SIGNED BY TWO AMERICAN PRESIDENTS, THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THEN SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES MADISON, SHIP’S PAPERS FOR THE SCHOONER LYDIA
JEFFERSON, Thomas and MADISON, James. Document signed. Boston, November 5, 1803. One leaf (15-1/2 by 18 inches), printed on recto and finished by hand, with original paper seal; matted and framed, entire piece measures 27-1/2 by 25 inches.
Rare official document, signed by both Thomas Jefferson as president and James Madison as secretary of state, as the nation’s first president and by Jefferson as America’s first Secretary of State, consisting of ship’s papers for the schooner Lydia.
The "sea letter," printed with the same text in four columns in French, Spanish, English, and Dutch, was issued to those ships that sailed the Atlantic as a guarantee of United States protection of both the vessel and her owners in foreign waters. Every American-owned ship was required to keep its letter as part of her papers. The dates shown on sea letters are not those on which the President and Secretary of State signed them, but rather the dates that the Collector of Customs entered information for a particular ship upon leaving port. Blank forms were signed in advance by the President and Secretary of State and sent to the Collectors, who would then fill in the details as occasions arose. This document is for the schooner Lydia, under the command of Ammi Smith, bound from Boston to the West Indies laden with "apples, beef, beans, butter, boards, beets, brandy, candles, cheese, dry goods, gin, desks, fish, flour, lard, onions, pork, pears, peas, potatoes etc." Text in English, Dutch and French.
Only minor fold lines, signatures bold and clear, the paper great seal of the United States present and in excellent condition. Very desirable signed by both Jefferson and Madison.