Partly-printed DS as president, signed “Go: Washington,” one page, 13 x 16, May 8, 1795. Three-language ship’s paper, with French on the left side, English in the center, and Dutch on the right, issued to “Stephen Swett, master or commander of the Brig called Fairy…lying at present in the port of Charleston bound for Bourdeaux and laden with Rice & Tobacco.” Prominently signed in the center by President Washington and countersigned by Secretary of State Edmund Randolph and Collector of Customs Isaac Holmes. Attractively cloth matted and framed with a portrait of Washington to an overall size of 27.5 x 23. White seal affixed to the left side remains crisp and fully intact, as does the smaller notary seal affixed to the lower border. Separated intersecting folds (repaired with archival tape on the reverse; one vertical separation passes through the first letter of Washington’s signature), and toning to edges, otherwise very good condition. Providing proof of the nationality of the ship's owner, should the vessel be stopped by a foreign power—especially important following Washington’s Neutrality Act of 1794, solidifying America’s relationship with France—ship’s papers were crucial documents, vital to the success of international trade. Any documents from Washington’s time as president are exceedingly rare and highly sought after; this paper, sending a ship to Bourdeaux at an important time in French-American relations, is even more so. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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