Lot 4: John Jay sends Captain Lamb on his mission to Algiers by Act of Congress to free Americans held captive! Important and historical letter from John Jay, 1st chief Justice of the US and founding father, also co-writer of the Federalist papers.The letter is datelined Office for foreign affairs 25th of March 1785.In this letter Jay is sending a Captain John Lamb to act as the American agent on what was to be, one of the first official acts by the Government of the United States to work with a Islamic Entity! He was sent by act of congress to negotiate with the Dey Mohomet of Algiers (Barbary Pirates) for release of the white American "slaves". This is the letter from Jay that sends Captain Lamb on his voyage. In the letter, Jay explains that he has included a packet of important papers to be delivered by Lamb's very own hands and to be very careful of these papers! He tells Captain Lamb to first meet with the Ministers (Franklin, Adams, Jefferson) and Follow them to England if they had already left France by the time he gets there, and then to continue on his mission. He was to meet with the Ministers to get instructions on how to proceed with the negotiations with the Dey. Here is the letter in Full: Office for foreign affairs 25th of March 1785 Sir,I sent send you by Mr. Robert Latimir a large packet containing important letters and dispatches for our ministers. Among them are the papers respecting the business about which you came here. Agreeable to my promise I have mentioned you in my letter to them in the terms and manner that I stated to you when here. I enclose a passport which will serve to satisfy those who may think it their duty to inquire who you are, and on what business you come. If our ministers should all have gone to England which is possible though not probable I think it best that you should follow them in order to deliver your dispatches with your own Hands Be very careful of these papers. With the best wishes that you may have a safe and prosperous voyage. I am Sir, Your most Obe.& Very humble:ServJohn Jay Captain John Lamb. Background: During the late eighteenth century, three small North African states--Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis--preyed on merchant ships sailing in the Mediterranean, seizing their crews and cargoes and holding both for ransom. Many European countries paid tribute to the Barbary States to ensure that their ships would be unmolested. But America did not. Major powers like Britain and France tolerated the "Barbary pirates" because they raised the shipping costs of potential competitors, such as Denmark, Holland, Portugal, and the United States. , In a bid to free these white American "slaves," the Continental Congress decided to send John Lamb to negotiate with Dey Mohomet of Algiers for release of Americans prisoners and for safe passage of American ships in the Mediterranean. This was the first official act by our government to work with an Islamic entity. The Dey demanded $3,000 ransom per hostage, twice as much as he asked of other nations. Lamb returned home in 1789 without securing a treaty. , Over the next eight years, Algerian pirates seized more than 100 hostages from a dozen captured American ships. Finally, in 1795, the United States successfully negotiated for the hostages' release. To gain their freedom, the United States agreed to pay $800,000 plus annual tribute that amounted to about 6 percent of the yearly federal budget!
Oak Auctions' Rare Autograph and Manuscript Auction
Thursday, 19th November 2015
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