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Charles Thomson Signed Congressional Circular Document to "His Excellency The President of New Hampshire" 1786

CHARLES THOMSON (1729-1824). Irish born American Patriot Leader in Philadelphia during the American Revolution, and was the First and Only Secretary of the Continental Congress throughout its existence (1774-1789); helped design the "Great Seal" of the United States.

October 4, 1786-Dated, Manuscript Circular Document Signed, "Cha(rle)s Thomson" addressed to "His Excellency The President of New Hampshire," 1 page, measuring 8" x 10", Choice Extremely Fine. This beautiful quality Document was sent for transmitting copies of a Congressional Journal from the "Office of Secretary of Congress." It is of excellent eye appeal being exceptional in the quality of its fancy penmanship, written on clean fine quality laid period paper. From 1786 to 1791, the title "President of the State of New Hampshire" was the official position now referred to as Governor. The New Hampshire Constitution was amended in 1791 to officially replace the title of "President" with "Governor". Revolutionary War General John Sullivan (1740-1795) of the Federalist Party, was Acting "President" at the time of this Document, serving between June 7, 1786 to June 4, 1788. Docket on the blank reverse reads: "from the Secretary of Congress enclosing Journals of Congress October 4, 1786..."

Additional Information:

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.

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'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, together 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.
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