The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
Treaty with Tripoli 1796
The Annotated Translation of 1930

The Arabic text of the original treaty book with the Barlow translation, as well as the Cathcart copy (described below), and also the Italian translation in the Department of State file, have been examined by Dr. C. Snouck Hurgronje, of Leiden.

The annotated translation of the Arabic, the work of Doctor Snouck Hurgronje, follows. The order of arrangement is that there comes first what may be called the treaty proper, then the "receipt," and then the "note," followed by an account of the seals used.

[Translation of the Treaty]

Praise be to God! Declaration from [sic] this noble affair and this clear and important speech, being the agreement consisting of the articles of peace and fellowship and all friendship and love and good trust and all confidence on account of the peace treaty between us with the Americans and [sic] with our Lord and Master the exalted Lord Yussuf Pasha of Tripoli, may God strengthen him by His grace, amen! and in agreement with his whole Divan, the whole population of his regency and his Divan, may God strengthen them by His grace and His favor, amen!

Praise be to God! Declaration thereof from the first article. That we have agreed upon a perfect, valid, everlasting peace, without modification or change from the beginning to the end, in permanency, with the Americans and [sic] with our honored Lord, the Lord Yussuf Pasha of Tripoli, may God strengthen him and likewise his Divan, and what we have arranged between us [has been arranged] with a pure heart from our side and from their side. This treaty of peace has been displayed [the Arabic word here used generally denotes " to break a seal," or something of that sort] and worked out in detail by our honored and exalted Master, our supreme [the word here used is uncommon; it may have the meaning of sovereign] Master, the Lord Yussuf Pasha, in the protected [i. e., by God] Algiers, may God strengthen him by His grace, amen!

Praise be to God! Declaration thereof: the second article. We have agreed concerning all goods carried by ships of the Americans, that it shall not be lawful to seize them from [on] the part of Tripoli ships; and likewise ships of Tripoli carrying goods, no American warship shall commit inimical acts against them. Thus it shall be with us and with them, from both of the two [sic] sides.

Glory be to God! Declaration of the third article. We have agreed that if American Christians are traveling with a nation that is at war with the well-preserved Tripoli, and he [evidently the Tripolitan] takes [prisoners] from the Christian enemies and from the American (Christians with whom we are at peace [the Arabic sentence is here most confused], then he sets him [sic] free; neither he nor his goods shall be taken. Likewise, the Americans, when they take [literally "bring"] ships of their enemies and there are on board people from Tripoli, they shall not take one of them nor their goods. Thus! [This word, occurring at the end of several articles, seems to take the place of a full stop.]

Praise be to God! Declaration of the fourth article. We have also agreed concerning all the ships sailing out from the well-preserved Tripoli, that they [evidently the Tripolitans] are not allowed to take any of the American ships until a term of eighteen months shall have expired, and likewise there shall not be taken any of the Tripolitan ships until the condition of eighteen months shall be fulfilled, because the country of the Americans is at a great distance. This stipulation is connected with the passports; when the number of months of the term that we have mentioned shall be complete, and we have observed the term of one year and a half, beginning by the date which we have mentioned, then all the ships of the Americans must have passports. Thus.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the fifth article. We have agreed that, if persons of the American nation have bought a prize from the nation which has been by correspondence [writing] that they have bought it [apart from the obscurity of this Arabic sentence, it seems that some words after "nation" have been omitted], then the written document shall be valid between us from both sides, because the correspondence has the validity of a passport, and the term shall be of one year from the date of their buying the prize. Thus.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the sixth article. We have agreed that all American vessels putting into the port of the well-preserved Tripoli, of the Americans [sic], shall buy anything they are entitled to, provisions and other things. If the ship has suffered any damage, she shall repair it and so forth, like all the other Christian nations. And if an American ship, while sailing, has encountered winds or heavy storm at sea and is shipwrecked, and she is in want of lifting [?] or of anything else, she shall take whatever is necessary [or " whatever belongs to her "], and if she is bound to another country, being full of cargo, while such a misfortune befell her at sea, and she put into the port of Tripoli in order to repair all her damages, [she shall be allowed to do so]. And if she wants to sell her merchandise, she shall pay the customs according to the custom of other [Christian] nations. But if she has repaired all her damages and discharged her load and merchandise, and then reloads it again as it was before, [the cargo] shall be free. Thus.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the seventh article. We have agreed that if any vessel of the Americans is shipwrecked or damaged on the shore of Tripoli, the Moslems shall assist them until their goods are completely recovered from him who withholds. And if the vessel has merchandise or anything else, the Moslems shall be with them guarding the goods from thieves [deceivers] and shall watch over them until they have finished their affairs. Thus.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the eighth article. We have agreed upon this matter from both the two [sic] sides. If there is an American ship in the neighborhood of the Tripoli shore, and an enemy of their own kind [I. e., a Christian enemy] encounters them and pursues them, trying to take them, then they shall be assisted from the side of the Moslems with guns from the forts of Tripoli for their defense [?], that they commit no hostility against them within gunshot. Likewise, if they are in the port, lying at anchor, the enemy shall not be allowed to expel them. Likewise, if there are at anchor in the port two ships [belonging to nations] which are at enmity with each other, and one of them wishes to sail out, then her enemy shall not be allowed to sail out within twenty-four hours, as is the custom of all the [Christian] nations. Thus.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the ninth article. We have agreed that all the tradesmen and likewise the merchants [the two words used here are the Arabic musabbibin and the foreign word merkantiyye; perhaps it is simply a pleonastic expression, or perhaps two different classes of commercial people are meant] of the American nation who bring merchandise to the well-preserved Tripoli, and likewise the captains and sailors, shall have to pay the customs as all the [Christian] nations pay them, and as it is the custom, and the Consul of the Americans shall continue doing his official duty as it is done by all the [(Christian] nations, namely, the kiss of the Feast and of the [mifda?]. Thus.

