Lot 221: British General HENRY CLINTON Book on the American Revolution, 1784
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1784 British General Henry Clinton Accounts for the "Late Unfortunate War in America..."
1784-Dated Post Revolutionary War, First Edition Bound Imprint, by British Gen. Henry Clinton on the American Revolution: "A Letter from Lieut. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton,... to The Commissioners of Public Accounts...", Printed for J. Debrett, London, England, Choice Very Fine.
This is the First Edition Bound Imprint by British Commander Henry Clinton, with 19th-Century marbled boards, measuring 9" x 5.75", 32 pages. The spine is chipped, and the joints are slightly loose. Edition has uncut pages, and is absent the one-page explanatory slip inserted in some copies. Very light toning to pages. This letter features Gen. Clinton's vindication of his expenditures in command of the British army during the American Revolution. Howes C-494; Sabin 13750.
Clinton expresses his surprise that he had not been summoned before the commissioners and given "the same advantage of explanation... which has been given to Sir William Howe, Earl Corwallis, and others." He notes, "I served from the first to the last of the late unfortunate war in America, and was four years (out of the eight which it lasted) chief in command... [B]eing aware of the possibility of frauds in the expenditure of the public money, I took such measures as appeared to me most likely to prevent them...." Clinton includes various observations and explanations, and ends with the hope that he have the opportunity to appear before the commissioners and state facts which would contradict their report.
Clinton distinguished himself at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 and assumed command of all British forces in North America in 1778, in which capacity he served until May 1782, when he resigned. He received much of the blame for the British defeat in the Revolutionary War, and spent the last years of his life in a paper war with his enemies in the army and navy. This letter represents one of his attempts to defend himself.
Another copy of this bound pamphlet was sold in EAHA's June 8, 2002 Auction, Lot #255, where it was purchased for $990.