JAMES II. Document signed ("James R" at head), to Edward Lord Cornbury, Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons, 1687
Lot 95*
JAMES II. Document signed ("James R" at head), to Edward Lord Cornbury, Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons, 1687
Sold for £1,250 (US$ 2,123) inc. premium
Lot Details
JAMES II
Document signed ("James R" at head), to Edward Lord Cornbury, Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons, ordering him to remove Captains Culliford and Strother's troops from Nantwich, Cheshire, to Whitcurch in Shropshire ("...And the officers are to take care that the Soldiers behave themselves Civilly & Pay their Landlords. And all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Constables and other our officers whom it may concern, are hereby required to be assisting to them in providing Quarters and otherwise as there shall be occasion..."), counter-signed by William Blathwayt, Secretary at War, one page, integral blank with contemporary docket, on paper with City of Amsterdam watermark, trace of wafer where sealed for dispatch, dust-stained where originally folded for dispatch and exposed, some dust-staining and creasing elsewhere but overall in attractive and robust condition, folio, Windsor, 4 June 1687

Footnotes

  • JAMES II TO HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, LORD CORNBURY, SOON AFTERWARDS TO BE THE FIRST ENGLISH OFFICER TO DEFECT TO WILLIAM III, AND LATER A NOTORIOUS TRANSVESTITE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury (1661-1723) was the only child of Edward Earl of Clarendon, the historian and quondam Lord Chancellor, by his first marriage, and therefore half-brother of Anne Hyde, James II's first wife (who had died in 1671); making him uncle to two future queens of England, Mary II and Anne. When Mary's husband William III landed at Torbay on 5 November 1688 and set up his headquarters at Exeter, Cornbury promptly joined his banner, before even the crucial defection of the future Duke of Marlborough, his predecessor as Colonel of the Royal Dragoons, and his niece, Princess Anne. In W. A. Speck's account: 'James initially determined to stay in London and oblige his son-in-law to advance towards the capital. But William stayed in the west country for several days, so that his forces could recuperate from the voyage, and in expectation that they would be joined by deserters from the king's army. A few, led by Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, son of the earl of Clarendon, did go over to him while he was at Exeter. Although the numbers that deserted James were not great, and the news that many men actually returned to their posts cheered him, he was sufficiently concerned by the breakdown of discipline in his army to go down to Salisbury to reassert his authority' (ODNB).

    Cornbury however is more widely remembered for his governorship of New Jersey and New York, a post he was to hold from 1702 to 1708 (and which is commemorated by New York's Hyde Park). Popular history accounts him as possibly the worst governor ever imposed by Britain on her American colonies. In Patricia U. Bonomi's words Cornbury 'is ritually set down in the history books as a man of corrupt, venal and bigoted character. He is also depicted as a transvestite who scandalized colonial American society by appearing publicly in woman's clothes. It is a rare historical consensus, one that has stood unchallenged for more than two centuries' (The Lord Cornbury Scandal: The Politics of Reputation in British America, 1998, p. 1 – a study that seeks instead to attribute this notoriety to a newly emergent Grub Street press and the growth of political satire in the American colonies).
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