The Second and Third Seal Committees


After congress had tabled the original committee, it was three and a half years before they could revisit the seal.  In March of 1780 a second committee was formed with James Lovell, John Scott and William Churchill.  They also used Francis Hopkins and an artistic consultant.  This committee chose not to use the work of the fist committee and instead designed it to reflect sentiments surrounding the war they were fighting at the time, using phrase “Bello vel paci”, meaning “For war or for peace”.

Second committee's seal proposal, drawn by Francis Hopkinson

Second committee’s seal proposal, drawn by Francis Hopkinson

This proposal was referred back to committee in May of 1780 which did no further work on it.

Two years later in 1782, a third committee was formed.  This time it had Arthur Lee, Elian Boudnot and Arthur Middleton.  As with the previous committees, they employed an expert on heraldry for an artistic consultant, 28 year old William Barton.

His design, much like the second committees did not contain the phrase “E Pluribus Unum”, but used other Latin phrasing, “In Vindiciam Libertatis” (In Defense of Liberty) and “Virtus sola invicta” (Only virtue unconquered).

Third committee's proposal, drawn by William Barton

Third committee’s proposal, drawn by William Barton

Just like the previous two attempts, congress did not find this appealing and took no action on it.

Final Design