Curious about the seal on the commission signed by Thomas Jefferson in Joe’s posting above - do we know what inscription or image is on the seal?
Moved this to a new thread since it is heraldic but has nothing to do with the style of esquire.
I can’t make out the seal on the Virginia commission in the picture. It would probably be the seal adopted by the Virginia Convention on July 5, 1776, which apart from artistic changes is the same seal used today, Virtus trampling on fallen Tyranny with the motto Sic semper tyrannis.
In some of the colonies (I know Pennsylvania for one), colonial governors sealed militia commissions with their personal seals of arms, but this wasn’t the practice in Virginia, so I wouldn’t expect Jefferson’s personal seal on this document. He did use a different seal on Land Office documents when he was governor, which had a version of the arms that Pierre Eugéne du Simitière had designed for the reverse of the state seal at Jefferson’s request in late 1776. (Jefferson disliked the original reverse, which depicted the Roman goddesses of eternity, liberty, and the harvest.) Du Simitière’s proposal was never officially adopted, but I guess TJ like it enough to use it for land grants. I haven’t found it used under other governors, but I guess an excursion through the land office archives at the Library of Virginia would be necessary to say one way or the other.
Du Simitière’s blazon and explanation were, "Field: a cross of St. George Gules (as a remnant of the ancient coat of arms shewing the origin of the Virginians to be English), having in the center a sharp pointed knife in pale, blade Argent handle Or, alluding to the name the Indians have given to that State. In the first quarter Argent a tobacco plant fleury proper; in the second Argent two wheat sheafs in saltire proper; in the third argent a stalk of Indian corn full ripe proper; in the fourth Vert four fesses wavy Argent alluding to the four great rivers of Virginia."
Thanks! I had reread your article on TJ’s arms, which didn’t cite this seal, and wondered if it was possibly a newly found example of a personal seal, and if so which one (arms, monogram or maybe something else).
The (semi)official seal design is most interesting.