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President Washington REports on the Plan to ransom American hostages in Algiers - History

President Washington REports on the Plan to ransom American hostages in Algiers - History

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NOVEMBER 4, 1803.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

By the copy now communicated of a letter from Captain Bainbridge, of the Philadelphia frigate, to our consul at Gibraltar, you will learn that an act of hostility has been committed on a merchant vessel of the United States by an armed ship of the Emperor of Morocco. This conduct on the part of that power is without cause and without explanation. It is fortunate that Captain Bainbridge fell in with and took the capturing vessel and her prize, and I have the satisfaction to inform you that about the date of this transaction such a force would. be arriving in the neighborhood of Gibraltar, both from the east and from the west, as leaves less to be feared for our commerce from the suddenness of the aggression.

On the 4th of September the Constitution frigate, Captain Preble, with Mr. Lear on board, was within two days' sail of Gibraltar, where the Philadelphia would then be arrived with her prize, and such explanations would probably be instituted as the state of things required, and as might perhaps arrest the progress of hostilities.

In the meanwhile it is for Congress to consider the provisional authorities which may be necessary to restrain the depredations of this power should they be continued.



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