 
from the usages of nations, and an unwarrantable 
violation of the principles that regulate the in 
tsrcourse of sovereign states. 

The despatches of Mr. Lear and Commodore 
Rogers were communicated by Captain Camp 
bell, of the frigate Constellation, who informed 
Eaton, that he had been instructed by the com 
mander of the squadron, to receive the garrison 
on board his ship. On the llth of June, the 






V 






168 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

captain went on shore, and was accompanied by 
Eaton to the town. The Bashaw was immedi 
ately informed of the peace concluded between 
the United States and his brother, and the stip 
ulation, that his family should be restored to 
him on condition of his withdrawing quietly from 
the kingdom. He was alarmed at the danger 
of his situation, and said, that his only hope of 
safety was in leaving the country with them ; 
and even this would be impossible for him, and 
hazardous to them, if the project should trans 
pire before it was carried into effect. Eaton 
therefore kept up the idea of an attack on the 
enemy, which was the more easily done, in con 
sequence of a report put in circulation, that 
a reinforcement had arrived in the frigate for 
this very purpose. Ammunition and extra ra 
tions were ordered to be distributed among the 
Moorish and Arab troops, and spies were de 
spatched to ascertain the enemy s position. The 
garrison were inspected and directed to hold 
themselves in readiness to advance. At eight 
o clock in the evening patroles were stationed 
to stop all intercourse between the town and 
the port, occupied by the Americans. In the 
mean time the boats of the Constellation were 
laid along side the wharf, and the captain of 
the cannoniers was ordered to embark his com 
pany first, and after them the Greeks 



WILLIAM EATON. 169 

This manoeuvre was executed with prompt 
ness and silence, and a messenger was despatched 
to the Bashaw requesting an interview. He 
immediately came with his retinue, and embarked 
in the boats. The marines and American offi 
cers followed. When all were fairly off, Eaton 
stepped into a small boat, and had just time 
to get to a safe distance from the shore, when 
the alarmed soldiery and populace crowded to 
the camp, the battery, and the coast, with cries 
of terror and bursts of execration. The tents 
and horses that were left were seized, and prep 
arations were immediately made for flight. The 
garrison, with the Bashaw and his suite, were on 
board the Constellation about two o clock in 
the morning, and, before daybreak, the Arabs ; 
and such inhabitants of the town as were able 
to make their escape, fled to the mountains. 

In the morning, a messenger from Tripoli 
went ashore under a flag of truce, carrying lei- 
ters of amnesty from the reigning Bashaw to 
the people of Derne, on condition of their re 
turning to their allegiance. They rejected his 
offer of pardon, declaring, that they knew the 
Bashaw s perfidy too well to be ensnared by 
it, and were resolved to defend themselves, to 
the last moment, against his troops. " In a few 
minutes more," says Eaton, writing on board 
the Constellation, r we shall lose sight of this 



170 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

devoted city, which has experienced as strange 
a reverse, in so short a time, as was ever re* 
corded in the disasters of war, thrown from proud 
success and elevated prospects into an abyss of 
hopeless wretchedness. Six hours ago, the en 
emy were seeking safety from them by flight ; 
this moment we drop them from ours into 
the hands of the enemy, for no other crime but 
too much confidence in us. The man, whose 
fortunes we have followed thus far, experiences 
a reverse as striking. He falls, from the most 
flattering prospects of a kingdom, to beggary." 

The duties annexed to Eaton s appointment 
as Navy Agent of the United States, having 
ceased with the war, he requested of Commo 
dore Rogers to grant him a passage in the first 
ship that should be sent home from his squad 
ron. He arrived at Syracuse towards the end 
of June, where he was detained some time in 
settling the business growing out of the expedi 
tion to Derne, which caused him some trouble 
and perplexity. He endeavored to prevail on 
Harnet, who w r as with him at Syracuse, to ac 
company him to the United States, but unsuc 
cessfully. The unfortunate man determined to 
remain for the present, in the hope of making 
some arrangement with the king of the two 
Sicilies, against the reigning Bashaw, and, as a 
last resort, to return to Upper Egypt 



WILLIAM EATON. 171 

On the 6th of August, 1805, Eaton took 
passage for the United States, and arrived at 
Hampton Roads in November, having touched 
at Malta, Tunis, Gibraltar, and Madeira. He 
was received with lively demonstrations of re 
spect by the citizens of Richmond, who ten 
dered him the honor of a public dinner. The 
same distinction awaited him in Washington. 

