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CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
LIFE OF GEORGE READ,
A SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
Ys Bespectfully Dedicated
BY THE AUTHOR.
In the year 1821 the author of the “Life of George Read," at the request of the beads of his family, wrote a “Sketch” of his life for the “ Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” then being published, which, being approved by them, was printed in the third volume of that work. Upon the decease of the father of the author, in 1836, the papers of George Read came into his possession, A careful examination of these papers showed that the sketch of Mr. Read's life was an imperfect and inadequate record of his services and character. The author felt it to be his duty to attempt a fuller one, but shrunk from the task, diffident of his ability to execute it as he wished it to be executed, and was diverted from it by duties and avocations which could not be put aside, until a recent period, when, warned by his near approach to the ordinary term of human life, be felt that this attempt, if to be made by bim, could no longer be deferred. Besides the papers of Mr. Read, above mentioned, letters- valuable materials of this work—have been obtained and incorporated in it. Mr. Read's correspondence comprises letters of the most eminent of his contemporaries, now first published, except eight printed in the “Sketch” of his life, in the “Biography of the Signers.” The author considered it impracticable to write the life of Mr. Read as he thought it ought to be attempted, without writing at the same time, to some extent at least, the history of the deeply-interesting period with which, as a public man, Mr. Read was closely connected; but, as well he might, recoiled from repeating the narrative of events familiar to all, and which he could not even hope to invest with interest.
The letters of Mr. Read's eminent contemporaries seemed to require, while they gave opportunity for, the brief notices of their writers in these pages, and it appeared to be a duty to preserve facts which
might be valuable for the history of Delaware yet to be written. Opinions of men, of measures, of events, and on questions which claimed consideration, have been expressed in this book, the author will not dare to assert without error, but, where he bas erred, without intentional injustice. The meagre sketch in the “Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence" has been expanded to this volume, which, with this necessary preface, is submitted to the public.
NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE,
November 15th, 1870.
LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE
Mr. Read's birth-Account of his parents—Their removal from Maryland to
Delaware-His education-His school-fellows- Dr. Allison-He commences the study of the law--Mr. Moland--His contidence in Mr. Rrad--Mr Read's admission to the bar-His letter to his parents as to his settlement-Relinquishes his right to a double portion of his father's estate—The law as to double portion -Settles in New Castle, and practises in the three lower counties ( a Delaware, and one or more in Pennsylvania–His competitors-Succeeds John Ross as Attorney-General-Resigns attorney-generalshipin 1774- Eminen as a special pleaderHis influence great-His almanacs and bets-Letter from John Dickinson to Mr. Read-Notice of John Dickinson's first speech, and o: Galloway's reply thereto, and of the prefaces to these speeches-Mr. Read's narriage, and notice of Mrs. Read— Mr. Dickinson's congratulatory letter to him on his marriage-Mr. Read elected to the General Assembly of Delaware-Applies for the office of collector of New Castle, and fails to receive it-His letters and those of Franklin-Letters of Mr. Neave on the troubles of the mother-country and her colonies, and part of rough draft of a letter of Mr. Read in reply-Letter of Mr. Wharton-Mr. Read's farm-Colonel Bedford-His marriage with Mr. Read's sister-Colonel Read— Mr. Read advocates the observance of the Sabbath --His rules to preserve health-Result of election in 1769—Colonial lotteries, and remarks on the subject of lotteries-Correspondence of Mr. Read with his brothers—Notice of Captain Thomas Read-Frigate Alliance-Appendix A, notice of John
Ross-Appendix B, roll of militia company, 1757-- Appendix C, notice of Rev George Ross--Appendix D, notice of John Dickinson-Appendix E, Thomas Read.
GEORGE READ was born in Cecil County, in the Province of Maryland, September 18th, in the year 1733, and was the eldest of six brothers. His father, John Read, was the son of a wealthy citizen of Dublin, and having emigrated to America, settled in Cecil County, where he became a respectable planter. Soon after the birth of his eldest son he removed to New Castle County, in the Province of Delaware, and established himself on the head-waters of the Christiana River.
The parents of Mr. Read determined, at an early period, to confer such an education on their son as would enable