180
180
Wayne, Anthony, Continental General
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT
180
Wayne, Anthony, Continental General
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Wayne, Anthony, Continental General
Autograph letter signed ("AntyWayne"), 3 pages, 4to (9 x 7 1/2 in.; 229 x 191 mm), Camp at Goods Bridge, [Virginia], 27 July 1781, probably to George Washington (closing addresses him as "Your Excellency"), regarding intercepted letters of Lord George Germain, British Secretary of State for the American Department, second leaf docketed "1781 From General Wayne respecting Colo Gaskins regiment Enclosing a letter of July 23rd 1781"; second leaf mounted on a slightly larger sheet of paper, somewhat obscuring the docket, return of Col. Thomas Gaskin's Virginia regiment not present.  Blue cloth folding-case, blue morocco spine.
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Catalogue Note

"You will before this arrives have heard of the Intercepted letters from Lord G Germain in which he has disposed of all matters to his mind ... gives orders to Sr. H. Clinton for establishing peace & good order among the Subjugated Colonies ..." reports Wayne about the British Secretary of State for the American Department, Lord George Germain.

"I am told they contain a tissue of tyranny folly & Deception shew what wretches we should be, if adverse fortune had thrown us under British Despotism, however they have demonstrated a Degree of State policy in announcing to the respective Courts the Conquest of Virginia &c. as it might have had an Influence upon the Councils of the Belligerant powers in fixing the terms of peace, it would also give them Credit at the European market for territory & a specious pretext to claim the non possidatus or right to hold all such Country as they had troops or Garrisons in, which they will expect to have Subjugated by marching thro'.

"It is therefore the business of America to dispossess them of every port they hold in the United States, at every expense of blood & treasure." The British appeared to have successfully reconquered Georgia and South Carolina with the aid of strong Loyalist factions, and thought that North Carolina might be within their grasp. On 15 March 1781, British and American forces clashed at Guildford Courthouse in what is now Greensboro, North Carolina.  Technically the British emerged victorious but at a great cost of life. Cornwallis was forced to retreat to Virginia. Germain was the primary minister responsible for suppressing the revolt in the colonies. He promoted or relieved Generals, took care of provisions and supplies, and became involved with the strategic planning of the war. His failure to understand either the geography of the colonies or the determination of the colonists most likely contributed to the loss of the colonies. Confusion between orders he sent for Cornwallis and Clinton was a determining factor in the loss at Yorktown less than two and half months later. Wayne's letter seemingly foresees that conclusion since the French naval blockade played such a critical role at Yorktown.  

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

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New York