Introduction Acknowledgments Abstract Log Articles of Agreement Bill of Health Bill of Lading Bill of Sale (1856) Bond for Duties (1825) Bonds for Foreign Voyages Charter Party Classification Certificate (1863) Clearance Certificate Coasting Permit (1809) Consular Certificates (Miscellaneous) Contribution Certificate "Morning Star" (1856) Convoy Instructions (ca. 1800) Crew List Customs Certificates and Forms (Miscellaneous) Drawback Forms and Certificates Enrolment Certificate Freight Circular (1857) Freight List (1857) Letter of Marque/Privateer Commission License (Coasting/Fishing Vessels) Logbook (1828) Manifest Marine Insurance Marine Society Membership Certificate (1839) Master Carpenter's Certificate/Measurement Certificate (1853) Master's Certificate (1861) Mediterranean Passport/Sea Letter Oaths and Affirmations Passenger List Pilot's License Port Rules and Regulations Portage Bill (1852) Receipts (Miscellaneous) Registry Certificate/Ship's Register Sailing Card (ca. 1860) Sailing Orders (1830) Seamen's Protection Certificate Shipbuilding Agreements and Contracts Steamboat Regulatory Documents Whalemen's Shipping Paper (1840) Appendix Selected Bibliography

American Maritime Documents, 1776-1860 - Stein, Douglas L.

Bill of Health

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A printed document. These certificates were usually printed locally for use by the port's customs officers, and thus vary a great deal in size and format. Frequently the words, "Bill of Health" do not appear, but the name of the customs district issuing the Bill is often prominently displayed. Some documents exhibit decorative engravings, while all provide spaces for the vessel's name and master, cargo, destination, and number of per sons aboard. Signatures of the Collector and the Naval Officer are present.

By the end of the eighteenth century a Bill of Health was required as part of a ship's papers, and certified the status of contagious disease at the port during the time of departure. A clean bill of health indicated that no plague or infectious disorders were known to exist. A suspected bill indicated rumors of disease, although it had not yet appeared, and a foul bill certified that the port of departure was infected at the time the ship sailed. A clean bill of health was by far the most common, and these are often found in maritime collections.



* Funding for digitization provided by: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation