Pres. George Washington's Appointment of William Carmichael as Charges des Affairs to Spain

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Pres. George Washington's Appointment of William Carmichael as Charges des Affairs to Spain

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Title:  

Pres. George Washington's Appointment of William Carmichael as Charges des Affairs to Spain
Date:
1790

Content Description: 

On the walls of Wright's Chance hangs on one of the few documents signed by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was serving as Secretary of State in Washington's first term in office at the time. The document is a Presidential appointment naming William Carmichael (c.1739-1795), a Congressman from Queen Anne's County in Maryland, as Charge des Affaires to the the court of his Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain. One of America's first "secret agents," Carmichael smuggled papers out of London for the Continental Congress sewn inside the cover of a pocket dictionary. He participated in Benjamin Franklin's mission to Paris in 1776-8, and is credited with befriending the Marquis de Lafayette while in Paris and recruiting the teenage aristocrat to the American cause. Carmichael represented Maryland in the Continental Congress in 1778 and 1779 and was the principal diplomat for the United States to Spain from 1782 to 1794. After his inauguration, President Washington formally appointed Carmichael to the Spanish court with this document. Carmichael later negotiated a treaty to protect critical navigation rights to the Mississippi River, guaranteeing Western goods could flow through New Orleans.

credits:
Original on loan to the Maryland State Archives. Image courtesy of the Maryland State Archives.

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