RUTLEDGE, Edward (1749-1800, Signer (South Carolina). Autograph letter signed ("Ed:Rutledge"), to "My dearest daughter," n.p., [Charleston?],2 August 1796. 1½ pages, 4to, addressed on integral blank to "Miss Rutledge." In very fine condition.
AN AFFECTIONATE SIGNER TO HIS YOUNG DAUGHTER. A touching letter of Rutledge, the youngest Signer of the Declaration of Independence. From his daughter, who is evidently overseas, he has received an affectionate letter "by the Federalist [a vessel?], in which you desire me not to form any great opinion of your playing [of a musical instrument?]. But how my charming little Girl can I do otherwise? Do you already begin to expect imposibilities from me, or do you mean to surprise me by some capital performance? The last must certainly be the case...So high an opinion have I formed of you...But to be serious...I expect to see you very good; one sweet-temper'd; & very fond of your mother, & myself: and in return you shall find us very kind, very tender, and very affectionate to you. This is a fair Bargain my dear Child; come, let us make it, & we will keep it as long as we live."
He adds much news of family and friends: "Mr. Izard with your Cousin Emma & Ann, sailed a few weeks ago for New York; Emma had been in delicate health, and her mother wished her to avoid out hot Summer. We have indeed...a good deal of weather that deserves that name; the Thermometer is at this moment as high as 90. Do I not give you a strong proof of my affection when I set down to write to you, under the pressure of so much heat?..." She is about to undertake a return voyage, and Rutledge closes with a prayer: "May God bless you, protect you against all the rude Elements, grant you a prosperous voyage, & send you in safety to the Bosom of your kind Father...."
Sadly, Rutledge died at the age of 51 less than two years later, while serving as Governor. His autograph letters are uncommon.