Description

    William Whipple Autograph Letter Signed "Wm. Whipple," two pages, 7.25" x 9", front and verso. Philadelphia, March 2, 1776 (but inexplicably dated 1775 - see below). To Honble Col. [Meshech] Weare. Original spelling. In full, "I arriv'd here ye 28 Ulto the Roads were so Extreem bad it was impossible for me to get here sooner. The Papers which Capt Long gave me seald up & directed to the President [John Hancock] I delivered on my arrival, they were yesterday read in Congress & referd to a Committee. My Coleague talks of leaving me in about a fortnight by that time I hope shall be able to forward the determination of Congress on the Petition for a Battalion, if your delegates could have been furnish'd with an estimate of the Colonial expences they might have improved them to advantage, but you may be assured we shall do the best we can without them, but I beg the acco[un]t may be sent forward as soon as possible or if the acco[un]ts cannot be got ready let me be furnished with a estimate both of the Continental & Provincial charges. I was much surprisd to find there was no instructions among the papers given me by Capt Long not a word about Purchasing the Flour which was so much talked of when I was last with the Committee if any thing of that sort is to be done I shod be glad to be advisd of it, as soon as possible for no doubt the Risque increases with the advancement of the season. The Congress have appointed six more Brigadier Generals four for the Southern & two for the Middle departments, its probable Genl. Lee will have the Command of the Southern Army. I have nothing new that I can communicate when I have you may be assured I shall be very particular & I hope shall hear from you often all the delegates except from New-Hampshire are furnishd weakly with all the transactions of their respective Colonies, & realy wish to be on a footing with them in that respect. I shall write to you again shortly In the meantime give me leave to assure you that I am with great Respect Your Most Obt. & Faithful Servt." Penned across the bottom in an unidentified contemporary hand: "This letter should be dated in 1776 instead of 1775, as Mr. Whipple was not chosen Delegate until 23 January 1776."

    From the Journals of the Continental Congress for Friday, March 1, 1776: "A letter from the committee of safety of New Hampshire, with a petition from said colony, and sundry other papers, were read: Resolved, That the same be referred to a committee of three. The members chosen, Mr. [George] Wythe, Mr. [Carter] Braxton, and Mr. [Benjamin] Franklin." Footnote: "William Whipple reached Philadelphia on the 28th February, bringing these papers." There is no doubt whatsoever that this letter was penned by William Whipple in 1776 prior to his signing the Declaration of Independence. The appointments mentioned by Whipple are also recorded in the Journals of March 1, 1776.

    On January 5, 1776, New Hampshire became the first American colony to adopt a formal constitution which served as the basic instrument of government until the state adopted a new constitution in 1784. Executive power was delegated to a Committee of Safety consisting of eight or ten legislative leaders. Col. Meshech Weare (1713-1786) was elected chairman of the Committee of Safety and, on June 15, 1776, became the first President (now called Governor) of New Hampshire, serving until June 1, 1785. Chipping at the left edge of the first page does not affect any of Whipple's writing. There is a 3" separation at the right of the lower fold not materially affecting the letter's appearance. Penned exactly four months before Congress voted to approve 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 connexion [sic] between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." A superb content letter of the workings of Congress relative to military appointments prior to independence during the first year of the American Revolution, written by a newly elected member of the Continental Congress upon his arrival in Philadelphia. In fine condition.


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