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Lot 1020: Thomas Nelson, Jr

American Revolutionary War Collection of Richard Newell

by RR Auction

December 15, 2012

Amherst, NH, USA

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  • Thomas Nelson, Jr
  • Thomas Nelson, Jr
  • Thomas Nelson, Jr
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Description: Signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Virginia Delegation to the Continental Congress (1738-1789). Rare ALS signed "Thos. Nelson, Jr.," one page both sides, 7.5 x 9, February 18, 1775. Nelson discusses politics in a letter to Col. Landon Carter on the eve of the Revolution, in full: "It gives me pleasure to find that I am not forgot by my friends at a distance, especially by so respectable a one as yourself. We have been much alarm'd at a report that the New Yorkers had deserted the cause, but it is with joy I acquaint you that that report is contradicted & that the Motion that was rejected was the postponing the consideration of the proceedings of the general congress to a future day; but that they immediately took the matter up & highly approved every thing the Delegates had done. Some people are apt to conceive that things are as they would wish them to be. There is as little foundation for the report concerning, that vile Traitor Ruggles, as for the other. It is true he has drawn up a association in opposition to the Continental one but we are told he has not a single signer to it & that he is obliged to seek for he as (?) Fox like to hide himself in, but it is to be hoped, they will make him bolt before it be long & then I think his chance will be but a bad one.A paragraph in a late English paper says that on the day appointed for the House of Commons to take his majesty's most gracious speech under consideration the Gallery & Lobby were so crowded, that (not by a common Mob, but by a very respectable body of the Peoples among them men of distinction) that they could not proceed to business, redressed sooner than was at first imagined. We have some powerful friends in England; I can not say whether, they are so from principle or from necessity, either will answer our purpose." Address panel on reverse of second integral page is penned in Nelson's hand. In good condition, with three horizontal mailing folds, partial separations along one of the folds, a clear separation of the first page from the second integral page with three strips of reparative tape attaching the two, uniform toning, scattered foxing, moderate show-through from writing on the reverse, a few areas of surface loss affecting the text, several cracks to the page, a few areas of ink erosion, two shadows from a wax seal, and a pencil notation.After the proceedings of the First Continental Congress of October 1774 were postponed to May 1775, and with it an answer to the colonies' grievances, the domino effect that would catapult the colonies into their ultimate fight for freedom would commence. With Pennsylvania and New York seeking resolution with Great Britain, Nelson laments that "We have been much alarm'd at a report that the New Yorkers had deserted the cause." Alternative motivations were surfacing, and "that vile Traitor Ruggles" sought to cross over to the other side: "It is true he has drawn up a association in opposition to the Continental one but we are told he has not a single signer to it & that he is obliged to seek for he as (?) Fox like to hide himself in, but it is to be hoped, they will make him bolt before it be long & then I think his chance will be but a bad one."On November 30th, King George III would deliver his game-changing 'the die is cast' speech, condemning the colony of Massachusetts and decrying a state of rebellion as a response to the Suffolk Resolve. Many still retained hope that a resolve could be reached, Nelson included, citing, "A paragraph in a late English paper says that on the day appointed for the House of Commons to take his majesty's most gracious speech under consideration the Gallery & Lobby were so crowded...that they could not proceed to business, redressed sooner than was at first imagined...We have some powerful friends in England; I can not say whether, they are so from principle or from necessity, either will answer our purpose." But the colonies would see the swift and fierce hand of the British monarchy in action exactly two months to the date of this letter when, on April 18, the colonies would find themselves thrust into the vicious throes of the revolution. The colonists would soon see the vicious result of challenging the British, and the monarchy would soon see the disastrous results of underestimating a people united for freedom.

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