• Articles Of Confederation Signer Reed, Secretary To Washington, Congratulates Declaration Of Independence Signer Gerry On Congressional Election; Questions Whether Congress Will Remain In Trenton

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    2 pp, 7 3/4 x 13 3/4, ALS, Articles of Confederation signer JOSEPH REED writes to Declaration of Independence Signer ELBRIDGE GERRY from Philadelphia on December 9, 1784. 

     

    In part, with unchanged spelling and punctuation. “...Your acceptance of a Seat 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 am 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. [The nation’s capital was temporarily housed at the French Arms Tavern, Trenton’s largest building, from November 1 until December 24, 1784.] 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...ideas of government as I think you approve...” The original transmittal envelope addressed to “The Hon Elbridge Gerry Esqr,” trimmed, has been attached to the bottom of the second page, with a Free frank stamp.

     

    REED (August 27, 1741 – March 5, 1785) was a lawyer, military officer and statesman of the Revolutionary War Era who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and, while in Congress, signed the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first constitution.  He also served as President of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council, a position similar to the modern office of Governor.  At the beginning of the war, Reed ran a successful Philadelphia law practice from which he resigned at the request of George Washington. In 1775, he held the rank of colonel and subsequently served as secretary and aide-de-camp to Washington. 

     

    GERRY (July 17, 1744 – November 23, 1814) served as the fifth vice-president of the United States under President James Madison from March 1813 until his death. Elected to the Second Continental Congress, Gerry signed the Articles of Confederation.  He is one of three men who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 who refused to sign the Constitution because it didn’t include a Bill of Rights. After the Constitution was ratified, Gerry was elected to the United States Congress, where he was involved in drafting and the passage of the Bill of Rights.  The political practice of gerrymandering, the practice of establishing an unfair political advantage for a particular political party by manipulating district boundaries, is named after Gerry.  He was also a member of the diplomatic delegation to France in July 1797, known as the XYZ Affair, to negotiate a solution to problems that were threatening to break out into war. After several unsuccessful attempts, Gerry was finally elected as Governor of Massachusetts in 1810.

     

    Folds. Some repaired with archival tape. Light toning, isolated foxing.

     

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