The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
Treaty with Algeria September 5, 1795 Translation of 1930

The Turkish text of the original treaty which is reproduced above has been examined by Dr. J. H. Kramers, of Leiden, in collaboration with Dr. C. Snouck Hurgronje. The new translation of the Turkish made by Doctor Kramers, with his notes thereon, is printed below, following this general comment of Doctor Kramers on the text:

As the 1795 English translation of nearly all the articles of this treaty discloses considerable difference from the Turkish text, a complete new English translation has been given.

The treaty is written in excellent Turkish and does not show any sign of being a translation from an Arabic original.

It seems that the last page of Turkish text of the document was originally the beginning of the treaty, for it contains the preambulary stipulations to the articles of the treaty, as is also the case in the treaty with Algiers of 1816 (Document 37). Accordingly the translation begins with those introductory clauses.


Reason for the Drawing Up of the Peace Treaty with the American People

The reason for the drawing up of this treaty and the motive for the writing of this convention of good omen, is that on Saturday, the twenty-first day of the month of Safar of this year 1210, (1) there have been negotiations for a treaty of peace between the ruler and commander of the American people, living in the island called America among the isles of the ocean, and the frontier post of the holy war, the garrison (2) of Algiers. To this purpose has been appointed as his Ambassador, (3) Joseph Donaldson, who has, in confirmation of the articles and paragraphs of the present treaty, strengthened the mutual friendship and good understanding in the exalted presence of His Excellency the noble Vizier and powerful Marshal who sits on the throne of lordship, the destructor of tyranny and injustice and the protector of the country, Hassan Pasha-may God grant to him what he wishes; and in the presence of all the members of the Divan, of the chiefs of the victorious garrison, and of the victorious soldiers. This peace treaty has been concluded, together with the contractual promise to give annually to the garrison of Algiers 12,000 Algerian gold pieces, provided that, in equivalence of these 12,000 gold pieces, being the price of the peace, there may be ordered and imported for our garrison and our arsenal, powder, lead, iron, bullets, bombshells, bomb stones, gun stones, masts, poles, yards, anchor chains, cables, sailcloth, tar, pitch, boards, beams, laths, and other necessaries, provided that the price of all the ordered articles shall be accounted for, so that, if this is equal to 12,000 gold pieces, it shall be all right, but if the price of the articles is higher, it shall be paid to them, (4) and if there remains something to our credit, they promise to complete it. If, before the conclusion of our peace, our vessels of war have captured vessels of the said nation, these shall not be restored and shall remain our prizes, but if our war vessels capture one of their ships after the date of the conclusion of the peace treaty, it is promised that this ship shall be given back.

All this has been put down in the present document, which shall be consulted whenever needed and according to which both parties shall act.

21 Safar, 1210.

[Tughra (5) of HASSAN PASHA]


The statements of the first article are that in this year 1210 an agreement has been reached between the ruler of America, George Washington, President, our friend and actually the Governor of the States of the island of America, and the lord of our well-preserved garrison of Algiers, His Highness Hassan Pasha-may God grant to him what he wishes-the Dey, together with the Agha of his victorious army, his minister, all the members of the Divan, and all his victorious soldiers, and equally between the subjects of both parties. According to this agreement our peace and friendship shall be steady and has been confirmed. After this date nothing has been left that is contrary to our peace or that may disturb it. (6)

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the second article are that when large or small ships belonging to our friend the ruler of America, and equally ships belonging to his subjects, arrive in the port of Algiers or in other ports dependent on Algiers, and they sell from their goods according to the ancient usage, there shall be taken a duty of 5 plasters from every 100 plasters, in the same way as this is paid, according to the treaties, by the English, the Dutch, and the Swedes, and that no more shall be taken. Also that if they wish to take back their unsold goods and reembark them, nobody shall require anything from them, and equally that nobody in the said ports shall do them harm or lay hand upon them

21 Safar, 1210


The statements of the third article are that if war vessels or merchant vessels belonging to our friend the American ruler meet on the open sea with war vessels or merchant vessels belonging to Algiers, and they become known to each other, they shall not be allowed to search or to molest each other, and that none shall hinder the other from wending its own way with honor and respect. Also, that whatever kind of travelers there are on board, and wherever they go with their goods, their valuables, and other properties, they shall not molest each other or take anything from each other, nor take them to a certain place and hold them up, nor injure each other in any way.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the fourth article are that if war vessels of Algiers meet with American merchant vessels, large or small, and this happens out of the places under the rule of America, there shall be sent only a shallop, in which, besides the rowers, two persons shall take place; on their arrival no more than two persons shall go on board the ship, the commander of the said ship having to Rive permission, and after the showing of the Government passport, these persons shall perform quickly the formalities with regard to the ship, and return, after which the merchant vessel shall wend its own way.

Further, that if war vessels of the American ruler meet with war vessels or merchant vessels of Algiers, and these vessels are in possession of a passport delivered by the ruler of Algiers or the American Consul residing in Algiers, nobody may touch anything belonging to the said vessel, but it shall wend its way in peace.

