Eaton, William, 1764-1811

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Diplomat, adventurer, and U.S. Army officer, of Massachusetts.

From the description of Autograph letter signed from William Eaton to Commodore Preble, 1807 June 25. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 123410762

Richard Dale was a naval officer.

From the guide to the Richard Dale papers, 1780-1845, 1780-1845, (American Philosophical Society)

American General.

From the description of Autograph letter signed. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270742893

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to Rev. Mr. Ward, 1800 Jul. 23. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270742905

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to Stephen Jacob, 1792 Sept. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270742899

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to Timothy Dwight, president of Yale, on behalf of a student, 1806 Oct. 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270742914

General in the United States Army serving in the Mediterranean during the Tripolitan War.

From the description of William Eaton autograph, 1801 Dec. 28. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 639465209

William Eaton (1764-1811), American soldier and diplomat, best known for his exploits in the Barbary states. As U.S. consul to Tunis, he 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 U. S. naval agent to the Barbary States. 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.

From the description of Papers of William Eaton, 1792-1829 (bulk 1798-1805). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122446622

Diplomat, adventurer, and army officer.

From the description of William Eaton papers, 1797-circa 1819. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71010034

Best known for serving as consul to Tunis, William Eaton (1764-1811) was born in Connecticut to a middle class farmer. At the age of sixteen, he ran away to join the Continental Army and served for three years. After his stint in the military, Eaton graduated from Dartmouth College in 1790, and worked as a clerk in the Vermont legislature for two years. In 1792, he returned to the military with a commission to the Legion of the United States.

In 1799, Eaton was appointed the U. S. Consul at Tunis, during a tumultuous period in the relationship between Tunis and the United States due to raids along the North African coast by Barbary pirates. President John Adams appointed Eaton to negotiate more agreeable terms with the bey of Tunis, following the rejection of a previous treaty by the U. S. Congress. In the two years it took Eaton to negotiate the treaty, the demands increased and Eaton came to believe that military intervention would be more effective for securing trade than paying tribute

Eaton was ordered to leave Tunis by the bey in 1811, having failed to reach an agreement; three years later he returned on a military mission following Tripoli’s declaration of war on the United States. He made contact with Hamet Caramanly and signed an agreement for cooperation in the war (though it was never ratified). With Caramanly, Eaton led a force of U. S. Marines and mercenaries across the Libyan desert to attack the city of Derne. Eaton’s attack on the city was successful, and he prepared to march on Tripoli until being informed that the U. S. Consul-General Tobis Lear reached a peace agreement. He returned home a hero welcome, though he was disillusioned with the treaty’s agreement to pay a ransom.

In 1807, Eaton served as the principle witness in the treason trial of Aaron Burr after having met with Burr several times, though his testimony did not convince the justices and Burr was acquitted.

From the guide to the Eaton, William, Papers 2011-209., 1794-1807, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Army officer and diplomat.

Graduated from Dartmouth College in 1790, William Eaton taught in Windsor, Vt., and served as clerk to the Vermont House of Delegates before obtaining a U.S. army captaincy in March, 1792. As part of a build-up of western forces following Gen. St. Clair's 1791 defeat, Eaton and his company joined Gen. Anthony Wayne's army at Fort Washington near Cincinnati. Eaton remained with the western army until February, 1794, assisting in the erection of Fort Recovery and engaging in skirmishes and scouting parties. He is best known for his later service as consul to Tunis and navy agent to the Barbary States.

From the description of Letter : Fort Washington, [Ohio], to Stephen Jacob, Windsor, Vt., 1793 June 24. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 36966696

Biographic Sketch

William Eaton (1764-1811) played a conspicuous part in the affairs of the United States and the Barbary Powers from 1798 to 1805. After a period of service in the U. S. Army in Georgia, he was appointed U. S. Consul to Tunis, in 1798, and was instrumental in removing the obstacles to ratification of the peace negotiated by a former chargé d'affaires. In 1804, appointed Navy Agent to the Barbary States, he 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.

Upon Eaton's return to America, his complaints and too outspoken denunciations of the peace with Tripoli deprived him of the sympathy that his exploits had aroused. He finally retired to his home in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and died, in 1811, a disappointed man.

