FOUCHE Joseph - Letter Signed July 1809 granting a passport
Joseph FOUCHE, Duke of Otranto (1759-1820)
Letter Signed (“Fouche”) to the Minister of War [Clarke] sending him a letter [not present] from the American Consul at Le Havre, explaining that he has given a passport to the Englishman, James Care.
1 page folio in French, Paris, 28 July 1809.
Trans “You asked me in your letter of the 6th inst. to send you any information I could gather on the Englishman James Care. In fulfillment of your Excellency’s wishes in this respect, I have the honour to send him a letter from the Consul of the United States at Le Havre, who delivered a passport to Sr. James Care, considering him to be an American and who claims that his conduct is justified by this fact. . .”
It has not been possible to discover precisely what constituted James Care’s “conduct” which required justification. However, the conjunction of French, British and American concerns is interesting. French and British forces were fiercely engaged in the Peninsula, and in fact were fighting one of the most important early battles of that conflict at Talavera as Fouché was writing this letter. But relations between the British and the Americans were hardly warm. In an attempt to defend its neutrality, America had imposed an unpopular embargo on goods to both Britain and France. Continued trade disputes with Britain, and the incidence of American sailors impressed into the Royal Navy would eventually errupt into war between Britain and America some years later. Care’s conduct – one suspects misdemeanours, or possibly spying – and the helpfulness of the American Consul towards this Englishman can perhaps be viewed in that context.
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