[Washington]. 1802. 31pp. plus five large folding tables. Dbd. Untrimmed. Foxing throughout, else very good. Item #WRCAM41327
Contains many letters from captains, naval insurance company officers and officials alerting the State Department that the Spanish Navy was actively taking American sailors prisoner and pillaging the ships of their goods. The State Department collected information and reports from sailors to understand the damage to American commerce. The tables, which are rather extensive, detail the ships captured, their cargo and value, where they were captured and other relevant information. A letter from Samuel Elam, of the Newport Insurance Company, explains the plight of the merchants best: "The differences between the United States and France having been terminated by their late treaty, and the treaty subsisting between this country and Spain expressly allowing our citizens the liberty of trading...it was presumed that vessels of the United States...would not be...rendered liable to be captured and condemned by the French or Spaniards. ...The merchants of the United States had deemed it prudent...to touch at Gibraltar, to obtain information that might lead them to avoid, or to procure convoy to protect them against the Barbary corsairs." "[American ships, though,] have been...taken near Gibraltar...by gun boats and other armed vessels, sailing under the flag and authority of Spain, but in company, as we are informed, with French privateers." While there is a great deal written about British and French attacks on American commerce, there is very little on Spanish depredations. SHAW & SHOEMAKER 3356.