ORIGINAL DOCUMENT SIGNED BY PROMINENT REVOLUTIONARY WAR-ERA SOUTH CAROLINIANS HENRY LAURENS AND KEATING SMITH, EARLY AMERICAN PATRIOTS AND SLAVE TRADERS
LAURENS, Henry. Document signed. Charleston, July 3, 1798. Single leaf of cream laid paper, measuring 10-1/4 by 14-1/2 inches; pp.2. $5500.
Engraved power of attorney document partially completed in manuscript in 1798, granting power attorney to the Cashier of the United States Bank (America's de facto Central Bank) over the affairs of prominent South Carolinians and Revolutionary War personalities, Henry Laurens and Keating Simons.
The document, partially completed in a manuscript secretarial hand, bearing the seals of the signatories and notary, and also signed by Henry Laurens and Keating Simons, reads: "Know all men by these presents, that we Henry Laurens and Keating Simons both of Charleston in the State of South Carolina do make, constitute, and appoint George Simpson of the City of Philadelphia Esquire Cashier of the Bank of the United States our true and lawful Attorney for us, and in our Names as Trustees for Bordieu Chollett and Bordieu of London merchants, to review the Dividends of which are or shall be payable according to Law on the Six per Cent stock standing in our Names as Trustees for the said Bordieu Chollett and Bordieu, on the Books of John Neufville Esquire commissioner of Loans—this power commencing from the thirty first of december one thousand seven Hundred and Ninety Six, to the present day with Power also, an Attorney, or Attornies under him, for that Purpose to make and substitute, and to do all lawful Acts for effecting the premises, hereby ratifying and confirming all that our said Attorney, or his Substitute, or Substitutes, shall do therein by Virtue hereof. IN WITNESS whereof, We have hereunto set our Hands & Seals, the Third Day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety=Eight. [signed] Henry Laurens Keating Simons [with witness signatures and notarization]." This document assigns power of attorney to George Simpson of Philadelphia, the administrator of Bank of the United States, which was the America's first central bank. The assignors, Henry Laurens and Keating Simons, were both prominent citizens from South Carolina. Laurens, the father of Washington's aide-de-camp John Laurens, was a successful merchant, slave trader (the primary source of his wealth), and farmer. During the Revolutionary War, his business success propelled him into a leadership role, even becoming, for a time, United States Minister to the Netherlands—a position that resulted in his capture at sea by the British and a lengthy imprisonment in the Tower of London. A delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Laurens succeeded John Hancock as President of the Congress. Laurens also signed the Articles of Confederation. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and President of the Continental Congress when the Articles were passed on November 15, 1777. Keating Simons was similarly situated before the war, becoming the owner of Lewisfield Plantation before serving under General Marion in the Revolution and becoming a prisoner of war. By 1798, both men were extremely wealthy. This document discusses their positions as co-trustees for Bordieu Chollett and Bordieu of London, prominent international trading firms, involved with the British and French East India Companies and the slave trade. Accompanied by an engraved portrait of Henry Laurens. This item was bound into an extra-illustrated copy of the "History of the City of New York" circa 1872, in the possession of Emery E. Childs, and while the book—expanded to 21 volumes—has passed through several hands, this particular document has not been on the market since it was bound in, a happy circumstance that has also maintained this fragile document in its current condition. Docketing on verso.
Paper fold reinforced on verso, mild toning mainly at creases. near-fine condition.