Biddle, James, 1783–1848, U.S. naval officer and diplomat, b. Philadelphia. He became a midshipman in 1800. At the beginning of the War of 1812 he was first lieutenant on the Wasp ; he later commanded the sloop Hornet. Sent out in the Ontario in 1817, he took formal possession of the Oregon country for the United States in 1818. Afterward he protected U.S. shipping in South American waters when the difficult times of the new Latin American republics made the rights of neutrals hard to maintain. In 1846, James Biddle negotiated the first treaty between the United States and China.
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