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Ships' passport for the American whaler STEPHANIA signed by President Abraham Lincoln

Date: 1864
Dimensions:
Sight: 854 x 728 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Ship's passport
Object No: 00019488
Place Manufactured:United States

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    Description
    A framed ships' passport for the American whaler STEPHANIA out of New Bedford in Massachusetts and commanded by James G. Sinclair. The document, printed in four languages including Dutch, Spanish, French and English, was issued on 21 June 1864 and is signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
    Above the document is a coloured pencil drawing of a sperm whale fishery and beneath is an oval shaped engraving of Abraham Lincoln.
    SignificanceThis passport is one of only four known to have been signed by President Lincon, less than a year before his
    assassination in Washington DC.
    The document provides a direct link with the dramatic events of the American Civil War when Confederate Navy cruisers ranged the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, sinking Yankee commercial vessels .
    HistoryIn 1864, in the thick of the American Civil War, the STEPHANIA set sail from Massachussets, bound for Australia.Her only protection from the plundering Confederate ships lurking along the Atlantic coast was a ship's passport signed by President Abraham Lincoln requesting her safe passage. Four years later - unscathed by Confederates - the STEPHANIA sailed safely into Sydney Harbour.
    The Stephania departed New Bedfordin 1864 on a whaling voyage into the South Pacific.The log indicates that the vessel was caught in a hurricane on 15 March,1868. Badly damaged, the ship arrived in Port Jackson on 26 March.The cargo of 550 barrels of whale oil and 80 barrels of sperm oil was unloaded and the crew discharged. The vessel was surveyed and due to the damage was advertised for auction on 23 April,1868 .The ship was purchased and re-registered as the ONWARD in Sydney on 13 June,1868 to Joseph Barrow(Brown? ) and John Austin.
    The ONWARD continued as awhaler until it wrecked on Bond Reef, New Calidonia in 1878.

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