Rare Thomas Johnson Rev. War-Dated MDS, Future U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice
1p manuscript document signed by Thomas Johnson (1732-1819), future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as "T Johnson J.W." at lower right. Signed "In Council" somewhere in Maryland on July 23, 1781. On a slip of laid paper. Countersigned by both an auditor and the money recipient. Docketed verso. Expected wear including paper folds and light edge darkening. A tiny area of loss at center mentioned just for accuracy. Else near fine. 7.25" x 4.75." Provenance: From the famous Supreme Court collection of Scott Petersen.
Future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Thomas Johnson directed administrators to extend
£10 of Bills of Credit to Lieutenant William Murdoch. Transcribed in part, with original spelling and punctuation:
"Ordered That the western shore Treasurer pay to Lieut William Murdoch Ten Pounds of the Bills of Credit emitted under the 'Act for the Emission of Bills of Credit not exceeding two hundred thousand Pounds +ca' of the Money appropriated for the Expences of the present Campaign agreeable to a Resolution of this Board of the 22d Inst…"
The Articles of Confederation had finally been ratified by all thirteen states just five months earlier, on March 1, 1781. Maryland was the last state to agree to its terms, due to territorial squabbles with New York and Virginia regarding the vaguely defined limits of the Northwest Territory. The "western shore Treasurer" referred to in this directive must have been acutely aware of this ongoing dispute. After the war, Lieutenant William Murdoch was granted four lots of land west of Fort Cumberland (modern day Cumberland, Maryland) in recognition of his Revolutionary War service.
Thomas Johnson was nominated as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington. He served only six months between August 1792 and January 1793, making him the shortest-serving justice in the Court's history. Johnson is also notable as the first justice to submit the Court's written opinion in Georgia v. Brailsford (1792). Johnson was a Maryland delegate to the Continental Congress and the first non-colonial governor of Maryland.
Johnson's signature is the rarest among U.S. Supreme Court justices, according to The Manuscript Society.
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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