President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison Sign a Ship’s Passport for a Vessel That Would Soon Be in the Midst of an International Incident in the Barbary Wars

Henry Bowers was a ship’s captain from Massachusetts. In 1807 he was master of the Schooner Mary Ann. Document signed, Washington, May 18, 1807, being a ship’s passport for “Henry Bowers master or commander of the Schooner called the Mary Ann”, originating in New York and bound for St. Bartholomews & St....

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President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison Sign a Ship’s Passport for a Vessel That Would Soon Be in the Midst of an International Incident in the Barbary Wars

Henry Bowers was a ship’s captain from Massachusetts. In 1807 he was master of the Schooner Mary Ann. Document signed, Washington, May 18, 1807, being a ship’s passport for “Henry Bowers master or commander of the Schooner called the Mary Ann”, originating in New York and bound for St. Bartholomews & St. Thomas, and carrying “flour, pork, beef, lard, butter, fish, candles & soap”. The document is signed by Thomas Jefferson as President, James Madison as Secretary of State, and David Gelston as Collector of the Port of New York.

Later that year, in a flare up in the Barbary Wars between Algiers and the United States, the Schooner Mary Ann found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was in the Mediterranean and was one of three American ships taken by an Algerian ship of war. Americans in Europe, including Tobias Lear, former secretary of George Washington, reported back to the U.S. government on the event. It was not until 1815 that these outbreaks of hostilities ceased.

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