AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE Collection of autograph letters, largely to William Eden, later Lord Auckland, 1780-1782 where dated
Lot 2
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Collection of autograph letters, largely to William Eden, later Lord Auckland, 1780-1782 where dated
Sold for £812 (US$ 1,300) inc. premium

Lot Details
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Collection of autograph letters, largely to William Eden, later Lord Auckland, by Lord North, written as Prime Minister, a year before Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown ([to Eden], discussing Irish matters, 21 October 1780); Lord George Germain, sometime Secretary of State for the American Colonies (arranging to meet [Eden]); Lord Cornwallis, sometime commander of the army that surrendered at Yorktown (promising to call on the Edens); Admiral Earl Howe, sometime Commander-in-Chief, North America (stating that he will wait at home to receive Eden's commands); Lord Shelburne, written when Prime Minister and engaged in negotiating the independence of the United States (promising Eden to intervene with Lord Temple [Viceroy of Ireland], 25 October 1782); and the fourth Earl of Sandwich, written when First Lord of the Admiralty (inviting Eden to dinner at 3.00pm sharp: "we are to have a set of musicians here on that day, & shall be fiddling & singing from morning to night", Blackheath, 1 January [?] 1780), many with paper strengthening or guards at left edge, integral leaves removed, 4to and 8vo, 1780-1782 where dated

Footnotes

  • LETTERS TO LORD NORTH'S CLOSEST ADVISOR ON AMERICAN AFFAIRS. William Eden's successful career as Under-Secretary of State had led in March 1774 to his promotion to the Board of Trade, where he attracted the increasing admiration of the Prime Minister, Lord North: ʻEden rapidly acquired great responsibility and through his friendship with Lord North found colonial affairs passing increasingly through his hands. In 1774 he gained a seat in the House of Commons and would shortly be regarded by Horace Walpole as "the new confidential agent of Lord North." When John Robinson, senior secretary to the Treasury, fell ill early in 1775, Eden became North's temporary assistant in Treasury business, although he continued his regular work at the Northern Department [precursor of the Foreign Office]. As the First Lord's closest advisor on American affairs, Eden achieved enormous power for one so recently entered upon the political scene. Unfortunately he consistently and staunchly supported the administration that had hoisted him to prominence' (Michael Kammen, A Rope of Sand: The Colonial Agents, British Politics, and the American Revolution, 1968, 1974 edition). During the Revolution, he was the official in charge of British espionage and was in contact with Loyalist informants. In 1778, he was one of the commissioners of the peace mission sent to America under the Earl of Carlisle and 'in many ways led the mission' (P. M. Geoghegan, 'Howard, Frederick, fifth earl of Carlisle', ODNB).

    When war with America broke out in 1775, Eden's immediate superior, Lord Suffolk, Secretary of State for the Northern Department, was equally hard-line: 'In parliament he was a frequent speaker, especially on America as the colonial crisis deteriorated into war... It was Suffolk who suggested the 1774 general election, to pre-empt any colonial influence. He early pressed for the recall of the soft-line General Gage from America, he advocated the arrest of Benjamin Franklin before he left Britain, he ordered the prosecution of radical John Horne Tooke for a seditious libel about Lexington, and he temporarily took charge of the American department in 1775 when the American secretary, Dartmouth, proved unwilling to conduct the war' (Peter D. G. Thomas, ODNB).

    The much-maligned Earl of Sandwich's letter appears to date from shortly before Eden's appointment to assist Lord Carlisle as Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, where he was involved with the foundation of the Bank of Ireland; the Earl's reference to all-day music making reflects his important role as patron of music (in N.A.M Rogers's view 'the English Handelian tradition' is arguably 'Sandwich's most enduring monument', ODNB).
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