John Adams Letter of Marque Replica Document circa 1798

Item Description

In the first year of his administration, John Adams tasked three commissioners with securing an economic treaty with France in an effort to repair relations. The mission was a failure and President Adams ordered all merchant vessels armed (mostly through letters of marque) for possible hostility. Thomas Jefferson and the pro-French, Democratic-Republicans called for the publication of the dispatches from the commissioners in an effort to undermine Adams. The dispatches, when released, revealed an attempt by the French to extort a large loan for the American government, upwards of $12 million, an apology from President Adams for remarks made during a speech in May 1797, and a $250,000 bribe to French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. The Americans refused and countered with the same terms offered Great Britain in the Jay Treaty which France immediately rejected. France reacted by expelling two of the three American agents of the commission, Charles Pinckney and John Marshall, both Federalists. The release of the documents blew up in the faces of Jefferson and the Republicans, fueling the fires of anti-French feelings throughout the U. S. The breakdown in diplomatic talks led to the undeclared Quasi-War, fought almost entirely on the high seas between 1798 and 1800.

Here we offer a replica of one of the Letters of Marque issued by the Adams administration. The document is printed on 14-3/4" x 11" fine parchment and bears the period Presidential seal embossed on rag paper. The document will be shipped rolled with a blue ribbon cuff.

Please note that this sale is for the Letter of Marque only. All other items shown in the photograph are for photographic prop purposes only and are not for sale. Thanks for looking!

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