From the guide to the William Eaton Papers, 1792-1829, (The Huntington Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Account Books (unidentified) collection, 1703-1836. Gadsden Public Library
referencedIn Edward Preble Papers, 1680-1912, (bulk 1799-1809) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Papers, 1800-1809. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Richard Dale papers, 1780-1845, 1780-1845 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Hardison, Grover M. Romance of the Eaton grant, a part of Caribou township / by Grover M. Hardison ; in collaboration with Frank W. Lovering. Maine State Library
creatorOf William Eaton Papers, 1792-1829 The Huntington Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Letter : Tunis, to [James L.] Cathcart, 1800 Feb. 7. University of Chicago Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed : to Timothy Dwight, president of Yale, on behalf of a student, 1806 Oct. 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Historical manuscripts collection, Bulk, 1775-1885, 1347-1969 Free Library of Philadelphia: Rare Book Department
referencedIn Bradley family. Bradley family papers, 1774-1882. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed from William Eaton to Commodore Preble, 1807 June 25. Maine Historical Society Library
creatorOf Madison, James, 1751-1836. Papers of James Madison [manuscript], 1765-1836, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Letter : Fort Washington, [Ohio], to Stephen Jacob, Windsor, Vt., 1793 June 24. Newberry Library
referencedIn Autograph File, E, 1564-1961. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Gratz, Simon. Alphabetical collection, 1677-1910. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Burr conspiracy collection, 1806-1808. Library of Congress
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed : to Rev. Mr. Ward, 1800 Jul. 23. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950. Papers of Jefferson Randolph Kean, 1765-1938. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Jabez Upham papers, 1792-1876 (inclusive), 1802-1810 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Dale, Richard, 1756-1826. Papers, 1780-1845. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909. Letter : Boston, to Rev. W.B. Sprague, 1865 Dec. 11. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Hull, Isaac, 1773-1843. Letterbook, 1804-1805. Gadsden Public Library
referencedIn Danielson, Sarah. Letters, 1806. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. William Eaton autograph, 1801 Dec. 28. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed : to Stephen Jacob, 1792 Sept. 3. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Cathcart, James L. (James Leander), 1767-1843. ALS, 1799 July 14 : Tripoli in Barbary, to William Eaton, U.S. Consul, Tunis. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Cathcart, James L. (James Leander), 1767-1843. James L. Cathcart papers, 1785-1817. Library of Congress
creatorOf Eaton, William, Papers 2011-209., 1794-1807 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Preble, Edward, 1761-1807. Papers of Edward Preble, 1680-1912 (bulk 1799-1809). Library of Congress
referencedIn John Rodgers papers, Rodgers, John papers, 1796-1908, 1801-1836 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn James L. Cathcart Papers, 1785-1817 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. William Eaton papers, 1797-circa 1819. Library of Congress
referencedIn Munn, Charles Allen,. Charles Allen Munn collection, [ca. 1684-1833] Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf William Eaton letters, 1800-1807 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Barron, Samuel, 1765-1810. Papers, 1793-1942. William & Mary Libraries
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Papers of William Eaton, 1792-1829 (bulk 1798-1805). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Dwight, Hannah Worthington, 1719-1800. Dwight-Howard papers, 1673-1902, bulk: 1730-1860. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Letter : Tunis, to [James L.] Cathcart, n.p., 1800 Feb. 7. Texas Christian University
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Letter, 1799 Oct. 10 [to] James Cathcart. United States Military Academy, USMA Library
creatorOf Eaton, William, 1764-1811. Autograph letter signed William Eaton to: Mrs. Eaton November 6, 1800. Wellesley College
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, John, 1735-1826 person
associatedWith Bainbridge, William, 1774-1833 person
associatedWith Barron, Samuel, 1765-1810. person
associatedWith Barron, Samuel, 1809-1888 person
correspondedWith Barron, Samuel, d. 1810 person
associatedWith Biddle, Charles person
associatedWith Biddle, James, 1783-1848 person
associatedWith Bradley family. family
associatedWith Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836. person
associatedWith Butler-Gunsaulus Collection (University of Chicago. Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Cathcart, James. person
correspondedWith Cathcart, James L. (James Leander), 1767-1843. person
associatedWith Dale, Richard, 1756-1826. person
associatedWith Danielson, Sarah. person
associatedWith Dickerson, Mahlon, 1770-1853 person
associatedWith Dwight, Timothy, 1752-1817, person
associatedWith Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Free Library of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith Gratz, Simon. person
associatedWith Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909. person
associatedWith Harbeck, Charles T., 1850-, person
associatedWith Hardison, Grover M. person
associatedWith Hull, Isaac, 1773-1843. person
associatedWith Humphreys, David, 1752-1818 person
associatedWith Jacob, Stephen, person
correspondedWith Jacob, Stephen, 1755-1817 person
associatedWith Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 person
associatedWith Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950. person
correspondedWith King, Rufus, 1755-1827 person
associatedWith Madison, James, 1749-1812 person
associatedWith Madison, James, 1751-1836. person
associatedWith Munn, Charles Allen, person
associatedWith Newberry Library. corporateBody
correspondedWith O'Brien, Richard, a. 1758-1824 person
associatedWith Pickering, Timothy, 1745-1829. person
correspondedWith Preble, Edward, 1761-1807 person
associatedWith Rodgers, John, 1812-1882 person
correspondedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of State corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Navy corporateBody
associatedWith Upham, Jabez, 1764-1811 person
associatedWith Ward, Mr, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts
United States
United States
Africa, North
Ohio
Great Britain
United States
Libya
Tunisia
United States
Barbary Coast
Ohio--Fort Washington
United States
United States
Algeria
United States
United States
Subject
Indians of North America--Wars--1790-1794--Sources
Manuscripts, American
United States--Diplomatic and consular service--History
Generals--19th century--Autographs
Diplomats--United States
Consuls--Archives
Diplomats--Archives
Navy agents--Archives
Burr Conspiracy, 1805-1807
Occupation
Diplomats
Adventurers
Army officers
Function

Person

Birth 1764-02-23

Death 1811-06-01

French,

Italian,

English,

Arabic

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