LARGE COLLECTION OF SEA PAPERS SIGNED BY JOHN TYLER AND MARTIN VAN BUREN.
TYLER, JOHN. 26 Documents Signed ("John Tyler"), 26 pp, folio, New Bedford, MA, May 18, 1841 to October 4, 1845, being sea letters for various brigs and schooners sailing out of New Bedford, also signed by Daniel Webster as Secretary of State, with red wax, white wafer seals, leaves folded, some separation at creases, toning throughout, many edges chipped.
VAN BUREN, MARTIN. 15 Documents Signed ("Martin Van Buren" and "M Van Buren"), 15 pp, folio, New Bedford, MA, April 30, 1838 to August 25, 1850, being sea letters for various whaling and mercantile ships sailing out of New Bedford, with red wax-white wafer seals, leaves creased and toned, some separation at folds, chipping at edges.
Present also are 7 other sea letters with signatures clipped from document.
This lot features a large collection of sea letters, a popular form of documentation for mercantile ships in the 19th century used to identify a ship and its captain as American--and therefore neutral. The sea letter is distinguished from the ship's passport, or Mediterranean passport, by the fact that it is printed on paper in four languages, specifies the nature of the cargo and place of destination, and is valid for only a single voyage. Most ships during the early to mid 19th century carried both forms of documentation, as different countries preferred one over the other.