Description: Signer of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina (1749-1800). ADS, signed four times "Ed: Rutledge," three pages on two sheets, 8 x 13, April 16, 1791. Discharge of debt owed to the estate of James Penman and his heirs by General Anthony Wayne. The first page, in the hand of James' son Edward Penman, lists "Papers deposited by Edwd. Penman with Edwd. Rutledge Esq.," with itemized debts owed by Wayne. Includes a £1,000 Bill of Exchange dated 28 Sept. 1785 drawn by Willem & Jan Willink of Amsterdam and payable to Penman; also "a Bill of Sale of 33 Negroes from Genl. Wayne to E. Penman," a "Lease and release from Genl. Wayne to E. Penman of Richmond & Kew" [Wayne's two rice plantations] and a "Warrant of Atty. by E. Penman to Wm. Lewis Esqr. [Wayne's attorney] of Phila. to enter satisfaction" [on the Pennsylvania judgment]. This list is signed by Rutledge in the lower right corner. The reverse of the first page, entirely in Rutledge's hand, is Penman's release of Wayne's debt. Rutledge writes, in part: "I the said Edward Penman by virtue of the power in me vested has...by these Present, Do remise, release & forever discharge the said Anthony Wayne of & from the payment of the said monies." The release is signed at the top of the third page by Penman and as witnesses by Rutledge and by Richard Wayne, Junr., a cousin who was apparently representing the General.Written below are two endorsements by Rutledge. Under Rutledge's second endorsement is a notarizing endorsement of Penman's signature. In very good condition, with some archival tape repairs to partial separations along horizontal folds, one affecting Rutledge's witnessing signature, scattered toning and soiling, a couple small pencil notations, and a couple small repaired tears.Having received two rice plantations from the state of Georgia in 1782, Revolutionary War hero General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne procured slaves from Penman to tend his fields. When a series of misfortunes ended up costing him both plantations and all of his slaves, he was left with a massive debt of "Five Thousand and Eighty Seven Pounds Eighteen Shillings."Like many Southern politicians of the early Republic, Edward Rutledge held strong pro-slavery views and actively tried to bar African Americans from the Continental Army. Though unsuccessful, his influence remained strong and was a contributing factor in the division of the nation that eventually led to the Civil War. After his service in the American Revolution, he returned to the South Carolina state assembly and his legal practice, where he handled Penman's estate. An exemplary and highly desirable document connecting the Declaration's youngest signer and a key Revolutionary War general.
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