Lot #2
George Washington Document Signed as President

Desirable 1794 three-language ship's pass issued by President Washington to a schooner bound for Jamaica
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Estimate: $6000+


Desirable 1794 three-language ship's pass issued by President Washington to a schooner bound for Jamaica

Partly-printed DS as president, signed “G:o Washington,” one page, 12.5 x 15.5, December 9, 1794. Three-language ship's papers issued to "Charles Mustard of Massachusetts State, master or commander of the Schooner called the Arethusa…lying at present in the port of Bath, bound for Jamaica and laden with Boards, Shingles, Pork & Fish." Signed in the center by President Washington and countersigned by Secretary of State Edmund Randolph. The bright white paper seal affixed to the left side remains intact. Mounted and framed to an overall size of 17 x 19.75. In very good condition, with overall toning and creasing, scattered stains, repairs to fold splits, and an old repair to the central vertical fold which affects both signatures.

When France declared war on England in February of 1793, the United States 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. Used to establish proof of nationality and guarantee protection for ships, these documents were signed in bulk by Washington and Randolph, 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. A desirable 'sea letter' signed by America's first commander-in-chief.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Revolutionary War
  • Dates: #612 - Ended July 14, 2021

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