183
183
Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Estimate
15,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 23,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
183
Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Estimate
15,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 23,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Autograph letter signed ("W Whipple"), 3 pages (13 x 8 in.; 332 x 203 mm) on a bifolium (watermarked fleur-de-lys), Philadelphia, 17 March 1776, to Dr. Joshua Brackett (at Portsmouth), autograph address panel and reception docket on verso of second leaf; seal tear and crude repair, some other early, artless repairs to short tears and fold separations, all costing about five characters. Green morocco folding-case, red morocco labels.
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Provenance

Paul Francis Webster (24 April 1985, lot 175)

Literature

Letters of Delegates, ed. Smith, 3:395–96

Catalogue Note

Whipple confidently anticipates independence: "what have we to fear? ... shall we in these circumstances Bow the knee to B?"

Whipple sends an excited—albeit somewhat optimistic—" accot of affairs in this part of the world" to Dr. Joshua Brackett, his brother-in-law and a member of New Hampshire's Provincial Congress. "I am now going to give you some. Every warlike Preparation is making at N. York, two Brigadier Generals viz Thompson, & Lord Sterling, are there, 8,000 men are order'd there, & requisitions to Conecticut, New York, & New Jersey, to hold their Militia in readiness to go to the assistance of York, if needful—13 Regiments for Vergania & Carolinas, Major Genl. Lee & four Brigadiers Genl. in that department. Commissioners are to set off for Canada in a few days; they have with them two Roman Catholick Gentn. of Merriland warm Friends to the American Cause, one of them an Ecleseastick [Charles Carroll of Carrollton and Fr. John Carroll]; there is no doubt in my Opinion but that Province will be secured to the United Colonies. Baron De Woedlke who is taken into the Continental service is also going there; this Gentleman is recommended in the Strongest terms by some of the first Carecters in France, both for his love of Liberty & Military knowledge, those who recommend him are well known to some Gentn here. He is well acquainted with the French Language & I suppose has a long string of titles which will please them People."

Whipple moves beyond Philadelphia to report developments in foreign relations just gleaned from passangers aboard a New York packet ship that had "left London the 23 Decr. & Falmouth 7th Jany." "Our Friends in England recommend Firmness in the strongest terms. Its fully expected that the late acts of Parliment (Justifing the Pirates in seizing & destroying American Property & confiscating all American Property whereever to be found) will cause a final seperation, in short administration themselves can think no other as is evident from their seting scriblers to work to shew that the Colonies are of but very little consequence to Britain. It may be depended on that no assistance can be obtain'd from Russia, it is also an undoubted fact that 20,000 men is the utmost they will be able to get to America this summer, including those already here & this you may be assured of inter Nos that France stands ready to assist us whenever we ask her." Later in the letter, Whipple amplifies this point: "The Ostensible cause that Russia will not assist Britain, is that there is no Carttel settled between Britain, & America, but the real cause is France's interposition thro Sweeden." 

Whipple's enthusiasm for American liberty is almost palpable as he asks his brother-in-law, "Now Sir what have we to fear? Powder is almost daily arriving in small Quantities & there is the greatest prospect of an ample supply of all military stores; shall we in these circumstances Bow the knee to B? God forbid. We have particular accots. from Cambrige up to the 8th inst. I am anxious to hear what has happend since. Shod the Royals Brutes, Buchers & Pirates evacuate Boston & that Harbour (which I dont believe tho' many do) I suppose you'll think yourselves tolerable safe at Portsmouth." Mention of Portsmouth leads Whipple to a recitation of greetings to family and friends, including his brother Joseph, his sister Hannah Whipple Brackett, his mother, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Trail.

As he closes the letter with a description of the fate of Ethan Allen following his capture at Montreal the preceding September, Whipple's passions are again provoked: "These Gentn that came in the Packet ... saw Col. Allen in Pendeniss's Castle in Irons but before they left Falmouth he was sent on Board a man of war to do duty as a common Sailor; this ship is coming to America. Can there be an American so lost to Humanity as to wish a connection with a set of Barbarians."  

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

|
New York