Newport, R.I. May 7, 1770. p. manuscript on a 9 1/4 x 14 3/4-inch sheet. Lightly backed by tissue. Very good. In a half morocco and cloth box, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM42406
A record of Rhode Island merchant and lawyer William Ellery's financial dealings, signed by him six years before he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Ellery (1727-1820) was a merchant, customs collector, a lawyer, and clerk of the Rhode Island General Assembly. He was an important leader in the Newport Sons of Liberty, and in 1776 became a member of the Continental Congress. Ellery was intensely loyal to the interests of Rhode Island and the northeast, and would go on to be a justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. One of Ellery's grandsons was Richard Henry Dana, author of TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST. This document is an account of the sums that are owed and that have been paid (mostly in goods) to William Ellery and his brothers, Benjamin and Christopher, by Dr. Stephen Gardner for rent on a farm in Colchester. It details the amount owed every year from March, 1765, through 1770, a total of nearly £300. It appears that Gardner paid mostly in goods delivered, those being beef, pork, cheese, and butter. Though it does not explicitly state it, the farm was likely in Colchester, Connecticut, in the southeastern part of the state, near Rhode Island. The document is signed by William Ellery, and also by his brother, Benjamin. It is dated at Newport, Rhode Island, May 7, 1770. ANB 7, pp.412-13.