One of the most important Cincinnati certificates to reach the market in decades; Eustis was the last surviving founding member .
William Eustis graduated from Harvard College in 1772. He then studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Warren, president of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress and early Patriot leader. Eustis was the particular favorite of Warren, and on the morning of April 19, 1775, after learning of the battle at Lexington, as Warren rode...
William Eustis graduated from Harvard College in 1772. He then studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Warren, president of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress and early Patriot leader. Eustis was the particular favorite of Warren, and on the morning of April 19, 1775, after learning of the battle at Lexington, as Warren rode to the scene of action he entrusted Eustis with the care of his patients. Eustis helped care for the wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where his mentor Warren was killed, and he then served the Continental Army as a chief surgeon of artillery and as a hospital surgeon. Eustis entered medical practice in Boston after the war and was surgeon with the Shays’ Rebellion expedition of 1786–1787. He served two terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1801 to 1804, beating John Quincy Adams in the latter election. President James Madison appointed him Secretary of War, and he served in this post from March 7, 1809 to January 13, 1813. During his tenure, he attempted to prepare the U.S. Army for the outbreak of the War of 1812. President Madison then named him U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, where he remained until 1818. Returning home, he was again elected to the House of Representatives and served from 1820 to 1823, presiding as chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs during this time. His final public service was as Governor of Massachusetts from 1823 to 1825.
The Society of the Cincinnati was founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the Revolutionary War officers and to pressure the government to honor pledges it had made to officers who fought for American independence. There were 61 American founding members, a handful of French. Among them were many of the great soldiers and political leaders of the war, Alexander Hamilton, George Clinton, Anthony Wayne, Nathanael Greene, and Eustis. George Washington took a great interest in the Society and was its first president. A gorgeous engraved membership certificate was produced on vellum, showing American Liberty with a Union Flag and eagle, as well as broken British emblems and Britannia herself fleeing America. These certificates, signed by Washington as Society president and General Henry Knox as Society, were presented to their former colleagues in arms.
Document Signed, Philadelphia, May 5, 1784, certifying “William Eustis, Esq., physician and surgeon of the hospitals of the United States,” as a member of the Society. In additional to Washington’s signature as president, Continental Army commander and future Secretary of War Henry Knox has signed as secretary of the Society. Because the ink so often took poorly to the sheepskin, these certificates often have uneven, faded or defective signatures of Washington, and overall foxing or discoloration. This magnificent document is one of the best we have seen. It remained in the Eustis family until the 1930s, after which it passed down to a friend. We obtained it recently from a descendant of that friend, and it has never before been offered for sale. It is one of the half dozen most significant Society certificates to reach the market in some four decades.
Eustis was personally interested in the Society of the Cincinnati, serving as the vice president of the Massachusetts chapter from 1786 to 1810 and again in 1820. He was its final surviving original member.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services