The word not transalted (mifda, or something like it), is of uncertain reading; the Italian translation renders it by "godimento." It may have denoted some periodical, probably annual, entertainment or feast of non-reIigious character, at which the authorities had to pay a complimentary visit to the Sultan. The "Feast " seems to denote that of the 1st of Shawwal, the conclusion of the Ramadan fasting. I guess that on such occasions the consuls had to "kiss" the Pasha's cloak or even the floor in front of His Highness, and most probably they were obliged to accompany that act of reverence with the offering of costly presents.

Praise be to God! Declaration of the tenth article. Be it known that the Americans have paid the present and the money for the peace treaty on the hand of the exalted Lord, our Master, the Lord Hassan Pasha, who [al-munshi?] in Algiers, may God strengthen him, and they are now acquitted of the number of presents [literally " the number, the present"] and likewise of the money, and this money and these presents they have given [shall be counted] forever, and they shall not continue to pay every year. This which they have given shall be at once complete, remaining forever. Thus.

The word not translated, probably to be read al-munshi, seems to be the equivalent of "residing" or "governing," but is not used in that sense in common Arabic.

The eleventh article of the Barlow translation has no equivalent whatever in the Arabic. The Arabic text opposite that article is a letter from Hassan Pasha of Algiers to Yussuf Pasha of Tripoli. The letter gives notice of the treaty of peace concluded with the Americans and recommends its observation. Three fourths of the letter consists of an introduction, drawn up by a stupid secretary who just knew a certain number of bombastic words and expressions occurring in solemn documents, but entirely failed to catch their real meaning. Here the only thing to be done by a translator is to try to give the reader an impression of the nonsensical original:

Praise be to God, who inspires the minds of rulers with causes of well-being and righteousness! The present matter may be in the interest of the land and the servants [of God], in order that things may be put in their place. This whole affair has been opened [by omission of one letter the Arabic reads "victories" instead of "opened"] by the intermediary of the exalted, honored Prince, the Lord Hassan Pasha, in the protected [by (rod] Algiers, may God strengthen him and give him victory and help him in accomplishing good things; thus in the beginning and in the end, and may the acquiescence in his order take place by considering all his affairs, and may his endeavor repose on the fitness of his reflection. So may God make it, the beginning of this peace, a good and graceful measure and an introduction having for result exaltation and glorification, out of love for our brother and friend and our most beloved, the exalted Lord Yussuf Pasha, [here follows the same word as in Article 10: al-munshi?, "residing" or "governing"] in the well-protected [by God] Tripoli, may God strengthen him by His grace and His favor, amen! Because our interests are one and united, because our aim is that acts may succeed by overthrowing justice, and the observance [of duty?; of treaties?; of the Sacred Law?] becomes praiseworthy by facts entirely, amen ! by making successful safety and security by permanence of innumerable benefits and pure and unmixed issue. Prosperity accompanies highness and facilitation of good by length of the different kinds of joy makes permanent. Praise be to God for the comprehensive benefit and your perfect gifts, may God make them permanent for us and for you, thus till the day of resurrection and judgment, as long as times last, amen!

Further, if there are American people coming to the well-protected Tripoli, they wish to be, by your carefulness, honored [and free] from all disagreements as are, Indeed, all the [Christian] nations, so that nobody molests them and no injury befalls them; and likewise people from Tripoli, if alley proceed to the country of the Americans, they shall be honored, elevated upon the heads, nobody molesting or hindering them until they travel [homeward] in good state and prosperity. Thus. And greetings!

