WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington")
Lot 9
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington")
US$ 40,000 - 60,000
£ 29,000 - 43,000

Lot Details
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.  Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington")
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Go: Washington") , 4 pp, folio, "Hd. Qrs." May 6th, 1779, docketed May 9, 1779 (date of receipt), to Gouverneur Morris, addressing his proposed attack on New York City, new plans for the Southern Campaign, as well as the decay of the currency, the Army and its morale, clean, folds.
Provenance: Gouverneur Morris; by descent.

A SUBSTANTIAL WASHINGTON LETTER TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, conveying his intended course for the "relief of the S[outhern] S[tates]" on the heels of the visit of Conrad-Alexandre Gérard, in which he assured Washington of the imminent arrival of a French squadron commanded by Count D'Estang on the Southern Coast (see Papers, GW to Gerard, 1 May 1779). An April 26th letter from Morris, delivered by Gerard, had outlined a strategy for an attack on New York City, and Washington had offered Gerard the support of his armies in New York, if D'Estang could be certain to arrive in New York in advance of the British fleet under the command of Admiral Byron. Washington notes: "sufficient assurances cannot be given of points which are essential to justify the great undertaking you had in view ... my judgment rather inclined to the second plan [in the South] as promising more certain success, without putting so much the hazard." He continues to enumerate multiple reasons for his own Southern strategy, concluding, "If it should fail, our affairs which have a very sickly aspect in many respects will receive a stroke they are little able to bear."

Interestingly, he openly elaborates on this "sickly aspect" of colonial affairs, noting with gravity, "the rapid decay of our currency, the extinction of public spirit, the increasing rapacity of the times, the want of harmony in our councils, the declining zeal of the people, the discontents and distresses of the officers of the army; and I may add, the prevailing security and insensibility to danger, are symptoms in my eye of a most alarming nature ... Our army as it now stands is little more than the skeleton of an army and I hear of no steps that are taking to give it strength and substance." Having taken pains to elaborate the direness of their situation, he advises Morris, it is well-worthy of a patriot statesmen at this juncture, to endeavour to pacify party differences — To give fresh vigour to the Springs of Government — To inspire the people with confidence — and above all to restore the credit of our currency."

This expansive letter covers important terrain in tremendous detail. This is the copy sent to Morris, docketed by him on May 9th, 1779, and passed down through the family. A fine example of a substantial war-time letter from the country's first and greatest military leader and statesman, on the brink of a major shift in the war. The Papers of George Washington, Vol 20 (Charlottesville, 2010), as published from a draft in the hand of his aide, Alexander Hamilton, mis-dated May 8th, 1779.
Activities
Auction information

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $250,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $250,001 to $4,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% on the excess over $4,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Ian Ehling
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 644 9094
Similar Items