Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"we cannot think that to remove impediments to its extension is other than our duty."

   "The French government had at that time considerable influence at Algiers, and its policy, contrary to that of Great Britain then, was to assist our commerce--its intervention was asked by our minister, and was readily afforded. The sternness of the Dey was relaxed; Mr. Donaldson was permitted to have access to him, and a treaty of peace was concluded, bearing date the 5th of September 1795, which the Dey and his divan promised to observe, on consideration of the United States paying annually the value of 12,000 Algerine sequins, in maritime stores. The captives were all released at extravagant prices. But this was not the whole of our humiliation; some delays occurred in transmitting the money and other articles; the Dey became incensed, and threatened to break the treaty. To pacify him, Joel Barlow, who had joined Mr. Donaldson, offered, in concurrence with that gentleman, the additional present of a new frigate; after some hesitation, and an increase of the size proposed, it was accepted. A fine vessel of this description was built for the purpose, completely armed, and delivered to him, and thus precarious peace was purchased at the total expense of near a million of dollars.* We continued to pay the tribute, and were occasionally obliged to submit to mortifications which would scarcely have been imposed by a civilized power.

   "The case of the Allegheny may still be fresh in the minds of some of our readers; but its connexion with the subject induces us shortly to recall it to view. This vessel was sent to Algiers with our homage of naval and military stores, in 1812. The Dey, on her arrival, affected to be dissatisfied with the quantity. The accounts were examined by his officers, and by our consul,--the balance found to be really due was within the value of the Allegheny's cargo; but the Algerines insisted that tht year should be computed by the Mohammedan calendar, according to which it consists of 354 days, and by these, and some other exactions, he nearly doubled the balance. The Dey threatened that if the sum he claimed was not paid in eight days, he would detain every American then at Algiers in slavery, confiscate the ship and her cargo, and declare war against the United States. There was no remedy but to submit. The fate of this vessel afterwards, was unfortunate. She sailed from Algiers on the 25th of July, bringing with her all the Americans, including Mr. Lear, the consul, and his family. The declaration of war of the 18th of June was probably unknown to him. He might, however, have counted on an application of those principles of humanity which are sometimes talked of, as part of the law of nations, and which withholds the severity of war from shipwrecked mariners, and other sufferers of a similar character. But on arriving at Gibraltar, the Allegheny was seized and detained as a prize.

  * The Secretary of the Treasury, in his report of January 4th 1797, states it at $992,463.25.

   "We forbear to notice the proceedings with Tripoli, because our business is to review, and Mr. Pitkin's book is not carried down so low in point of time; but we hope that the period may yet arrive, when the surface of the Mediterranean shall exhibit only the "freighted Argosies" of the merchant, or the flag and guns of the Christian. In our frequent recurrence to this view of the subject, we wish not to be charged with bigotry, or with affectation. But we feel a deep and sincere interest in upholding the profession and the practice of our religion, against all direct or indirect invasion. The imposture of Mohammed has been
disseminated and enforced by arms and violence. The Arabian conquerors did not reason with those whom they subdued; the Koran or the sword was the proclaimed alternative; and thus its prodigious extension is accounted for; but of all those whom they subjected, none were more contemptuously or severely treated than the Christians; and even now a Christian may exempt himself from punishment, for almost every crime, by abjuring his religion, and adopting that of Mohammed. We do not seek to extend the knowledge of Christ by means like these. Our missionaries carry no weapon but the Bible, and use no arms but those of reason and persuasion. To unite in the design of preventing infidels from compelling apostacy, is not aggression, but defence. To reduce the authors of these invasions of conscience, to future inability, and thus to co-operate with those whose pious office it is to enlighten the blind, and to draw converts from a false to a true religion, is the full extent that we are authorized to go. And while we believe in the pure and holy doctrines which were sealed upon Mount Calvary, while we remember the solemn and parting injunction to preach the Gospel to all nations, we cannot think that to remove impediments to its extension is other than our duty." --Timothy Pitkin, [THE AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW. VOL. VI. SEPTEMBER & DECEMBER, 1829. PHILADELPHIA: CAREY & LEA--CHESNUT STREET. (Pitkin's History of the United States, Dec. 1829). Pgs. 406-07]

(Timothy Pitkin, Jan. 21, 1766 - Dec. 18, 1847, graduated from Yale in 1785. He taught in the academy at Plainfield, Connecticut for a year, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1788. He served in the Connecticut State Legislature in 1790, 1792, and 1794‑1805, serving as Clerk of the House 1800‑1802, and as Speaker 1803‑1805. He was elected as a Federalist to the United States Congress in the Ninth Congress. And was reĆ«lected to the Tenth and to the five succeeding Congresses, serving from Sept. 16, 1805, to March 3, 1819.He was also a delegate to the convention which framed the new State constitution in that year. He resumed his private law practice, then returned to serve as a member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives from 1819 to 1830. His writing and gathering of statistical materials are what afford him a special place United States history. Particularly, "A Statistical View of the Commerce of the United States of America", (1816) and "Political and Civil History of the United States from 1763 to the Close of Washington's Administration", (1828) are considered as valuable reference works for students of American history.)

Some things never change, eh? Well, at least not in this present world anyways....

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