Rare Society of the Cincinnati membership certificate signed by George Washington as president of the society of the Cincinnati
George Washington Autograph Document Signed.
Item Number: 101412
Philadelphia: May 5th, 1784.
Rare autograph document signed by George Washington as President of the Society of the Cincinnati during the first general meeting of the Society and 5 years prior to his election and inauguration as the first President of the United States of America. One page partially printed on vellum with engraved vignettes by Auguste L. Belle after Jean-Jacques Andre LeVeau depicting America in knight’s armor trampling upon the British standard and the American eagle casting the British lion and Britannia out to sea with thunderbolts, engraved seal of the Order of the Cincinnati. The document reads: Be it known that Lieutenant William Andrews is a member of the society of the Cincinnati instituted by the Officers of the American Army at the Period of Dissolution, as well to commemorate the great Event which gave Independence to North American, as for the laudable Purpose of inculcating the Duty of laying down in Peace Arms assumed for public Defence, and of uniting in Acts of brotherly Affection and Bonds of perpetual Friendship the Members constituting the same. In Testimony whereof I, the President of the said Society have hereunto set my hand at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania this fifth day of may in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Four and in the Eighth Year of the Independence of the United States. By Order, ” “H. Knox” Secretary “G. Washington” President. William Andrews was commissioned a lieutenant on 1 January 1777 with the Third Continental Artillery. His regiment wintered at Valley Forge, andthe following June, Andrews was captured and held by the British in New York until he was exchanged in September 1781. In fine condition. Double matted and framed with an engraved portrait of Washington. The entire piece measures 36 inches by 23 inches. An exceptional example.
Conceived of by Henry Knox in an effort to establish a fraternal organization for all officers who had served in the American War for Independence, The Society of the Cincinnati was founded in early May 1783 at the headquarters of General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben at Verplanck House in Fishkill, New York. The three guiding principles of the organization were: First, "An incessant attention to preserve inviolate those exalted rights and liberties of human nature, for which they have fought and bled. …" Second, "An unalterable determination to promote and cherish between the respective States, that union and national honor so essentially necessary to their happiness, and the future dignity of the American empire." And third, "To render permanent the cordial affection subsisting among the officers. This spirit will dictate brotherly kindness in all things, and particularly, extend to the most substantial acts of beneficence, according to the ability of the Society, towards those officers and their families, who unfortunately may be under the necessity of receiving it." The concept of using Cincinnatus as an emblem of the Order was particularly resonant with Americans since the life of this mid-fifth century Roman nobleman and farmer closely paralleled that of many who had served, with George Washington in the vanguard. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was called upon to repel two hostile tribes that threatened Rome. He issued his orders, which were efficiently carried out, and vanquished the enemy. Although elected a dictator for six months and voted a triumph by the Senate, Cincinnatus stepped down just after fifteen days and returned to private life on his farm. Similarly, at the conclusion of hostilities, Washington returned to his plantation at Mount Vernon.