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Item 112 - New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton Catalog 491 (Jan 2017)

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Description


Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire (1714–1803) who was one of eight signers born in Great Britain. Revolutionary War-dated ALS signed as president of the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, one page, 6.75 x 11.5, October 16, 1775. Written from Londonderry, New Hampshire, Thornton pens a letter to the “Hon’ble Committee of Safety,” in full [spelling and grammar retained]: "Last Thursday I set out for Cambridge I got there fryday P. M. was informed that the Gent’n. did not leave Philadelphia till the Sixth Instant & were not expected till the 15 or 16 Instant, when at Home my Cloase has not been off but one night for ten past & if my wife is not better [word missing] not possibly leave Home. If you Send a Committee tomorrow & Can goe it will be exceeding agreeable to me to meet them & take their advice, & in Case I Cannot, they will be ready to Represent the Colony. I leave all to your wisdom." Addressed on the reverse in Thornton’s own hand. In very good condition, with intersecting folds (vertical fold passing through the signature), scattered soiling, old reinforcements on the reverse to vertical edges, and two small areas of paper loss (one resulting in the loss of one word, and repaired from behind).

Thornton was expected to meet with a delegation of the Continental Congress charged ‘to repair immediately to the camp at Cambridge, to confer with General Washington’ and other dignitaries like Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Harrison over the support of ‘regulating a continental army.’ Thornton traveled to Cambridge in early October, but when the committee failed to appear, he returned home to attend to his ailing wife. The delegation soon arrived in Cambridge and met from October 18–23, 1775, to discuss the status of the Continental Army; Congress approved the army’s reorganization into twenty-six regiments on November 4th. Dating to the first year of the Revolutionary War, this is a superb early letter concerning a key conference that structured Washington's army for the year 1776. War-dated examples of Thornton's hand in any form are very scarce. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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