Lot #8002
Thomas Jefferson Letter Signed

As the nation's first Secretary of State, Jefferson writes to a fellow Founding Father "respecting the arrears of pay due to the troops"

Estimate: $8000+


As the nation's first Secretary of State, Jefferson writes to a fellow Founding Father "respecting the arrears of pay due to the troops"

LS as secretary of state, signed “Th: Jefferson,” one page, 8 x 9.75, June 17, 1790. Letter to "His Excellency The President of New Hampshire," fellow Declaration signer Josiah Bartlett, in full: "I have the honor to send you herein inclosed two copies duly authenticated of the Resolution respecting the arrears of pay due to the troops of the lines of the States of Virginia and North Carolina; also of the act forgiving effect to the several Acts therein mentioned in respect to the State of Rhode Island and Providence plantations; also of the Act for relief of Thomas Jenkins and company; on which shall be made under the authority of the United States, and of being with sentiments of the most perfect respect." In fine condition, with short splits to the ends of the folds.

A spectacular letter from Jefferson signed less than three months into his role as the first United States Secretary of State; that the letter is addressed from New York City is also quite notable, given that Federal Hall would serve as the nation’s capital until August 12, 1790. Just three days after signing this letter, Jefferson hosted a dinner party at his NYC residence on June 20, 1790, which included only two guests: Virginia Congressman James Madison and, his main rival, Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. The resulting meeting, or ‘dinner table bargain,’ produced a pact that ultimately led to the famed Compromise of 1790. Seeking to place the fledgling nation on firm financial ground, Jefferson and Madison accepted Hamilton's proposition that the federal government assume state debts accrued during the Revolutionary War. This compromise, which made possible the passage of the Residence and Funding (Assumption) Acts in July and August 1790, is ‘generally regarded as one of the most important bargains in American history.’

Thomas Jenkins (c. 1741-1808) was a Quaker and a prosperous merchant in Providence, Rhode Island, before moving to Hudson, New York where, in the 1780s, he took the leading role in the development of the town at Claverack Landing on the Hudson River. There Jenkins headed a firm that engaged in overseas commerce and whaling, and where he also owned real estate and was involved in rope manufacturing, whale oil processing, and candle-making.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #617 - Ended September 25, 2021

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