1811 Autograph Letter Signed by Luther Martin, Maryland Lawyer and Anti-Federalist.

A Founding Father who did not sign the Constitution; Defender of Aaron Burr

Autograph letter signed on banking by Luther Martin, Maryland lawyer and anti-Federalist whom Thomas Jefferson once referred to as an “...unprincipled & impudent federal bull-dog.”¹

Martin here writes to the cashier of the Bank of Maryland, Robert Wilson, concerning the remittance of a check.

Martin graduated from Princeton in 1766 and four years later moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he studied law. In 1787, Martin was elected as a delegate from Maryland to the Constitution Convention held in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. Martin led the small states’ opposition the James Madison’s “Virginia Plan.”

ANB notes: “As the weeks passed, Martin became convinced that the constitution taking shape would create a strong national government that would effectively abolish state governments and jeopardize individual rights. He prepared a bill of rights for the consideration of the convention but never introduced it because he could find no one to support him. Martin left the convention before it ended, determined to fight ratification of the proposed Constitution in Maryland.”

Martin opposed the Constitution of 1787, becoming one of the few founding fathers who did not sign that historic document. He later softened his anti-Federalist stance and successfully defended Aaron Burr at the latter’s treason trial in Richmond, an act which led to Jefferson’s ire and the suggestion that Martin was involved in the Burr Conspiracy.

Description: 1811 Autograph Letter Signed by Luther Martin, Maryland Lawyer and Anti-Federalist.

Annapolis [Maryland], January 8, 1811. [1]p. 4to. Bifolium with integral address leaf. Folds; brief wear and staining; two remnants of tipped-on newspaper at top edge; small loss at wax seal not affecting text; good.


Note. 1. ANB Online.


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