Description

    Richard Henry Lee Autograph Letter Signed "Richd Heny Lee". Two pages, 8" x 9.25", Chantilly, Virginia, December 6th and 8th, 1773 to Robert Carter. A fine content letter from the Pennsylvania Signer concerning the Gaspée Affair and Virginia's response to the incident. In 1772, the HMS Gaspee ran aground while chasing a suspected smuggler, the Hannah. After the British ship ran aground, a mob attacked the vessel, stripping it of its valuables and then burned it to the waterline. The government in London reacted by commissioning a special court, outside of colonial jurisdiction, to try the ringleaders. The prospect of an outside court so alarmed the Virginia House of Burgesses, that the body formed an inter-colonial committee of correspondence to consult on the crisis and organize a response with other colonial assemblies. Lee writes, "...There has been no meeting of our Assembly since the Session that appointed a committee for corresponding with the other colonies. The effect of that Correspondence I am yet a Stranger to, living at a great distance from Williamsburg and no meeting of the Committee having yet been called... I am happy in agreeing perfectly with yourself and Mr. Dickinson concerning the Rhode Island business, and I suppose, when the collected information from the several Colonies, and their opinions on this subject are made known to our Assembly, it will produce such resolutions as are fitted to show their detestation of, and opposition to such Tyranious [sic] proceedings..." These committees of correspondence formed the organizational fabric critical to the success of the revolutionary movement. Lee continues his discussion two days later explaining the logic of convening the Virginia assembly in the late spring as opposed to the winter citing greater costs to the pubic as well as the planting schedule: "Besides these reasons, it is absolutely certain that more business is done in one May day, than in two Winger ones. The shortness of the days...the badness of the weather, and sickliness of the Members...make the public affairs to go slowly and badly on..." As a delegate to the Continental Congress, it was Lee (1732-94), who put forward the resolution "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved" on June 7, 1776. Letter has been professionally restored including silking to mend separations. Tightly trimmed affecting the date at top and first line of writing on verso; lightly toned with bold ink and in very good condition. An important piece of history. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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