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Brig Milford of Baltimore ship passport

 Item — Box: BW 19, Folder: ViU-2020-0051-001
Identifier: MSS 16477

Content Description

This collection contains a ship passport issued to the brig "Milford" of Baltimore, authorizing the ship to load its cargo at Port Republican, Santo Domingo. It was issued under the authority of Toussaint Louverture as the Général en chef de l' Armeé de San-Domingue, a position in which he had recently been confirmed by the newly-installed First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte. This document gives permission for the six-gun brig Milford of Baltimore, under Captain Littleton Waters, to load her cargo of sugar in five days "without molestation or detention."

The passport is signed by Toussaint and bears the Customs stamp and has ten lines of manuscript handwriting in English specifying the terms of the Milford's visit, countersigned by Hugh Cathcart, a Jamaica merchant, who was at that time the British agent at Port-au-Prince, and Robert Ritchie, the American consul.

The top of the document features a wood-engraved cartouche of the French Republic. The figure of Liberty is seated on a cannon barrel, with a laurel wreath in one hand and a staff topped with a Phrygian cap in the other. An orb and a scepter lie beneath her feet.


  • Creation: 1800 January 23


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

In 1800, Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) was the de facto Governor of Santo Domingo with his position being confirmed by the First Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte.

He had been born a slave on the Breda plantation in the French colony of Saint-Domingue but became self-educated, gaining his freedom, and worked for Bayon de Libertad. Eventually Louverture became the leader of the only successful slave revolt in modern history during the Haitian Revolution. Haiti became an independent nation and the first black republic.

The brig Milford was an American armed merchantmen vessel out of Baltimore equipped to fend off French privateers enforcing a blockade on ports under rebel control. Built in Mathews County, Virginia, 1798, and owned by Gabriel Wood, it was commissioned as a private armed vessel on July 25, 1799, with Littleton Waters as its commander ("Naval Documents related to the Quasi-War Between the United States and France").


0.04 Cubic Feet (1 legal folder)

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

This document was purchased by the University of Virginia Small Special Collections Library from a vendor on June 26, 2020.

Brig Milford of Baltimore ship passport
Sharon Defibaugh
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States