His brilliant services to the country in the 
war with Tripoli had given him an enviable 
reputation throughout the United States. It was 
generally agreed, that his exertions had com 
pelled the Bashaw to offer terms of peace ; and 
that, if the treaty had not been so hastily conclud 
ed, and the naval force in the Mediterranean had 
properly sustained him, he would in a short 
time have made himself master of Tripoli, dic 
tated his own terms of peace, and prevented 
the necessity of any further tribute to the Bar 
bary powers. In the President s message to 
Congress, his name was mentioned with distin 
guished honor ; but the measures of Lear were 
supported by the administration. With his usu 
al warmth and imprudence, Eaton commented 
severely on that gentleman s conduct, and thus 
gave much offence in the political circles of 
Washington. The quickness of his temper, and 
some peculiarities of manners, no doubt, excited 
strong prejudices against him in the minds of 



172 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

many, and probably had their influence in re 
pressing the disposition of Congress to acknowl 
edge his services in the manner their importance 
deserved 



WILLIAM EATON. 173 



CHAPTER XII. 

Eaton s FmZ to Brimfield. Return to Wash 
ington. Proceedings of the House of Rep 
resentatives. Resolve passed by the Massa 
chusetts Legislature. Eaton s Deposition on 
the Trial of Burr. Final Adjustment of 
his Claims. Election to the Legislature by 
i**z Inhabitants of Brimfield. His Conduct 
as Representative. Failure of Reelection. 
Death of his Step-son. Correspondence with 
the Ex-Bashaw and other Friends. Speech 
in Town Meeting at Brimfield. Last Ill 
ness, and Death. Character. 

IN the December following his return to the 
United States, Eaton visited his family in Brim- 
field. In the principal cities and towns on the 
way, he was complimented with public dinners, 
and other expressions of popalar respect. He 
remained but a short time at home. His busi 
ness with the government demanded immediate 
attention and a speedy return to Washington. 
His services having been publicly noticed in the 
President s message, a resolution was introduced 
into the House of Representatives of the United 
States, to present him with a medal in com- 



174 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

memoration of his brilliant enterprise. The res 
olution, after a debate of great warmth, was 
negatived by a small majority. 

The Legislature of Massachusetts, however, 
treated him in a very different manner. They 
passed a resolve, with a suitable preamble, au 
thorizing the committee for the sale of eastern 
lands, to convey to him, his heirs, and assigns, 
a tract of ten thousand acres of any of the un 
appropriated land of the Commonwealth in the 
District of Maine, and the Governor was re 
quested to transmit to him an authentic copy. 

In the autumn of 1806, Eaton was solicited 
to become a candidate for a seat in Congress 
for Hampshire South District. Two gentle 
men, representing the respective parties into 
which the district, as well as the country, was 
divided, had already appeared in the field. Many 
citizens, fearing disastrous measures from the ri- 
olence of party spirit, were desirous of being 
represented by some person of high character, 
unpledged to any set of public measures, and 
fixed their eyes on Eaton. He instantly replied 
in the following manly terms. 

" I have really no ambition, in the existing 
state of our national affairs and political rela 
tions, to take on me the high responsibility of 
representing this district in Congress. I have 
already refused to be named as a party candi- 



WILLIAM EATON. 175 

date, because, believing it possible, that both 
parties may have permitted themselves to be 
come too much adherents to party, a pledge to 
either would tend to cramp the freedom of de 
liberation. 

"From this expression of my feelings, you 
may naturally draw, Sir, a conclusion of my po 
litical sentiments. We want more union, more 
energy, more of the temper of accommodation. 
The names Federalism and Democracy, which, 
at this moment, split the affections of our coun 
trymen, ought to be lost in the proud name 
of American. Till this event happens, I fear 
we shall continue to be weak at home, disre 
spected abroad. With these candid declarations 
before you, and deciding on them, use my name, 
Sir, if you think it may be used to the service 
of my country." The wishes of Eaton s friends, 
however, were not gratified. He never became a 
member of the House of Representatives of the 
United States. 

