Description

    Joseph Reed Autograph Letter Signed "Jos. Reed," 2 pages, 7.75" x 13.75", front and verso, Philadelphia, December 9, 1784. Affixed to the left of Reed's signature is a 4.75" x 1.75" portion of the address leaf with "9 DE" and "Free" postmarks, addressed by Reed to "The Hon. Elbridge Gerry Esqr." Gerry, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, later served as Madison's Vice President. In part: "...Your Acceptance of a deal in Congress was an unexpected Pleasure as I was informed you had utterly declined it. Indeed your long Service might have intitled you to claim some Indulgence, but it is the more generous in you to waive it - & your Experience now enables you to render more important service. I was appointed without my Concurrence & with express Leave to consult my private Affairs which I must do to a considerable Degree if Congress remains at Trenton. But the Gentlemen in the Delegation conform so generally in Sentiment with each other & with those Interests which I particularly respect that I have the less Concern on that Head. You will find them Men of Principle & possessing Such Ideas of Government as I think you approve - I had heard of the Candidate for the Treasury & think with you a better may be found. Mr. Pettit's Talents lay in that Line & he is a Man of Principle. Take him in Temper, Skill in Acc[oun]ts & real Integrity... I do not know the Value of the Appointment but I believe he will accept it if the Scale is not so parsimonious. He is not a man of Expense, Dissipation or Intrigue so that less will be necessary. Since I began this Letter I find he will accept but is far from solliciting & then I have it..." Reed had recently returned from England where he had gone for his health. On November 29, 1784, Congress had been notified that on November 16, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania had elected Joseph Reed and four others "to represent this State in the Congress of the United States for ensuing year." He then expresses his pleasure upon learning that Gerry had accepted his reelection to Congress which had also been announced on November 29th. From November 1 to December 24, 1784, the Continental Congress met in French Arms Tavern in Trenton, New Jersey, and Reed notes that he must take care of his private affairs if he is to go to Trenton. He no doubt hoped that the Congress would move back to Philadelphia where he resided. In January, the Continental Congress moved to New York City. Reed, who had served in the Continental Congress in 1778, declined his election to Congress for health reasons. He died in Philadelphia on March 5, 1785 at the age of 43, just three months after writing this letter. Mr. Pettit, mentioned by Reed, was his brother-in-law, Charles Pettit, then a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. On January 25, 1785, Congress elected John Lewis Gervais, Samuel Osgood and Walter Livingston as "three Commissioners to constitute a board of Treasury." Not chosen for the Treasury, the Pennsylvania state legislature elected Pettit to Congress, ostensibly to replace Joseph Reed. The letter has glue stains, mostly visible at the right edge of the second page, light foxing and toning, with slight separation at the edges of folds. Darkly penned; overall in very good condition.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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