PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE EARLS OF CLARENDON
[with:] retained copies of letters by Clarendon to Howe, including a long letter setting out Howe's remit including his "discretionary power to negotiate" and with military and diplomatic advice ("...The idea of subduing disaffection & of reviving loyalty by reason alone may be conceived, but must not delude; an attempt may be made to compass by a well-adapted proclamation so laudable an end; though but little I am afraid is to be obtained by the pen, 'till the sword has been successful...", 16 March 1776), expressing his confidence that military success will bring the rebels to the negotiating table and of Howe's place in those negotiations ("...I reflect with satisfaction that your Lordship knows Dr Franklyn, since he has been, & is likely to be, their leading negotiator. It is disagreeable to converse in armour; but one must have a defence of steel against the wiles of cunning men...", 29 November 1776), 25 pages, plus blanks, folio, 1776-1777, stab-stitched in paper wrappers
Cornbury was the last heir to the Earldom of Clarendon that had been created for the statesman and historian Edward Hyde (1609-1674). Cornbury had Jacobite sympathies but was MP for the University of Oxford – with which his family had powerful connections – from 1732 until 1751. He became disillusioned with politics in the later 1740s and spent his final years in France. Cornbury counted Pope and Swift amongst his friends, and was himself the author of pamphlets and at least two plays (see lots 6 and 7). He died, unmarried, in Paris in 1753. Most of Cornbury’s property was inherited by his niece, Charlotte (née Capel). Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, was her husband. Villiers had spent the 1730s and ‘40s as a diplomat mostly in the German-speaking world (none of his diplomatic papers are included in this offering) and, following his retirement from the diplomatic service, he entered government in the 1760s. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1771-82 and 1783-86), Clarendon was in Cabinet during the American War of Independence (see lots 14-19).
A SIGNIFICANT CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. Admiral Richard Howe (1726-1799) was appointed naval commander-in-chief in the Americas on 5 February 1776 and arrived in New York on 12 July, just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Howe had long connections with the colonists and knew Benjamin Franklin, and he undoubtedly hoped that a settlement could be reached without bloodshed; however, as these letters show, he soon realised that matters had gone too far for this to be possible. His two naval tasks were to support the army - whose second in command was his brother, William - and enforce the blockade against the rebels. His failure in both tasks was probably more to do with his inadequate resources than a lack of ability, and he was recalled in 1778.
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