Description

    [Revolutionary War] William Carmichael Autograph Letter Signed, endorsed by recipient Elbridge Gerry. Twelve pages, 4to, Madrid, March 1, 1781, giving extended views of the politics of the court, of Europe, and their disposition to America. Carmichael evokes John Jay, John Adams, Silas Deane, Arthur Lee, and others. The letter has a 12-line autograph endorsement by Gerry. In part: "Perhaps this long letter may fall into the hands of the Philistines. Let it tell them that I pity almost as much as I despise them. Their gallantry and firmness in a bad cause excites my compassion, while their abject subjection to a Junto of would-be great men moves my contempt, mingled with visibility and indignation. Gracious Heaven, to see the mischief that a single individual can do. If any thing could reconcile me to private assassination, this reflection would do it". Gerry's endorsement acknowledges the receipt and dates of the letter, as well as the date of Gerry's response. The writing is clear and dark. William Carmichael was a diplomat and a man of fortune who resided in London at the beginning of the Revolution. He was on his way to America in July of 1776, with dispatches from Arthur Lee, but was detained in Paris by illness, and assisted Silas Deane in his correspondence and business for over a year. He communicated with the King of Prussia, at Berlin, intelligence concerning American commerce, and assisted the commissioners at Paris. After his return to America in 1778, he was a delegate to congress from Maryland from 1778-1780. He was secretary of legation during John Jay's mission to Spain, and when the latter left Spain in June of 1782, he remained as charge d'affaires. In March of 1792, William Short join him in a commission to negotiate a treaty with Spain regarding the navigation of the Mississippi River, but they were unsuccessful. Carmichael returned to the United States in May of 1794. His letters were published in Sparks's Diplomatic Correspondence.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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