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    Letter of Marque Signed by John Jay as the President of the Continental Congress May 21, 1779

    United States Continental Congress Letter of Marque Signed by John Jay May 21, 1779 Very Fine-Extremely Fine.
    A letter of marque and a fantastic piece of American history, signed by John Jay. "During the American War of Independence, first the state legislatures, then both the states and the Continental Congress, then, after ratification of the Constitution, Congress authorized and the President signed letters of marque. A shipowner would send in an application stating the name, description, tonnage, and force (armaments) of the vessel, the name and residence of the owner, and the intended number of crew, and tendered a bond promising strict observance of the country's laws and treaties and of international laws and customs. The commission was granted to the vessel, not to its captain, often for a limited time or specified area, and stated the enemy upon whom attacks were permitted." The preceeding description of marque comes from Wikipedia. In this case, the brigantine was the Sally commanded by James Armitage and containing fourteen carriage guns with a crew of thirty. A great historic document in its own right, but the signature of John Jay, as president of the Continental Congress, catapults it into another collecting realm.

    One of the Founding Fathers. He is also referred to as the forgotten Founding Father. His role in the formitive years of our country was certainly equal to and possibly surpassed several of the five or six names that are always mentioned as Founding Fathers. Among other roles, Jay was a negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783. He also served as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote The Federalist Papers, with Jay writing only five of the eighty five. Jay's signature is not terribly rare, but we have never before seen it on a letter of marque. Also, for some unknown reason, documents signed by Jay tend to be uniformly worn and/or damaged. This document has been folded, but the folds are not split. Its wonderful framing quality extends all of the way out to the edges. The only defect we can spot is a small piece of replacement paper wholly within the blank area below the signature of Charles Thomson, secretary. Thomson was one of the designers of The Great Seal.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-14th Wednesday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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