Mar 01, 2012 - Sale 2271

Sale 2271 - Lot 69

Price Realized: $ 3,840
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--MARITIME) BLATCHFORD, R. MILFORD, Notary for New York City Certificate of Freedom, declaring "William Steward, a coloured man, Mariner" to be a "Free Man and Citizen of the United States of America." Partially printed document, accomplished by hand, 15-1/4x10-1/2 inches, signed by Steward with an "X" and signed by a New York Notary, with the seal of New York, framed. [New York, 1820]

Additional Details

this rare and unusually--worded document declared william steward, a man of color, to be a "citizen of the united states of america," thirty-two years before the emancipation proclamation. Such certificates of freedom were given to African American seamen to protect them from slave-catchers on land as well as the high seas. It was not uncommon for free blacks to work in the maritime trades, both as merchant seamen as well as whalers. The Notary R. Milford Blatchford (1798-1875) went on to become the American Minister Resident at Rome in 1862.