JAMES MADISON and JAMES MONROE President James Madison and future President James Monroe sign four language ship papers in 1811. Partly Printed DS: "James Madison" as fourth U.S. President and future fifth U.S.

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President James Madison and future President James Monroe sign four language ship papers in 1811.
Partly Printed DS: "James Madison" as fourth U.S. President and future fifth U.S. President "Jas Monroe" as Secretary of State, 1p, 21¼x16½. Four-language ship's papers signed in Washington, D.C. but issued from Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1811 November 29. The text is in four columns, each in a different language; from left to right: French, Spanish, English and Dutch. In part: "BE IT KNOWN, That leave and permission are hereby given to Timothy Pilsbury, master or commander of the Scho[oner] called the Abigail of the burthen of 87 tons, or thereabouts, lying at present in the port of Newburyport bound for Bordeaux and laden with Fish, Tongues & Gourds, to depart and proceed with his Vessel & Cargo on his said voyage, such Vessel having been visited, and the said Timothy Pilsbury having made oath before the proper officer, that the said Scho belongs to one or more of the citizens of the United States of America, and to him or them only...which he at present navigates, is of the United States of America, and that no subjects of the present belligerent Powers have any part or portion therein, directly or indirectly, so may God Almighty help him...." Countersigned: "Jos Marquand" as Collector of Customs. Also signed: "Jacob Gerrish Not[ary] Pub." four times at lower margin beneath columns. Two paper seals, 2¼- and 1½-inches in diameter, affixed at blank left margin. In the year this document was signed, the downtown district of Newburyport was destroyed by a catastrophic fire. The seaport city, located on the south bank of the Merrimack River, north of Boston, would become a center for privateers and shipbuilders during the impending War of 1812 (ironically, the city was also the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard). At the time this document was signed, travel across the Atlantic was becoming increasingly dangerous, and no American ships could sail the open seas without this properly authorized passport. Britain's Royal Navy was stopping and searching American ships, looking for deserters and impressing sailors, and trade embargoes by both France and Britain during the Napoleonic Wars often resulted in the seizure of ships' cargoes. In the year this document was signed, "War Hawks" in the U.S. House, led by Speaker Henry Clay, began pressing for a declaration of war on Britain. On June 18, 1812, war was declared. Six months later, on December 26, 1812, the British Admiralty announced a naval blockade of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, effectively barring all commercial vessels from the mid-Atlantic coastal waters. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), who was known as "The Father of The Constitution", served as fourth U.S. President from 1809-1817. Madison had previously been a delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia (1780-1783, 1787-1788), a member of the U.S. Constitutional Convention (1787), a U.S. Representative from Virginia (1789-1797) and Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801-1809). As Secretary of State, Madison had supported the series of Embargo Acts against England to stop harassing America's ships and citizens. By the end of 1808, contrary to Jefferson's intentions, the Embargo Acts nearly destroyed the U.S. shipping industry and adversely affected the domestic economy. On March 1, 1809, three days before Madison's inauguration, outgoing President Jefferson repealed the Embargo Acts by signing the Non-Intercourse Act. This reopened to American shipping all overseas commerce, except to England and France, with a proviso. Should either or both countries stop their interference with neutral shipping, trade could resume upon presidential proclamation. JAMES MONROE (1758-1831), who would succeed Madison as fifth U.S. President (1817-1825), was Madison's Secretary of State from 1811 to 1817 and concurrently served as Secretary of War from October 1814 to March 1815. Monroe had previously served in the Virginia state House of Delegates, the U.S. Congress (1789-1794) and as Governor of Virginia (1799-1802, 1811). Ironically, he had also been U.S. Minister to both France (1794-1796) and Great Britain (1803-1807). Creased with folds, vertical folds at the "J", "s" and "M" of Monroe's signature, the "r" of Marquand and at Gerrish's signatures. Shaded at mid-vertical fold, touching some text (all legible), and at blank areas. Worn and chipped at edges, upper left blank corner chipped away. ¾-inch tear and ¼-inch nick at blank left edge above upper seal, tack head-size hole at upper left blank margin. Overall, fine condition. Framed, not in the Gallery of History style: 25¾x21¾. Frame is lightly scratched and nicked. Not reviewed by us for conservation integrity. "As is" framing.

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