1797 Ship’s PASSPORTS / Sea Letters TREASURY Document, Oliver Wolcott SIGNED For Sale
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1797 Ship’s PASSPORTS / Sea Letters TREASURY Document, Oliver Wolcott SIGNED:
- 1797 Treasury Circular / Mediterranean Passports + Sea Letters -- SIGNED by the U.S. Treasury Secretary OLIVER WOLCOTT -- Sending 3 Sea Letters & 1 Passport Signed by President Adams -- Seeking Return of George Washington Sea Letters & Passports -
OUTSTANDING, partly-printed U.S. Treasury Department “CIRCULAR” document SIGNED by Oliver Wolcott, as SECRETARY of the United States Treasury. “Circular” is dated March 7th 1797, THREE days after President George Washington’s term in office (April 30th 1789 – March 4th 1797) had ended and just THREE days into the NEW administration of President John Adams. This document indicates the attention to detail adhered to by early Treasury Department to ensure complete accuracy in the execution of and legal use of these important maritime shipping documents.
The document is addressed to “John Grayson Esq.” (possibly the collector of the district of Beaufort, South Carolina ???), in which Oliver Wolcott requests the return of all the “Sea Letters” and Passports that were SIGNED by the “late President” (George Washington) that remained in Grayson’s hand. The document also mentions the forwarding to Grayson of THREE Sea Letters and ONE Mediterranean Passport that were signed by President John Adams, the “present” or NEW “Chief Magistrate of the United States”. It is rather unusual and uncommon to find a document that refers to the U. S. President as the “Chief Magistrate of the United States”. In addition, this “circular” document also acknowledges the addition of a new “column in the Spanish Language” printed on the sea letters, to be filled out in the same respect as the column in French. This would apparently represent the transition period from THREE to FOUR languages in the composition of the Sea Letters.
It should be noted that the popular maritime documents that many sale houses and catalogs refer to today as a “THREE or FOUR Language Ship’s Paper” are the very SAME documents that were called a “THREE or FOUR Language Sea Letter” by Presidential collectors in the recent past. The “Mediterranean Passport” is also the earlier name used for the SAME “scalloped top” passport that many collectors covet today.
The “Circular” document reads in full – “Sir, Herewith you will receive Three Sea Letters and One Mediterranean Passports signed by the present Chief Magistrate of the United States. In the Sea Letters you will observe, there is a column in the Spanish language, the blanks in which are to be filled up in the same manner as has been practiced in respect to the column in French. The Sea Letters and Passports remaining on hand signed by the late President must be returned to this office. I shall only add, that in order to obviate any inconveniences which might result to the owners of vessels for want of Sea Letters or Passports, it is indispensable that I should be regularly advised and in due season of the number of each required for the use of your Office. I am, with consideration, Sir, Your most obedient Servant, Oliv. Wolcott” (authentically SIGNED in ink).
This U. S. Treasury document would look great framed alongside a Presidential SIGNED Ship’s Passport or 4 Language Ship’s Paper.
OLIVER WOLCOTT Jr. (1760 – 1833) was the SECOND United States Secretary of the Treasury (1795 – 1800), as well as the 24th Governor of the State of Connecticut (1817 – 1827). He was the son of Oliver Wolcott, CT signer of the Declaration of Independence. CONDITION: document measures about 7 3/8 x 9 1/8 inches in size and is in EXCELLENT overall condition with a bold signature. There are several folds, some light uniform toning, and a small edge split along one of the folds (about 3/8’s of an inch in length) - see scans. The signature / autograph of Oliver Wolcott is guaranteed authentic. $15 for shipping, postage & INSURANCE. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.