VERY-RARE AND IMPORTANT THOMAS JEFFERSON PRESIDENTIAL LAND GRANT PROVIDING FOR ‘PROPAGATING, THE GOSPEL AMONG THE HEATHEN’
BOLDLY SIGNED BY HIM AS PRESIDENT AND JAMES MADISON, AS SECRETARY OF STATE
JEFFERSON, THOMAS. (1743-1826). Third President of the United States (1801-1809) and author of the Declaration of Independence. Partially-Printed Document Signed, “Th. Jefferson,” as President. Countersigned by Secretary of State JAMES MADISON [(1751-1836) 4th President of the United States]. One page, oblong folio, vellum [previously folded]. Washington, Aril 12, 1805. Paper wafer Seal of State affixed at lower left with red-wax. The document reads, in part:
‘’Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America, To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye, that in persurance of the act of Congress, passed on the first day of June 1796, entitled : An act regulating the grants of Land appropriated for Military Services and for the society of the United Brethren for propagating the gospel among the heathen’’, and of the third day of March 1803 and the 19th March 1804, There is granted unto Richard Gernon, assignee of Edward Quigley, a soldier in the late army of the United States…a certain tract of land estimated at One Hundred acres….”
The land grant act under which this document is authorized was first passed in June of 1796, in the last term of George Washington’s administration. While land grants are not by any means ‘rare’, this specimen containing the act to “spread the Gospel among the Heathen” certainly is. Fully enacted in John Adams’ administration to encourage bringing the Christian Gospel to the Native American Indian populations, this form of land grant usually has Adams’ name imprinted on it, or is left in blank, with a manuscript insertion of the president’s name. Those land grants are quite rare and attract a premium whenever encountered. This specimen is only the 2nd one we can recall encountering with Jefferson’s name imprinted at the top. Jefferson and Madison’s signatures are nicely penned and quite strong. The vellum is light cream, and the Seal of the United States is complete with all its paper points intact. Just a remarkable piece of Americana, with the added significance of it’s importance showing our early government’s involvement with the indigenous native American populations.