"AT A TIME WHEN THE INVALUABLE LIBERTIES OF AMERICA SEEM AT STAKE AND THE VERY VITALS OF OUR EXCELLENT CONSTITUTION WOUNDED…": THREE PRE-REVOLUTIONARY AUTOGRAPH SURVEYING JOURNALS, ALSO CONTAINING EXCEPTIONAL CONTENT ON THE REVOLUTION, WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN THE HAND OF "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE, THE FAMOUS REVOLUTIONARY WAR GENERAL, AND SIGNED BY HIM NINE TIMES
WAYNE, "Mad" Anthony. Three autograph surveying journals signed. No place, 1769-72. Octavo, string- and nail-bound as issued, original self-wrappers; pp. 61. $19,500.
Most desirable set of three autograph surveying journals, written entirely in the hand of Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne and signed nine times, with 2-1/2 pages of fiery pre-war content on British slights and the importance of liberty.
Although a mediocre student, "Mad" Anthony Wayne was educated as a surveyor at his uncle's private academy in Philadelphia. He also attended the College of Philadelphia (later merged into the University of Pennsylvania), but failed to earn a degree. However, he has developed sufficient skill to become employed as a surveyor in his hometown of Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1765, Benjamin Franklin sent Wayne, age 20, and some other associates to work for a year surveying land granted in Nova Scotia. These surveyors assisted with starting a settlement at The Township of Monckton. In 1767, Wayne returned to work in his father's tannery, while continuing work on the side as a surveyor. "As troubles between Britain and the colonies waxed in the 1770s, Wayne emerged as a natural leader of the patriots. He was handsome, educated, established on the land, and an ardent proponent of colonial rights… Early in 1776 he was commissioned a colonel in the Continental army and given command of the Fourth Battalion of the Pennsylvania line" (ANB). Wayne's natural charisma made him one of the most successful military officers of the war (he was promoted to general), though some more experienced military officers felt he took excessive risks—earning him the nickname "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Wayne is perhaps best known for his engagement in the battles of Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown, Pennsylvania, as well as his seizure of Stony Point and defense of West Point. Wayne spent much of his later life in government or the military. In 1792, he responded to a Washington directive and effectively ended Indian resistance at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne's "seasoned force of 1,000 men routed the 2,000 warriors gathered for a final confrontation near Fort Miami on the Maumee River. This victory enabled Wayne to negotiate the Treaty of Greenville (August 1795), by which the Indians ceded most of Ohio and large sections of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan" (Britannica).
These journals are from Wayne's early surveying career: 1769, 1770, and 1772. They have been signed cumulatively, nine times by Anthony Wayne, including multiple times on a single page when Wayne appears to have been experimenting with his signature. Notably, the pages are dated in the Quaker fashion, with March being the first month. The three journals, taken together, contain 58 pages. The 30-page and 12-page (seven with writing) journals contain similar content, primarily specific surveying information about land and measurements. The second, 26-page (24 with writing) journal contains similar information, including land surveys for Joseph Mitchell, Sarah Christie, David Howells, Jacob Bough, Thomas Williams, Josiah Hibbert, Moses Davis, and Joseph Pratts. However, 2-1/2 pages of this journal, written in very faint pencil, relate to the tides of war and begin: "At a time when the Invaluable Liberties of America seem at Stake and the Very Vitals of our Excellent Constitution wounded…" With two engravings of Anthony Wayne from the Ridgway-Wayne estate.
Revolutionary war content in faded pencil (partially legible), corner from one leaf expertly reattached, light wear and a few tears to edges of journals. Very good condition.