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    James Monroe (1758-1831) President, Letter Signed "Jas Monroe" as Secretary of State, two pages, 7.75" x 13.25", [Washington], February 3, 1812 to The Collector of the Port of New Haven, Connecticut. A fine content letter written only months before the United States declared war on Great Britain (June 4, 1812). The war started after years of abuse by Great Britain and France toward American commercial shipping on the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. The chief problem was the capture of neutral American ships and their cargoes. Here Madison attempts to gather data on the problem from the customs collectors: "By a resolution of the House of Representatives, the President of the United States has been requested to lay before that Body such information as he may possess, relative to the capture, seizure, and condemnations, of the ships and cargoes of citizens of the United States, under the authority of the Governments of Europe, or either of them. In order to make the information as complete as practicable, it has been determined to call upon the respective commercial insurance offices of the Union, for a communication of all the facts in their possession relative to the subject in question. As the names of these offices, however, are not accurately known at this Department, I have selected you as a proper agent to procure several offices of Insurance within your collectorship, at the least expense to the Government..." Although both the French and British seized American ships, it was the British who also impressed sailors into the British Navy. England also made use of forts in the North American interior to incite Indian attacks against American settlements; all of which propelled the United States to declare war on Great Britain. Marginal losses not affecting text, usual folds, else very good condition. A fine specimen with interesting content. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.

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    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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