Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    James Madison Letter Signed as United States Secretary of State. Two pages including integral address leaf, 8" x 10", "Dep. Of State, March 26th, 1802." In his role as Secretary of State, Mr. Madison sent this letter to William Barton of Lancaster PA, an attorney, scholar, and the co-designer of the Great Seal of the United States.

    Secretary of State Madison requests that Barton and two other lawyers (Andrew Graffano and George Dufield) serve as referees "to determine upon the interfering claims to a patent for a machine for cleaning clover feed." He continues: "You will be pleased to inform me of our determination to act as such, or not. The necessary documents in the case are herewith sent to you...."

    Given the history of mechanical threshers, we can assume that the patent claims discussed here were for devices based upon the first mechanized threshers invented by Scotsman Andrew Meikle. It wasn't until the 1820s-30s that American inventors began receiving patents to develop and produce functional threshers. It is unclear whether William Barton accepted the position offered by the Secretary of State. Letter is moderately age toned; portion of integral address leaf is missing (does not affect address). Fine condition.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 594

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 June 9 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 January 15 "Say it Loud" The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History - Dallas
    2019 January 15 "Say it Loud" The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $302,219