The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tunis August 28, 1797

Art 1 Art 2 Art 3 Art 4 Art 5 Art 6 Art 7 Art 8 Art 9 Art 10 Art 11 Art 12
Art 13 Art 14 Art 15 Art 16 Art 17 Art 18 Art 19 Art 20 Art 21 Art 22 Art 23

Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed at Tunis August 28, 1797, and, with alterations, March 26, 1799. Original in Turkish. Submitted to the Senate February 21, 1798. Resolution of advice and consent, on condition, March 6, 1798. Resubmitted to the Senate December 13, 1799. Resolution of advice and consent to altered Articles 11, 12, and 14, December 24, 1799. Ratified by the United States January 10, 1800. As to the ratification generally, see the notes. Not proclaimed (semble), but see the notes as to publication.

The following pages of Turkish are a reproduction of the articles of the original of the altered treaty; but they are arranged in left-to-right order of pagination, and of necessity the Turkish script runs length-ways of the pages. They are followed by the French translation which is written in the original document and the English translation which is in the Department of State file; after the translations is the approval of Humphreys of the treaty as first signed, and then the approval of Eaton and Cathcart of the altered treaty, as copied in the original. Following those tents is a comment on the French translation, written in 1930. (*)

God is infinite.

Under the auspices of the greatest, the most powerful of all the princes of the Ottoman nation who reign upon the earth, our most glorious and most august Emperor, who commands the two lands and the two seas, Selim Khan I the victorious, son of the Sultan Moustafa, whose realm may God prosper until the end of ages, the support of kings, the seal of justice, the Emperor of emperors.

The most illustrious and most magnificent Prince Hamuda Pasha, Bey, who commands the Odgiak of Tunis, the abode of happiness; and the most honored Ibrahim Dey; and Suleiman, Agha of the Janizaries and chief of the Divan; and all the elders of the Odgiak; and the most distinguished and honored President of the Congress of the United States of America, the most distinguished among those who profess the religion of the Messiah, of whom may the end be happy.

We have concluded between us the present Treaty of Peace and Friendship, all the articles of which have been framed by the intervention of Joseph Stephen Famin, French merchant resident at Tunis, Charge d'Affaires of the United States of America; which stipulations and conditions are comprised in twenty-three articles, written and expressed in such manner as to leave no doubt of their contents, and in such way as not to be contravened.


There shall be a perpetual and constant peace between the United States of America and the magnificent Pasha, Bey of Tunis, and also a permanent friendship, which shall more and more increase.


If a vessel of war of the two nations shall make prize of an enemy vessel in which may be found effects, property, and subjects of the two contracting parties, the whole shall be restored; the Bey shall restore the property and subjects of the United States, and the latter shall make a reciprocal restoration; it being understood on both sides that the just right to what is claimed shall be proved.


Merchandise belonging to any nation which may be at war with one of the contracting parties, and loaded on board of the vessels of the other, shall pass without molestation and without any attempt being made to capture or detain it.


On both sides sufficient passports shall be given to vessels, that they may be known and treated as friendly; and considering the distance between the two countries, a term of eighteen months is given, within which term respect shall be paid to the said passports, without requiring the conge or document (which at Tunis is called testa), but after the said term the conge shall be presented.


If the corsairs of Tunis shall meet at sea with ships of war of the United States having under their escort merchant vessels of their nation, they shall not be searched or molested; and in such case the commanders shall be believed upon their word, to exempt their ships from being visited and to avoid quarantine. The American ships of war shall act in like manner towards merchant vessels escorted by the corsairs of Tunis.


If a Tunisian corsair shall meet with an American merchant vessel and shall visit it with her boat, she shall not exact anything, under pain of being severely punished; and in like manner, if a vessel of war of the United States shall meet with a Tunisian merchant vessel, she shall observe the same rule. In case a slave shall take refuge on board of an I American vessel of war, the Consul shall be required to cause him to be restored; and if any of their prisoners shall escape on board of the Tunisian vessels, they shall be restored; but if any slave shall take refuge in any American merchant vessel, and it shall be proved that the vessel has departed with the said slave, then he shall be returned, or his ransom shall be paid.


An American citizen having purchased a prize-vessel from our Odgiak, may salt our passport, which we will de liver for the term of one year, by force of which our corsairs which may meet with her shall respect her; the Consul on his part shall furnish her with a bill of sale; and considering the distance of the two countries, this term shall suffice to obtain a passport in form. But after the expiration of this term, if our corsairs shall meet with her without the passport of the United States, she shall be stopped and declared good prize, as well the vessel as the cargo and crew.


