70
70
Gerry, Elbridge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 16,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT
70
Gerry, Elbridge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 16,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Gerry, Elbridge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Massachusetts
Autograph letter signed ("E Gerry"), 1 page (12 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.; 310 x 190 mm), New York, 18 October 1787, to an unnamed Massachusetts legislator [James Warren], docketed on verso "Mr. Gerry's letter 18 Oct 87" in Warren's hand; small mended tear in center affecting two words, bottom edge renewed with loss of closing sentiment, small stain in upper left corner from cello tape residue. Brown half-morocco drop-box. 
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Provenance

Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Foundation (sale Sotheby Parke Bernet, 26 April 1978, unspecified part of lot 101)

Literature

Kaminski et al, eds., Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, 4:93-94

Catalogue Note

Gerry objects to the Constitution.

When the Constitution was complete and submitted for signing at the Philadelphia Convention, Gerry was one of three participants who refused to sign. In the present letter, written to a legislator in his home state, he encloses [not present here] "some papers on the subject of the Constitution to be reprinted if you think it convenient" referring to some of the many essays published for and against ratification: "I know not who the authors are of the anonymous pieces & it is a matter of no consequence to the public, the Sentiments are in many respects just."

Gerry imagines that the document will establish a dictatorship based in Philadelphia where all taxes will gather: "My opinion with respect to the proposed constitution is, that if adopted it will lay the foundation of a government of force and fraud, that the people will bleed with taxes [at every] pore, & that the existence of their liberties will soon be terminated. The wealth of the continent will be collected in Pennsylvania, where the Seat of the federal government is proposed to be, & those who will use the greatest address in obtaining an acceptance of this despotic System, will hereafter scourge the people for their folly in adopting it."

Gerry promises to submit "my reasons to the legislature for dissenting from the Convention, & shall write them by post a short Letter to this effect." [Written the same day, and published in the Massachusetts Centinel, 3 November 1787]. In his postscript, he advises the legislature to postpone consideration of ratification to the next session "As the object of the supporters of the Constitution is to carry it thro by Surprize ... Col. R.H. Lee informs me, the Judges, all the Bar, and many of the principal gentlemen of Virginia are high against this system."

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

|
New York