Lot 81: June 1, 1775 JOHN RUTLEDGE Paid 50 S.C. Colonial Currency - Finest PMG Certifed
October 29, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Important "John Rutledge" Payment June 1, 1775 South Carolina & The Finest PMG Certified Fifty Pounds Note
(JOHN RUTLEDGE) (1739-1800). American Statesman and Judge, the First Governor of South Carolina following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, who held dictatorial powers in that state, important Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and Signer of the United States Constitution, George Washington appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court twice, as an Associate and later the Chief Justice.
South Carolina. COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, June 1, 1775, large size format, Indent Certificate Note for "Fifty Pounds Currency" Payment Specified as being Due to "John Rutledge, Esqr." (not signed). PMG graded Very Fine-20. Fr. SC-101. This historic Revolutionary War South Carolina currency rarity is the single Finest PMG Certified. This important Engraved Indent Certificate note is extremely rare, having a large 4.5" x 6.5" format. It is handwritten within its text as being made to "John Rutledge" (1739-1800), an American Statesman and Judge, the First Governor of South Carolina following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Rutledge was an important Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he Signed the United States Constitution. He served as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and was the Second Chief Justice of the Court from July to December 1795. John Rutledge was the elder brother of Edward Rutledge, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
This historic South Carolina note has excellent margins, strong full brown signatures and a choice overall appearance, with strong eye appeal well exceeding the PMG grade. Holder states net grade for partially re-attached split repairs, which refers to a small expert sealed split area of the top centerfold. The reverse side has a engraved ornate banner scroll design, with a printed legend within it reading, "FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD". Overall, this impressive note has choice eye appeal and is sharp and clear in its detail. An excellent top example for display.
John Rutledge (1739 - 1800) was an American Statesman and Judge, the First Governor of South Carolina following the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the 31st overall.
John Rutledge, elder brother of Edward Rutledge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born into a large family at or near Charleston, SC, in 1739. He received his early education from his father, an Irish immigrant and physician, and from an Anglican minister and a tutor. After studying law at London's Middle Temple in 1760, he was admitted to English practice. But, almost at once, he sailed back to Charleston to begin a fruitful legal career and to amass a fortune in plantations and slaves. Three years later, he married Elizabeth Grimke, who eventually bore him 10 children, and moved into a townhouse, where he resided most of the remainder of his life.
In 1761 Rutledge became politically active. That year, on behalf of Christ Church Parish, he was elected to the provincial assembly and held his seat until the War for Independence. For 10 months in 1764 he temporarily held the post of provincial attorney general. When the troubles with Great Britain intensified about the time of the Stamp Act in 1765, Rutledge, who hoped to ensure continued self-government for the colonies, sought to avoid severance from the British and maintained a restrained stance. He did, however, chair a committee of the Stamp Act Congress that drew up a petition to the House of Lords.
In 1774 Rutledge was sent to the First Continental Congress, where he pursued a moderate course. After spending the next year in the Second Continental Congress, he returned to South Carolina and helped reorganize its government. In 1776 he served on the committee of safety and took part in the writing of the state constitution. That year, he also became president of the lower house of the legislature, a post he held until 1778. During this period, the new government met many stern tests.
In 1778 the conservative Rutledge, disapproving of democratic revisions in the state constitution, resigned his position. The next year, however, he was elected as governor. It was a difficult time. The British were invading South Carolina, and the military situation was desperate. Early in 1780, by which time the legislature had adjourned, Charleston was besieged. In May it fell, the American army was captured, and the British confiscated Rutledge's property. He ultimately escaped to North Carolina and set about attempting to rally forces to recover South Carolina. In 1781, aided by Gen. Nathanael Greene and a new Continental Army force, he reestablished the government. In January 1782 he resigned the governorship and took a seat in the lower house of the legislature. He never recouped the financial losses he suffered during the war.
In 1782-83 Rutledge was a delegate to the Continental Congress. He next sat on the state chancery court (1784) and again in the lower house of the legislature (1784-90). One of the most influential delegates at the Constitutional Convention, where he maintained a moderate nationalist stance and chaired the Committee of Detail, he attended all the sessions, spoke often and effectively, and served on five committees. Like his fellow South Carolina delegates, he vigorously advocated southern interests.
The new government under the Constitution soon lured Rutledge. He was a Presidential elector in 1789 and George Washington then appointed him as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but for some reason he apparently served only a short time. In 1791 he became Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Four years later, George Washington again appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time as Chief Justice to replace John Jay. But Rutledge's outspoken opposition to Jay'sTreaty (1794), and the intermittent mental illness he had suffered from since the death of his wife in 1792, caused the Federalist-dominated Senate to reject his appointment and end his public career. Meantime, however, he had presided over one term of the Court.
Rutledge died in 1800 at the age of 60 and was interred at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Charleston.