[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM JOSEPH REED TO JAMES SMITH, RELATING NEWS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION]
by Reed, Joseph
Philadelphia, 1779. pp. plus integral address leaf. Folio. Old folds. Minor losses at some folds, primarily to address leaf. Minor soiling. Very good. In a red half morocco clamshell case, spine gilt. Joseph Reed, president of Pennsylvania, writes to James Smith, lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence, conveying a resolution of the Pennsylvania government and news of the American Revolution. Joseph Reed (1741-85) was a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer and Revolutionary officer who served as Gen. Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp, and subsequently as adjutant general of the Continental Army. He was president of Pennsylvania from late 1778 to 1781, and a counselor for the state of Pennsylvania during the Wyoming Controversy, the land dispute with Connecticut. His correspondent, James Smith, was a lawyer who served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania constitutional convention of 1776. Smith was subsequently sent to the Continental Congress, where he took his place in history among those who put their name to the Declaration of Independence. In 1784 he likewise served Pennsylvania during the Wyoming Controversy. Reed's letter indicates he is passing on to Smith a Resolution of the Board. At this time Smith was at his home in York, and the matter may have related to his service in the state assembly or his legal practice. Reed writes: "Sir, I duly received your favour & now inclose you a Resolution of the Board on the desired subject. As soon as the Secretary can make out a Pardon in form it will be sent to you." But the real meat of the letter is in the postscript, which reads: "P.S. I cannot help congratulating you on the great events which have lately happened. The English fleet defeated, Grenada taken, the Spanish mediation rejected and of course an immediate declaration on her part. We have very authentick accounts that there will be a junction of the two fleets making in the whole 52 sail of the line. We expect every moment to hear further events from the West Indies, Count D'Estaing having gone to St. Kitts in pursuit of Byron. We are sanguine enough to expect a surrender of that island & even the fleet & troops. All is despondency & terror at New York. Clinton is gone home. Ld. Cornwallis has the command & we have every reason to expect he will confine himself to York Island."
(Inventory #: WRCAM42986)
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