Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 86

Lot 298

Warren, James (1726-1808) President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress; Paymaster General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War; husband of Mercy Otis Warren.

Excellent war-content autograph letter signed ("J Warren") as Paymaster General of the Continental Army, 2 pages, 11 x 7 in., Boston, October 5, 1777. To Signer of the Declaration from Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry. James Warren (not to be confused with brothers Joseph and John Warren), writes:" My Dear Sir, I shall direct this to you at Philadelphia but where it will find you I cant Conjecture as we have very Imperfect Intelligence of the operations of war in your quarter & none at all of the situation of Congress. Wherever it meets you I hope it will find you in safety & happiness….I have recd several orders for the delivery of Good which I shall punctually Comply with, tho' somewhat against the Grain as I think some of the Shoes, Blankets, stockings, Hatts, shirts, Cloaths, & Medicine should have been reserved for the Navy, as I foresee great difficulties if not impossibilities in manning the Navy unless the Seamen can be well supplied with these Articles. & when these are all gone to the Army I know not where to look for a supply for the Navy…I can give you no Intelligence from here but of the Arrival of prizes which come in pretty well both for Numbers & values but while the Operations by Land are so very Important that kind of success seems to have but little Effectiveness on those Immediately Concerned. Everything is Absorbed in the Anxious Expectation of great Events from the Armies. You will have heard before this reaches you of an Expedition to Rhode Island. The men are all arrived & in sufficient Numbers. It is expected they will go in 2 or 3 days. What the Event will be time must determine. It very much depends on vigorous measures, & sound Judgment. Nothing decisive has yet taken place in the Northern department tho' we have long Expected it. They want neither for Numbers or Confidence in their Generals, or Indeed for any thing else but some how my hopes are not so sanguine as they have been. I begin to Apprehend Burgoyne will find his way back to Ti[conderoga] & we shall never again catch him on such dangerous Ground. As the reputation of the N England Arms as well as the Interest of the Common Cause are engaged in this matter I am perhaps more Anxious & Apprehensive than I should otherwise be….J Warren"

Warren pasted a piece of paper to the bottom of his letter and added a postscript: "with regard to foreign affairs, France & Spain are so slow & Timid in their motions that I am Inclined to think if the Enemy should be Beat in the North & South (which God Grant) England would get the start of them & be the first to Acknowledge the Independency of America."

Less than two weeks after this letter was written, General John Burgoyne (1722-1792) was captured with his entire army of 6200 men at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. Most historians believe this was the major turning point in the War for Independence. It was the American victory at Saratoga that convinced King Louis XVI of France to enter into negotiations with the Americans, resulting in a formal Franco-American alliance and French entry into the war.
Estimated Value $2,500 - 3,000.
Sotheby's New York, Sale 7394, lot 166.

Realized $5,040

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