Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
William Eaton Papers: Finding Aid
mssEA 1-555, mssFAC 385  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (85.99 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
 
Table of contents What's This?
Description
This collection contains the papers of American soldier and diplomat William Eaton (1764-1811), chiefly accumulated during his service in the Mediterranean and dating between 1798 and 1805. The papers document the relations between the United States and the Barbary states, the Tripolitan War (1801-05), James Leander Cathcart, and naval operations of the U.S. and European powers.
Background
William Eaton (1764-1811), American soldier and diplomat, was best known for his exploits in the Barbary states from 1798 to 1805. After a period of service in the United States Army in Georgia, he became United States consul to Tunis and took part in the negotiations concerning some changes in the 1797 treaty with this country. In 1803, following a conflict with Tunis authorities, he was expelled from the country, and returned to the United States. Having succeeded in promoting his plan for an American intervention designed to support a rival claimant for the rule of Tripoli, Eaton arrived to the Mediterranean in 1804, with the fleet commanded by Samuel Barron, as United States naval agent to the Barbary States. Eaton led an expedition in behalf of the deposed ruler of Tripoli, in an attempt to end the war between that country and the United States begun in 1801. When the success of the venture seemed almost secured with the capture of Derne, Eaton was surprised to be ordered to leave Tripoli, and to learn that negotiations by Tobias Lear for a peace, involving the ransom of American captives and maintaining the usurping ruler, were concluded. Following the peace of 1805, Eaton returned to the United States. He obtained a grant of 10,000 acres in Maine from the Massachusetts legislature and later received about $10,000 to liquidate claims for his expense in Tripoli. In May 1807-1811, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He finally retired to his home in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and died in 1811.
Extent
555 pieces in 9 boxes, 11 envelopes, and 1 case
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.