September 23, 2021 10:00 EST

Books and Manuscripts

 
  Lot 7
 
Lot 7 - [American Revolution] Jay, John

7

[American Revolution] Jay, John
Printed Document, signed

The Continental Congress repays France's secret agent who funneled supplies and armaments to the Continental Army during the early years of the American Revolution

Philadelphia, June 15, 1779. One sheet, 5 1/4 x 10 1/8 in. (133 x 257 mm). Partially-printed document, signed by Founding Father John Jay, as President of the Continental Congress; addressed to "the Hon. Benjamin Franklin, Esq; Minister Plenipotentiary...", authorizing the payment of 29,000 livres tournois to French dramatist, diplomat, and spy, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, for his clandestine efforts to supply Americans during the Revolution; counter-signed by Charles Thomson, as Secretary of Congress, and John Gibson, as Auditor General.

A rare document attesting to the clandestine efforts of the French government, and de Beaumarchais, in support of American Independence in the opening years of the American Revolution.

Before France officially joined the war in 1778, de Beaumarchais urged the French government to support the American cause. Hesitant to openly side with the fledgling Americans, lest risk war with Great Britain, Louis XVI agreed to funnel much needed support through unofficial channels. With the help of American merchant, Silas Deane of Connecticut, and French diplomat, Chevalier d'Éon, de Beaumarchais organized a phantom company based in Spain--Roderigue Hortalez and Company--as a conduit to funnel arms, money, and supplies. The French government would provide loans to the company, which would then purchase arms and supplies, and then re-sell them to the Americans. By 1778 de Beaumarchais and Hortalez and Co. had accumalated a significant amount of debt, and due to the French government's inability to recognize the payments for neutrality's sake, they were on the verge of financial collapse. It was not until June of 1779 that Congress--through the intervention of de Beaumarchais's agent--authorized the Treasury to prepare bills of exhange in order to repay de Beaumarchais. This document, given to de Beaumarchais, was only one of many bills of exchange given to him to repay his debt.

Very Rare. We can locate only three other similar documents, each for different amounts, as having ever been on the market. A fine example.

Stack's Bowers Galleries, New York, 2012, Lot 7321

Sold for $6,930
Estimated at $8,000 - $12,000


 

The Continental Congress repays France's secret agent who funneled supplies and armaments to the Continental Army during the early years of the American Revolution

Philadelphia, June 15, 1779. One sheet, 5 1/4 x 10 1/8 in. (133 x 257 mm). Partially-printed document, signed by Founding Father John Jay, as President of the Continental Congress; addressed to "the Hon. Benjamin Franklin, Esq; Minister Plenipotentiary...", authorizing the payment of 29,000 livres tournois to French dramatist, diplomat, and spy, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, for his clandestine efforts to supply Americans during the Revolution; counter-signed by Charles Thomson, as Secretary of Congress, and John Gibson, as Auditor General.

A rare document attesting to the clandestine efforts of the French government, and de Beaumarchais, in support of American Independence in the opening years of the American Revolution.

Before France officially joined the war in 1778, de Beaumarchais urged the French government to support the American cause. Hesitant to openly side with the fledgling Americans, lest risk war with Great Britain, Louis XVI agreed to funnel much needed support through unofficial channels. With the help of American merchant, Silas Deane of Connecticut, and French diplomat, Chevalier d'Éon, de Beaumarchais organized a phantom company based in Spain--Roderigue Hortalez and Company--as a conduit to funnel arms, money, and supplies. The French government would provide loans to the company, which would then purchase arms and supplies, and then re-sell them to the Americans. By 1778 de Beaumarchais and Hortalez and Co. had accumalated a significant amount of debt, and due to the French government's inability to recognize the payments for neutrality's sake, they were on the verge of financial collapse. It was not until June of 1779 that Congress--through the intervention of de Beaumarchais's agent--authorized the Treasury to prepare bills of exhange in order to repay de Beaumarchais. This document, given to de Beaumarchais, was only one of many bills of exchange given to him to repay his debt.

Very Rare. We can locate only three other similar documents, each for different amounts, as having ever been on the market. A fine example.

Stack's Bowers Galleries, New York, 2012, Lot 7321

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