An 1842 “Four Language Ship’s Paper” signed by both John Tyler and his Secretary of State Daniel Webster.

The two men’s signatures on this ship’s paper, dated October 17, 1842, constituted authorization of the 495 63/95 ton ship, named the “William Thompson”, under the command of Captain Aden P. Ellis, to proceed from the port of New Bedford on a whaling voyage to the “Pacific Ocean”. The ship’s cargo includes “Provisions, Staves, and Utensils for a whaling voyage”.

The document (DS) is written in the four major languages of the day… French, Spanish, English, and Dutch; providing the protection of the U.S. Government for the ship for this one specific voyage, and grants the captain and crew the right to navigate and frequent international ports. In an era before phones or weather satellites, it was important that the document could be read by officials in any port or on the open seas. This paperwork also proves that the ship is not running contraband.

The document, which measures approximately 21″ x 16″, is in nice condition and the United States seal is intact. There is wear and some paper loss along the middle fold, otherwise the document is in fine condition.


Sold with Certificates of Authenticity from The Autograph Source (Lifetime Guarantee) and independent third-party authenticator PSA/DNA.