Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Philip Mazzei

To Thomas Jefferson



1. Commerce.9 Articles of Importation from Marseilles & Leghorn the chief ports that with which Algiers carries on their commerce, areā€”bar-iron, steel German linens and Dutch Linens of all kinds, English & French cloth, long ells, spices, copperas, coffee, sugar, gold and silver brocades, wrought silk, deals, hardware, a small quantity of fish, with different other articles from that quarter; and all those articles pay 5 per Ct. duty at Algiers. Every kind of warlike stores are free of duty and naval stores likewise, and are generally recieved as presents from those northern nations who are at peace with them. the trade carried on from Algiers is to Smyrna, Alexandria and different parts of the Levant, is chiefly by the Moorish & Jewish merchants & by their own people & it consists in raw silk, linens, muslins, cottons, burdetts & gums & is transported in European bottoms, without distinction, not having any trading vessels of 304 their own. there is not one merchant-ship belonging to the Regency of Algiers, exports are wheat, barley, beans, Indian corn, wool, hides, bees-wax in considerable quantities, the chief & only manufactures are silk sashes, plain & embroidered with a species of red and white blanketing which they ship to the Levant.

2d. Ports Bona, Bagia, Algiers, & Arzew. and are very exactly described in the French charts. Algiers is well fortified with upwards of one thousand brass cannon from 36 to 24 pound shot & many of their works bombproof.

3d. Naval force Their present naval force consists of nine Xebecs & ten row-galleys from 36 guns to 8 manned. is the largest with about 400 men and so in proportion. they mostly depend on their success by boarding of vessels. a more particular account is sent.

4. Prisoners. Prisoners or rather slaves are for the most part treated with rigor. hard work & poor nourishment. they are frequently redeemed either by their friends or public charity, but often times at exorbitant prices. their treaties are sometimes broken but not often. hired troops or those that recieve pay are about 20,000, on occasion they can bring 200,000 into the field, and are an undisciplined wild rabble. indeed the best troops they have are about 10,000 Turk and are stationed in different parts of the kingdom: there is no making a proper estimate of their revenues. but however they are very considerable their public revenues are estimated at more than ten millions pounds strlg. in specie &c.

5. Language Is Turkish, Arabic, Lingua Franca, Italian. Lingua Franca is a corruption of Turkish, Italian & Spanish much spoke at Algiers at this time &c.

6. Government Little subordination is paid to the Ottoman Porte they however acknowlege the Grand Seignor to be the Imperial head of their

7th: Religion Religion and that is Mahometism: by the same species of fanatism that hath detached them from the Christian religion which they hold in the utmost contempt.

Captures Two ships from the United States of America with twenty-one persons on board, officers included: of the different Nations, slaves about 1500. they are at war with all nations except France, England, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Venice Emperor of Germany.