Scarce and desirable partly-printed DS, signed twice as president, “Go: Washington,” and twice “Th: Jefferson” as secretary of state, one page both sides, 10.25 x 15.5, June 5, 1793. Three language ship’s paper, with Dutch and English on one side, and English and French on the other, issued to “Thomas Robinson master or commander of the Ship called Portland…lying at present in the port of Norfolk bound for Havre de Grace and laden with Flour, Pork, Beef, Sugar & Staves.” Both sides are boldly signed by President Washington and Secretary of State Jefferson, and both sides retain their embossed white paper seals. In very good to fine condition, with scattered wrinkling and creasing, tiny binding holes along one edge and three small holes to upper blank area, and a few short edge tears. All four signatures are bold and unaffected, and Jefferson’s signature is perhaps the largest we’ve ever seen.
The voyage of Robinson’s Portland is described at length by one of his crewmen, Edmund Fanning, in the 1833 book Voyages Round the World. While en route from Norfolk to Le Havre, France, the Portland was intercepted by a British privateer and taken back to England. Nearly the entire crew was impressed into the Royal Navy upon their arrival in London; however, Fanning successfully negotiated the return of the crew and the Portland soon returned to New York. The issues of privateering and impressment were growing points of contention between America and Great Britain, eventually culminating in the War of 1812. Between the large, bold signatures of two founding fathers and the historical significance of this maritime document, this is an extraordinarily desirable piece. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.