Gerry, Elbridge

1792 ALS while Member of the Continental Congress, to Quartermaster General James Hodgdon

Price: $1795.00

Description:
(1744-1814) Massachusetts Member of the Continental Congress 1776-81, 1782-85,1789-93, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Delegate to 1787 Constitutional Convention but opposed document as drafted. Member of “XYZ” mission to France 1797-98. Mass. Governor 1810-12, US Vice President 1813-14 (Madison), died in office Nov. 23, 1814. Gerrymandering” is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral advantage. The term is derived from Governor Gerry who, in 1812, signed a bill into law that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican party. One of the resulting contorted districts was said to resemble a salamander. The term first appeared in the March 26, 1812 Boston Gazette. 7 3/4 x 8 3/4 ALS “E Gerry” while Member of the Continental Congress, Cambridge (Massachusetts), October 2 1792, to Samuel Hodgdon, then Quartermaster General in Philadelphia. Gerry sends (not enclosed) a receipt for "sundry articles which please to have stored for me till my arrival in your city & pay the freight thereof." SAMUEL HODGDON (1745-1824) 5th Quartermaster General March 1791-April 1792. Born in Boston, after the Revolution moved to Philadelphia and became well known as a public official and businessman. In 1777, while an artillery captain, he was made principal field commissary of military stores under General Henry Knox, who, 14 years later, was Secretary of War when Hodgdon was appointed Quartermaster General. In 1780, the Continental Congress appointed him Deputy Commissary General, and in 1781 promoted him Commissary General of Military Stores. He also was an assistant to Quartermaster General Thomas Pickering. In spring 1783, Hodgdon and Pickering formed a partnership as commission merchants which lasted 5 years, though they were associated in various enterprises over a much longer period. Pickering named him as his agent to settle his Quartermaster General accounts. The post of Commissary General of Military Stores was abolished in 1785, but when Knox was named Secretary of War in 1788, Hodgdon was back on his old job, under the lesser title of Commissary of Military Stores. He was nominated as Quartermaster General by President Washington and confirmed by the Senate, becoming the 1st to be appointed by the President; he also was the 1st civilian named to the post. On March 4, 1791, he became Quartermaster of the army raised for General St. Clair's expedition into the Western frontier. Hodgdon's lack of first-hand knowledge of the frontier soon became most evident. His economy in procuring supplies was at the expense of quality. Many of the items he forwarded were from the surplus stock of the Revolutionary War and were in need of repair. Not only quality but quantity was lacking in supplies forwarded. After the defeat of his forces less than a month later, General St. Clair held Hodgdon largely responsible. A Congressional committee investigating St Clair's defeat laid the burden of blame upon "the delays consequent upon the gross and various mismanagements and neglects in the Quartermaster's and contractor's departments," and exonerated St. Clair completely. Congress voted down a motion to consider the Committee's findings, issued no official report and abruptly dropped the matter to the dismay of St. Clair, who wanted to clear his name. Hodgdon served to April 19, 1792, replaced by James O'Hara, who appointed Hodgdon his deputy in charge of Quartermaster accounts at Philadelphia. Washington reappointed him in 1794 as Superintendent of Military Stores which office he held until 1800. In 1813, he became president of the Pennsylvania Company.

Condition: Good, few slight spots and stains at lower edge; few edge nicks/tears "repaired" using overleaf
Type:letter






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