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    Description

    Nathanael Greene Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages with integral address cover, 8" x 12.75", Charleston; August 9, 1783. A letter to Colonel Charles Pettit in Philadelphia regarding bills of exchange that were allocated for the use of the American army in the South during the Revolutionary War for the support and maintenance of his troops, and referencing a letter he wrote to Robert Morris concerning the bills.

    The letter reads in part: "...I forgot to say anything in my last respecting the money in your hands. Major Burnet wrote me in Philadelphia on subject; and I immediately forwarded another letter to Mr. Morris agreeable to what I understood was your wish; and upon the whole I think it best. I would not choose to put my self in his power or give the world any handle against me. Envy is sufficiently loaded with misrepresentation without a shadow of a cause. Give but occasion and it will burst on all sides. I shall see you soon and doubt not of getting the business accommodated to your wishes without exposing either to censure. Yours affectionately N Greene."

    In this letter, Greene references the bills of exchange that are in Pettit's possession. Some of these bills were never collected and spent on the army before the superintendent of the Army halted their use, and Major Ichabod Burnett took them to Philadelphia to give to Pettit. Apparently, Greene informed Robert Morris, U.S. Superintendent of Finance, that not all the bills in Pettit's possession had been applied to the needs of the Army. Pettit had requested to use some of the bills to satisfy debts incurred by him, in his role as Assistant Quartermaster, with the former Board of War. As Greene tells Pettit, his communications with Morris were intended to make sure all parties were aware of the particulars of this matter to protect his and Pettit's reputations.

    At the time of this letter, Greene (1742-1786) was in Charleston, South Carolina, and may still have been in the Army. Sometime in August 1783, he traveled to Princeton, New Jersey, where Congress was in session, and surrendered his commission. Although he returned to Rhode Island, he did not stay long, having determined to move to the south and develop his estate, "Mulberry Grove," located on the Savannah River.

    Charles Pettit (1736-1896), the son of a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, pursued a career in the iron business until the 1760s, when he became involved in politics. He held a number of minor offices in New Jersey during the next few years, and in 1771 served as a lieutenant colonel and an aide to Governor William Franklin. When Franklin was arrested as a Loyalist in 1776, Pettit joined the American cause, rising to the rank of colonel and serving as secretary under William Livingston, the new governor of New Jersey. In 1778, on the recommendation of General Greene, Pettit was assistant Quartermaster-General of the Continental Army. As Greene's assistant, Pettit initiated a number of much-needed reforms until he resigned in 1781. After the war, Pettit became a successful import merchant in Philadelphia, and again held various public offices. Much of Pettit's post-war life was devoted to the Insurance Company of North America, of which he was one of the first directors and president of the company (1796-1798, 1799-1806).

    Major Ichabod Burnet (1756-1783) was from Trenton, New Jersey, and served in the American Revolutionary War as an aide-de-camp to General Greene from January 1778 until the end of the war.

    Robert Morris (1734-1806), a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was at the time of this letter serving as the United States Superintendent of Finance, a post he held from 1781-1784.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with separations occurring along creases where paper was weakened. Light toning around edges. Small spots of soiling. Wax seal present on verso. Overall very fine.


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    18th Wednesday
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