Autographed Document Signed about Government Land
Place Published: Annapolis
Date Published: 1783
Description: 2 pages (front and back), 12.5 x 8 inches, Annapolis, December 26, 1783. This rare and important document is the original report of Thomas Hutchins' survey "to the Commissioners for viewing the ground near to Trenton for a federal town," copied verbatim in Gerry's hand (and signed "Thomas Hutchins" by Gerry) while a member of the Committee -- a retained report he used when furthering his original motion before the Confederation Congress, in part: "...You will receive herewith plans of the ground you directed me to survey above and below the Falls of Delaware - leave has been taken to mark on the plans all the elevations and descriptions of the ground as well as the level, clearing, woods, sands, etc. The situation of the ground on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware is very high, airy and healthy...commanding a most extensive and delightful prospect over Trenton Lamberton several miles up or down the river, where the soil is a mixture of clay of which any quantity of brick may be made and the high ground permits plenty of springs of good water. The land on the Jersey side of the river also affords a very delightful prospect, but with less variety and extent. The soil is light but good, the situation of water is healthy...and there are no stones on the spot for building, nor clay for bricks nearer than two miles. Yet, as tide water flows to this place - materials may easily be conveyed to it..." On October 6, 1783, a motion was made before the Confederation Congress by Elbridge Gerry "that buildings for the use of Congress be erected on the banks of the Delaware near Trenton, or of the Potomac, near Georgetown, provided a suitable district can be procured on one of the rivers as aforesaid, for a federal town." The amendment left only the names of the rivers and it was finally resolved that the site should be "near the Delaware falls, that is Trenton on the Jersey side, or in Pennsylvania on the opposite side." Note: we could not locate the original of Thomas Hutchins' survey or a true copy that might have been presented to Congress, lending credence that they may have been destroyed when the British burnt Washington, D.C. in 1814. A one-inch chip at the top left corner affects one word on each side; two minor tape stains do not affect the text; partial tearing along the folds; smaller chip on the bottom left corner; tiny closed tears in the top and bottom margins. Good condition.
Comments: Signer of the Declaration of Independence and fifth Vice President of the United States.Signed: Y
Book ID: 250264