During the session of 1806-7, Eaton was 
again at Washington, occupied with the adjust 
ment of his accounts. A bill was passed in the 
month of February, and approved by President 
Jefferson, authorizing and directing the propei 
accounting officers to liquidate and settle them 
upon just and equitable principles, under the 
direction of the Secretary of State. He had 



176 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

first, however, addressed the Chairman of the 
Committee of Claims in the following terms. 



o 



Washington City, February 9th, 1807. 
"SlR, 

" On a review of the statement accompany 
ing my petition of 20th February, 1804, now 
before this honorable Committee, I cannot find 
a paragraph which needs correction or modifi 
cation. That statement surveys the chief ground 
and origin of my claims. Have the goodness, 
Sir, to pass attentively over it; and to carry 
forward, in the examination, a view of the events 
which have since occurred to establish the cor 
rectness of the measures there alluded to. It 
will satisfy you that a perseverance in those 
measures has given peace to this country, and 
emancipation to three hundred of our fellow cit 
izens ; and that, while it has done something to 
stamp a good impression on the pirates of Bar- 
bary, it has saved your treasury more than a 
million of dollars. My reward, hitherto, is 
penury and wounds ! I ought not, perhaps, to 
say this; it carries something which savors of 
reproach ; this I do not mean. I have nowhere 
been refused indemnity. On the contrary, three 
years ago, when as yet the effects of my ar 
rangements had not been realized, your Com 
mittee expressed an opinion that 1 had a well 
founded claim on the government. 



WILLIAM EATON. 177 

" But the delay, in the decision necessary to a 
reimbursement of my expenditures, has greatly 
distressed me in my individual concerns ; ex 
penditures of which my country now reap the 
profit ; and of which a vast majority of my 
countrymen appear to be very sensible. 

" I do not present myself here to ask alms, 
nor to expect gratuities; nor yet to draw on 
your sensibility to awaken a consideration for all 
the sacrifices to which I yielded, in standing to 
the duties of my station at the court of a pi 
ratical despot, and on the coast of a savage 
enemy. You cannot make me such indemnity; 
you cannot, Sir, under any shape I can present 
the claim, award me a remuneration for the sac 
rifices of property incident to the vexations, im 
positions, and proscriptions which the Bey of 
Tunis practised on me in consequence of my 
resistance to his unwarrantable exactions against 
the United States. You cannot bring back to 
me nine years of active life ; you cannot re 
store to me the strength of an arm. But for 
actual disbursements for the benefit of our com 
mon country, whether voluntary or extorted, I 
have a right again to resort to your justice, and 
to believe that this justice will be no longer 
delayed 

"It is only fit here, therefore, that I avow 
the perfect confidence I feel, Sir, in the dispo- 

II. 12 



178 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

sition and the righteousness of this Committee 
to give my claims a deliberate and a seasonable 
review, and an equitable award. 

" With regard, however, to the last item of 
my charge, it should be remarked, this was not 
originally intended to be brought against the 
United States. I had faith, that the honor of 
the court of Sardinia would redeem the paper 
of a nobleman charged with the high trust of a 
national negotiator; and, in case of failure here, 
had confidence in the exertions of the son of 
that nobleman to reimburse me the cash I was 
compelled to pay, as his surety, for the redemp 
tion of the child of his affection, and for the 
honor of his family. I should, undoubtedly, have 
realized these confidences, had not a dispensation 
of the government of the United States (unac 
quainted with the usages of that country) re 
leased the surety held at Tunis for the debt, 
and been construed by the Chevalier Porcille as 
a generous acquittal of the debtor. A reim 
bursement ought to come from the court of 
Sardinia to our government. Papers touching 
this transaction are submitted with my other doc 
uments. 

u The heavy expenses incident to an appeal 
to this Chancery for such a length of time as 
I have been before you, and at so great a dis 
tance from my home, together with the circum 



WILLIAM EATON. 179 

starves of these private funds lying so long use 
less to me, have necessarily laid me under pe 
cuniary responsibility to my friends. The sus 
pense of another year must lodge me in a prison. 
" If you find, Sir, that I have been upright 
to my country, let my country, by a reciprocity, 
now enable me to ransom myself. I have the 
honor to be, &c. 

" WILLIAM EATON." 

In May of this year, Eaton was elected by 
the citizens of Brimfield to represent them in 
the Legislature of Massachusetts. He was un 
able to take his seat at the first session, having 
been summoned to attend as a witness, before 
the court in Richmond, on the celebrated trial 
of Aaron Burr for high treason. Great efforts 
were made by the prisoner and his counsel to 
destroy the testimony of Eaton, particularly by 
the evidence of Colonel Gaither; but, though 
suspicions remained in the minds of some, that 
he had listened too favorably to the seductive 
propositions of Burr, his testimony was not in 
validated, and his defence of his proceedings and 
character must be regarded by every candid 
mind as perfectly successful. In his deposition, 
he gave a full and minute account of his inter 
course with Colonel Burr, and its termination. 
After recapitulating the heads of the treasonable 



180 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

scheme that had been explained to him, he pro 
ceeds as follows. 

