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Lot 392
PHILIPPINES.
Sold for £1,140 (US$ 1,950) inc. premium
Lot Details
PHILIPPINES.
LETTER SIGNED BY SIR WILLIAM DRAPER, written two months before his mission to capture Manila was successful on 6 October 1762, possibly to Lord Holderness whom Draper might have thought was still 'Secretary of State' for the southern department [dismissed March 1761/2 after Draper had left for India] ('...The Enterprise can proceed only on the footing of a Bombardment or a Coup de Main in which I flatter myself we have well Grounded Hopes of Success. As the Great Ships can come near Enough to Batter the Porte of Cavite, which must be Our first Object, To Secure a Place D'Armes & make ourselves Masters of their Marine; which service alone will not be Inconsiderable, & tho' perhaps We cannot do all we wish, We are determined to Try & do all we can; we shall at least have that merit. As none of the Plans of Manila have been taken with Accuracy or by People who were Skilled in Drawing; The Few we have met with are scarce to be Depended upon. Yet from a variety of Information from Numbers of People who have often Visited that Settlement for the Sake of Commerce, We have the Greatest Reason to believe that we shall be Masters of the Place, as they have a very bad Garrison, Works out of Repair, are disused to War; of Course have much of their Business to Learn. With these hopes & Expectations we shall set sail the 1 of August. For Time is now most precious, as the Monsoon shifts the latter end of Septr, & the storms & Tuffoons are then most Violent...'); Draper also refers to his own good fortune in reaching Madras ('so far I am the Child of Fortune'), gives an account of the condition and abilities of the fleet and army ('A Most Precarious Tribe') in India, mentioning the recent service of the fleet and the enthusiasm of Admiral Keppel, and of the deliberations of the ad hoc council formed to discuss the enterprise and expresses his great confidence in the officers under his command, some of whom he describes ('Col: Monson...Exerts such Great Talents, that I Blush to give him Orders...'), 5 pages, folio, written in a scribal hand, signed by Draper at the end, the first two leaves trimmed at foot removing the recipient's name only (Holderness named as addressee at head of first page in pencil), integral blank inscribed with Draper's name in pencil in a contemporary hand, Madras, 28 July 1762

Footnotes

  • PLANS FOR THE CAPTURE OF MANILA. In 1757 Sir William Draper (1721-1787), later Lieutenant-General, was commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel to raise the 79th Foot for service in the East Indies. He arrived in Madras, having lost fifty men to ship-typhus, and distinguished himself during the siege of Fort St. George in 1758-1759. After returning home ill, he was appointed in February 1762 to assume command of an expedition against Manila, which he carried by assault on 6 October 1762.

    Manuscript material relating to the Philippines in the eighteenth century is rare.

    Included is a photocopy of an autograph letter by William Draper (see Minorca in this catalogue) which clearly verifies Draper's signature in the present letter.
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