University Archives


Nathanael Greene Pays His Postal Bill in Newport, Rhode Island

1p document relating to Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene's postal bill, November-December 1784, Newport, Rhode Island. The document is inscribed in the hand of Newport postmaster Jacob Richardson, who has also signed it at center confirming Greene's payment of the outstanding bill. Docketed verso. Expected folds and isolated water stains, else very good. 4" x 7.5".

"The Honle Nathl Greene Esqr Dr


Novr To postag 1 Sh Letter fm Philadelphia  0..1..7

To do from do 0..1..4

Decr To 1 Packet from Boston 0..2..11

To 1 from Hartford  0..1..10

To 1 from do 0..0..11

To 1 Dr Dories Observations 0..2..5


Rec’d the above in full

Jacob Richardson".

Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) was born in Rhode Island to a Quaker family. In 1770, he took charge of his family’s foundry and won election to the Rhode Island General Assembly. Re-elected several times, he served until 1775. In May 1775, he was promoted from private to major general of the Rhode Island army formed in response to the siege of Boston.  A month later, he received his appointment as brigadier general in the Continental Army. He served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, especially in his command in the South from October 1780 to the end of the war. Although defeated in every pitched battle which he fought against the British, Greene was successful in a war of attrition against the British army, inflicting casualties it could not replace. He forced the British to retreat to their defenses around Charleston, where he besieged them until their evacuation in December 1782. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia all gave Greene liberal grants of land for his service. He twice refused the position of Secretary of War and retired to his plantation in Georgia, where he died at the age of 43.

Jacob Richardson (1738-1818) married Abigail Hammond in 1759, and they had at least ten children. He was a bookseller in Newport, Rhode Island. Richardson served as postmaster at Newport from 1784 to 1813. He became embroiled in a controversy with Governor John Collins (1717-1795; governor, 1786-1790) when he refused to accept two letters without postage paid and refused the governor’s offer to pay postage with depreciated Rhode Island paper money. The state legislature reprimanded Richardson and forced him to apologize. At the end of the eighteenth century, Richardson kept one of two circulating libraries in Newport.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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