Roger Sherman/Samuel Canfield/John Warner, Signed Land Deed, 1753
Roger Sherman (Declaration of Independence Signer), Samuel Canfield (Justice of Peace), John Warner | Partially printed land deed | March 5, 1753 | Signed on laid paper | 12.25″ x 7.5″ | Condition: expected folds with small spots of paper loss along folds, light chipping to edges, with one 1″ corner chip not affecting text. Verso with tape repair along outer fold seams. Overall toned and lightly stained commensurate with age. Remnants of red wax seal still present lower right.
The land deed signed by Roger Sherman (as a legal witness), for land based in his home town of New Milford – the town where Sherman moved to at the youthful age of 19, shortly after the death of his father in 1742 and set up shop keeping. From this position, Sherman gained access into Connecticut political circles, and in 1753, he was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly and was admitted to the Litchfield bar which would coincide with the signing of this land deed.
Roger Sherman represents one of the most under-appreciated founding fathers of the United States. This fact is lamentable, given Sherman’s immense contributions to the founding of this country. In addition to holding the distinction of being the only founder to participate in authoring and signing all four significant founding documents (The Articles of Association, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution), he also deserves credit for enshrining federalism in the US Constitution and for suggesting many of the key compromises that led to the formation of a broad coalition of interests that could support the Constitution.
At the time of the signing of this land deed, Sherman had already published an article entitled “A Caveat Against Injustice”, in which he argued against the prevalence of cheap paper money being issued by the New England Colonies, especially Rhode Island (Hall, 43). In this essay, he argues that governments are limited in what actions they can take when infringing on personal liberty by stating, “And I think it is a Principle that must be granted that no Government has Right to impose on its Subjects any foreign Currency to be received in Payments as Money which is not of intrinsick Value” (“A Caveat,” sec 11). For the Connecticut government to force its residents to accept Rhode Island’s inflated currency as payments for debt would violate Connecticut debt holders’ rights to their private property and would be an unjustifiable government intrusion into the economic sphere. Sherman’s views on Connecticut’s monetary policies demonstrate that he recognized that limits to government power exist and the importance of safeguarding personal liberty and rights.
This period of Sherman’s life was the launch pad from which he then actively pursued his governmental and political beliefs culminating in his participation with the Stamp Act of 1765, and ultimately The Articles of Association, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
A important early signed example of one of our founding fathers
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