• The Society Of The Cincinnati Rhode Island Chapter Approaches Delinquent Members -- Honor Is At Stake

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    One-page, 7 ¼ x 8 7/8 document signed by Officers of the Rhode Island chapter of the Society of The Cincinnati, Providence, 7 September 1790. Beautifully written in neat brown ink. Addressed to “Sir.”

    “The Standing Committee of the Society of the Cincinnati of this state having a report of the state of the Treasury before them together with a list of deficiencies due from the respective members find you in arrears as to the inclosed amount.

    “The Committee do therefore most earnestly request you immediately to discharge the said balance, the honor of the Society being deeply interested in the discharge of subsisting demands, we trust your sense of honor in joining the institution will induce you to comply with this reasonable and necessary request without further delay.

    “We are


    “Your Most Obed. Humble Servants,”

    The document is signed by Colonel Jeremiah Olney (1749-1812), a founding member, treasurer, and president of the Rhode Island chapter; Colonel Ephraim Bowen Jr. (1753-1841), vice president; Reverend Enos Hitchcock (1745-1803), a member of the Rhode Island chapter; William Allen [possibly Captain William Henry Allen (1784-1813); and Thomas Smart.  These critics would have mocked the honor of the Society had members failed to pay their dues.

    The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by veteran officers of the Revolutionary War, according to the organization’s website. George Washington was not directly involved in the organization’s founding but joined shortly after its creation. Membership was limited to Revolutionary War officers and their male descendants. The society was divided into a national organization with state societies. Critics believed the society to be anti-egalitarian and a nefarious shadow government seeking to overthrow the Confederation.

    Folds, light toning. One edge tear touching the “S” in the salutation “Sir.” Reinforced on verso with archival tape.  Remnants of light mounting residue on verso. Pencil notation identifying the document in another hand, which can be easily removed.

    A wonderful piece of American history, reflecting the new country’s aristocratic roots.

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