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    Description

    Sylvester Gardiner Letter Book, 19th Century Fair Copy Compiled by Alpheus Packard. Over fifty pages, dated between 1776 and 1785. The first letter was written from Halifax, Nova Scotia - "this miserable place" - shortly after Gardiner, loyal to the British crown, had fled Boston and the American rebels. He explains in his first letter how he and the other loyalists left Boston and arrived at Halifax. It began with his "fear of the Troops leaving the Town of Boston, which they did on the 17th day of March in such a precipitate manner as gave the friends of government only four or five days notice, which put them under the necessity of leaving almost everything they had. As no vessel or Seaman were to be found so suddenly to transport themselves with their effects, which threw them into the utmost distress; indeed the General gave them all the assistance he could by assigning them some places in the Transport, but then there was not room to carry off any of their effects, and but very little of their household furniture. And what they did was chiefly destroyed or stolen by the Soldiers or Sailors. On their arrival at this miserable place, it was with the greatest difficulty, they could get houses to screen themselves from the weather. Housed did I say, they hardly deserve the name. The wretched inhabitants took every advantage of our misfortunes." Throughout the book, Gardiner also writes of "the Rebellion"; the military leadership by the Howes; "this poor nation" of England (which has "not only the Americans to contend with but France & Spain"); and much more.

    Sylvester Gardiner (1708-1786) was a physician who became a wealthy merchant importing drugs to the colonies. He was born in Rhode Island and remained loyal to England throughout the Revolutionary War. He was in Boston when the British Army evacuated the city in March 1776. When he and other loyalists fled to Canada, they lost their possessions to the American rebels. From Canada, Gardiner sailed to England, where he lived during the remaining years of the war. His original letters were written from various places, including Halifax, Nova Scotia; Poole, England; and London. In 1785, after the war was ended, he returned to Rhode Island where he died the next year. This letter book is bound by string. Pages are toned and unnumbered. The text is worthy of further research.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
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