" I listened to the exposition of Colonel Burr s 
views with seeming acquiescence. Every inter 
view convinced me more and more, that he had 
organized a deep-laid plot of treason in the 
West, in the accomplishment of which he felt 
fully confident. Till, at length, I discovered, that 
his ambition was not bounded by the waters of 
the Mississippi, and Mexico, but that he medi 
tated overthrowing the present government of 
our country. He said, if he could gain over 
the marine corps, and secure the naval com 
manders, Truxton, Preble, Decatur, and others, 
he would turn Congress neck and heels out of 
doors; assassinate the President; seize on the 
treasury and navy ; and declare himself the pro 
tector of an energetic government. 

" The honorable trust of corrupting the ma 
rine corps, and of sounding Commodore Preble 
and Captain Decatur, Colonel Burr proposed con 
fiding to me. Shocked at this proposition, I 
dropped the mask, and exclaimed against his 
views. He talked of the degraded situation of 
our country, and the necessity of a blow, by 
which its energy and its dignity should be re 
stored ; said, if that blow could be struck here 
at this time, he was confident of the support of 
the best blood of America. I told Colonel 



WILLIAM EATON. 181 

Burr he deceived himself in presuming, that he, 
or any other man, could excite a party in this 
country, who would countenance him in such a 
plot of desperation, murder, and treason. He 
replied that he, perhaps, knew better the dis 
positions of the influential citizens of this coun 
try, than I did. I told him one solitary word 
would destroy him. He asked what word? I 
answered, Usurper! He smiled at my hesita 
tion, and quoted some great examples in his ta- 
vor. I observed to him, that I had lately trav 
elled from one extreme of the Union to the 
other ; and, though I found a diversity of po 
litical opinion among the people, they appeared 
united at the most distant aspect of national dan 
ger. That, for the section of the Union to which 
I belonged, I would vouch, should he succeed 
in the first instance here, he would within six 
weeks afterwards have his throat cut by Yankee 
militia. 

" Though wild and extravagant Mr. Burr s 
last project, and though fraught with premed 
itated slaughter, 1 felt very easy on the suo- 
ject, because its defeat he had deposited in my 
owe. hands I did not feel so secure concerning 
that of disjoining the Union. But the very in 
teresting and embarrassing situation, in which his 
communications placed me, left me, I confess, 
at a stand to know how to conduct myself with 



182 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

propriety. He had committed no overt act of 
aggression against law. I could draw nothing 
from him in writing ; nor could I learn, that he 
had exposed his plans to any person near me, 
by whom my testimony could be supported. 
He had mentioned to me no persons who were 
principally and decidedly engaged with him, ex 
cept General Wilkinson, a Mr. Alston, who I 
found was his son-in-law, and a Mr. Ephraim Kib- 
by, late a captain of rangers in General Wayne s 
army. Satisfied that Mr. Burr was resolute in 
pushing his project of rebellion in the west of 
the Allegany, and apprehensive that it was too 
well and too extensively organized to be easily 
suppressed ; though I dreaded the weight of his 
character when laid in the balance against my 
solitary assertion, I brought myself to the reso 
lution to endeavor to defeat it, by getting him 
removed from among us, or to expose myself 
to all consequences by a disclosure of his inten 
tions Accordingly, I waited on the President 
of the United States ; and, after some desultory 
conversation, in which I aimed to draw his view 
to the westward, I used the freedom to say to 
the President, I thought Mr. Burr should be 
sent out of this country, and gave for reason, 
that I believed him dangerous in it. The Pres 
ident asked where he should be sent ? I men 
tioned London and Cadiz. The President 



WILLIAM EATON. 183 

thought the trust too important, and seemed to 
entertain a doubt of Mr. Burr s integrity. I in 
timated that no one, perhaps, had strongei 
grounds to mistrust Mr. Burr s moral integrity 
than myself; yet I believed ambition so much 
predominated over him, that, when placed on an 
eminence and put on his honor, respect to him 
self would ensure his fidelity ; his talents were 
unquestionable. 

