John Marshall, Free Frank Signature


From the Era of The Barbary Pirates

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John Marshall applied a Free Frank Signature to this address leaf just three days before the first meeting of congress in the new capital.

This interesting letter from the early republican period reads in full: “Mr. George Harrison informs the Secretary of State that 2 gold watch chains and 2 pieces of worked silver muslin, purchased by order of the late Secretary of State (Timothy Pickering) for the Dey (sic) of Algiers, remain on hand. It is the request of Genl. (John) Marshall, that you receive them into your custody, subject to his future directions.”

This was the era in which the U.S. was paying large sums of money and gifts to buy protection from the rulers of the Barbary States of North Africa from their naval forces, commonly known as the Barbary Pirates. The “Bey” of Algiers was one of these leaders for whom the aforementioned gifts were intended.

Good condition, exterior shows some soiling on folds; hole where wax seal was affixed and tape repair on margin. Unusual.

Marshall, John. Address Leaf franked in upper right, “J. Marshall” as Secretary of State, beneath manuscript “Department of State”. Integral Autograph Letter Signed of Jacob Wagner, 1p., 8 x 10 inches. Washington, 14 Nov. 1800. To Israel Whalen, Purveyor of the United States, Philadelphia. Brown circular postmark, “Wash. City Nov 16.”

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