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    Description

    David Rittenhouse Autograph Letter Signed "D. Rittenhouse." One page, 6.5" x 8.25", n. p., July 29, 1790, to Pennsylvania Comptroller General John Nicholson. Rittenhouse had just ended twelve years of service as the Treasurer of Pennsylvania in 1789 and is answering an inquiry about his ledger notations. He writes, in full:

    "My receipt to Andrew Boyd of June 16th 1787 for £717.12.7 contains a payment made by a Collector to me feb. 27th 1787 of £34.0.3 and £73.1 paid by Boyd on my order to I. Carson, entered April 10th these with the £610.11.4 of June 16th makes the Sum of £717.12.7.

    "In my note this morning I gave you the Sum Set down in the Margin of the Book 32.0.1 But in the Entry as written at length it is 32.2.7 and is no doubt the very Sum you mention of Oct. 19th for I find no such entry on that day."

    Folds are weak and have detached, but are archivally repaired on the verso with some paper loss at the edges. Toning along the margins. Remnant of red wax seal. Letter was folded while ink was not quite dry creating a faint mirror image. Text is very bold.

    John Nicholson was a native of Wales who immigrated to the U. S. before the Revolution. He was a clerk to the Board of Treasury of the Continental Congress and in 1782 was appointed first Comptroller General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was imprisoned as a debtor in the winter of 1799 where he died in December, 1800, four million dollars in debt.

    David Rittenhouse (1732-1796) was an American astronomer and instrument maker, born near Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was self-educated, a clock-maker by trade, and developed great skill in the making of mathematical instruments. He was called upon to determine, with his own instruments, the boundary lines of several states and also part of the boundary known as the Mason-Dixon Line. In 1769 he was asked by the American Philosophical Society to observe the transit of Venus. His contributions include the use of measured grating intervals and spider threads on the focus of the telescope. Active in public affairs, he was a member of the convention that framed Pennsylvania's constitution and was state treasurer from 1777 to 1789, and director of the U.S. Mint. After the Revolution he was an Anti-Federalist, and succeeded Benjamin Franklin as president of the American Philosophical Society.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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