Further, that the war vessels of Algiers, large or small, shall not touch Americans not possessed of American passports within a period of eighteen months after the date of the passports given by reason of the peace treaty and after the date of the peace treaty (7) and they shall not hinder them from going their way. Equally, if the war vessels of the American ruler meet with Algerian ships, they shall not prevent them from continuing their journey in the same way, within a period of eighteen months, but they shall wend peacefully their way.

Further that our friend the American ruler shall not give a passport to any crew not being under his rule and not belonging to his own people; if an American passport is found in the hands of a crew not belonging to his own people, we shall take them as prize, for this is not covered by the stipulations of this peace treaty. This has been expressly stated in this article in order to prevent a rupture of peace; so it shall not be neglected.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the fifth article are that none of the captains of Algerian ships or of their officers or commanders shall take anybody by force from American ships into their own ships or bring such a person to other places, that they shall not interrogate them on account of anything or do them harm, whatever kind of people they may be; as long as these are on American ships, they shall not molest them.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the sixth article are that if a ship of the American ruler or belonging to his subjects shall be stranded on one of the coasts of the territory under Algerian rule and is wrecked, nobody shall take anything from their properties or goods or plunder them.

Also, that if such a thing should happen, their goods shall not be taken to the customhouse, nor shall there be done any damage to their people, and if a similar thing should happen in the places that are under the rule of Algiers, the inhabitants shall do anything in their power to give every possible aid and assistance and help them to bring their goods on dry places.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the seventh article are that no Algerian ship, small or large, shall, with the permission and the authority of the ruler of Algiers, be equipped from countries at war with the ruler of America and commit acts of war against the Americans.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the eighth article are that if an American merchant buys a prize in Algiers, or if an Algerian cruiser captain who has taken a prize on the open sea sells his prize to an American merchant, either in Algiers or on the sea, so that it is bought immediately from the captain, and there is drawn up a document concerning this sale, and if he meets afterwards another war vessel from Algiers, nobody shall molest the merchant who has bought this prize, nor shall he prevent him from wending peacefully his way.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the ninth article are that the inhabitants of Tunis, Tripoli, Sale, or others shall in no wise bring the people or the goods of American ships, large or small, to the territory under the rule of Algiers, nor shall there be given permission to sell them nor shall they be allowed to be sold.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the tenth article are that if the warships of the American ruler bring to Algiers, or to ports under Algerian rule, prizes or goods captured by them, nobody shall hinder them from doing with their booty as they wish, namely, selling it or taking it with them.

Also, that American war vessels shall not pay any tithes or duties whatever

Further, that if they wish to buy anything for provisions, the inhabitants shall give it to them at the same price as they sell it to others and ask no more.

Likewise, if those people want to charter ships for the transport of Roods to whatever region, province, or port, be it to Smyrna or from Constantinople to this region, or for the transport of travelers from Smyrna or other provinces, or in order to convey pilgrims to Egypt, they may charter those ships at reasonable prices, In the same way as other peoples, and from our side they shall not be opposed by pretexts such as that it is contraband or that it is not allowed among us, so that we do not allow those ships to leave.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the eleventh article are that if war vessels belonging to our friend the American ruler come to anchor in front of Algiers, and a slave, being an American or of another nationality, takes refuge on board the said war vessel, the ruler of Algiers may claim this slave, at which request the commander of the war vessel shall make this fugitive slave leave his ship and deliver him into the presence of the ruler of Algiers. If the slave is not to be found and reaches a country of unbelievers, the commander of the ship shall pledge his word that he shall return and bring him to Algiers.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the twelfth article are that from this time onward the subjects of the American ruler shad not be bought, nor sold, nor taken as slaves, in the places under the rule of Algiers.

Also, that since there is friendship with the American ruler, he shall not be obliged to redeem against his will slaves belonging to him, but that this shall be done at the time he likes and that it shall depend on the generosity and the solicitude of the friends and relations of the slaves.

Further, that there shall be put no term or time for the redeeming of prisoners, that the amount which shall be found convenient shall be paid in due order, and that there shall be negotiations about the price with the masters of the slaves; nobody shall oblige the masters to sell their slaves at an arbitrary price, whether they be slaves of the State, of others, or of the Pasha; but if the redeemed persons are American subjects, there shall not be asked of them more than of other nations In similar circumstances.

Also, that if the Algerian vessels of war capture a ship belonging to a nation with which they are at war, and there are found Americans among the crew of this ship, these shall not be made slaves if they are in possession of a pass, (8) nor shall there be done harm to their persons and goods; but if they are not in possession of a pass (8) they shall be slaves and their goods and properties shall be taken.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the thirteenth article are that if one of the merchants of the American ruler or one of his subjects shall die in Algiers or in one of the dependencies of Algiers, the ruler of Algiers or other persons shall not touch in any way the deceased's money, property, or Roods; if he has designated before his death an executor, nobody else shall touch any part of his property or goods, either if the executor mentioned is present in Algiers or if he is not there. Accordingly, the person designated as executor by the deceased shall take the properties and the goods, and nobody else shall touch the slightest part of it; so shall it be. The executor or the person delegated by him as his representative shall make an inventory of his money and property, take possession of it, and forward it in due time to the heir.

