Handwritten Passport – US-Consul Robert Monroe Harrison, Jamaica 1835

Handwritten Passport – US-Consul Robert Monroe Harrison, Jamaica 1835

Here comes an early passport of the United States of America, issued at the Consulate in Kingston, Jamaica in 1835. The passport is completely handwritten. US Consul in Jamaica was Robert Monroe Harrison, who signed the document and served at this post for 24 years The travel document was issued to 29 years old Edward Joy, who had according the physical description a “long” nose. A great piece of US passport history from a

Handwritten Passport - US-Consul Robert Monroe Harrison, Jamaica 1835

Handwritten Passport - US-Consul Robert Monroe Harrison, Jamaica 1835

 

Robert Munro/Monroe Harrison (1770-1858) US consul in Jamaica from 1831-1858. Parentage, uncertain; father was likely Robert Hanson Harrison, aide de camp to George Washington. Sent to England when to study navigation; was impressed as a midshipman in the Royal Navy when his ship was captured in the English Channel. Seven years in the Royal Navy. 1799-1801,master in the US Navy , see USS Constellation. He returned to Europe in some diplomatic role, apparently to Russia. 1807 -1811, in France and London. Married, 1811,Margaret (?), ward of Count Axel von Fersen, at St Leonard’s ,Shoreditch . First 2 children born in Sweden (RMH captain in the British merchant marine): Robert M jr (1811),Caroline(1813) (married Sage); RMH was imprisoned at Cowes by the British during the 1812 War. He then took up various US consular posts in the West indies. E.g. Consul of St.Thomas from 1816-1821. 5/6 more children born in West Indies/USA.

Assignment TitleLocationYears
ConsulAntigua Island1823 – 1827
ConsulSt. Kitts Island1823 – 1827
ConsulSt. Bartholomew Island1821 – 1823
ConsulSt. Thomas1816 – 1821

Based on the public and private writings of Southern political leaders and the diplomatic correspondence of Robert Monroe Harrison, consul to Kingston, Jamaica, from 1831 until 1855, the article argues that Southern Anglophobia was a dominant factor in the movement to annex Texas to the United States. Britain’s abolition of colonial slavery in her West Indian colonies was a seminal event for the American South. This was especially true for Harrison, a ‘native born Virginian’, who had a fearful personal experience with the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. Harrison came to believe that British abolitionism would be turned against American slavery and he shared his views with the State Department. He even feared that the British would use the West Indies as a staging ground for an attack on America with an emancipated black army that would sow insurrection in the South. Moreover, when several American ships involved in the coastal slave trade wrecked in the Bahamas, British colonial authorities freed the slaves, validating Harrison’s central accusation. In 1842, on the slave ship Creole, a group of young men to be sold in New Orleans rebelled, seized control of the ship and made their way to the Bahamas. They had heard through the grapevine of the freedom to be gained there. The white South was outraged. From their perspective, Britain had not only expropriated American property, but now had also instigated violent rebellion. Southern political leaders within the Tyler Administration, especially the Secretaries of State Abel Upshur and then John Calhoun, were deeply concerned with British intentions. They believed that the Republic of Texas was the next target of British abolitionism, and in order to defend civilisation as they knew it, they launched the movement to annex Texas to the United States to protect and expand American slavery. They succeeded in 1845.

B. Rugemer, Edward. (2007). Robert Monroe Harrison, British Abolition, Southern Anglophobia and Texas Annexation. Slavery & Abolition. 28. 169-191. 10.1080/01440390701428006.

 

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