AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED, FROM LONDON, 23 MARCH 1812, TO JOEL BARLOW, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NAPOLEON'S FRANCE, WARNING THAT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAD UNDERESTIMATED AMERICAN RESOLVE TO GO TO WAR.

[3], [1 blank] pp, loose. Completely in neat ink manuscript. Lightly age toned, old folds. Very Good.

Jonathan Russell [1771-1832] was appointed by President Madison as Charge d'Affaires in Paris in 1810. A year later he was transferred to the same position at London. This Letter to Barlow is a prescient warning, three months before President Madison declared War, that England had seriously underestimated American resolve to redress perceived grievances over the Royal Navy's high-handed tactics. "Here there appears to be a strange incredulity with regard to our real intentions to make war. If they thought we were in earnest, I believe they would adopt some modification of their system." One of five commissioners who would negotiate the Treaty of Ghent with Great Britain in 1814, Russell was later a member of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1820, and a Congressman from 1821-1823.
Russell had been warned that his previous dispatches to Barlow had been "intercepted by the French Government." He thus entrusted Thomas H. Perkins and Alexander Everett to deliver this Letter by hand to Barlow in Paris. He has, he says, "determined to send off to Messrs. Perkins & Everett who will have the honor to hand you this letter. I think you must know Mr. Perkins by reputation as he is distinguished at Boston in the ranks of opposition - but I beg leave to recommend him to you as a gentleman of respectability & correct in every thing but his politics. Mr. Everett is a young gentleman of respectability - of the right kind of politics & has been some time in Russia attached to the legation of Mr. Adams. I mention these circumstances as these gentlemen have requested an introduction to you... With Great Respect, Your Friend & Obedient Srvt., Jona. Russell." See, Cary: MEMOIR OF THOMAS HANDASYD PERKINS... Boston: 1856, pp. 210-211; Seaburg and Paterson: MERCHANT PRINCE OF BOSTON, COLONEL T.H. PERKINS, 1764-1854, Harvard Univ. Press: 1971.]. Item #36275

Price: $750.00