OTTO Count - Autograph Letter 1800 from the diplomat requesting a passport
Louis-Guillaume OTTO, Count Mosloy (1754-1817)
Autograph Letter in the third person to Mr. Ford at the Alien Office, requesting a passport for the wife of the secretary of the contractor for the French Prisoners of War.
1 page 4to with integral blank leaf, Hereford Street, 15 December 1800.
“Cte. Otto presents his respectful compliments to Mr. Ford and begs leave to introduce to his acquaintance Mr. Morice, Secretary of Mr. Vochez, the Contractor for the French Prisoners of War. Mrs. Morice being arrived at Dover, her husband solicits a passport to enable her going to London. Cte. Otto having already experienced the obliging disposition of Mr. Ford begs leave to recommend this request to his attention.”
The Alien Office was created in 1793, as the French Revolution raged across the Channel. Although ostensibly designed to control the number of refugees fleeing the violence in France, it was, in fact, more concerned with keeping potential revolutionaries out of Britain. With the start of the Napoleonic Wars, it became an effective surveillance network, keeping watch on those suspected of spying for the enemy. As such, it is sometimes considered the precursor to today’s secret service.
Count Otto, one of the most distinguished French diplomats of the Napoleonic era was posted to London in 1800 as commissioner for the exchange of prisoners of war, and later minister plenipotentiary. The following year, he opened the negotiations that would finally lead to the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.
Count Otto’s career commenced in the United States where he spent nearly a decade in the aftermath of the American Revolution, eventually serving as chargé d’affaires, and earning the friendship of George Washington. Under Napoleon, he served in London – there is a substantial body of correspondence from London between him and Talleyrand – and later Munich and, finally, Vienna, where he negotiated the marriage treaty between Napoleon and Marie Louise.
His tact, intelligence and impeccable manners earned him a place as one of the most respected of diplomats.
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