311
311
Washington, George
DOCUMENT SIGNED ("GO: WASHINGTON") AS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI, BEING A MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE FOR WILLIAM ANDREWS 
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT
311
Washington, George
DOCUMENT SIGNED ("GO: WASHINGTON") AS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI, BEING A MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE FOR WILLIAM ANDREWS 
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Washington, George
DOCUMENT SIGNED ("GO: WASHINGTON") AS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI, BEING A MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE FOR WILLIAM ANDREWS 
Engraved broadside on vellum (14 x 20 3/4 in.; 355 x 530 mm), accomplished in a calligraphic clerical hand, Philadelphia, 5 May 1784, conferring membership in the Society of the Cincinnati to Lieutenant William Andrews, countersigned by the Secretary of the Society ("HKnox"), engraved vignettes by Auguste L. Belle after Jean-Jacques Andre LeVeau depicting America in knight's armor trampling upon the British standard and the American eagle casting the British lion and Britannia out to sea with thunderbolts, the vignettes incorporating depictions of both sides of the medal of the Order of the Cincinnati within roundels; a very little bit of creasing and wrinkling. Matted, framed, and glazed with a portrait of Washington.
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Catalogue Note

An unusually fresh copy of a Society of Cincinnati membership certificate, signed in Philadelphia during the first general meeting of the Society. William Andrews was commissioned a lieutenant on 1 January 1777 with the Third Continental Artillery. His regiment wintered at Valley Forge, and the following June, Andrews was captured and held by the British in New York until he was exchanged in September 1781.

The Order of the Cincinnati was conceived of by Henry Knox who wished to establish a fraternal organization for all officers who had served in the War for Independence and "any of their eldest male posterity." The Order was founded in early May 1783 at the headquarters of General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben at Verplanck House in Fishkill, New York. The three guiding principles of the organization were: First, "An incessant attention to preserve inviolate those exalted rights and liberties of human nature, for which they have fought and bled. …" Second, "An unalterable determination to promote and cherish between the respective States, that union and national honor so essentially necessary to their happiness, and the future dignity of the American empire." Third, "To render permanent the cordial affection subsisting among the officers. This spirit will dictate brotherly kindness in all things, and particularly, extend to the most substantial acts of beneficence, according to the ability of the Society, towards those officers and their families, who unfortunately may be under the necessity of receiving it."

The concept of using Cincinnatus as an emblem of the Order was particularly resonant with Americans since the life of this mid-fifth century Roman nobleman and farmer closely paralleled that of many who had served, with George Washington in the vanguard. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was called upon to repel two hostile tribes that threatened Rome. He issued his orders, which were efficiently carried out, and vanquished the enemy. Although elected a dictator for six months and voted a triumph by the Senate, Cincinnatus stepped down just after fifteen days and returned to private life on his farm. Similarly, at the conclusion of hostilities, Washington returned to his plantation at Mount Vernon.

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