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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

The Christian nations of Europe deliberately granted immunity to these nests of sea-robbers in Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli in order that they might prey upon the ships and sailors of weaker countries and destroy their commerce. This ignoble spirit was reflected in a speech of Lord Sheffield in Parliament in 1784.

 

"It is not now probable that the American States will have a very free trade in the Mediterranean. It will not be to the interest of any of the great maritime powers to protect them from the Barbary States. If they know their interests, they will not encourage the Americans to be ocean carriers. That the Barbary States are advantageous to maritime powers is certain."

 

It was not until 1803 that the United States, a feeble nation with a little navy, resolved that these shameful indignities could no longer be endured. While Europe cynically looked on and forbore to lend a hand, Commodore Preble steered the Constitution and the other ships of his squadron into the harbor of Tripoli, smashed its defenses, and compelled an honorable treaty of peace. Of all the wars in which the American Navy had won high distinction, there is none whose episodes are more brilliant than those of the bold adventure on the coast of Barbary.

The spirit of it was typical of Preble, the fighting