Praise be to God! Declaration of the twelfth article. If there arises a disturbance between us on both sides, and it becomes a serious dispute, and the American Consul is not able to make clear [settle] his affair, and [then] the affair shall remain suspended between them both, between the Pasha of Tripoli, may God strengthen him, and the Americans, until the Lord Hassan Pasha, may God strengthen him, in the well-protected Algiers, has taken cognizance of the matter. We shall accept whatever decision he enjoins on us, and we shall agree with his condition and his seal [i. e., the decision sealed by him]; may God make it all permanent love and a good conclusion between us in the beginning and in the end, by His grace and favor, amen!

[Translation of the "Receipt"]

forty thousand duros 40,000
watches 13
seal rings 5
ells of cloth 140
sersar[?] garments 4

Praise be to God! Explanation: This is our memorandum delivered to [in the hand oft its bearer, the Captain Ibrahim [sic], the American: We have received forty thousand royal duros and thirteen watches, some of them gold, some silver, some tumbak, and five seal rings, three of which diamond, one sapphire, one with a watch in it, hundred and forty one [sic] ells of cloth, and four terser [?] garments. That is on account of the peace treaty of His [God's] servant, Yussuf Pasha, with the Americans and the completeness [perhaps the last word means only that the memorandum is hereby finished].

The seal, badly imprinted on this "receipt," is the same as the topmost of those which follow Article 12 of the treaty; it represents the signature of Hassan Pasha.

On the right side of the seal there are four small lines of script, written by the same hand that wrote the names of the goods and the figures at the top of the page, and the two lines under the seal, but a hand other than that which wrote the three lines of text. Those four lines of script read as follows: "Kararnaili [sac], may his glory last, amen! 20th day of Jumada al-awwal, year 1211." The last two lines read: "This is the copy from [sic] the memorandum of the exalted Lord Yussuf Pasha, in the well-preserved Tripoli, and his seal

The word used for " silver " (fejra) is uncommon, although not altogether unknown. The word corresponding to "pinsback" in the Barlow translation is tumb~k, which may be derived from Portuguese "tambaca" (from Malay "tembaga"), which denotes copper and a certain number of alloys of that metal. That word is derived from the Sanskrit; the thus-named alloy of copper and zinc used to be imported from Indo-Chinese countries (see Hobson-Jobson-A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, 929, and the references in Note A of that work, List of Glossaries, in verbo).

The 20th day of Jumada I, A. I. 1211, coincided with November 21, 1796, or thereabout.

" Karamaili " is probably a corruption of the clan-name, "Karamanli," which occurs several times in the signatures to the treaty, e. 9., in the signature of Yussuf Pasha of Tripoli, but not in that of Hassan Pasha of Algiers; so it seems to be here not an adscript to the seal of Hassan Pasha, but rather a substitute for the seal of Yussuf Pasha; but even then it remains an enigma why he did not seal this receipt and why his name should have been written so incompletely, with the essential elements lacking.

[Translation of the "Note"]

Praise be to God' This is a memorandum and a statement of what the Americans are still obliged to pay on account of the peace treaty: The amount of money being the value of twelve thousand royal duros; and likewise hawsers, being five, eight inches thick; and also cables, being three, each ten inches thick; and also tar, twenty-five barrels; and also pitch, twenty-five barrels; and likewise rosin, ten barrels; and also boards of rebel [this denotation of a sort of wood is unknown to me; it is not the common Arabic word for oak], five hundred; and likewise boards of binu flamank [also unknown to me; flamank means Dutch; perhaps "Dutch pine" is meant], five hundred; and also masts, being ten; and likewise yards, twelve; and also canvas for sails [the text adds the qualification dhi lamunah, which I cannot explain], fifty pieces; and also anchors, being four. This is what the Americans are still obliged to pay in this mentioned number as has been mentioned [sic] and afterwards, when the Consul comes from his country, they shall have to bring all that we have mentioned, amounting to this number, when he arrives at the well-preserved Tripoli, may God protect her by His grace, amen! Contained [certified?] completely on the first day of Rajab in this above-mentioned rescript, year 1211.

The seal imprinted on this "note" is illegible; it is, however, the seal of Hassan Pasha, Dey of Algiers, and the same as the topmost of those which follow Article 12 of the treaty, where the imprint is clearer.

The "4th" of Rajab is not in the Arabic text. The 1st of Rajab, 1211, may have corresponded to December 31, 1796, or to January 1, 1797; but compare "four days from the beginning" in the lines written at the left of the seal of Hassan Pasha, following Article 12 of the treaty, which are translated below in the account of the seals. The Arabic rendering of "1st Rajab" may also mean "beginning of Rajab."


The eleven seals will be explained here, beginning with the topmost, after which the three horizontal rows (of three, three, and four seals respectively) are treated, proceeding from the right side to the left.

