36
36
Clymer, George, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania
Estimate
1,5002,500
LOT SOLD. 10,625 USD
JUMP TO LOT
36
Clymer, George, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania
Estimate
1,5002,500
LOT SOLD. 10,625 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Clymer, George, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania

Document signed ("Geo Clymer"), 1 half-page (6 1/4 x 8 1/8 in.; 158 x 206 mm), [Philadelphia], 4 April 1776, being a payment order by the Philadelphia Committee of Public Safety to John Nixon of the Committee of Account, also signed by Owen and James Biddle, for payment to Nicholas Hickes, docketed on verso; formerly folded, silked, fold tears affecting a few letters, browned with cello tape residue. Accompanied by an autograph letter signed, 2 pages (13 x 8 1/2 in.; 330 x 205 mm), Roxborough, Pennsylvania, 2 April 1779, to an unnamed addressee; inlaid, formerly folded, a few tiny fold tears mended. Light blue half-morocco drop-box, gilt-stamped title on spine.


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Catalogue Note

The Philadelphia Committee of Safety fortifies Fort Island and Clymer hopes that "as England must be as tired of the war as ourselves...she will be compelled in Time to make Pride give way to Necessity and allow us our Independence."

Construction of Fort Island (later called Fort Mifflin) was completed in 1776 to protect Philadelphia from invasion along the Delaware River. As it turned out, the fort was destroyed by the British in 1777 and Philadelphia was occupied.

The chairman of the Committee of Safety, George Clymer (1739-1813), personally suffered at the hands of the invaders when his home was sacked in late 1777. The present letter, written to an unnamed family friend (possibly named Wright), was composed while his family was still homeless, staying at the home of Mr. Hill. He begins with an apology for neglecting his friend: "I have of late so far departed from my natural character and become so much a politician by accident as  has left me too little time to cultivate my Friendships, but taking a proper degree of Shame to myself for it I am determined in future less to deserve my own reproaches on that score."

Being a politician does not confer wisdom: "But if you happen to ask my Opinion as a politician on certain points — a hidden and mysterious air on my part would not proceed from secret Knowledge but downright Ignorance, for I know little more of the private History of our great concerns than Sam Carrier or your neighbour Hohentaghler — and in short am weary of Conjecture."

He offers some sceptical comments on the arguments of "the Constitutionalists" (the Articles of Confederation were still in process of ratification) "... they have neither Sense nor Virtue enough to govern a hord of Tartars. And as to the Constitution itself 'tis so shattered and battered by its Friends as hardly to be known again by its makers."

Clymer closes his letter with observations on his family's trials. His postscript reads: "Harry is at school in Town and Meredith desires I would let the Boys know he wishes to be playing with them."

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

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New York