Highly desirable partly-printed DS, signed “G:o Washington” as president and "Th: Jefferson" as secretary of state, one page, 12.75 x 15.75, June 11, 1794. Three-language ship's papers issued to "Samuel Rolfe, master or commander of the Brig called the Edmund…lying at present in Newburyport bound for Cape Nicolas Mole." Signed in the center by President Washington and countersigned by Secretary of State Jefferson. The white seal affixed at center remains fully intact. Removably encapsulated in a mylar sleeve. In very good to fine condition, with light toning along the edges from prior display, and expert repairs on the reverse to small areas of paper loss (rendering them virtually imperceptible on the front).
When France declared war on England in February of 1793, the US was put in a precarious position, proclaiming neutrality but still formally allied with France under the treaty of 1778. Both sides harassed and seized American ships—especially those carrying provisions to the French colonial ports in the West Indies, where the Edmund was bound. Used to establish proof of nationality and guarantee protection for ships, these documents were signed in bulk by Washington and Jefferson, then forwarded to the collectors of customs at different ports for distribution. There, local officials would confirm the legitimacy of the vessels, their cargo, and their personnel. An attractive, very appealing format boasting a sought-after duo of American presidents. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.