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  • Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum celebrates Portsmouth NH 400 with 'Diplomats in Portsmouth, 1713-1905, A Companion Exhibit to ‘An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1905'

    PORTSMOUTH–The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum has created a new display of documents and artifacts that expands the story of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit first created for the Treaty 100th anniversary in 2005. The exhibition runs from May 26 through Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s John Paul Jones House Museum at 43 Middle St., Portsmouth.  


    This “Diplomats in Portsmouth, 1713-1905” exhibition uses rare historical objects to trace the record of diplomats with Portsmouth connections and connect the story of the 1713 Wabanaki and English Treaty of Portsmouth and the diplomats in or from Portsmouth who shaped America’s relationship with Japan through the 1905 Portsmouth Peace Treaty and beyond.


    There are two threads to this story. The first introduces the official diplomats: Wabanaki emissaries, English Royal Gov. Dudley, Edmund Roberts, Daniel Webster, Helen Peirce and the Russian and Japanese envoys. The second explores treaty negotiations in Portsmouth that provided unanticipated circumstances that gave local people opportunities to become citizen diplomats.

    All of these diplomats with connections to Portsmouth contributed to the diplomatic history of a new nation as it rose from colonialism to becoming a player on the world stage. All are connected to treaties: the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, 1833 Treaties with Siam and Muscat, the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan and the 1905 Portsmouth Peace Treaty. Rare objects include a wax portrait of Edmund Roberts and his Commission as United States negotiating agent signed by President Andrew Jackson, replicas of the Library of Congress copies of the 1713 and 1714 treaties and the signatures of prominent citizens and Wabanaki emissaries and newspaper accounts of pivotal citizen diplomacy moments during the 1905 peace conference. Maps show the physical Portsmouth locations linking the diplomats to the city.


    “This exhibition focuses on an idea worth celebrating during the 400th anniversary: that individuals can make a difference,” said Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum Chair Charles B. Doleac. “From the first Treaty of Portsmouth in 1713 onward, these Diplomats in Portsmouth laid the foundation that allowed Portsmouth to become a place where, in the 21st century words of Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato, ‘Diplomats love Portsmouth, because here, diplomacy actually works.’”


    For more information, visit PortsmouthPeaceTreaty.org.