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Lot 40: Declaration Signer FRANCIS HOPKINSON + JOSEPH BORDEN Continental Congress Loan
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Declaration Signer Francis Hopkinson & Joseph Borden as Continental Congress Loan-Officer for New Jersey Receipt
FRANCIS HOPKINSON (1737 to 1791) & Colonel JOSEPH BORDEN (1719 to 1791). Hopkinson was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence as a Delegate from New Jersey, a Federal Judge, American Author, played a key role in the design of the First American Flag and in the design of the Great Seal of the United States.
January 24, 1780-Dated Revolutionary War, Document Signed, "F. Hopkinson" as Treasurer of Loans for the Continental Congress Loan-Office in Pennsylvania, together Countersigned, "J. Borden" as the New Jersey Continental Loan-Office Commissioner for that State, Choice New Mint. Continental Sight Draft #1322, payable to "Jonathan Robinson" for "Thirty-Six Dollars ... for Interest due on Money borrowed by the United States" and endoresed by him as paid on the blank reverse. Outstanding in its quality and eye appeal, measuring 3.75" x 8.25", with full margins and excellent centering. Partly-printed in black and gold, accomplished in manuscript on beautiful fresh bright special laid watermarked "UNITED STATES 3" period paper. Indented at left, notation on verso of payment instruction. One of the finest quality examples we have encountered and offered.
Colonel Joseph Borden's home in Bordentown, New Jersey. He was an American Patriot, represent New Jersey in the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, vocal in their protest of the pending "taxation without representation." Representative in the July 2, 1774, first Provincial Congress in New Brunswick, N.J., and again as a member of the Provincial Congress in Trenton during May, June, and August of 1775. Appointed New Jersey State Continental Treasurer on certificates issued by the U.S. Continental Loan Office as Loan Officer from 1777-1785 (interest-bearing bonds sold by the Continental Congress throughout the Revolutionary War).
Col. Joseph Borden (1719 to 1791) was an American Patriot in New Jersey who assumed the family business, making the Colonel a very influential businessman. His stature within the community allowed him to become involved in civic matters, and over the course of his life he held a number of designations.
In 1749, he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, and was appointed as a Judge in both 1757 and 1767. In 1761, he was elected to the Assembly as one of the two members representing Burlington County, and he served until 1769.
In 1765, at the age of 46, he was selected as one of three individuals to represent New Jersey in the Stamp Act Congress in New York (the other two representatives were Hendrick Fisher, a wealthy farmer, and Robert Ogden, the then speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, whose son Matthais would play a role in the minting of the infamous "New Jersey coppers"). The highly controversial Stamp Act was to take effect Nov. 1, 1765, and the colonists were vocal in their protest of the pending "taxation without representation."
Borden and Fisher both endorsed the appeal for the King to repeal the Act. Borden was chosen to partake in the July 2, 1774, first Provincial Congress in New Brunswick, N.J., and again as a member of the Provincial Congress in Trenton during May, June, and August of 1775. In early 1776 he was commissioned a Colonel of a militia regiment in New Jersey, but he resigned in September of the same year to accept the appointment of quartermaster, for which he was most likely better suited. Other civic duties included his appointment as a common pleas judge in both 1776 and 1781.
Accounts of interest payments made by the New Jersey State Treasurer on certificates issued by the U.S. Continental Loan Office (interest-bearing bonds sold by the Continental Congress throughout the Revolutionary War, first signed by U.S. Treasurer Michael Hillegas or his son, Samuel, and later Francis Hopkinson) which were sent to loan officers in each state to be sold to investors. Because the Continental government had great difficulty meeting its financial obligations (and in 1782 ceased making interest payments on Loan Office bonds), Congress urged the states to assist in paying these and other Continental debts.
In June 1783 the New Jersey legislature authorized payment of one year's interest on Loan Office certificates held by state residents. Accounts include payment date, voucher and certificate numbers, and names of Continental treasurer and N.J. state loan officer (chiefly Joseph Borden, Loan Officer from 1777-1785), as well as some officers from other states.
Francis Hopkinson (1737 to 1791) was born in Philadelphia, the first of eight children born to Thomas and Mary Hopkinson. Financially well off, the Hopkinsons enjoyed an admirable social standing, as Thomas was a respected attorney, the first president of the American Philosophical Society and the founder of the Academy of Philadelphia, which eventually became the University of Pennsylvania. He was also a friend and confidant of Benjamin Franklin and supposedly played the role of willing assistant during more than one of Franklin's experiments.
Thomas died when Francis was only 14. However, Mary made sure that Francis obtained a solid education at the school his father started. Francis earned his bachelors and masters degrees in 1757 and 1760 respectively. He initially studied law under venerable Philadelphia practitioner Benjamin Chew and was admitted to the bar soon thereafter in 1761. Despite his formal training, Francis' foray into the actual practice of law was limited, as he opted for a career in public service while aspiring to pursue his more creative side, drawing, painting, composing music and writing poetry, essays and politically tinged satires. Early on in his professional career, he obtained several lower level posts including that of customs collector in Salem, N.J., during 1763.
One area of success was his ability to marry well. In 1768 he married the aforementioned Ann "Nancy" Borden, and together they had nine children. Tragically, four of the children died at rather young ages. While being part of the well-heeled Borden family allowed him to continue his musical and literary pursuits, lest anyone mistake him for having no ambition he also continued his career in public service and in politics. In 1772 he obtained the post as the customs collector for the port of New Castle, Del.
In 1774, Hopkinson moved to Bordentown and made a second, more dedicated attempt at practicing law and also began to more seriously pursue politics. True to the cause of patriotism, he resigned his crown-appointed position as customs collector for Newcastle, and in June of 1776 he was elected as a delegate to represent New Jersey in the Second Continental Congress, and he became a Signor of the Declaration of Independence.
Leaving Congress in November of 1776, he briefly served on the Navy Board in Philadelphia, and in 1778 he also had a stint as the treasurer of the Continental Loan Office. Despite his increased public service activities, he still found time to indulge his artistic side, lending his talented hand to the design of several official government seals and the original Orrery Seal of the University of Pennsylvania.
Hopkinson's name is also linked, though not without debate, to the design of the American flag.
His creative pursuits took a musical turn as he penned the popular drinking song "The Battle Of The Kegs" - a satirical ditty based on the following event: some creative patriots fabricated makeshift torpedoes (affectionately called "marine turtles") by filling kegs with gun powder and floated them toward the Philadelphia Harbor, which was occupied by British ships. The British spent most of the night in a paranoid state shooting at the kegs (and any other flotsam), which, much to the dismay of their commanders, cast the world's most powerful navy in an embarrassing light.
He held other governmental and judicial positions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the 1780s as well as organizational roles with the American Philosophical Society and University of Pennsylvania along with its predecessor institutions.