JEFFERSON, THOMAS

Four-Language Ship’s Paper Countersigned by Secretary of State James Madison

Item #20233


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JEFFERSON, THOMAS - Four-Language Ship’s Paper Countersigned by Secretary of State James Madison
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JEFFERSON, THOMAS - Four-Language Ship’s Paper Countersigned by Secretary of State James Madison

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JEFFERSON, THOMAS. (1743-1826). Third president of the United States. DS. (“Th. Jefferson”). 1p. Oblong Folio. New York, November 18, 1806. To Augustin Reading. A four-language ship’s paper, printed in French, Spanish, English, and Dutch, for the Traveller, a 104 ton schooner bound for Martinique, countersigned by Secretary of State JAMES MADISON, (1751-1836, “James Madison”), future fourth president of the United States and Collector of the Port of New York DAVID GELSTON, (1744-1828, “David Gelston Collr”), who was a signer of the Articles of Association and a delegate to the Continental Congress.

 

International waters were a dangerous place at the beginning of the 19th century. After winning independence from Britain, American ships were at the mercy of the Barbary pirates from which the Royal Navy and their revolutionary partner France had previously protected them. Thomas Jefferson, the American ambassador in France, and his colleague John Adams tried negotiating with the nations of the North African Barbary coast and, eventually, but reluctantly agreed to pay a yearly tribute for guaranteed safe passage of American vessels. However, after his 1801 election to the presidency, Jefferson made the decision to refuse Tripoli’s renewed demand for payment leading to the First Barbary war. Meanwhile, France and England were at war with each other, making American ships vulnerable to capture by either one of the belligerents.

 

The Traveller, built in 1805 in Glastonbury, Connecticut, was bound for the Caribbean Island of Martinique, located in the French Antilles whose famous daughter Josephine Bonaparte had married Napoleon in 1804. The West Indies Campaign of the Napoleonic Warswas at its height during 1806, making a voyage to the Caribbean especially perilous. From 1794 to 1815, Martinique was occupied by the British. The island, dominated by the sugar and slave trades, was a popular destination for privateers.  

 

Folded with some minor separations along the folds. Lightly foxed with very narrow matte burn and some paper loss around the edges, especially in part of the left blank margin. Two paper seals are intact. Fine. Unexamined out of the frame.

 

Item #20233


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