Description

    An early speech celebrating Independence

    John Stevens (1708-1792), member of the Continental Congress, Autograph Letter Signed "John Stevens" as Vice President the Council of New Jersey, two pages, 8.25" x 13", Princeton, September [17], 1776, a draft address to William Livingston, the newly-elected Governor of New Jersey. As the Continental Army fled the British onslaught in New York, Stevens, Vice President of the Council of New Jersey, addresses Governor Livingston:

    "We the Council of the State of New Jersey, beg leave to congratulate your Excellency on your Accession to the government. The impartial and disinterested Part of Mankind, throughout the World, will agree with your Excellency that the separation of America from Great Britain was become not only expedient and fully justifiable before God & man but inevitable, and the British Nation particularly if they are not totally immersed in Vice, Venality and Corruption, cannot but applaud the Rectitude and Spirit of a measure so consonant to their Constitution and Political Maxims - National-liberty is of such unspeakable benefit and Importance to all States and an Emancipation from our late Foreign Tyranny so peculiarly pleasing to all virtuous Americans that we thank the Creator and Governor of the Universe most heartily for it as the greatest Sublunary Good his Beneficence & Wisdom could bestow upon Us. The Constitution framed by the late Convention, tho not intirely [sic] perfect, has, however, equitably and justly decided on most of the principal Points, whereon the Happiness of this Society depends, and therefore seems to have recieved [sic] general Approbation, upon so respectable and truly honorable a Bottom, supported by the People, the present Legislature is founded, they have, in the most unbiased Manner, chosen your Excellency their Governor & by that Choice, at their perilous Period, have explicitly shown how much they admire your Virtues and what Confidence they repose in your Abilities.... Never did Times require more Oeconomy [sic], Industry, Patriotism and sound Manners than the present, and the Experience of all Ages with the recent Example of Great Britain have effectually taught us how necessary it is to inculcate these essential Qualities both by Precept and Example..."

    Docketed "Draught of an Address Brought in & first read Sept. 17, 1776" An amazing and early document from the founding of the United States. The Council would soon be forced to flee Princeton as the British invaded on the heels of Washington's retreating army. In late 1776, Washington would stage a surprise attack on Trenton (December 25) completely surprising the Hessian garrison there. He followed up his success at Princeton at week later defeating British forces there and managing to give the fledgling nation some hope for victory after a disastrous campaign. Light folds and toning, else very good condition. Remarkable history. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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