DescriptionSigned by the "Father of Our Country" and the Author of the Declaration of Independence
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Three-Language Ship's Papers Signed: "G Washington" as President and "Th:Jefferson", as Secretary of State, one page, 12.5" x 16". Issued out of Philadelphia, but dated Alexandria, Virginia, May 27, 1794. Countersigned: "John Fitzgerald" as Collector of the Customs at Alexandria and witnessed by "Robert Mease Mayor" of Alexandria. In French, English, and Dutch. In part: "Be It Known, that leave and permission, are hereby given to Robert Miller master or commander of the Ship called the Marshall of the burthen of 189 11/95ths tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the port of Alexandria bound for Rotterdam and laden and laden with Tobacco & Hogs head Staves to depart and proceed with his said Vessel & Cargo on his said voyage, such Ship having been visited, and the said Robert Miller having made oath before the proper officer, that the said Ship belongs to one or more of the citizens of the United States of America, and to him or them only...and that no subjects of the present belligerent powers have any part or portion therein, directly or indirectly, so may God Almighty help him..." The signatures of Washington and Jefferson are large and dark. Washington's is almost 4.5" long; Jefferson's is 2.5" long. There has been a small area of restoration in the center of the document at the "sh" of Washington's signature. Tanned with some chipping at blank edges. A vertical fold passes through the "h" of "Washington" and at the "ff" of "Jefferson". Overall, an attractive document with strong signatures. Documents bearing the signatures of two U.S. Presidents are extremely desirable. None is more in demand than a document signed by Washington and Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson served as George Washington's first Secretary of State until December 31, 1793, when he was succeeded by Edmund Randolph who was Secretary of State when these Ships Papers were issued. All Ships Papers were blank when they were signed and sent to U.S. ports where they were filled out and signed by the collectors when needed.
John Fitzgerald, a native of Ireland, came to America in 1769 and settled in Alexandria as a partner of Valentine Peers in a mercantile business. During the Revolutionary War, he served as Aide-de-Camp to General George Washington. After the Revolution, Fitzgerald was Mayor of Alexandria (1786-1787) and Collector of the Customs at Alexandria, and served as a director and later as president of the Potomac Company. Robert Mease was Mayor of Alexandria from 1794-1795.
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