WILSON, James (1742-1798), Signer (Pennsylvania). Autograph letter signed ("James Wilson") TO GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON, (in Morristown winter camp), Carlisle, [Pennsylvania], 18 January 1777.
1 full page, folio, integral address leaf with panel in Wilson's hand: "His Excellency George Washington Esquire...," a few small defects, discreetly silked. Docketed in an unknown hand (not Washington's)
A SIGNER TO THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF.
Wilson, a leading political theorist among the Signers and a future Justice of the Supreme Court, represented his state in the Continental Congress in 1776, but due to his conservative stand on Pennsylvania's proposed Constitution he was not a delegate in 1777. Here, he pens--in his very striking, large hand--a helpful recommendation. "Give me leave to introduce Colonel [Ephriam] Blaine to your Excellency. You will find him sensible, active, spirited. If you have occasion to employ a person for laying up Magazines of Provisions in Pennsylvania, I know no one so well qualified, or who may more safely be trusted in that Service."
Evidently, after reading Wilson's letter, Washington passed it on to two officers in the Continental Army's commissary department, explaining that "as I do not choose to interfere in it, [I] have sent him to you. If you want such a person, you will no doubt employ him" (Papers, Rev. War Ser., ed. Twohig, vol. 8, p.367.) While simple documents signed by Wilson are not uncommon, his autograph letters are noticeably rare, particularly those written during the Revolutionary War.
Noted (from auction sales in 1906, 1910 and 1941) in Papers, Rev. War Series, ed. Twohig, vol. 8, p.100.