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The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
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A ledger from the courts of the State of Connecticut for expenses incurred in the month of November 1780. A fascinating insight into the day to day running of the fledgling state as it dealt with the American Revolution. Amongst the 66 itemised entries are several relating to the Revolution. Examples include appointing commissioners to meet with other states and organise supplies for the French Army, for the provisioning of prisoners kept on Long Island, for providing blankets for the army, and for the defence of the western frontier for the President. Domestic items include the leasing out of ironworks at Colebrook and a Furnace at Salisbury. An Act for collecting flour for the public use, for ordering the sale of confiscated estates, and one ‘dooming’ several towns to pay taxes.

At the end of the list is written: ‘To John Lawrence Esqr. Treasr. Of the State of Connecticut. To Pay out of the public Treasury, to George Mallys secretary of said State the sum of Thirteen Pounds, and four Shillings lawful money, the amount of his foregoing account, for the Services therin mentioned, and charge the same to said State. By Order of [Signed Oliver Ellsworth & Erastus Wolcott] and countersigned by General Jedediah Huntington.’

It is addressed to John Lawrence, Treasurer of the State of Connecticut and signed first by Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807), at the time of this document a delegate to the Continental Congress. Following the Revolution he became a judge in the state, a delegate to the Continental Convention. He was one of the five-person Committee of Detail that created a rough draft of the Constitution. He is credited with being particularly influential in ‘protecting the interests of small states and played an important role in crafting the convention’s Grand Compromise that gave the small states equal representation in the Senate’ (ANB). He became a Senator for Connecticut for seven years, and one of the most influential in Congress. ‘He is best known for the masterful compromise that he engineered in putting together the Judiciary Act of 1789 that created the federal judicial system’ (ANB). In 1796 he became the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The second signatory is that of Erastus Wolcott (1722-93), General of the Connecticut state militia. Signed across both is the that of Jedediah Huntington (1743-1818), Revolutionary War General. He led his Connecticut Regiment at Roxbury, besieging the British troops in Boston. In March 1776, he accompanied Washington back to New York. He was at the centre of many of the Revolutionary war campaigns and spent the winter with Washington at Valley Forge. In September 1780 he was one of the board of generals that tried Major John André. The list itself is likely drawn up by Colonel George Wyllys (1710-96), Secretary of the Colony of Connecticut. A likely antecedent was also George Wyllys (1590-1645, one of the early governors of the Connecticut Colony. American National Biography.


Novemr, 1780, State of Connecticut, To George Myllys Secretary

November 1780
215 x 165 mm., uncut manuscript four page ledger, in good condition.
Stock number: 10819
$ 1,950
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