PRESIDENT ULYSSES S. GRANT - FOUR LANGUAGE SHIPS PAPERS SIGNED 08/03/1871 CO-SIGNED BY: HAMILTON FISH - HFSID 43674
Sale Price $2,380.00
ULYSSES S. GRANT and HAMILTON FISH
The President and Secretary of State sign papers for a whaling vessel, attesting that its owners are Americans, not subjects of the "present belligerent powers."
Partly Printed DS: "U.S. Grant" as 18th U.S. President and "Hamilton Fish" as Secretary of State, 1 page, 22x17. Four-language Ship's papers signed in Washington but filled out and issued in New Bedford, 1871 August 3. Countersigned: "J.A.P. Allen Collector" as Collector of Customs of New Bedford, Massachusetts. In part: "Be it Known, That leave and permission are hereby given to Rodolphus D. Wicks, master or commander of the Bark called Sea Breeze of the burden of 323 and 41/100 tons, or thereabouts, lying at present in the port of New Bedford bound for Pacific Ocean, and laden with Provisions, Stores, and utensils for a whaling voyage to depart and proceed with the said Bark on his said voyage, such Bark having been visited, and the said Rodolphus D. Wicks having made oath before the proper officer that the said Bark 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...." The text is in four columns, each in a different language; from left to right: French, Spanish, English and Dutch. The Franco-Prussian War was underway at this time, hence the reference to "present belligerent Powers." The American sperm whaling industry had its greatest prosperity from 1820-1850. The decline of American sperm whaling began with the California gold rush of 1849. Many crew members of whaling ships bound for the Pacific Ocean deserted to seek their fortunes prospecting for gold. The Civil War dealt the most severe blow to the whaling industry. During the war, Confederate ships sank many U.S. whaling vessels. The birth of the U.S. petroleum industry after the war posed a new threat. Petroleum products soon replaced sperm oil as a fuel for lamps and spermaceti as a base for candles and whaling voyages ended. Just eight years after Grant signed this document, Edison invented the electric incandescent lamp, putting the final nail in the whaling industry's coffin. Nicked and lightly stained at lower edge, cutting off the lower ½-inch of the affixed seal. Folds, 1 vertical touches the "S." in Grant's signature and the "H" in Hamilton. Lightly creased. Pinhead-size holes at cross-folds affect some letters of printed text. 6 stains at printed and written text. Pencil notes at left margin (unknown hand).
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