" I perceived the subject was disagreeable to 
the President ; and, to give it the shortest course 
to the point, declared my concern, that, if Mr. 
Burr were not in some way disposed of, we 
should, within eighteen months, have an insur 
rection if not a revolution, on the waters of 
the Mississippi. The President answered, that 
he had too much confidence in the information, 
the, integrity, and the attachment to the Union, 
of the citizens of that country, to admit an ap 
prehension of the kind. I am happy, that events 
prove this confidence well placed. As no in 
terrogatories followed my expression of alarm, I 
thought silence on the subject, at that time and 
place, became me. But I detailed, about the 
same time, the whole projects of Mr. Burr to 
certain members of Congress. They believed 
Colonel Burr capable of any thing, and agreed, 
that the fellow ought to be hanged ; but thought 
bis projects too chimerical, and his circumstances 



184 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

too desperate, to give the subject the merit of 
serious consideration. The total security of 
feeling in those to whom I had rung the tocsin, 
induced me to suspect my own apprehensions 
unseasonable, or at least too deeply admitted j 
and, of course I grew indifferent about the sub 
ject. 

" Mr. Burr s visits to me became less fre 
quent, and his conversation less familiar. He 
appeared to have abandoned the idea of a gen 
eral revolution, but seemed bent on that of the 
Mississippi ; and, although I could perceive symp 
toms of distrust in him towards me, he mani 
fested great solicitude to engage me with him 
in the enterprise. Weary of his importunity, 
and at once to convince him of my serious at 
tachments, I gave the following toast to the 
public. 

" The United States. Palsy to the brain 
that should plot to dismember, and leprosy to 
the hand, that will not draw to defend our union ! * 

" I doubt whether the sentiment was better 
understood by any of my acquaintance than 
Colonel Burr. Our intercourse ended here ; we 
met but seldom afterward. I returned to my 
farm in Massachusetts, and thought no more of 
Mr. Burr, nor his empire, till some time late in 
September or in the beginning of October, when 
a letter from Morris Belknap, of Marietta, to 



WILLIAM EATON. 185 

Timothy E. Danielson, fell into my hands at 
Brimfield, which satisfied me that Mr. Burr had 
actually commenced his preparatory operations on 
the Ohio. I now spoke publicly of the fact ; 
transmitted a copy of the letter from Bel knap 
to the Department of State, and, about the same 
time, forwarded, through the hands of the Post 
master-General, to the President of the United 
States, a statement, in substance, of what is here 
above detailed concerning the Mississippi con 
spiracy of the said Colonel Aaron Burr; which 
is said to have been the first formal intelligence 
received by the executive on the subject of the 
conspirator being in motion." 

The preceding extract contains all that is 
essential to Eaton s defence. The whole docu 
ment is extremely curious, as an illustration of 
the ambitious enterprise of the most turbulent 
spirit, that ever interrupted the repose of the 
United States. 

Eaton returned to Brimfield, after having con 
cluded the business that had summoned him 
from home, and took his seat in the Legislature 
of Massachusetts in December. The town which 
he represented was decidedly Federal, and of 
course expected him to shape his political course 
according to the doctrines of that party. But 
Eaton had been absent in foreign service during 
the most active years of party contention, and, 



186 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

though he agreed in general with the political 
views of the Federalists, he felt as yet none of 
that wholesale party zeal, that sacrifices every 
thing else to party objects. The state of his 
mind is fairly exhibited in the letter quoted 
in a preceding page. Accordingly, he refused 
to surrender his individual sentiments, and express 
ed himself with a degree of freedom, and per 
haps imprudence, that gave great offence to the 
Federal leaders. 

It was charged against him, that he attempt 
ed to win the good opinion of both parties, 
and the charge is seemingly supported by his 
biographer, but without the slightest foundation. 
In the whole course of his public career, his con 
duct was such as to forbid such a supposition 
upon any candid construction of motives and 
actions. He carried his freedom of opinion 
and expression to a faulty excess, which created 
many enemies, public and private. The fa 
naticism of party spirit in free countries is as 
intolerant as fanaticism in religion. Individual 
opinions are restrained by a tyranny as inexora 
ble, as that of the Holy Vehme, the secret tribu 
nals of the Middle Ages. Let the politician ven 
ture to oppose a measure of the party 10 which 
he is supposed to belong, or express an opinion 
varying in the least from the received standard 
of political orthodoxy, and no epithets of abuse 



WILLIAM EATON. 187 

are too vile to be applied to his condjct ; no 
baseness too deep to be imputed to his motives; 
no punishment within the power of his self-con 
stituted and inexorable judges, too severe to be 
inflicted, by wounding his sensibility, if not by 
injuring his person. No matter how pure his 
private life, how stainless his honor, how brilliant 
his talents, how venerable his age, how numerous 
and important his services to the republic; the 
claims of purity, of honor, of talents, of age, of 
public service, are drowned by the senseless cries 
of the multitude ; his character is offered up, and 
his prospects blighted, to appease the wrath of 
men, who are unworthy to loosen the latchet of 
his shoes. 

