Lot 24: Caesar Rodney Handwritten Signed Letter
11th July 2018
Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Delaware (1728–1784) who, on July 2, 1776, famously rode his horse 80 miles non-stop to break the deadlock within the Delaware delegation and vote in favor of independence. Historic Revolutionary War–era handwritten letter, unsigned, one page both sides, 7.75 x 12.5, circa 1778–1779. As president of Delaware, Rodney encourages the delegates of the Delaware General Assembly to support the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. In part: "The calling you together at so short a day from your last sitting gives me no small concern. I am not ignorant of the great Sacrifice you make to the public by leaving your families and private affairs so frequently. But am nevertheless persuaded that the importance of the business, which you are now called to decide upon, will in your opinions, justify the act of convening you. I must beg leave to recommend to your Honor the completing the several matters laid before you, by message, at your last sitting, particularly the Articles of Confederation. Congress are verry pressing to have the General Assembly decide on that matter and instruct their representatives in Congress accordingly…Since the last sitting of the General Assembly, I received and send you herewith Several Acts of Congress, to wit, an Act of the twenty sixth day of August 1776, for establishing a provision for Soldiers and Seamen maimed or disabled in the Service of the United States—to which is subjoined a Supplementary Act of the Twenty fifth of September 1778 for the Benefit of Maimed and disabled Volunteers in the Service of the States, antecedent to the date of the first above mentioned Act—An Act of the Twenty Sixth of September 1778 for organizing the public Treasury, and for providing an House for the several offices of Treasury—and an Act for holding a General Thanksgiving throughout the United States on Wednesday the Thirtieth of December next." In very good to fine condition, with old tape along the left side, an unobtrusive tear to the body, and the trimmed and detached lower section held in place with archival tape. By June 1778, it was known that ten of the state legislatures had either ratified or were preparing to ratify the Articles of Confederation—the first step toward the creation of a permanent form of American government. The three remaining states—Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland—were expected to fall into line. Instead, they balked at signing because the Articles of Confederation failed to provide for the creation of a national domain in the west. By 1779, Delaware and New Jersey had overcome their objections, though only under protest. Maryland held out until February of 1781. A remarkable letter from a foundational moment in American history.
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