Lot 1: Bold manuscript DS, signed "G:o Washington," one page, 7.25 x 5, June 6, 1785. Receipt for supplies shipped to The Potowmack Company. In full: "Bot of Jonah Watson & Co., 10 Barrels Beef a. c. of £30-Payable 15th July 1785." Washington signs below to approve payment on July 14, 1785; countersigned by officers John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin. Intersecting folds with tiny edge separations, uniform toning, and a bit of show-through from docketing to reverse, otherwise fine condition.
One of Washington's greatest interests in the period between the end of Revolutionary War and the start of his presidency was the development of the picturesque Potomac River as a navigable inland transportation route. The Potowmack Company, formed to accomplish this task using a series of locks and canals, held its first meeting just one month earlier in May 1785. Washington was named the company's president and the other two signers, George Gilpin and John Fitzgerald-both veterans of the Revolution-were elected to the board of directors. With an eye toward the greater good of the nation, Washington's ambitions surpassed those of the ordinary businessman. He believed that improved infrastructure would strengthen the fledgling United States, with the Potomac Canal forming a literal link from east to west and binding together territories in a 'chain which could never be broken.' This boldly signed document dates to an early point in these noble efforts, representing the civic-mindedness that made Washington a great national leader.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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