Last modified: 2002-11-02 by rick wyatt
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by Mario Fabretto, 24 February 1998
One of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey is represented by a star and a stripe on the 13 star U.S. flags.
On March 23rd, 1779 during the war of the Revolution, the Continental Congress, by resolution authorized and directed the Commander-in-Chief to prescribe the uniform, both as to color and facings, for the regiments of the New Jersey Continental Line. In accordance with this resolution, General Washington, in General Orders dated Army Headquarters, New Windsor, New York, October 2nd, 1779, directed that the coats for such regiments should be dark blue, faced with buff.
On February 28th, 1780, the Continental War Officers in Philadelphia directed that each of said regiments should have two flags, viz: one the United States flag and the other a State flag, the ground to be of the color of the facing. Thus the State flag of New Jersey became the beautiful and historic buff, as selected for it by the Father of His Country, and it was displayed in view of the combined French and American armies in the great culminating event of the War of the Revolution, the capitulation of a British army under Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis at Yorktown.
The same color has been prescribed for the state flag of New York, where a law requires it to be displayed with the United States flag over the capital when the legislature is in session.
The inquiry arises, why did General Washington select the beautiful historic buff facings exclusively for the Continental lines of New York and New Jersey when such facings were only prescribed for his own uniform and that of other Continental general officers and their aides-de-camp?
He evidently made the selection not only designedly, but for historic reasons. New York and New Jersey had originally been settled by the Dutch. Dark blue (Jersey blue) and buff were Holland or Netherlands insignia.
The Governor as commander-in-chief represents the State of New Jersey, and should have a prescribed headquarters flag, different from that used by infantry, cavalry or artillery. In custom, every state Governor has one, but the propriety of an enactment on the subject is obvious.
Mr. Hopkins, on leave, introduced Assembly Joint Resolution No. 2 to define the state flag.
Under Chapter 170, P.L. 1965, the official colors of New Jersey for use on the state flag and for other purposes were established by statute as buff and Jersey blue.
Dov Gutterman, 13 April 1999
New Jersey's state seal was designed by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere and presented in May 1777, to the Legislature, which was then meeting in the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield. The three plows in the shield honor the state's agricultural tradition. The helmet above the shield faces forward, an attitude denoting sovereignty and thus particularly fitting for one of the first governments created under the notion that the state itself is the sovereign. The crest above the helmet is
a horse's head.
The supporting female figures are Liberty and Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, symbolizing abundance. Liberty, on the viewer's left, carries the liberty cap on her staff. Ceres holds a cornucopia filled with harvested produce.
Although the Seal's major elements have kept their relative positions for more than 200 years, there have been a number of lesser changes. The staff that Liberty now holds with her right hand she once held in the crook of her left arm. While the female figures now face straight ahead they at one time looked away from the shield. The cornucopia that Ceres now holds upright was once inverted, its open end upon the ground. The Seal was redesigned in accordance with Joint Resolution 8 of the Laws of 1928. It was then that the year of statehood, 1776, first appeared in Arabic figures.
Dov Gutterman,13 April 1999
Legal Description of State Seal
52:2-1. Description of great seal of state. The great seal of this state shall be engraved on silver, which shall be round, of two and a half inches in diameter and three-eighths of an inch thick; the arms shall be three ploughs in an escutcheon, azure; supporters, Liberty and Ceres. The Goddess Liberty to carry in her dexter hand a pole, proper, surmounted by a cap gules, with band azure at the bottom, displaying on the band six stars, argent; tresses falling on shoulders, proper; head bearing over all a chaplet of laurel leaves, vert; overdress, tenne; underskirt, argent; feet sandaled, standing on scroll. Ceres: Same as Liberty, save overdress, gules; holding in left hand a cornucopia, or, bearing apples, plums and grapes surrounded by leaves, all proper; head bearing over all a chaplet of wheat spears, vert. Shield surmounted by sovereign's helmet, six bars, or; wreath and mantling, argent and azure. Crest: A horse's head, proper. Underneath the shield and supporting the goddesses, a scroll azure, bordered with tenne, in three waves or folds; on the upper folds the words "Liberty and Prosperity" ; on the under fold in Arabic numerals, the figures "1776" . These words to be engraved round the arms, viz., "The Great Seal of the State of New Jersey" .
Joe McMillan, 17 February 2000
by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000
The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is
"A lion's head erased or collared four fusils gules."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000