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Sale 38 Lot 44

DAVID HUMPHREYS (1752 - 1818) American Revolution soldier and statesman, a close friend and aide-de-camp of George Washington, and an influential diplomat. Historic content L.S. "D. Humphreys" with integral address leaf, 2pp. 4to., Madrid, July 11, 1800 to William Eaton, U.S. Consul General at Tunis transmitting orders from Secretary of State John Marshall regarding the "Barbary affairs" and addressing certain preparations for supplying and fortifying Algiers. In small part: "...Instead of a common ship intended for Algiers this Spring, with merchandise for reestablishing our funds there, one of our frigates is getting ready to take in timber and naval and military stores...she will of course leave on shore some of her guns & men: but she will remain well armed and manned...Other timber, plank, naval & military stores are preparing for Tunis...we learn that Mr. [Timothy] Pickering was dismissed from the office of Sec'y of State, the 9th of May, about which time our Sec'y of War [McHenry] resigned his office; the former has been superseded by General Marshall, late one of our Envoys to France...Congress adjourned the 12th of May, to meet at the new city of Washington...The provisionary Army of the U.S. has been disbanded...". Very good. Following Napoleon's ousting of the Knights of Malta from their island stronghold in 1798, the Barbary pirates were once again free to seize vessels, take hostages and exact ransoms from America and other nations trading in the Mediterranean. This letter shows America's earliest concerns that the pirate situation might soon affect American trade. And indeed it did! On Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli demanded $225,000 from the new administration. Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, in May of 1801, the Pasha declared war on the U.S., not through any formal written documents, but by cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate. Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis soon followed their ally in Tripoli. The Barbary Wars followed, with no settlement reached until 1816.
Estimate $ 1,500-2,000

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