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Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams (1772-1851) to David Porter

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03479.04 Author/Creator: Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams (1772-1851) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Letter signed Date: 28 February 1815 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 25.3 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Written in secretarial hand and signed by Secretary of Navy Crowninshield to Captain Porter. Says that Porter was appointed to the board of the Naval Commission (a post he held 1815-1822) by the President and that he is to report to the department at his earliest convenience. Porter was a successful naval commander during the War of 1812 and later led the Mexican Navy from 1826-1829.

Background Information: Crowninshield was born in Salem, Massachusetts the son of a sea captain and merchant of the Boston Brahmin Crowninshield family. He worked in the family shipping business, Geo. Crowninshield & Sons, ...served at sea, and was also active in politics. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1811 and the state Senate in 1812. Crowninshield became Secretary of the Navy in January 1815, at the end of the War of 1812, and managed the transition to a peacetime force. This included implementation of the new Board of Commissioners administrative system and the building of several ships of the line, the backbone of a much enhanced Navy. He also oversaw strategy and naval policy for the war with Algiers in 1815. After leaving Navy office in 1818, Crowninshield returned to business and political affairs in Massachusetts, prospering in both. In addition to serving two more terms in the Massachusetts House, he was also elected to four terms the United States Congress from 1823 to 1831.

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Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Military HistoryNavyGovernment and CivicsPresident

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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