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During Peninsular War in Europe and Rebellions in Latin America Transmitting Order of Spanish Colonial Cuban Government Restricting American Imports to Cuba
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JUAN STOUGHTON. Manuscript Letter Signed, to Joseph Wilson, May 7, 1810, Boston, Massachusetts. 1 p., 8 x 12½ in.

Inventory #26005       Price: $375

Complete Transcript

                                                                        Consular Office
Joseph Wilson Esqre                                       Boston 7 May 1810.


            The inclosed I take the liberty of forwarding without loss of time so that the earliest notice may be communicated to your friends of a late order received from the Government of the Havana, & which no doubt will be strictly attended to there being no excuse or pretentions for plaeading ignorance after this Public notice in your Office & the public prints.

I have the honor to remain / Sir /
Your very humble Servt
Juan: Stoughton, Spanish Consul

P.S.  Articles admissible viz. Iron for manufactory, Machines & Utensils for the plantations, Boards for sugar Boxes, Staves Hoops and Shocks, Other articles it is presumed may be shipped by having Certificates in conformity, but it will remain at the option of the Government to receive them or not.

[address on verso:] Joseph Wilson Esqre / Collector of Customs / Marblehead.


Historical Background
France and Spain had been allies before October 1807, when Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal in order to close the Iberian Peninsula to trade with the United Kingdom. Napoleon replaced King Charles IV and his son Ferdinand VII with his own brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain. 

The Peninsular War of 1808 to 1814 led to the loss of most of Spain’s colonies in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1809, wars of independence began to sweep the Americas. A week after Stoughton wrote this letter, a revolution began in Buenos Aires, the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, a colony that included present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and parts of Brazil, marked the first successful revolt against Spanish rule. It began the Argentine War of Independence, though the revolutionary government continued to rule in the name of deposed King Ferdinand VII. The Congress of Tucumán issued a formal declaration of independence in July 1816.

Cuba remained loyal to the besieged government of King Ferdinand VII, who was imprisoned in France. (A rebellion arose among the Cuban Creole aristocracy in 1809 and 1810, but failed. Cuba did not become independent until 1902, after the Spanish American War and a period of American occupation.)

On May 27, the Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary Luis de Onís (1762-1827) officially forwarded the circular from Philadelphia to the Spanish consuls and vice-consuls in the United States, announcing that on April 27, King Ferdinand VII of Spain had granted neutrals and allies access to the ports of Havana, Trinidad, and Matanzas in Cuba, so long as the proceeds of importation were exported in the fruits or produce of the island. All trading vessels had to have a certificate from a Spanish consul to gain entry to those ports.[1]

John/Juan Stoughton (1744-1820) was a New York merchant who traded extensively with Spanish possessions in the West Indies, including participation in the slave trade. His son-in-law José de Jáudenes (1764-1818), the Spanish chargé d’affaires to the United States from 1791 to 1795, appointed Stoughton to serve as the Spanish consul for the New England states in Boston, a position he held from 1794 to 1820. His brother Thomas Stoughton (1748-1826) served as Spanish consul for New York from 1794 to 1826.

Joseph Wilson (1756-1821) was born in Bath, Massachusetts (now Maine) and became a sea captain. He served as a gunner in Captain Samuel R. Trevitt’s company of artillery at the Lexington Alarm and at the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1785, he married Lydia Waite (1756-1838) at Marblehead, Massachusetts. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Wilson as collector of customs and inspector of the revenue at Marblehead, Massachusetts, to replace Samuel R. Gerry, the brother of Elbridge Gerry, who was removed for incompetence.

Condition: Good with age-toning; small loss on lower fold that does not affect any text.

[1]New-York Evening Post, June 13, 1810, 2:5; The Charleston Daily Courier (South Carolina), June 20, 1810, 3:1.

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