This fascinating piece of history is the lower portion of a ship's passport on vellum signed "Go. Washington" in bold ink. The passport was for a brig with nine crew members and granted the ship the authority to transport "company, passengers, goods and merchandize, without any hindrance, seizure or molestation." The passport was signed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 1 March 1797 and is numbered "No. 17" but the top portion of the document has been cut off. The date of the passport is interesting, as it was signed 3 days before the end of Washington's second term as President. The document is countersigned in manuscript by Timothy Pickering as Secretary of State and Joseph Whipple as Collector. The passport includes a white paper embossed seal with the emblem of the Great Seal of the United States.
Bold signature by Washington on a sturdy, folded page of vellum, now flattened with light toning and foxing. There is some creasing of the paper seal and old tape stains along the right edge of the sheet. The top portion of the page has been removed.