Remarkable LS, one page, 7.75 x 12.25, August 20, 1818. Secretary of State Adams sends a coded cipher letter to Albert Gallatin, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to France. The deciphered text is written at the bottom in an unknown hand, in full: "Referring you to my late letter on the subject of South American affairs, I am now directed to inquire what part you think the French Government will take in regard to the dispute between Spain and her colonies, and in what light they will view an acknowledgment of the independence of the colonies, by the United States?—whether they will view it as an act of hostility to Spain and in case Spain should declare war against us in consequence, whether France will take part with her in it?" In fine condition.
President Monroe was interested in supporting and officially recognizing the independence of Spain's former South American colonies, following a decade of upheaval and revolution in nations like Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. He directed Secretary of State Adams to inquire about the positions of the major European powers on the matter: in addition to this letter sent to Gallatin in France, Adams sent similar coded missives to Richard Rush in Great Britain, and George W. Campbell in Russia. It would be a few more years before the United States officially recognized any of the newly free South American nations, and the opposition of European colonialism in the Americas would become the cornerstone of the 'Monroe Doctrine' put forth in 1823.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.