184
184
Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 5,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
184
Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 5,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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Whipple, William, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire
Autograph letter signed ("W Whipple"), 1 1/2 pages (12 3/4 x 8 in.; 322 x 203 mm) on a single leaf (watermarked lion in circle), Philadelphia, 14 April 1777, to John Langdon (at Portsmouth), autograph reception docket signed by Langdon on verso; marginal chip at upper left costing two characters on verso, lightly browned at fold creases. Half blue morocco folding-case gilt.
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Provenance

Sotheby Parke Bernet, 25 January 1977, lot 228 (undesignated consignor)

Literature

Letters of Delegates, ed. Smith, 6:577–78 (text from a transcript, with many variations in incidentals)

Catalogue Note

Whipple discusses privateering matters with New Hampshire's agent for Continental prizes. "My last respects to you was by Capt Wentworth, who was the Bearer of 20,000 Dolrs from the Secret Committee, since which I have receiv'd a letter from Mr. Wm. Gardner of ye 17th ult acknowledging the receipt of the 42,000 per Betten he also mentions Messrs Whartons write you that they have not receiv'd their Money for the Betsey cargo, it's true that they have not, but it's their own fault. I rec'd Your orders for paying them at Baltimore & immediately on my arrival here sent to them for their acct and desir'd at the same time they wd send for the Money. I have sent a second message to them & find they dont want to receive the money, that is they dont want to receive paper money. I have not yet had an opportunity of waiting on them personaly but shall do it as soon as possible & tender the Money." The impetuous Whipple takes Langdon to task for dealing too closely with Thomas Wharton, the President of the Pennsylvania Executive Council: "I can't conceive how you came to form a connection with such infamous Tories. Pensilvania dont afford a more villainous Tory than T. Wharton, however I am determin'd he shall either receive the mo[ney] or the reward due to a Traitor."

Whipple mistakenly repeats the name of the ship Friends Adventure in his concluding paragraph, an error that the editors of Letters of Delegates to Congress erroneously attribute to a copyist. "The Mifflin, Capt Marshall, is taken. The Friends Adventure is I imagine by this time sailed from Baltimore. The Friends Adventure I understand is ready to sail from Baltimore." Presumably Whipple intended one of these references for the schooner Dove, commanded by James Miller, which Langdon dispatched to Baltimore with the Friends Adventure for the Marine Committee. He continues, "Miller and a number of other vessels are still in Chesapeake Bay waiting for an opportunity to get out, both the vessels have not more than 25 tons iron on board and I suppose the 74 gun ship will take 60. I shall write you again in a day or two. ..."

John Langdon's patriotism may have been spurred by his mercantile interests. As the owner of a small merchant fleet, he chaffed under British control of the shipping industry. Langdon was elected to the First Continental Congress, but resigned in order to assume his responsibilities as a Continental agent for prizes. He was one of the architects of the new nation's naval operations, supervising the building of several warships (including John Paul Jones's Ranger) and profiting from privateering ventures.

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

|
New York