PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON - DOCUMENT SIGNED 10/18/1787 CO-SIGNED BY: JOHN FITZGERALD, GEORGE GILPIN, GERRARD GREEN - HFSID 288292
GEORGE WASHINGTON Just returned from presiding at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, he endorses receipt of materials to be used on a favorite project: construction of a canal linking Virginia (and what will become Washington) to the West.
Sale Price $27,200.00
GEORGE WASHINGTON Just returned from presiding at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, he endorses receipt of materials to be used on a favorite project: construction of a canal linking Virginia (and what will become Washington) to the West. Also signed by company directors and personal friends George Gilpin and John Fitzgerald. Document signed: "G. Washington", "John Fitzgerald", "George Gilpin" and "Gerrard Green" (twice), 2 pages (front and verso), 7¾x5¼. [Mount Vernon], 1787 October 18. Signed by Washington, Fitzgerald and Gilpin as Directors of the Powtowmack Company on verso, and by Green on both sides. Recto reads, in full: "Alexandria [Virginia] June 2d, 1787 Recd. of Wm. Hartshorne Two Iron fifty Six weights, one quire paper, Ten quarter Casks Powder, Two Bundles Soal Leather, one Bundle upper Leather, and one Keg Nails - to be delivered to James Smith at the Great Falls of Potomac - for which I have received one Dollar & a Quarter for the carriage thereof [signed] Gerar Green." On verso, above signatures: "No. 84. Gerrard Green recd. for Leather &c &c, carriage pd 716 - June 2d. 1787 -Pass'd Oct. 18th 1787". On September 17, 1787, GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799) as President of the Convention, had signed the draft Constitution and also a Letter of Transmittal to the Continental Congress. He then hurried home from Philadelphia to Virginia. Although Washington's support lent enormous credibility to the proposed Constitution, he took no active part in the ratification debates which now began in the 13 states. He turned instead to domestic concerns at his Mount Vernon estate and to the pet project shown in this document. Washington envisioned a canal which would ultimately link the new national capital and the State of Virginia to the Ohio River, and even the Great Lakes, to compete with the great northern project which became New York's Erie Canal. In 1785, Washington had founded and invested in the Powtowmack Company, with this ultimate goal and with the short-term objective of building a series of skirting canals around the Great Falls of the Potomac, near Mount Vernon and the port of Alexandria. (Washington, D.C., of course, did not yet exist.) Washington's vision was eventually realized with completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (1831-1924), which stretched 184.5 miles into the hinterland with a system of 74 locks. Unlike the Erie Canal, the C&O Canal was never a great economic success, although it did keep Washington D.C. supplied with coal. No longer a functioning canal system, the C&O is popular today with Washington area hikers, joggers, and picnickers. GEORGE GILPIN (1740-1813), an Alexandria, Virginia merchant and surveyor, and a civic leader, was a friend and distant relative of Washington. He was one of four directors of the Powtowmack Company, under Washington as company president. JOHN FITZGERALD immigrated from Ireland in 1769, establishing a successful dry goods business in Alexandria. In the Continental Army, rising to the rank of colonel, he became an aide-de-camp and lifelong friend to Washington, and would dine frequently at Mount Vernon in later years. In 1785, he became a Director of the Powtowmack Company, and in 1786 Mayor of Alexandria. A prominent Catholic, he became a benefactor of Georgetown College, founded 1792. President Washington appointed him Collector of Customs at Alexandria - then still an important port - in 1793. In that position, the now ailing Fitzgerald was apparently defrauded by his deputy, who forged his signature on financial documents. Fitzgerald died impoverished in 1799. No further information is available on Gerrard Green beyond his employment by the Powtowmack Company. Edges and corners frayed. Paper tape at lower edge. Multiple mailing folds. Lightly toned and worn. Otherwise, fine condition. Accompanied by PSA/DNA LOA.
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