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PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON - SHIPS PAPERS 02/01/1811 CO-SIGNED BY: ROBERT SMITH (POLITICIAN), MAJOR GENERAL HENRY DEARBORN - HFSID 43713

JAMES MADISON, ROBERT SMITH and HENRY DEARBORN As US-British tensions mount before the War of 1812, the President signs papers authorizing safe passage of a ship owned exclusively by Americans.

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JAMES MADISON, ROBERT SMITH and HENRY DEARBORN
As US-British tensions mount before the War of 1812, the President signs papers authorizing safe passage of a ship owned exclusively by Americans.
Ships Papers signed: "James Madison" as President, "Robert Smith" as Secretary of State, and "Henry Dearborn" as Boston's Collector of Customs, 1p, 10x15. Washington, D.C., 1811 February 1. Official 2½-inch seal in lower left corner. Maritime vignettes at top. It requests the reader to "suffer the Ship Elijah, John Boiditch master or commander, a 41-ton ship mounted with two guns, navigated with fourteen men, to pass with her Company & Passengers, Goods and Merchandise without any hindrance, seizure or molestation, the said ship appearing by good testimony to belong to one or more of the Citizens of the United States and to him or them only. ROBERT SMITH (1757-1842), a veteran of the Revolutionary War, served as President Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of the Navy from 1801-1809 and Madison's Secretary of State from 1809-1811. At his death in 1842, Smith was the last surviving member of the Electoral College that elected George Washington as first U.S. President in 1789. HENRY DEARBORN (1751-1829) served in the Revolutionary War and was a colonel on General George Washington's staff at Yorktown (1781). A member of Congress from 1793-1797, Dearborn was Jefferson's Secretary of War (1801-1809). He was appointed by President Madison to replace Benjamin Lincoln as the second Collector of the Port of Boston in 1809, serving in that position until leaving to fight as a Major General in the War of 1812. As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801-1809), Madison had supported the series of Embargo Acts against England to stop harassing America's ships and citizens. By the end of 1808, contrary to Jefferson's intentions, the Embargo Acts nearly destroyed the U.S. shipping industry and adversely affected the domestic economy. On March 1, 1809, three days before Madison's inauguration, outgoing President Jefferson repealed the Embargo Acts by signing the Non-Intercourse Act. This reopened to American shipping all overseas commerce, except to England and France, with a proviso. Should either or both countries stop their interference with neutral shipping, trade could resume upon presidential proclamation. President Madison re-opened trade with Great Britain in exchange for certain assurances from British Minister David Erskine. When Madison found that Erskine had misled him, he reinstated the provisions of the Non-Intercourse Act against Great Britain. The President suspended and re-implemented this Act numerous times until 1812. During this period, both England and France, at war with each other, would lie to U.S. officials with assurances of non-harassment in exchange for America's trade and transport on the high seas. On June 19, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain with the harassment of American shipping and impressment of American seamen as the primary reasons. Lightly creased. Horizontal and vertical folds, one of latter touching "J" of "James" and "h" of "Smith". Manuscript portions of text light but legible. Madison's signature also light but legible. Otherwise, fine condition.

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