If a vessel of one of the contracting parties shall be obliged to enter into a port of the other and may have need of provisions and other articles, they shall be granted to her without any difficulty, at the price current at the place; and if such a vessel shall have suffered at sea and shall have need of repairs, she shall be at liberty to unload and reload her cargo without being obliged to pay any duty; and the captain shall only be obliged to pay the wages of those whom he shall have employed in loading and unloading the merchandise.


If, by accident and by the permission of God, a vessel of one of the contracting parties shall be cast by tempest upon the coasts of the other and shall be wrecked or otherwise damaged, the commandant of the place shall render all possible assistance for its preservation, without allowing any person to make any opposition; and the proprietor of the effects shall pay the costs of salvage to those who may have been employed.


In case a vessel of one of the contracting parties shall be attacked by an enemy under the cannon of the forts of the other party, she shall be defended and protected as much as possible; and when she shall set sail, no enemy shall be permitted to pursue her from the same port, or any other neighboring port, for forty-eight hours after her departure.


When a vessel of war of the United States of America shall enter the port of Tunis, and the Consul shall request that the castle may salute her, the number of guns shall be fired which he may request; and if the said Consul does not want a salute, there shall be no question about it.

But in case he shall desire the salute, and the number of guns shall be fired which he may have requested, they shall be counted and returned by the vessel in as many barrels of cannon powder.

The same shall be done with respect to the Tunisian corsairs when they shall enter any port of the United States.


When citizens of the United States shall come within the dependencies of Tunis to carry on commerce there, the same respect shall be paid to them which the merchants of other nations enjoy; and if they wish to establish themselves within our ports, no opposition shall be made thereto; and they shall be free to avail themselves of such interpreters as they may judge necessary, without any obstruction, in conformity with the usages of other nations; and if a Tunisian subject shall go to establish himself within the dependencies of the United States, he shall be treated in like manner.

If any Tunisian subject shall freight an American vessel and load her with merchandise, and shall afterwards want to unlace or ship them on board of another vessel, we will not permit him until the matter is determined by a reference of merchants, who shall decide upon the case; and after the decision, the determination shall be conformed to.

No captain shall be detained in port against his consent, except when our ports are shut for the vessels of all other nations, which may take place with respect to merchant vessels but not to those of war.

The subjects of the two contracting powers shall be under the protection of the Prince and under the jurisdiction of the chief of the place where they may be, and no other persons shall have authority over them. If the commandant of the place does not conduct himself agreeably to justice, a representation of it shall be made to us.

In case the Government shall have need of an American merchant vessel, it shall cause it to be freighted, and then a suitable freight shall be paid to the captain, agreeably to the intention of the Government, and the captain shall not refuse it.


If among the crews of merchant vessels of the United States, there shall be found subjects of our enemies, they shall not be made slaves, on condition that they do not exceed a third of the crew; and when they do exceed a third, they shall be made slaves. The present article only concerns the sailors, and not the passengers, who shall not be in any manner molested.


A Tunisian merchant who may go to America with a vessel of any nation soever, loaded with merchandise which is the production of the kingdom of Tunis, shall pay duty (small as it is) like the merchants of other nations; and the American merchants shall equally pay, for the merchandise of their country which they may bring to Tunis under their flag, the same duty as the Tunisians pay in America.

But if an American merchant, or a merchant of any other nation, shall bring American merchandise under any other flag, he shall pay six I per cent duty. In like manner, if a foreign merchant shall bring the merchandise of his country under the American flag, he shall also pay six (1) per cent.


It shall be free for the citizens of the United States to carry on what commerce they please in the kingdom of Tunis, without any opposition, and they shall be treated like the merchants of other nations; but they shall not carry on commerce in wine, nor in prohibited articles; and if any one shall be detected in a contraband trade, he shall be punished according to the laws of the country. The commandants of ports and castles shall take care that the captains and sailors shall not load prohibited articles; but if this should happen, those who shall not have contributed to the smuggling shall not be molested nor searched, no more than shall the vessel and cargo; but only the offender, who shall be demanded to be punished. No captain shall be obliged to receive merchandise on board of his vessel, nor to unlace the same against his will, until the freight shall be paid.


The merchant vessels of the United States which shall cast anchor in the road of the Gouletta, or any other port of the Kingdom of Tunis, shall be obliged to pay the same anchorage for entry and departure which French vessels pay, to wit: Seventeen plasters and a half, money of Tunis, for entry, if they import merchandise; and the same for departure, if they take away a cargo; but they shall not be obliged to pay anchorage if they arrive in ballast and depart in the same manner.


