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Item   Title MB Now at Next bid Bids New bid Max bid  
9   James Monroe  $300 $630 $693 9 You must login to place a bid.

#9 - James Monroe

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Significant draft written as minister to France in 1795
Description                           Estimate: $2,500+          

Lengthy handwritten draft as US minister to France, unsigned, three pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.25 x 9, June 18, 1795. Draft headed “Circular to the Consuls,” in part: “Complaint has been made to me by the commissary of foreign relations that our consuls & in some cases their agents have granted passports & certificates under the authority of which the bearers are permitted to travel thro’ the interior of France & likewise into foreign countries. He observes that by the law of France & of nations, no person other than the minister of a foreign power, has a right to grant such passports; and that it is likewise unnecessary…for if the party desirous of withdrawing enters the ports of the republick in the ordinary course of trade, none is necessary to enable him to withdraw from it…These observations appear to me to be just & according to the law of nations: I have therefore thought it my duty to make known to you the desire of this government upon that subject & to request yr punctual observance of it.” Docketed on the reverse in another hand. In fine condition, with small splits along hinge and show-through from writing to opposing sides.

The haphazard issue of passports by American officials proved troublesome for many parties—they were entirely invalid under French law since they were not signed by the minister, people from other countries were posing as American citizens in order to obtain passports, and those entering and exiting the country had become virtually impossible to track. After Monroe wrote this draft the final circular was printed and issued to American consular officers in the hope of rectifying this problem; in doing so, Monroe also aimed to maintain good diplomatic relations with France. Given its length, early date, and historical relevance, this is an exceptionally desirable piece. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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