Thomson, Charles

Continental Congress Secretary 1774-89, recorded debates on the Declaration of Independence and proceedings, co-designer of the Great Seal of the United States

Price: $325.00

Description:
(1729-1824) Irish-born Philadelphia patriot during the Revolution, secretary of the Continental Congress 1774-89 throughout its existence. After the 1739 death of his mother, his father emigrated to America with Charles and his brothers. The father died at sea, and the penniless boys were separated in America. Charles was cared for by a Delaware blacksmith and educated in Pennsylvania. During the French and Indian War, he opposed the Pennsylvania proprietors' Native American policies. He served as secretary at the 1758 Treaty of Easton 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 but the two parted politically during the 1765 Stamp Act crisis. Thomson became a leader of Philadelphia's Sons of Liberty. He was married to the Virginia Signer Benjamin Harrison's sister. Thomson was a leader in the revolutionary crisis of the early 1770s. He was called the "Samuel Adams of Philadelphia" by John Adams. Thomson served as secretary of the Continental Congress through its 15-year entirety and his 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 1st published version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. His role as secretary to Congress was not limited to clerical duties. Thomson took a direct role in the conduct of foreign affairs, some historians calling him essentially the "Prime Minister of the United States". He 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 of the Treaty of Paris. Political disagreements prevented Thomson from getting a position in the new government created under the new Constitution. Thomson resigned as secretary of Congress in July 1789 and handed over the Great Seal, bringing an end to the Continental Congress. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813. He spent his final years working on a translation of the Bible and published a synopsis of the four evangelists in 1815. In retirement, Thomson also pursued his interests in agricultural science and beekeeping. According to Jefferson, writing to Adams, Thomson became senile in his old age, unable to recognize members of his own household. He was portrayed in the 1969 stage play and the 1972 film "1776" by Ralston Hall. Thomson is depicted on the 7c postal card (and postal reply card) issued in 1975. ADS, Sept. 1813, no place (Philadelphia), 3 1/4 x 7 3/4 sight draft (check) to John Jones paying $50 to Frances Swain and Bird Wilson, sum to be charged to Thomson's account. At lower right, Wilson acknowledges payment on November 24, 1813. While technically not a Signer per se, Thomson played a great role in the process that brought about the drafting and adoption of the Declaration. BIRD WILSON (1777-1859) Son of Pennsylvania Signer James Wilson.

Condition: Very good, few mile vertical folds, one slight smear
Type:Check






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