VAN BUREN, MARTIN. 1782-1862.
Document Signed (Martin Van Buren), partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 p, folio, on vellum, Washington, February 12, 1838, appointing Benjamin Franklin Hart as Purser in the U.S. Navy, with engraved vignettes and red wax-white wafer seal, leaf creased and worn, some thumbing and toning overall.
On the verso of this document is a long note in an unknown hand detailing the manner in which Purser Hart met his untimely end off the coast of Mozambique after being assigned to the Concord under Captain William Boerum. In part: On the 2nd of November , Captain Boerum and Purser Hart were both drowned, with one of the boats crew, as they were returning in the Captains gig from the town of Quillimanc, and were crossing the bar of the river, when the heavy surf capsized the boat, the rest of the boats crew were saved by swimming to the shore, some seven miles distant. The captain went down almost immediately, the boat was turned bottom up, and Purser Hart clung to it upwards of five hours, when from pure exhaustion, he was compelled to relinquish his hold and sink.