[Newburyport (MA): Sold at the Bookstore of Thomas & Whipple, Market-square, Approved, July 20th, 1790]. Broadsheet,  pp., 47 x 39 cm. Text of the act printed in three columns on recto, signed in type by Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Adams, Vice President of the United States, and President of the Senate, George Washington, President of the United States, and Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State. Old fold lines, a few small holes at folds; shallow chips and tears at margins of sheet, not affecting text.
On the verso is the text of a contract agreement, partly printed, completed in manuscript "between the Master and Seamen of the [Schooner Two Sons of Newburyport, John Rutherford] Master, now bound from the port of [Newburyport] for [Madeira and from thence for a Load of Salt & Back to Newburyport....]" Below the text is a printed table listing, in manuscript, the names of John Rutherford, Master, his Mate Richard [Calley?], four seamen, and a cook, along with the amounts of their advance wages and wages per month. A manuscript note, dated Newburyport, March 30, 1809, states that the crew received from Mr. Moses Wheeler, owner of the Schooner Two Sons, their months advance wages in full. Item #65309
This act of Congress offered certain protections to the merchant seamen shipping out from American ports, including contracts for payment of wages, types of provisions required to be aboard for Atlantic voyages, recourse for repairs if the vessel was found to be leaky or unfit for the voyage, regulations related to desertions, etc. After its initial publication, this act was reprinted throughout the states, at various port cities, with the partly printed merchant seaman's contract on the verso. This copy records the agreement between Rutherford and his crew in ca. 1809. A previous auction catalog record indicates that John Rutherford (1762-1840) was a Revolutionary War veteran and privateer but we have been unable to track this.
cf. Evans 23849.