PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON - SHIPS PAPERS 12/18/1810 CO-SIGNED BY: ROBERT SMITH (POLITICIAN), MAJOR GENERAL HENRY DEARBORN - HFSID 31198
Sale Price $2,380.00
DESPITE SAILING WITH A "PASSPORT" FOR ITS SAFETY, AN AMERICAN SHIP IS WARNED BY A BRITISH SHIP'S CAPTAIN NOT TO ENTER A FRENCH PORT
JAMES MADISON, ROBERT SMITH and HENRY DEARBORN. Partly Printed DS: "James Madison" as fourth U.S. President, "R Smith" as Secretary of State and "H Dearborn/Collector" as Collector of the Port of Boston, 1p, 10¼x15½. Washington, D.C., 1810 December 18. Ship's passport on vellum signed in Washington but issued out of Boston, Massachusetts. In part: "By the President of the United States of America SUFFER the Schooner Augusta Joseph Stickney master or commander of the burthen of one hundred & twenty five tons or thereabouts mounted with No guns navigated with Seven men TO PASS with her Company Passengers Goods and Merchandize without any hinderance seizure or molestation the said Schooner appearing by good testimony to belong to one or more of the Citizens of the United States and to him or them only...." Although this passport was issued, a British ship's captain (he has signed, but his last name is illegible) stopped the Augusta and wrote the following warning at the lower portion of this document in January 1811: "This vessel has been warned by me, Captain of HMS [illegible] not to enter a French Port in the Bay, a [illegible] Coast being [illegible] in a state of Blockade". The official seal that had been affixed at the lower left has been removed, likely with a knife, as there are numerous cuts at that area. The names of Madison and Smith have lines drawn through them in ink. Issued at a tenuous time in the relations with France and England. As President Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801-1809), JAMES 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 On March 1, 1809, three days before Madison's inauguration, outgoing President Jefferson repealed the Embargo Acts by signing the Non-Intercourse Act.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. In 1809, President Madison 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 reimplemented 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. 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. Lightly rippled. Creased with folds, vertical fold at the "a" in James and nicking the "H" in Dearborn's signature. Ink smudged at date of writing in the British hand. Lightly soiled, touching Dearborn's signature, stained at lower edge of lower vignette and at upper right margin. Two pinhead-size holes at left vertical fold and at lower horizontal fold. Red wax remnants remain at seal area. Overall, fine condition.
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