Re: “The difference between Jefferson and Biden,” News-Press.
James Buckley’s account in his Sept. 5 column of the exploits of American military forces in the First Barbary War (1801-1805) and the subsequent release of the crew of the USS Philadelphia by Tripoli fails to note that the United States paid a ransom of $60,000, the equivalent of $13 million in current dollars, for the crew’s release.
President Jefferson had previously pledged not to pay tribute to Barbary pirates and was criticized for drawing a distinction between tribute and ransom. Barbary pirates continued to seize American ships for ransom thereafter, a practice not ended until their defeat in the Second Barbary War in 1815.
Editor’s note: “Purely Political” columnist James Buckley conceded Mr. Hofmann is correct. He responded with this note:
“I hate when that happens!
“Thank you for the historical correction on the Barbary pirates. And, I am upset that I got it wrong, dang it.