In the spring of 1808, Eaton was again sum 
moned to appear as a witness, in the trial of 
a person charged with being an accomplice of 
Burr, before the District Court of the United 
States, .then sitting in Philadelphia. On his re 
turn, he was mortified to learn, that the disap 
probation of his conduct, as a member of the 
legislature, had prevented his reelection by his 
fellow citizens. This disappointment, and the 
failure of other expectations, particularly of re 
ceiving a military command in the army of the 
United States, deeply affected his mind. His 
pecuniary affairs became embarrassed, and his 
manners and conduct in social life were not 



188 AMFRICAN BIOGRAPHY 

such as to conciliate the favor of those who sur 
rounded him. The activity and excitement of 
his busiest years ; the singular scenes he had 
witnessed ; the strange manners of the people he 
had so long dwelt among, had, in fact, unfitted 
him for the quiet pursuits of civil life. He was 
unequal to the contest with disappointed hopes 
and pecuniary embarrassments, and gave himself 
up to misanthropy and despair, except in mo 
ments of intemperate indulgence ; a temptation 
which became at last too strong to be resisted. 
In August of this year, his domestic peace 
was deeply wounded by the death of his belov 
ed step-son, the favorite companion of his ad 
ventures at Derne, E. E. Danielson, who fell in 
a duel with a naval officer, at New York. The 
feelings expressed in his reply to Lieutenant Bab 
bit, of the Navy, who had communicated the 
sad event, are too honorable to his head and 
heart to be omitted in this place. 

_ c "Brimfield, August 14th, 1808. 

DEAR JMR, 

" The sympathy you manifest in the event 
which occurred on the 5th instant, so afflicting 
to myself and family, receives our unaffected 
acknowledgments. 

" I wish Danielson might have lived to the 
usefulness of which he was capable. But who 
can Darry the arrow of death ! The when and 



WILLIAM EATON. 189 

the where we receive the shock is of less con 
sequence than the how. I have always flattered 
myself, that your friend could not die unlike a 
brave man ; but it pains me that the ground of 
his fall had not been marked with more useful 
ness to his country. Brave, great, and experi 
enced men may sometimes find it necessary to 
their reputation, that they meet in personal con 
test. This may be justified where the fate of 
a nation is depending ; such occurrences are rare ; 
but the trivial disputes, which excite ardent young 
men to put life up at a game of hazard, can 
not be reconciled to principles of morality, pa 
triotism, or character. Danielson wanted no 
tests of his bravery ; young as he was, experi 
ence had tested this. I lament more the ab 
sence of his prudence, than I should the loss 
we feel, had he fallen in the legitimate field of 
glory. The manner of Hamilton s death added 
nothing to the lustre of his fame; and the cir 
cumstance of Burr s killing him gave no man 
the more confidence in Burr s honesty or pa 
triotism; the catastrophe satisfied no one on the 
merits of the cause which produced it. Indi 
viduals may slaughter each other honorably by 
the laws of chivalry ; all that society can pro 
nounce on this exhibition of courage is, Alas! 
The absence of Commodore Rogers at that 
eventful moment is much to be lamented. His 



190 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

presence would have overawed the extremity, 
which has brought affliction to the concerned 
for the deceased, and a loss to the service of 
our country. I most devoutly hope that this 
unhappy incident may prove a caution to th* 
young gentlemen of your profession against sud 
den sallies of passion. 

"Any thing in detail, which you can state con 
cerning the melancholy death of my son and 
friend, will confer on me a peculiar obligation. 
I have received no communications from Mr. 
Bovd or Mr. Evans on the subject. 
"I am, Sir, &c., 

"WILLIAM EATON." 

