Description

    William Vernon Sr. Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 7.25" x 9", Boston, May 28, 1777, written to his son, William Vernon Jr., a student at Princeton. Vernon Sr., a prosperous merchant and slave trader from Newport, Rhode Island, had just recently received the welcomed news that his son "was well" after his "recent flight from Princeton" following the battle there in January. When this letter was written, Vernon Jr. had returned to school, where he was staying in the home of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Through this informative letter, Vernon Sr. commiserates with his son's "losses & disappointments" at the hands of the British Army, who were "more than Savage enemies, that are making such cruel ravages where ever they gain footing." Vernon Sr. had hoped that the British would "soon meet with suitable chastisement by our American hero, and most Excellent General who now hath an Army in the Field, that can look his opponents in the face; we are impatiently waiting to hear of events that will terminate this Ministeral War in our favor & may Heaven grant our most ardent wishes for Peace, Plenty, & Tranquility to America."

    Six months earlier when the British had arrived in Newport, Vernon Sr. had been forced to abandon his stately home and flee to Boston. He continues this letter by reporting on events in Newport since his arrival in Boston: "I have never received any Letter . . . from your Tory Uncle Tom [Thomas Vernon]. . . . Last week search was made through the Town, for all Effects that could be found belonging to me, for what reason I cannot conceive, except they have heard that the Congress have nominated me as one of the Marine Board for the Northern States, which I suppose they have had notice of from some of our Internal Enemies, with which we abound. I wish some method was taken to suppress those worst of Enemies." (Vernon Sr., who was acquainted with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, was selected earlier in 1777 by the Continental Congress to serve on the Eastern Navy Board.)

    In spite of the disruptions to the Vernon's lives, Vernon Sr. ends the letter on an optimistic note about their merchant business: "The [Lady] Washington is in this Harbour, don't think she will be fitted out again upon a Cruise. The Brigt. in which he [Vernon Jr.'s brother, Samuel] was concern'd sailed about 10 days since for So. Carolina from thence she is Order'd to Europe & back to some of the Northern States. If she does chance to return safe make no doubt will clear a good deal of Money."
    With weakness and some separation at folds. Remnants of seal on the address panel. From the Papers of William Vernon.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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