An original 1843 Seaman's Protection Certificate

An original 1843 Seaman's Protection Certificate from the District of New Bedford in Massachusetts, signed by Quaker Abolitionist and employer of Frederick Douglass, Rodney French.  This is Protection Certificate number 1233 dated 14th November 1843. This is a printed document with sepia ink manuscript entries measuring just over 13" x 8" (33cm x 20.5cm). Rodney French was later Mayor of New Bedford (1853-1854). The document is decorated with an engraving of an American Eagle at the top and reads:

PROTECTION - No.1233 - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - State of Massachusetts....District of New-Bedford - I Rodney French Collector of the District aforesaid, Do Hereby Certify, That Jeremiah B. Russell an American Seaman, aged 19 years, or thereabouts, of the height of 5 feet, 4" inches, light complexion, brown hair, gray eyes, born at Dartmouth Massachusetts has this day produced to me proof in the manner directed in the Act entitled "An Act for the relief and protection of American Seaman," and pursuant to the said Act, I do hereby Certify, that the said Jeremiah B. Russell is a CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal of Office, this 14th day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Three - Rodney French, Collector

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