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The Laws of Pennsylvania for 1781-1785, Signed by
Clement Biddle, George Washington’s Commissary General at Valley Forge
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CLEMENT BIDDLE. Signed Book. Laws Enacted in the Sixth [-Ninth] General Assembly of the Representatives of the Freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania... Vol. II. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers [and Thomas Bradford], 1782-1785. Folio. 254, [3] 256-270, [3], 272 362, 362-365, 362-368, [6], 372-399, [1], II, [1], 402-857, [1], iv, [1], 590-704, iii p Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1782-1785. First six sections printed by Hall & Sellers, remainder by Thomas Bradford. Approximately 706 pp.

Inventory #22236       Price: $9,500

A bound volume of Pennsylvania session laws, from the first sitting of the sixth session in 1781 through the third sitting of the ninth session in 1785. Signed by Clement C. Biddle in several places; includes a number of Revolutionary War-related acts and some marginal notes.

The printing of An Act for the Regulation of Bankruptcy (pp. 644-657) has many words underlined, drawn pointers, and other contemporary manuscript notations.

One of the Acts has an original ownership signature at the top James Tate, Esq. Not a unique name, but we wonder if it could be the Revolutionary War surgeon with a notorious post-war history of medical experiments on corpses; his house, which still stands, is reputed to be haunted.

The laws published here included Acts for:

the Defence of the Frontiers of this State… 1781

preventing and punishing the Counterfeiting of the Common Seal, Bank Bills and Bank Notes of the … Bank of North America

guarding and definding the Navigation in the Bay and River Delaware…

Amending An Act for the better Employment of the Poor of the City of Philadelphia… and … An Act for the Relief of the Poor…

erecting the Town of Carlisle

[encouraging]  the killing of Wolves

Suppression of all Intercourse and Commerce with the Enemies of the United States

procuring an Estimate of the Damages sustained … from the Troops and Adherents of the King of Great-Britain, during the present War

the Settlement of the public Accounts of the United States of America (1783);

the speedy apprehending and bringing to Justice divers Robbers, Burglars and Felons;

An Act to dissolve the Marriage of Peter Summers, and Catherine his Wife, grants the dissolution as he has "frequently beat her in a most cruel and inhuman Manner, and hath estanged his Affections from her, and placed them on other Women…"  (pp. 231-2).

Clement Biddle (1740 – 1814) was a Philadelphia merchant and American Revolutionary War soldier, with the rank of Colonel. Biddle was a deputy quartermaster general of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia, and Commissary General at Valley Forge under George Washington. After the Revolutionary War, he was the first U.S. Marshal (1789–1793) for Pennsylvania.


Contemporary sheep-backed marbled paper covered boards, skillfully rebacked in period style. Boards rubbed, a couple pages with printing defects internally (ie pp 663-4,) causing the loss of a few words, paper varying widely between gatherings from fresh and white to foxed to moderately toned.

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