137
137
Paine, Robert Treat, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Estimate
18,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 40,625 USD
JUMP TO LOT
137
Paine, Robert Treat, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Estimate
18,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 40,625 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Paine, Robert Treat, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Autograph letter signed ("RTP"), 1 1/2 pages plus integral address leaf (8 1/4 x 6 5/8 in.; 210 x 168 mm), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 June 1775, to David Cobb, at Taunton, Massachusetts; formerly folded, silked at the central fold and to mend three edge tears without loss, a few small stains and ink smudges. Blue calf portfolio, gilt-stamped title on upper cover and on spine, Copley bookplate.
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Literature

Not in Letters of Delegates, ed. Smith

Catalogue Note

The Congressional appointment that made a nation: "We have unanimously chosen George Washington Esq. to be General of the American forces."

Paine opens his letter by chiding his brother-in-law for his poor correspondence: "I omit no opportunity of writing to you, I wish you could return the Compliment." But "great exertions of Body & mind" leave Paine no "time to be very formal," and he breaks the great news from Congress, "We have unanimously chosen George Washington Esq. to be General of the American forces; we have voted & orders are taken for sending in the most speedy manner ten companys of Refle Men to join our Army; affectual measures are taken to support the Army & all Continental Charges.

"By Advices from England the Ministry are determined to push & the people there & in Ireland seem more disposed to favour us; if we can but stand the shock of this Summer we hope to be upon a better footing; before this reaches you, we expect you will have a large reinforcement of Ministerial Troops in Boston. I hope our people will be very wary of suprises; we have likewise appointed General Ward ... Major General; these Matters above I have license to mention to you tho' as our System is not completed, it is expected that none of these intelligences be put in the News paper."

Washington's appointment, although unanimous, was the result of compromise. Many in New England favored Artemus Ward for commander in chief, but John Adams felt it vital that New England show she was willing to relinquish this appointment to another region of the united colonies. Charles Lee was supported by a number of delegates, but others opposed him because he was not American-born. In hindsight, Washington's appointment seems inevitable; in a letter to his wife, the General himself claimed that "it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this Service" (Papers, Revolutionary War Series 1:4).

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

|
New York