LS, one page, 8 x 10, December 24, 1798. Letter to William Eaton, Consul of the United States for Tunis. In part: "In my letter of the 20th instant, I omitted to desire what I wish may receive your early attention—a communication to the department of State of the most correct information attainable, of the naval force of Tunis, the species of armed vessels, the number of their guns and men; also of the nations with which that Regency is at war, the times in the year when those armed vessels usually put to sea…and their modes of attack. It will likewise be very desirable to obtain the most accurate information of the several ports of Tunis, the quality of their roads and harbors, as to the depth of water and exposure to winds, and the manner of entering them with safety. As soon also as you can get correct information of their form of government, their military force, how many regular troops and their state of discipline, and the number and condition of the militia, you will communicate the same. If there be some months in the year when the navigation on the Barbary Coast is more dangerous than in others, you will note them accordingly."
Regarding transmitting this information, the letter concludes: "As the cypher in words will be found less embarrassing than the one in letters with a key word, it will in general be best to use the former, as well between the three Consuls at Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, and William Smith Esq. our Minister at Lisbon as with the department of State. But if there should be any thing to communicate among the Consuls or to the Department of State requiring impenetrable secrecy, then use the letter cypher with the key agreed on. Great care must be taken in writing in cyphers, to avoid errors, which might have injurious consequences." In fine condition, with overall light mottled toning and a tear to the right edge. A desirable letter brimming with interesting content from the years preceding the Barbary Wars.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.