The remaining events of Eaton s life are too 
simple and unimportant to require an extended 
narration. His occupations were those of a pri 
vate citizen in a country town. He maintained 
a correspondence with the friends, whom he had 
known in his public life, particularly with the 
Ex-Bashaw. A cordial attachment existed on 
both sides, which was kept up by frequent In 
terchanges of letters. Eaton took an active 
part in urging his claims upon the attention of 
Congress, and not without success ; and had, at 
.ast, the satisfaction of learning, that the Bashaw 
had been appointed to the government of Derne, 
through the agency of the United States. His 



WILLIAM EATON. 191 

intercourse with Mr. Cathcart was renewed ; 
that gentleman having returned home, after an 
unsuccessful attempt to assume the office of 
consul at Tunis, to which he had been appoint 
ed. He continued to take an interest in public 
affairs, and delivered a powerful speech, in Au 
gust, 1808, at a town meeting in Brimfield, 
convened for the purpose of considering the ex 
pediency of petitioning the President of the 
United States to remove the embargo, or to 
summon Congress, if his authority to do this 
himself was deemed insufficient. The speech 
was thoroughly Federal in its political tone, and 
expressed the views of his fellow townsmen with 
such clearness and vigor, that a copy was re 
quested for the press. It was printed in the 
newspapers of the day, and widely circulated. 

At length, the fatigues he had borne, the dis 
appointments he had met with, the excesses he 
had indulged in, undermined his constitution and 
prostrated his health. During the winter of 
1809-10, he suffered severely from rheumatism 
and gout. The succeeding spring and summer 
he partially recovered, but the approach of 
winter brought back his old complaints with in 
creased severity. His strength daily failed; but 
he lingered in a state of great bodily suffering 
until the 1st of June. In the intervals of dis 
tress, his love of social intercourse and facetious 



192 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

or satirical conversation was too poweriul to be 
restrained ; and, as long as he had the command 
of his senses, he listened eagerly to foreign and 
political news. He expired on the evening of 
June 1st, 1811. Previous to his death, he had 
requested to be buried with military honors, and 
lesignated the gentlemen whom he wished to 
act as pall-bearers. His wishes were complied 
with in every particular ; and his body was car 
ried to the church, where a funeral discourse 
was delivered by his long-tried friend, the Rev 
erend Dr. Welch, of Mansfield, Connecticut. He 
was in his forty-eighth year at the time of his 
death. 

In person, Eaton was about five feet eight 
inches in height. His complexion was fair and 
ruddy ; his eyes large and blue ; and his whole 
countenance expressive of energy, dignity, and 
command. His military talents were of a high 
order. His intellect was strong, his perceptions 
acute, his feelings ardent. He was quick to 
resent injuries, but of the most generous dispo 
sition, when the first impulse of passion was over. 
His devotion to the interests and honor of his 
country, even under circumstances calculated to 
exhaust his patience and irritate his temper, ex 
hibited his character in a most favorable light. 
In his diplomatic intercourse with the Barbary 
pirates, he adopted a tone of boldness and in* 



WILLIAM EATON., 193 

dependence which astonished them, accusionieu 
as they had always oeen to the most abject 
and humiliating submission. In some particulars 
perhaps, his eccentric conduct and irritable tem 
per threw difficulties in his way, that migm 
have been avoided by a more complying dis 
position. The opinions he expressed in nib cor 
respondence with the Department of State, and 
with private friends, were singularly acute and 
correct ; and, had they been acted upon at an 
earlier period, would have saved the United 
States many degrading concessions, and secured 
to the American arms imperishable glory. 

As a writer, Eaton possessed extraordinary 
command of language, and energy of expression. 
His imagination was vigorous and discursive, but 
his taste was not sufficiently chastened by the 
study of classical models. Had he devoted him 
self to letters, he might have adorned almost 
any department except poetry. As a public 
speaker, his efforts were characterized by flu 
ency and even eloquence, and a far-reaching 
political foresight. As a soldier, he was fearless 
of danger, persevering in the pursuit of his object, 
patient under fatigue, and full of resources to 
,neet every military emergency. His vualifica- 
tions for a life of danger and adventure were 
extraordinary, He loved hazardous enterprises 
to enthusiasm, because they called into action 

II. 13 



194 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

those energies of his daring character in which 
he most delighted. But all his labors and hopes 
centred in the love of country and the love of 
glory. His country failed to requite his devo 
tion, and the shortness of his life left his aspi- 
rmtions for glory but imperfectly gratified. 



THE END. 



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