90
90
Hopkinson, Francis, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey
Estimate
3,0005,000
LOT SOLD. 1,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT
90
Hopkinson, Francis, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey
Estimate
3,0005,000
LOT SOLD. 1,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

|
New York

Hopkinson, Francis, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey
Autograph letter signed ("Fras Hopkinson"), 1 page (11 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.; 290 x 840 mm), [Philadelphia], 11 August 1780, to Matthew Clarkson (Marshall & Co., Philadelphia), addressed on verso; formerly folded, thin tear in lower right margin without loss, some soiling.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Literature

See M. Grossman, Political Corruption in America (2003), p. 168

Catalogue Note

The impeached admiralty judge vindicated.

Hopkinson (1737–1791) was a Philadelphia lawyer, member of the Continental Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also known as a harpsichord player, poet, composer, and designer with claims to the design of the American flag.

In 1780 he was serving as judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania, an office from which he was, in 1790, impeached (though acquitted of all charges) by the state senate, due to corruption in office (taking bribes from those wishing to sell prize cargo). The present letter refers to the prize ship Albion, which was mentioned in the impeachment report of 22 November 1790 as an example in which he issued a writ of sale, claiming that the cargo was in danger of waste, spoil and damage, when in fact he had no evidence of this.

Evidently someone had protested and the letter begins: "Some doubts having arisen as to the propriety of suffering Prize Goods to be sold by public Vendue unless the same shall on Inspection be found to be in perishing condition, I have directed William Heysham [et al.]...to examine the Situation of the Cargoe on Board the Prize Ship Albion ... [they] have made a Report to me that they have carefully examined the said Cargo being Liverpool Salt & that 'they find the same in good order and well condition'd and in no immediate Danger of suffering by Waste or otherwise." He then directs the seller not to proceed with the sale of the salt "... but reserve the same to be disposed of as the Court shall order after Trial of the said Ship Albion and her Cargoe."

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

|
New York