GEORGE III - Document Signed 1806
GEORGE III (1738-1820)
Document Signed (“George R” – blind signature), a licence permitting “Messrs. Gordon and Murphy, Messrs. Reid, Irving and Co. and other British Merchants . . . on board the Portuguese Ship “Indiano” . . . to Export and Convey from the port of Cadiz notwithstanding the present Blockade . . . to Vera Cruz in South America . . .”
3 pages folio with paper seal, countersigned by Lord Spencer, St. James’s, 6 June 1806.
The merchants in question were to transport British manufactured goods, as well as “quicksilver, paper and Cards of spanish Manufacture, Wines, Brandies, and all other innocent articles . . . not being military or Naval Stores nor otherwise prohibited to be exported”. The present licence grants their vessels safe-conduct “without molestation by any of Our Ships of War or privateers, either on account of the existing War or of any other Hostilities . . .”
In May 1806, Britain blockaded the ports of Europe from the Elbe to Brest. Known as Fox’s Blockade, after the great Whig politician Charles James Fox, this increased the pressure on France’s already precarious financial position. Later that year, when military success was followed by the subjugation of Prussia, Napoleon proclaimed the Berlin Decree, banning British imports to any countries under French control. Harsh as they appeared, these blockades and bans were in fact circumvented by smuggling and laxity bordering on corruption.
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