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John Adams Inscribed: "Engd. by V. Balch from a Painting by G. Stuart"

John Adams


John Adams was the 2nd President of the United States. He was a member of the Federalist Party, and served as President from 1797 to 1801. John Adams also served as Vice President under George Washington. He was married to Abigail Adams.

The Autograph Book provides a rare engraved portrait, and a patent deed signed by Adams. The portrait was engraved by V. Balch from a Painting by Gilbert Stuart.

The patent deed is an early example of the type issued for lands in the United States military land reserve in Ohio. The reserve comprised approximately 2,500,000 acres and was created by and act of Congress in 1796. The document grants 4,000 acres in the reserve to Joseph Higher. The document was signed by President John Adams on April 2, 1800 and sealed with a white government "sunburst" paper-seal with eagle affixed at the bottom left. The document is also countersigned by Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering.

The patent deed refers to an act "regulating the grants of Land appropriated for Military services, and for the society of the United Brethren for propagating the gospel among the Heathen". This act offered land as enlistment compensation for those who served in the military, or as compensation for civilian losses during the Revolutionary War. The United Brethren was a missionary society dedicated to helping the "Heathen", which is a reference to Indians who suffered attacks during the Revolutionary War.

This particular type of land grant tends to be of interest to those studying the attitudes of the United States founding fathers toward the separation of church and state. The wording about spreading the gospel is seen here just nine months before Thomas Jefferson penned his now famous letter in January 1802 to the Danbury Baptists where he wrote that the Consitution provides a "wall of separation between the church and the state." However this phrase was probably used more as an identifier of the group receiving the land, and less as an intended purpose of what the land must be used for.

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John Adams The document reads in part:

Know Ye, That in pursuance of the act of Congress passed on the first day of June 1796, entitled " An Act regulating the grants of Land appropriated for Military Services, and for the society of the United Brethren for "propagating the gospel among the Heathen;" and of the several acts supplementary thereto passed on the second day of March 1799, and on the eleventh day of February and first of March 1800, there is granted unto Joseph Higher a certain tract of land estimated to contain Four Thousand acres being the first quarter of the first Township in the fifteenth Range of the tract appropriated for satisfying Warrants for Military Services;

John Adams The patent deed is signed by John Adams, and is countersigned by Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering.

John Adams Government "sunburst" paper-seal impressed with eagle symbol.