Autograph letter signed ("Geo Read"), 1 page (11 1/8 x 8 in.; 282 x 204 mm), Newcastle, Delaware, 23 March 1779, to Caesar Rodney (at Dover, Delaware), docketed on verso "no. 12 Letter from Geo: Read March 1779" and in Rodney's hand "with a cannister of tea sent by the old sergeant John Dawson"; inlaid, formerly folded, small seal tear in blank portion, upper right corner mended without loss, small dampstain.
[With:] "Pay of Regimental Officers to be inlisted during the War", [Philadelphia, after 10 October 1776], autograph manuscript document, 1 page (12 5/8 x 8 in.; 320 x 204 mm), docketed on verso "extracts from Minutes of Congress 7th & 8th Oct.", clipped signature "Geo: Read" inlaid into right margin; formerly folded, fold tears mended. Light blue half-morocco drop-box, gilt-stamped title on spine.
Read makes a peace offering to his political nemesis and family friend.
George Read (1733–1798), the only man to sign the Declaration of Independence having voted against it, was willing to protect colonial rights but was wary of extremism, while his friend and fellow member of the Delaware legislature Caesar Rodney (1728–1784), supported independence and was forced to gallop to Philadelphia to vote in its favor when Read refused. In 1776 Read gave priority to state responsibilities, presiding over the Delaware constitutional convention, in which he chaired the drafting committee, and beginning a term as speaker of the legislative council. The present extracts of congressional minutes in his hand concern the pay of officers (7 October), recommendations to local officials to appoint officers along with details of bounties offered to non-commissioned officers (8 October) and appointments to the rank of captain in the Navy (10 October).
During 1779, in poor health, Read resigned from the legislative council, refused reelection to Congress, and began a temporary period of inactivity. The letter to Rodney in the Legislative Council at Dover, was written in this period, accompanying "a cannister of tea which Mrs. Read procured for you some time since no opportunity having offered for sending it to you previous to this – the cannister is [a] borrowed one and I am charged with the return of it in my next visit to Dover. We have nothing new I have not seen Saturdays paper and I learn from Dawson that you have had Thursday's."
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