Item #268 Mohawk Indian Land Purchase Signed by New York Governor George Clinton
Mohawk Indian Land Purchase Signed by New York Governor George Clinton
Mohawk Indian Land Purchase Signed by New York Governor George Clinton

Mohawk Indian Land Purchase Signed by New York Governor George Clinton

New York: 1786. No Binding. This document is in near fine condition: the license is neatly scripted in high definition on laid paper, 14.5" x 9.25", and signed by George Clinton, Governor of the state of New York from 1777 to 1795 and again from 1801 to 1804. There are some expected folds and tiny pin holes with a thin strip of expertly applied support to one fold, a one-inch separation along the second fold, and occasional small spotting. There is a well-preserved attached clay seal with original green stain ribbon, 3.5" in diameter with lifting to the surface of the appendage. This is a stunning letters patent detailing a land acquisition for a “certain tract of land” as a piece of a greater acquisition “in the County of Albany lying on the South Side of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer’s land and on the west side of Hudson’s River and near the land of Johannes Hallinbeck as yet unpurchased of the Native Indian proprietors thereof.”

More details:


This unique document, dated August 1st, 1786 by the Secretary’s Office of the state of New York, is titled, “Exemplification of a License to H. Lane and H. Remsen to purchase Lands of the Indians.”




This document is in near fine condition: the license is neatly scripted in high definition on laid paper, 14.5" x 9.25", and signed by George Clinton, Governor of the state of New York from 1777 to 1795 and again from 1801 to 1804. There are some expected folds and tiny pin holes with a thin strip of expertly applied support to one fold, a one-inch separation along the second fold, and occasional small spotting. There is a well-preserved attached clay seal with original green stain ribbon, 3.5" in diameter with lifting to the surface of the appendage. 




This is a stunning letters patent detailing a land acquisition for a “certain tract of land” as a piece of a greater acquisition “in the County of Albany lying on the South Side of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer’s land and on the west side of Hudson’s River and near the land of Johannes Hallinbeck as yet unpurchased of the Native Indian proprietors thereof.”




This document is a 1786 exemplified copy* of a license issued in 1745 by the governor of the province of New York (also named George Clinton) to Henry Lane and Hendrick Remsen, giving them “full power, leave and license to purchase in his Majesty’s name from the Native Indian proprietors thereof the quantity of two thousand acres of the tract of land aforesaid.” The tract of land mentioned in the document was located in an area that would have belonged previously to the Mohawk Indian Tribe.




The license issued to Lane and Remsen stipulates that the purchase of the land must be made within a year of the issue of the letters patent, and that it be “conformable to the regulations, orders, and directions specifyed & contained in a report of a committee of his Majesty’s council of the second day of December 1736, on the memorial of Cadwallader Coldon Esquire representing several inconveniences arising by the usual method of purchasing lands from the Indians.”




This mention of Cadwaller Coldon is significant, as he was a scholar from the Hudson River, New York area who had written several reports on Indian Affairs and conflicts arising from claims of fraud brought forward by the Native Indian tribes. We may never know the specific circumstances of this particular purchase of land by Henry Lane and Hendrick Remsen, but this document gives us a rare look into the acquisition of land from Indian tribes in America in the 18th Century, and affords the opportunity for deeper research into such matters.




This stunning and unique document carries the signature of George Clinton, Governor of New York from 1777 to 1795 and again from 1801 to 1804, and Vice President of the United States from from 1805 until his death in 1812. This is the perfect document for anyone interested in the history of land acquisitions by European Settlers in North America, or in the history of the state of New York in general.





*An exemplified copy (or exemplification) is an official attested copy or transcript of a public instrument, made under the seal and original pen-in-hand signature of a court or public functionary and in the name of the sovereign, for example, "The People of the State of Oklahoma". Exemplifications can only be attested and executed by either the authority holding the record or the issuing authority. Exemplified copies are also usually an extract or transcript made directly from the original. (Definition from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exemplified_copy)





Following is a transcription of the text of the document:




The Secretary’s Office


The 1st August 1786




Exemplification of a License to H. Lane and H. Remsen to purchase Lands of the Indians.




The People of the state of New York, by the grace of God free and independent, to all whom these presents shall come, greeting: know ye that we having inspected the records remaining in our secretary’s office do find there a certain instrument in the words and figures following: 




“By his Excellency the Honorable George Clinton Captain General & Governor in chief in & over the Province of New York and the territorys thereon defending in America Vice Admiral of the same and Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of his Majesty’s Fleet. To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern Greeting. Whereas Henry Lane and Hendrick Remsen have by their humble petition presented unto me and read in council on the twenty eighth day of March last set forth that there is a certain tract of land in the County of Albany lying on the South Side of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer’s land and on the West side of Hudson’s River, and near to the Land of Johannes Hallinbeck as yet unpurchased of the Native Indian Proprietors thereof, that the petitioners were desirous to purchase two thousand acres of the said tract of land in order to obtain his Majesty’s letters patent for fifteen hundred acres thereof, and therefore prayed my license to purchase the same for the purposes aforesaid. I have therefore thought fit by & with the advice of his Majesty’s council to grant and I do by the presents give and grant unto these the said Henry Lane and Hendrick Remsen full power leave & license to purchase in his Majesty’s name from the Native Indian proprietors thereof the quantity of two thousand acres of the tract of land aforesaid provided the said purchase be made in one year after the date hereof and conformable to the regulations orders and directions specifyed & contained in a report of a committee of his Majesty’s council of the second day of December 1736, on the memorial of Cadwallader Coldon Esquire representing several inconveniences arising by the usual method of purchasing lands from the Indians. And for so doing this shall be to them a sufficient license given under my hand and seal in New York the eighth day of April in the year of our Lord 1745, and of his Majesty’s reign the eighteenth. G Clinton, by his Excellency’s command.”




All which we have caused to be exemplified by the presents, in testimony whereof we have caused these our letters to be made patent and the great seal of our said State to be hereunto affixed: Witness our trusty and well beloved George Clinton Esquire Governor of our said State General and Commander in Chief of all the Militia and Admiral of the Navy of the same city of New York this first day of August in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six, and of our independence the eleventh.




Signed: George Clinton







People of interest mentioned in this document:




George Clinton




  • July 26, 1739 – April 20, 1812




  • Gov. of New York 1777 - 1795 & 1801 - 1804




  • Vice President of the United States 1805 - 1812






Cadwaller Coldon Esq.




George Clinton (Royal Navy Officer and Governor of Province of New York under British Rule)




Jeremiah Van Rensselaer




Hendrick Remsen

. Near Fine. Item #268

Price: $5,500.00