Joshua Chamberlain and William Seward Assist the Jaffa-Adams Colonists in 1867

September 7, 1867

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Joshua Chamberlain and William Seward Assist the Jaffa-Adams Colonists in 1867
Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages | SMC 985

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      Background

      In February 1866 actor and preacher George Jones Adams met with President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward to receive the blessing of the US govement for his proposed colonization of the city of Jaffa. 156 colonists sailed from Jonesport, Maine in August, 1866, in what turned out to be a tragic effort. By fall of 1867 they sought American aid. Mark Twain visited the colony at about that time, writing about it in The Innocents Abroad. Twain and his fellow travelers helped forty of the colonists escape to Egypt.

      Joshua Chamberlain ALS, 1 page, octavo, with accompanying secretarial copy of a William Seward letter, 2 pages, both concerning the Jaffa colonists.
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      State OF Maine
      EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

      Augusta Sept 7  1867

      Dear Sir

      I enclose a copy of Mr Sewards [sic] last letter to me concerning the "Jaffa Colonists".  I had asked that Farragut be authorized to send the sufferers home in a Government ship.

      Mr Seward seemed desirous to know what we are doing here, and wishes to hear from our Members of Congress.

      Very truly yours

      J.L. Chamberlain

      Hon 
      [...]

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      Department of State
      Washington. August 31st 1867.

      His Excellency.
      Joshua L. Chamberlain.
      Governor of Maine.

      Sir.

      Referring to your communication of the 21st instant concerning the Jaffa Colonists, I have the honor to invite your attention to the fact that information has reached the Department, showing that a new party will set out from Maine to Jaffa at the end of August.

      It is historically true, I believe, as a general fact that Colonies always suffer great embarrassments in the beginning, and yet that, when fed by reinforcements, they have finally very often succeeded.

      I shall be glad

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      to have such facts as you may be able to furnish concerning this alleged effort by citizens of Maine to revive and sustain the said Colony.  I especially wish that the Senators and Representatives of Maine, or some of them, would give this Department information of what may be expected in regard to any movements in that State, either for bringing back the Colonists of Jaffa, or for reinforcing them or sending them supplies.

      I am, Sir, 

      Your obedient servant.

      WILLIAM H. SEWARD