Partly-printed DS as president, signed “Go: Washington,” one page, 12.75 x 15.5, October 25, 1794. Three-language ship’s papers, in French, English, and Dutch, issued to “Elias Nordbery master and commander of the Ship called Dispatch…lying at present in the port of Boston bound for North West Coast of America & China and laden with Sundry Articles of Merchandise to depart and proceed with his said Ship having been visited, and the said Elias Nordbery 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.” Signed in the middle panel by Washington, and countersigned by Secretary of State Edmund Randolph, Deputy Collector Benjamin Weld, and Judge Samuel Barrett. Document has been professionally repaired on the reverse, with some backing and paper replacement along folds, and has been removably encapsulated in acid-free Mylar. In good to very good condition, with aforementioned repairs and strengthening, scattered toning and foxing, and intersecting folds through two letters of signature. The two white wafer seals are intact.
Departing from Boston Harbor on October 29, 1794, the Dispatch sailed to the northwest coast of America, where it caught and skinned seals and otters and carried out trade with nearby Indian tribes. From there, it headed east for China, where it exchanged the furs for tea, silk, and other sought-after exports, which it then returned to New England and sold for huge profits. Signed by President Washington and Secretary of State Edmund Randolph in Philadelphia and sent to the Port of Boston to be filled out, this is an attractive example of the crucial ship’s papers that enabled Americans to safely travel the seas, boosting international trade during the country’s early years. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.