GIDEON WELLES - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 07/16/1866 - HFSID 31388
Sale Price $595.00
As Secretary of the Navy, he advises the commander of the US European squadron to expect the arrival of the USS Swatara on a training cruise.
Manuscript Letter signed: "G. Welles" as Secretary of the Navy, 2 pages (integral leaf), 15½x9¾ open flat, 8x9¾ closed. Navy Department, Washington, 1866 July 16. To L. M. Goldsborough commanding, European Squadron, Lisbon, Portugal. In full: "The U.S.S. Swatara, comdr. Wm. N. Jeffers, having on board a complement of midshipmen who stand a regular watch on the engineering department of the vessel, left Norfolk on the 20th ult. for a short cruise on the European station. Cmdr. Jeffers will proceed to Lisbon and report to you. The Department desires that the Swatara should visit Portsmouth, Cherbourg, Brest and any other of the principal naval depots of Europe that would be likely to present objects of interest and lend to the instruction of these young men in their profession, while assisting in Squadron duties. Very respectfully". Docketed on integral leaf. Gideon Welles (1802-1878), formerly a Jacksonian Democrat, joined the newly founded Republican Party in 1854 because of his strong opposition to slavery. An able administrator, he served as Secretary of the Navy throughout the Presidencies of Abraham Lincoln (who called him "Neptune") and Andrew Johnson (1861-1869). Welles generally supported Johnson's policies, including Johnson's reluctance to impose far-reaching changes and full rights for African-Americans during the Reconstruction of the South. While the Swatara had embarked on a training cruise, visits to French ports by American warships may have had a secondary purpose. During the American Civil War, a European prince had been installed as Emperor of Mexico, in defiance of the Monroe Doctrine. Besieged by Mexican republican forces led by Benito Juarez, Maximilian was kept in power in large measure by French troops. The Confederacy defeated, the US had begun pressuring France to withdraw its support by covertly aiding Juarez, and deploying large US forces under the command of aggressive General Phillip Sheridan on the Mexican border. These measures convinced French Emperor Napoleon III to withdraw his troops from Mexico, and soon thereafter to the collapse of Maximilian's government and his death by firing squad. A reinforced US naval presence in European waters complemented this US effort to vindicate the Monroe Doctrine. Normal mailing folds. Lightly worn on folds. Slightly toned. Fine condition.
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