Design of First Seal

It has been reported that Thomas Jefferson designed the first Seal of the United States, placing two false gods on the Obverse Side of the Seal. Is this factual?

The original hand-written notes of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson have been preserved in the State Department, Washington, D.C. records – on the history of the First Seal of the United States, as follows:

“Late in the afternoon of July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress ‘Resolved, that Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson be a committee to prepare a device for a Seal of the United States of America.’ (Journals of the Continental Congress)…

Franklin’s note reads:
Moses standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea,
thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharoah who is sitting
in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand.
Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses to express
that he acts by Command of the Deity.
Motto, Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.

Jefferson’s note says:
Pharoah sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head
and a sword in his hand passing thro’ the divided waters of
the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites: rays from a pillar
of fire in the cloud, expressive of the Divine presence and
command, reaching to Moses who stands on the shore and,
extending his hand over the sea, causes it to overwhelm
Pharoah.
Motto, Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
(Journals of the Continental Congress).

Franklin suggested the motto, Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God, which was incorporated in the proposed Reverse of the Seal around Franklin and Jefferson’s descriptive design. It so much pleased Jefferson that he took it as his own motto, and had it cut upon his private Seal.

The Committee (Franklin, Jefferson and Adams) called into consultation Eugene Pierre Du Simitiere, a West Indian Frenchman, noted artist and author, living in Philadelphia, to draw the Seal. Du Simitiere’s description of the Obverse of the Seal, was, Right, ‘Liberty in a corslet of armour (alluding to the present times) holding in her right hand the Spear and Cap, resting with her left on an anchor, emblem of Hope.’ Left, ‘An American Soldier, completely accoutered in his hunting shirt and trousers, with his tomahawk, powder horn, pouch, etc, holding with his left hand his rifle gun rested, and the Shield of the States with his right.’ (‘Justice bearing a Sword in her right hand, and in her left a Balance, was substituted for the American Soldier.’) Crest, ‘The Eye of Providence in a radiant triangle whose Glory extends over the Shield and beyond the figures.’ ‘It was probably suggested by Du Simitiere himself, since Adams does not mention it as having been proposed by any member of the committee.’
In the center, Obverse of the Seal: Within the shield are thirteen scutcheons with initial letters sable as follows: 1st N.H. 2nd M.B. 3rd. R.I. 4th C. 5th N.Y. 6th N.J. 7th P. 8th D.C.* 9th M. 10th V. 11th N.C. 12th S.C. 13th G. for each of the thirteen independent States of America.” 1

* Delaware Counties. ‘E Pluribus Unum’ appears on a banner, under Liberty and Justice.

Once again, we witness fallacies being promoted throughout the nation to discredit Thomas Jefferson, who chose Biblical symbolism to characterize the new American Republic.

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Bibliography:

1

The History of the Seal of the United States. Department of State, Washington, D.C., 1909.

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