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Freedom of a City.

The conferring of all the privileges of a citizen upon a stranger, or one not entitled to such privileges because of non-residence, is an ancient way of honoring one for meritorious services. When the eminent lawyer of Pennsylvania, Andrew Hamilton, had ably defended the liberty of the press in the case of John Peter Zenger (q. v.), the corporation of the city of New York conferred the freedom of the city upon him. The certificate of such honor is usually enclosed in a gold box, bearing on the underside of the lid an inscription indicative of the event. The following is a copy of the certificate of freedom which the corporation of the city of New York gave to Gen. Jacob Brown (q. v.) after the battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, in the summer of 1814:

To all to whom these presents shall come, De Witt Clinton, Esq., Mayor, and the Aldermen of the city of New York, send greeting: At a meeting of the Common Council, held at the Common Council chamber in the City Hall of the city of New York, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to:

Whereas, the Corporation of the city entertains the most lively sense of the late brilliant achievements of Gen. Jacob Brown on the Niagara frontier, considering them as proud evidences of the skill and intrepidity of the hero of Chippewa and his brave companions in arms, and affording ample proof of the superior valor of our

General Brown's gold box.

hardy farmers over the veteran legions of the enemy, Resolved, that, as a tribute of respect to a gallant officer and his intrepid associates, who have added such lustre to our arms, the freedom of the city of New York be presented to Gen. Jacob Brown, that his portrait be obtained and placed in the gallery of portraits belonging to this city, and that the thanks of this corporation be tendered to the officers and men under his command. Know ye that. Jacob Brown, Esquire, is admitted and allowed a freeman and a citizen of the said city, to have, to hold, to use, and enjoy the freedom of the city, together with all the benefits, privileges, franchises, and immunities whatsoever granted or belonging to the said city. By order of the mayor and aldermen. In testimony whereof the said mayor and aldermen have caused the seal of the said city to be hereunto affixed. Witness: De Witt Clinton, Esquire, Mayor, the fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, and of the Independence and sovereignty of the United States the thirty-ninth.

De Witt Clinton.

This form of honor has been bestowed but seldom in the United States; in Europe, and especially in England and Scotland, it is frequently granted. [435]

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