Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 24

Manuscript and Collectibles Auction

Autographs-U.S. Revolutionary War
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 199
1776 Letter From A British Prisoner of War. A one-page letter from English lieutenant William Richardson, 26th regiment, datelined Philadelphia, February 7, 1776, 9¼ x 7½ in., addressed to his agents in London. In part: "Being taken prisoner at St. Johns along with Major Preston…and by that means entirely cut off from having any communication with Capt. Crawford our pay master, I am under the necessity of drawing upon you this day for thirty five pounds sterling at thirty one days sight, in favor of Mr. John Boyle or order, which I hope you will pay due honor to and either charge it in acct. to Capt. Crawford or to my own….Capt. Crawford is prisoner upon his parole at Montreal. I am admitted also on Parole and go to Reading in this Province. If any letters should come to your office directed for me, be so good as to enclose them under cover to Messrs. Hugh and Alexander Wallace New York…."

On September 6, 1775, General Philip Schuyler and an expeditionary force of roughly one thousand men, assembled at Fort Ticonderoga, arrived at St. John's Fort, situated about twelve miles southeast of Montreal and commanded by Sir Charles Preston. After an inept attack on the fort, General Schuyler feigned illness and returned to Fort Ticonderoga, leaving command of the American forces to General Richard Montgomery. A formal siege of St. John's began on September 16 and continued until November 2, when Colonel Preston surrendered. Out of the 720 men under his command, 700 were killed, wounded or captured. Lt. Richardson, the writer of this letter, was one of those captured. The letter is penned in dark ink on laid, watermarked paper; small paper loss at left side from seal tear, else fine condition. Prisoner-of-war letters from the Revolutionary War are much more scarce than those from the Civil War.
Estimated Value $2,000 - 3,000.
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Lot 200
Reed, Joseph (1741-85) Military secretary to George Washington; Revolutionary War officer; President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Manuscript Letter Signed ("Jos. Reed / President"), In Council Philadelphia, September 15, 1781, 3 pages + address leaf (2 conjoined sheets), 13 x 8 in. To "Messrs. Lukens Kennedy and Johnston, Officers of the Land-Office," who have asked direction from the Supreme Executive Council regarding applications for large tracts of land made by Robert Patton, William Parr, Alexander Power, and others. Reed responds that the Acts of Assembly confer no "judicial or authoritative Power" on the Council to decide those matters, and that the constitution of the state "has carefully separated the executive from the Legislative and Judicial Powers." He notes that the "Landed Interest of the State…should be uniform and consistent," and since the Council changes every three years, it might allow rules and regulations "which must eventually prevent that Stability of Title, so necessary for the cultivation and improvement of a young Country. To this it may be added, that during the War and probably for some time afterwards the Council will not be able to devote the time necessary to hear and judge between the contending parties…."

A well-thought-out and precise letter, written like the lawyer that Reed was, in his third year as President of the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania. During his presidency (1778-81), Reed championed the gradual abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania and caused Benedict Arnold to be prosecuted on charges of corrupt practices. He was also a trustee and founder of the University of the State of Pennsylvania. The laid, watermarked paper is toned overall and has numerous fold breaks repaired with archival tape, one passing through the top of the "P" in "President," none of which affects the legibility of this interesting Revolutionary War document.
Estimated Value $700 - 900.
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