University Archives


King’s Attorney Prosecutes Stamp Act in CT

STAMP ACT OF 1765. Autograph Document Signed by Jedediah Elderkin as “Jed a: Elderkin”, 2 pp., Hartford, Connecticut, November 9, 1768. Folds and mild toning, but fine overall. Ex-Christie’s, Sigety Collection.

This balance sheet reflects income and expenditures incurred through Elderkin’s position as King’s Attorney. Some of its interesting ledger entries refer to Slavery and Native Americans:

“To a Bill of Cost Agst Peter Negroe £18.18.5”
“To Cost Agst Mary an Indn Woman £16.2.0”
“To my Trouble & Expence to bring Actions Agst the Collectors of Excise per order of Assembly £3.10”

The wildly unpopular Stamp Act of 1765 taxed the American colonies so that Britain might recoup some of the expense of the costly French and Indian War from the region that stood to gain the most from the victory. The colonies resisted, arguing that only the colonial legislatures could legally enact taxation over them. Several colonial legislatures refused to comply with the Stamp Act, and the Connecticut Assembly passed its own resolution condemning it on December 19, 1765. Elderkin’s 1765 entry must refer to legal work he did on the colony’s behalf in suing collectors of the excise tax, perhaps including fellow King’s attorney Nathan Frink of Pomfret, who had been appointed deputy stamp-master for the northern part of Windham County.

Jedediah Elderkin (1718-1793) became one of the most successful attorneys in eastern Connecticut after his admission to the bar in 1747. He served as king’s attorney and later state’s attorney for Windham County from 1754 to 1766 and 1774 to 1788. He also served as Colonel of the 5th regiment of the Connecticut Militia during the French and Indian War, and later was a member of the convention in January 1788 to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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