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Lot #331
Charles Cornwallis

Two months before his death: “False colourings ... [of] our political prospects in India”

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Two months before his death: “False colourings ... [of] our political prospects in India”

English general (1738–1805) who fought against Washington during the American Revolution and was finally defeated at Yorktown. The crushing defeat aroused much antiwar sentiment in England, and hostilities thereafter tapered off until the final withdrawal of British troops in 1783. LS signed “Cornwallis,” both sides of a page trimmed to an overall size of 4 x 6.5, August 28, 1805. Cornwallis writes to Viscount Castlereagh. In part: “I have thought it more convenient to You, that I should state, as far as it is in my power, the present situation of our Affairs, in a letter addressed to the Secret Committee, than by a private communication to your Lordship, as it will enable you, with more authority, to answer any false colourings that may be publickly brought forward, by those who are disposed to voice our political prospects in India, in a much more favorable light than that in which they appear to me…. The immediate consequence of [my current indisposition] has reduced me to extreme weakness, and has discouraged me from attempting making more use of my own pen, than putting my name at the bottom of a letter….” Cornwallis died less than two months later, on October 5. Show-through of ink from opposing sides, otherwise fine condition. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #334 - Ended June 18, 2008