The superscriptions are not signatures (the seals themselves being considered as such), but each of them denotes the name and title or function of the owner of the seal at the top of which it is written. All these superscriptions, except that of the topmost seal, are in the handwriting of one and the same secretary; the exception is probably owing to the fact that the seal of Hassan Pasha, with its superscription, was affixed in Algiers, not, like the other ten, in Tripoli. The writer of the ten superscriptions follows the eastern method of using diacritical points, whereas all the other pages, and also Article 12, are written in the western (Maghrebin) manner.

First superscription. "His Worship the Eminent Hassan Pasha, son of Husein, Wall [governor] of the well-protected Gate of Holy War, Algiers of the West."

The seal. The central oval contains the name of Hassan Pasha, son of Husein, and around the oval are two verses which may be rendered as follows:

My God, Thou art the Giver of grace and favors And I am the committed of sins; so forgive me.

My Lord I full is my trust in Thee,

So make true, O my God, my good trust!

At the left of this topmost seal there are two lines written by the same hand as Article 12, which wrote also all the other articles and which is different from the hands of both writers of the superscriptions. These lines read as follows: "And this is the seal of the honored Lord, the Lord Hassan Pasha, may God strengthen him, in the vilayet [province] of Algiers, dominion of Holy War, may she be victorious by the help of God. It [referring, as it seems, to the whole treaty] has been fixed and written down in this document [the word itman, translated here by "document," is rather uncommon and means properly something like "assurance" or "certification"] at the date of the beginning of the month of Rajab, four days from the beginning. Year 1211."

Second superscription. "His Excellency the Exalted, the Honorable Wezir [after Wear there is a word which I cannot exactly identify] Yussuf Pasha, son of Ali Pasha, son of Muhammed Pasha son of Ahmed Pasha Karamanli [see above, the notes to the translation of the 'receipt'], Mutesarrif [this word denotes in the Turkish administration a rank inferior to that of Wah, 'subgovernor,' governing a sanjak, being a part of a vilayet, governed by a Wall] of the well-preserved Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. In the central oval: "His [God's] servant, Yussuf Bey, son of Ali Pasha Karamanli, 1195" (probably the Hegira year of his nomination). Around the oval are two verses from the well-known Burdah (the poem in praise of the Prophet), running thus: " He who takes the Apostle of God for his helper, if the lions encounter him in their jungles, they will withdraw." "You never see a friend of his [the Apostle's] but victorious, nor an enemy of his but crushed! "

Third superscription. "The Right Honorable Kadim Muhammed Bey, son of Yussuf Pasha, son of Ali Pasha, son of Muhammed Pasha, son of Ahmed Pasha Karamanli, in the well-protected Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. The inner circle certainly contains the names mentioned in the superscription, but the letters are intertwined so as to make up a calligraphic puzzle of the sort favorite with Arabic seal engravers. I have read only some of the names, and it seemed hardly worth while to decipher the whole. The outer circle contains the first of the two verses occurring around the oval of the seal last above described.

Fourth superscription. " The Exalted Muhammed, Kethoda-iOjaghy ['chief of the garrison'; may also denote 'chief of the place'] of Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. Inner square: "Muhammad, son of Abdallah." Around the square: "Seeking [asking for] the grace of God." There is still one word more, of the reading of which I am not quite sure.

Fifth superscription. "The Exalted Ahmed Agha, chief of the port of Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. "Hoping for His [God's] grace, which is worthy of being hoped for. Ahmed, son of Mustapha, son of Ahmed Year 1201."

Sixth superscription. " The Exalted al-Hajj [title of those who have performed the pilgrimage to Mecca] Ahmed, treasurer of the garrison [or place] of Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. " His [God's] servant, who seeks His (trace, al-Haj j Ahmed, treasurer."

Seventh superscription. "All, Agha [commander] of the Janizaries of the well-protected Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. " His [God's] servant, seeking God's powerful grace, All, son of . . . [illegible] Year 1200."

Eighth superscription. "The Exalted Suleyman, Seraskar [commander of the army] of Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. "Seeking God's grace, Suleyman . . . "(other words illegible).

Ninth superscription. " The Exalted the Agha [commander] of the Sipahi~ [soldiers; perhaps the infantry is meant], Khalil, in the well-protected Tripoli of the West, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. "The proprietor [i. e., of this seal], His [God's] servant, Muhammed Khalll.''

Tenth superscription. Muhammed Ata Allah, secretary of the town.

The seal. " Seeking forgiveness and safeguard, His [God's] servant, Muhammed, son of Al-Hajj Ata allah liabtan."

Eleventh superscription. " The Honorable Muhammed, sheik of the town [or 'of the country'], the well-protected Tripoli, dominion of Holy War."

The seal. "Seeking . . . Muhammed . . ." (the rest illegible).

Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America.
Edited by Hunter Miller
Volume 2
Documents 1-40 : 1776-1818
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1931.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.