1790 Charles Thomson Signed Continental Congress Resolution Appointing Massachusetts United States Loan Commissioners Nathaniel Appleton & Joseph Henderson
CHARLES THOMSON (1729-1824). Revolutionary Patriot Leader in Philadelphia during the American Revolution, and Secretary of the Continental Congress (1774–1789) throughout its existence.
June 29, 1790-Dated Federal Period, unique and historic U.S. Treasury related, Autograph Letter Signed, “Cha Thomson Secy,” as Secretary to the Continental Congress under President George Washington, Choice Very Fine. Congress sends official Authorization for Nathaniel Appleton and Joseph Henderson, be appointed Loan Office Commissioners to endorse U.S. related fiscal documents and bills for Massachusetts. This Letter measuring 8.5” wide x 7” tall (by sight) and comes together with a vintage Engraved Portrait of Thomson, 4.25” x 4.5” (by sight), nicely framed in display to an overall size of 13.25” x 17.75”. This Congressional Letter reads, in full:
“In Congress - June 29th, 1790. --- Resolved, --- That Nathaniel Appleton and Joseph Henderson, Esquires be appointed Commissioners on the part of the United States either of them to endorse the bills that shall be emitted by the State of Massachusetts Bay pursuant to the resolution of Congress of the 10th day of March last. --- Extract from the minutes. -- (Signed) Cha Thomson Secy.”
This important Fiscal related United States Treasury Loan Office related Letter shows expected light mailing folds and some slight scattered tone. Boldly penned fully in Charles Thomson’s hand in rich deep brown that is easily readable and very clear. Not examined outside of framed. Overall, in very nice condition for display.
Charles Thomson (November 29, 1729 – August 16, 1824) was an Irish-born Patriot leader in Philadelphia during the American Revolution and the secretary of the Continental Congress (1774–1789) throughout its existence.
Thomson was born in Gorteade townland, Maghera parish, County Londonderry, Ireland, to Scots-Irish parents. After the death of his mother in 1739, his father, John Thomson, emigrated to the British colonies in America with Charles and two or three brothers. John Thomson died at sea, his possessions stolen, and the penniless boys were separated on arrival at New Castle, Delaware. Charles was first cared for by a blacksmith in New Castle, Delaware, and was educated in New London, Pennsylvania. In 1750 he became a tutor in Latin at the Philadelphia Academy.
Charles Thomson, during the French and Indian War, was an opponent of the Pennsylvania proprietors' American Indian policies. He served as secretary at the Treaty of Easton (1758), and wrote An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians from the British Interest (1759), which blamed the war on the proprietors.
He was allied with Benjamin Franklin, the leader of the anti-proprietary party, but the two men parted politically during the Stamp Act crisis in 1765. Thomson became a leader of Philadelphia's Sons of Liberty. He was married to the sister of Benjamin Harrison V, another signer, as delegate, of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomson was a leader in the revolutionary crisis of the early 1770s. John Adams called him the "Samuel Adams of Philadelphia". Thomson served as the secretary of the Continental Congress through its entirety. Through those 15 years, the Congress saw many delegates come and go, but Thomson's dedication to recording the debates and decisions provided continuity. Along with John Hancock, president of the Congress, Thomson's name (as secretary) appeared on the first published version of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.
Thomson had a wonderful “Great Seal” proposal and a modified version was accepted. Thomson's role as secretary to Congress was not limited to clerical duties. According to biographer Boyd Schlenther, Thomson "took a direct role in the conduct of foreign affairs." Fred S. Rolater has suggested that Charles Thomson was essentially the "Prime Minister of the United States".
Thomson is also noted for designing, with William Barton, the Great Seal of the United States. The Great Seal played a prominent role in the January 14, 1784, (Ratification Day) ratification of the Treaty of Paris. Britain's representatives in Paris initially disputed the placement of the Great Seal and Congressional President Thomas Mifflin's signature, until mollified by Benjamin Franklin.
But Thomson's service was not without its critics. James Searle, a close friend of John Adams, and a delegate, began a cane fight on the floor of Congress against Thomson over a claim that he was misquoted in the "Minutes" that resulted in both men being slashed in the face. Such brawls on the floor were not uncommon, and many of them were promoted by argument over Thomson's recordings.
Political disagreements prevented Thomson from getting a position in the new government created by the United States Constitution. Thomson resigned as secretary of Congress in July 1789 and handed over the Great Seal, bringing an end to the Continental Congress. He spent his final years at Harriton House in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania working on a translation of the Bible. He also published a synopsis of the four evangelists in 1815. In retirement, Thomson also pursued his interests in agricultural science and beekeeping.
According to Thomas Jefferson, writing to John Adams, Thomson became senile in his old age, unable to recognize members of his own household. "Is this life?" Jefferson asked. "It is at most but the life of a cabbage; surely not worth a wish."