Benjamin Franklin 1785 Document Signed – Stunning Example


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Manuscript vellum document signed (DS) “B. Franklin Presd”, one page, approx. 15.75 x 14.5, October 20, 1785. Franklin grants Joseph Swift the “Digby” tract in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, measuring just over 310 acres in size. Signed in the left border by Franklin as President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and countersigned by John Armstrong, Jr.

Matted and framed to an overall size of 32 x 24. An impressive display.

In very good condition, with expected intersecting folds, light toning along folds, a few spots to bottom blank portion.  Truly exceptional Franklin autograph. The large eight-point embossed paper seal is toned, but crisp, with paper loss to several points. Franklin had only recently returned from France: he left Passy on July 12th and arrived in Philadelphia on September 14, 1785. He wasted no time returning to public affairs, serving as president of his state’s executive council until taking a seat in the Constitutional Convention in May of 1787.

The Executive Council comprised the executive branch of the Pennsylvania state government between 1777 and 1790. It was headed by a president and vice president (similar to a governor and lieutenant governor), with Franklin, its sixth president, being the most well-known. His presidency was one of his last acts of public service, as he died less than two years after leaving office.