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Lot 38: MATTHEW GRISWOLD Manuscript Document Signed, Border Dispute RI, CT
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1728 Matthew Griswold Governor of Connecticut Signed True Copy of a Letter from Joseph Jenckes, Gov. of R.I.
MATTHEW GRISWOLD (1714-1799). 17th Governor of Connecticut from 1784 to 1786, also served as the First Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of the Superior Court, during the American Revolution (1769-1784).
Official Manuscript Copy of an April 12, 1728-Dated Manuscript Document Signed (on Verso, "Matthew Griswold," as Governor of Connecticut, 2 pages, front & back, measuring 8" x 12.5", About Fine. This Document being a true copy of an earlier letter received from Joseph Jenckes, then Governor of Rhode Island, endorsed by Griswold, to Govenor "Joseph Talcott Esqr. Governor of Conn.(ecticut)" (1669-1741) who was the 27th Governor of the Connecticut Colony from 1724 until his death in 1741. This historic Letter in regards to the various disputes including the border between the two Colonies. It reads, in part:
"... The said letter informs that at that time you had not receiv'd any amount from Great Brittain of the Settlement of the line between the Colonies. Yet nevertheless at the Session of our Assembly in February last, Many of the members thereof being desirous that the said line might be settled according to his Majesties' Determination, as well for preventing for the future such unreasonable destruction made upon their timber as for more than twenty years past has been made by Connecicut men...".
Separation at center horizontal fold has been repaired with archival tape, affecting some text but all remains legible. Some paper loss at top center and other splits also repaired with archival tape. Age toned and some dampstaining, but the script remains crisp and dark, quite readable. Great historical content about the border dispute between two colonies which interestingly continues to the present day. An important, historical and foundational document.
Griswold was born in Lyme, Connecticut, the eldest son of John Griswold, politician and landowner, and Hannah (Lee) Griswold. He was the fourth generation of his family to live in Connecticut; the Griswold Family family had emigrated there from England in 1639. They were one of the wealthiest and most respected families in Lyme; several Griswolds served in public office in Connecticut over the generations.
In his mid-twenties, he decided to study law. He was admitted to the New London Bar in 1742 and opened a practice in Lyme. Many of his legal cases involved settling estates and collecting debts. He became a well-liked and respected teacher of the law as well and over the years developed the one of the first and finest collections of law books in Connecticut.
He married then Deputy Governor Roger Wolcott's daughter Ursula on November 10, 1743, and had seven children with her. Their son, Roger Griswold, later also became Governor of Connecticut.
His reputation as a fair and hard working lawyer won Griswold the appointment of King's Attorney for New London County. The King's Attorney represented the interests of England and her colonies in court. That Griswold held this position for over thirty years stands as a testimony to both his ability as a lawyer and his fair-mindedness. Griswold's busy law practice, as well as his duties as King's Attorney, left much of the management of Black Hall to Ursula.
Griswold was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1748, and from 1751 to 1759. He was then elected to the Council of Assistants, serving from 1759 to 1769. Griswold and eight other Council-members demonstrated opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 when Governor Thomas Fitch was required to take an oath to support it. Griswold became a member of the Sons of Liberty, who publicly protested the Stamp Act.
In each of the years from 1769 to 1784, he was elected Deputy Governor of Connecticut. In that position, he also served as Chief Justice of the Superior Court. During this time, he was concerned about education, and was a member of a committee to improved teaching at Yale College. Yale awarded him a Doctor of Laws in 1779, in appreciation.