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Jackson's Letter of State to the King of the Two Sicilies
Washington, D.C. 1833 - Letter Signed, as President, co-signed by Secretary of State Edward Livingston, Washington, DC, January 30, 1833. King Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (ruling Sicily and the southern half of the Italian peninsula), was seen as a liberalizing influence when he assumed the throne upon the death of his father, Francis I, in 1830. Here, Jackson thanks the King for coming to terms for indemnification for the seizure of American vessels by French marshal Joachim Murat (brother-in-law of Napoleon and King of the Two Sicilies from 1808-1815). Transcript"To His Majesty The King of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, Great and Good Friend, To testify to your Majesty the sincerity of the Government of the United States in its Negotiations, I have transmitted to August Davezac, Charg d'Affaires of the United States near His Majesty, the King of the Netherlands, the ratification on the part of this Government, of the Convention between the Government of the United States of America, and His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, concluded and signed at Naples on the fourteenth day of October 1832, by the Plenipotentiaries of your Majesty and of the United States. And the said August Davezac is instructed to take the necessary measures for the exchange of the Ratifications in convenient time and the execution of this Business. I beseech your Majesty therefore to give full credence to whatever the said August Davezac shall say to you on the part of the United States, concerning the same, and to receive the said Ratification, in the name of and on the part of the United States of America, whenever it shall be tendered by him, in exchange for a similar Ratification, on the part of your Majesty to be delivered at the same time, to the said August Davezac.I pray God to have your Majesty in His Holy Keeping.Written at Washington the thirtieth day of January 1833,Your Good Friend,Andrew JacksonBy the President,Edw Livingston Secretary of State."Historical BackgroundThe Convention of October 14, 1832 between the United States and Two Sicilies"The U.S. claims against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies originated when the state confiscated goods under Napoleon's commercial decrees from 1806 to 1814. The United States held that the Neapolitan government was responsible for depredations to American ships; the king's minister contended that the claims occurred when an interloper - Napoleon's brother-in-law Joachim Murat - controlled Naples.In 1832, John Nelson, the U.S. Minister to the Two Sicilies, persuaded the government to settle the claims. Nelson later wrote the State Department that the 'friendly visit' of a squadron of American warships aided the negotiations. In the convention, the king of the Two Sicilies agreed to pay America $2,119,230 over a 10-year period at 4% interest." [Quoted from Brune, Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations: 1607-1932]The Kingdom of the Two SiciliesThe Kingdoms of Sicily and Naples were separated in 1282, but reunited by Alfonso V of Aragon in 1442. When he died, his brother John II of Aragon kept Sicily, and his bastard son Ferdinand became King of Naples. In 1501, Ferdinand II of Aragon reunified the two kingdoms under the authority of the Spanish throne. After the War of Spanish Succession, in 1713 Sicily was granted to the Duke of Savoy, and in 1714, Naples was given to Emperor Charles VI. In 1720, the two kings traded Sicily for Sardinia, thus reuniting Naples and Sicily. In 1738, a Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was founded under Ferdinand, who was then confusingly called Ferdinand III of Sicily, Ferdinand IV of Naples, and Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.Bourbon line control was interrupted in 1799, when, in the name of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte captured Naples. Napoleon was overthrown, but in 1806, became Emperor again, and again dethroned the current King Ferdinand. Napoleon appointed his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King o. (See website for full description)
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