Further, that if no subject of the American ruler is present, the American Consul shall made an inventory of the said deceased's money and goods and take possession of them and keep them in charge until the arrival of his relations living in their own country.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the fourteenth article are that neither in Algiers itself nor in its dependencies shall the American merchants be obliged to purchase goods which they do not desire, but they shall be free to purchase the goods they desire.

Also, that the ships visiting the ports of Algiers shall not be molested in this way-that goods which they do not wish be put into the ships.

Further, that neither the American (consul nor anyone else, in case an American subject is unable to pay his debts, shall be held responsible for those debts and be obliged to pay, unless some persons, according to their free will, are bound for the debtor.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the fifteenth article are that if one of the subjects of the American ruler has a suit at law with a Mohammedan or with some one subjected to the rule of Algiers, the said suit at law shall be settled in the presence of His Excellency the Dey and the honored Divan, without intervention of anybody else. If there occurs a suit at law among those people themselves, the American Consul shall decide their disputes.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the sixteenth article are that should one of the subjects of the American ruler have a fight with a Mohammedan, so that one wounds the other or kills him, each one shall be punished according to the prescriptions of the law of his own country, that is, according to the custom in all other places. If, however, an American kills a Mohammedan and flies and escapes after the murder, neither the American Consul in Algiers nor other Americans shall be compelled to answer for him.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the seventeenth article are that the American Consul, now and in future, without regard to who he is, shall be free to circulate without fear, while nobody shall molest his person or his goods.

Also, that he may appoint anyone whom he desires as dragoman or as broker.

Also, that whenever he wishes to go on board a ship or to take a walk outside, nobody shall hinder him.

Further, that a place shall be designated for the practice of their void religious ceremonies, that a priest whom they need for their religious instruction may dwell there, and that the American slaves present in Algiers, either belonging to the Government or to other people, may go to the house of the Consul and practice their vain religious ceremonies without hindrance from the chief slave guard or from their masters.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the eighteenth article are that now there reigns between us peace and friendship, but that if in future there should occur a rupture of our present state of peace and friendship, and there should be caused trouble on both sides, the American Consul, and besides him the subjects of the American ruler either in Algiers or in its dependencies, may not be hindered either in peace or in trouble, and that whenever they wish to leave, nobody shall prevent them from leaving with their goods, properties, belongings, and servants, even if such a person be born in the country of Algiers.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the nineteenth article are that a subject of the American ruler, to whatever country he goes or from whatever country he comes, and to whatever kind of people he belongs, shall not be molested in his person, goods, property, belongings, or servants, in case he meets with Algerian vessels, large or small. (9) Equally, if an Algerian is found on board a ship belonging to enemies of the American ruler, they shall not be molested in any way in their person, their property, their goods, their money, or their servants, but the properties of these people shall not be regarded with disdain, and they shall always be treated in a friendly manner.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the twentieth article are that every time that a naval commander of the American King, our friend, arrives off Algiers, the American Consul shall inform the commander as soon as the vessel is seen; after the said captain has anchored before the port, the commander of Algiers shall, in honor of the American ruler, order a salute of twenty-one guns from the citadel, after which the captain of the American ruler shall answer gun for gun, and, as the said vessel is a vessel of the King, there shall be given provisions according to the custom, in honor of the King.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the twenty-first article are that there shall not be asked duty and taxes for goods that are destined for the house of the American Consul, consisting of eatables, drinkables, other necessaries, and presents.

21 Safar, 1210.


The statements of the twenty-second article are that if there occurs from this time onward a disturbance of our peaceful relations, from whatever side this happens, this shall not rupture our peace, but the peace shall be maintained and our friendship shall not be disturbed. The person injured, to whatever party he belongs, shall claim justice. If, however, the fault and the guilt are on both sides, or on the side of a subject, and the matter is kept secret, (10) our belief in our friendship shall remain and our word shall remain as good as ever.

21 Safar, 1210.

(1) In the chronological tables 21 Safar, A. H. 1210, corresponds to September 6, 1795, which was a Sunday. In this case, however, 21 Safar, A. H. 1210, no doubt answers to September 5, 1795. Back

(2) "Garrison" renders the Turkish word "odgiak," which means originally "a hearth " and, as a military term, "a regiment " of the Janizaries. Back

(3) The Turkish text has here "pashador," which seems to be an attempt to render the word "ambassador." Back

(4) That is, the difference shall be paid to the Americans. Back

(5) "Tughra" is the "name sign," a kind of calligraphic monogram in which a ruler's names are inscribed. The tughra takes the place of the signature. Back

(6) Each article concludes with the word "salaam," salutation or peace, which has been left untranslated. Back

(7) This is a literal translation, but the sense is not very clear. The words "of the passports given by reason of the peace treaty" seem to be superfluous. Back

(8) The Turkish has " passavant." Back

(9) The Turkish text does not mention the condition that these Americans and their goods are on ships belonging to enemies of Algiers, but this, of course, is the meaning. Back

(10) This passage is not very clear in the Turkish text. 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.