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1805 Thomas Jefferson and James Madison Signed Four-Language Ship's Paper
Starting Bid - $800.00, Sold For - $4,930.00
Partly printed four-language ship's paper (17 x 22 inches) signed by Thomas Jefferson "Th::Jefferson" ("9") as President and "James Madison" ("9") as Secretary of State, dated August 10, 1805. The document was issued to master Ichabod Clark of the ship Little Cornelia bound from New York to Amsterdam carrying sugar and logwood. Both Jefferson's and Madison's signatures are dark and crisp. All American ships traveling to foreign ports carried such documents signed by the president and secretary of state to verify status as a civilian trading ship, not a military vessel, which was especially important in light of the Napoleonic wars raging in Europe at the time. America wished to remain neutral in the conflict, but they often encountered problems on the high seas as American ships were routinely stopped by both French and British warships, searched for military stores and potential deserters from their respective navies who they would take into custody. Often the entire ship would be taken as a prize. Between 1807 and 1812, more than 900 American ships were seized by British and French warships. This problem grew worse and worse to the point that President Jefferson imposed an embargo on all exports to belligerent nations in Europe, hoping that the lack of American goods would bring France and Britain to their senses. The embargo did little except ruin many American merchants and bring American ports to a standstill. The embargo was lifted after a year and seizures on the high seas continued unabated. In 1812 the problem propelled the U.S. into war with Great Britain. An exceptional example with both official seals complete and intact, and only very minor imperfections. In overall Excellent condition, this is a very rare and remarkably well preserved historical document, beautifully signed by two of the nation's founding fathers. The ship's document is magnificently framed with an ornate gilt border to total dimensions of 33 x 29 inches. LOA from James Spence, Steve Grad & John Reznikoff/PSA DNA. Reserve $800. Estimate $1,500/$2,500. SOLD FOR $4,930.00
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