Each of the contracting parties shall be at liberty to establish a consul in the dependencies of the other; and if such consul does not act in conformity with the usages of the country, like others, the government of the place shall inform his Government of it, to the end that he may be changed and replaced; but he shall enjoy, as well for himself as his family and suite, the protection of the government. And he may import for his own use all his provisions and furniture without paying any duty; and if he shall import merchandise (which it shall be lawful for him to do), he shall pay duty for it.


If the subjects or citizens of either of the contracting parties, being within the possessions of the other, contract debts or enter into obligations, neither the consul nor the nation, nor any subjects or citizens thereof, shall be in any manner responsible, except they or the consul shall have previously become bound in writing; and without this obligation in writing they cannot be called upon f or indemnity or satisfaction.


In case of a citizen or subject of either of the contracting parties dying within the possessions of the other, the consul or the vakil shall take possession of his effects (if he does not leave a will), of which he shall make an inventory; and the government of the place shall have nothing to do therewith. And if there shall be no consul, the effects shall be deposited in the hands of a confidential person of the place, taking an inventory of the whole, that they may eventually be delivered to those to whom they of right belong.


The consul shall be the judge in all disputes between his fellow citizens or subjects, as also between all other persons who may be immediately under his protection; and in all cases wherein he shall require the assistance of the government where he resides to sanction his decisions, it shall be granted to him.


If a citizen or subject of one of the parties shall kill, wound, or strike a citizen or subject of the other, justice shall be done according to the laws of the country where the offense shall be committed. The consul shall be present at the trial; but if any offender shall escape, the consul shall be in no manner responsible for it.


If a dispute or lawsuit on commercial or other civil matters shall happen, the trial shall be had in the presence of the consul, or of a confidential person of his choice, who shall represent him and endeavor to accommodate the difference which may have happened between the citizens or subjects of the two nations.


If any difference or dispute shall take place concerning the infraction of any article of the present treaty on either side, peace and good harmony shall not be interrupted until a friendly application shall have been made for satisfaction; and resort shall not be had to arms therefor, except where such application shall have been rejected; and if war be then declared, the term of one year shall be allowed to the citizens or subjects of the contracting parties to arrange their affairs and to withdraw themselves with their property.

The agreements and terms above concluded by the two contracting parties shall be punctually observed with the will of the Most High. And for the maintenance and exact observance of the said agreements, we have caused their contents to tee here transcribed, in the present month of Rabia Elul, of the Hegira one thousand two hundred and twelve, corresponding with the month of August of the (Christian year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven.

The BEY'S signature

IBRAHIM DEY'S signature [Seal]

The AGHA SULEIMAN'S signature [Seal]

To all to whom these Presents shall come or be made known.

Whereas the Underwritten David Humphreys hath been duly appointed (commissioner Plenipotentiary by letters patent under the signature of the President and seal of the United States of America, dated the 30th day of March 1795, for negotiating and concluding a Treaty of Amity and (commerce with the Most Excellent & Illustrious Lord the Bey and Supreme (commander of the State of Tunis; whereas in conformity to the necessary authority committed to him therefor, he did constitute and appoint Joel Barlow an Agent in the business aforesaid; and whereas the annexed Treaty was in consequence thereof agreed upon, in the manner and at the time therein mentioned through the intervention of Joseph Stephen Famin invested with full Powers for the said purpose.

Now, know ye, that I David Humphreys Commissioner Plenipotentiary aforesaid, do approve and conclude the said Treaty and every article and clause therein contained, reserving the same nevertheless for the final Ratification of the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the said United States. In Testimony whereof I have signed the same with my name & affixed thereto my Seal, at the City of Madrid this fourteenth day of November 1797.


Whereas the President of the United States of America, by his Letters patent, under his signature and the seal of State, dated [Seal] the 18th day of December 1798, vested Richard OBrien,

William Eaton and James Leander Cathcart, or any two of them in the absence of the third, with full powers to confer, negotiate and conclude with the Bey and Regency of Tunis, on certain alterations in the treaty between the United States and the government of Tunis, concluded by the intervention of Joseph Etienne Famin on behalf of the United States, in the month of August 1797; we the underwritten William Eaton and James Leander Cathcart (Richard O'Brien being absent) have concluded on and entered in the foregoing treaty certain alterations in the eleventh, twelfth and fourteenth articles, and do agree to said treaty with said alterations: reserving the same nevertheless for the final ratification of the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. In Testimony whereof we annex our names and the Consular seal of the United States. Done in Tunis the twenty sixth day of March in the year of the Christian Era one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine, and of American Independence the twenty third.



(*) The Turkish text and the material on the French Translation has not been reproduced by the Avalon Project. Back

(1) See the note regarding Article 14. Back

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.