Jeremiah Meyer, RA (British, 1735-1789) Josiah Martin (1737–1786), wearing white coat with blue collar and lining, matching blue waistcoat, frilled white chemise and powdered wig worn en queue

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Lot 23*
Jeremiah Meyer, RA
(British, 1735-1789)
Josiah Martin (1737–1786), wearing white coat with blue collar and lining, matching blue waistcoat, frilled white chemise and powdered wig worn en queue

Sold for £ 7,200 (US$ 10,019) inc. premium
Jeremiah Meyer, RA (British, 1735-1789)
Josiah Martin (1737–1786), wearing white coat with blue collar and lining, matching blue waistcoat, frilled white chemise and powdered wig worn en queue.
Enamel, gold frame with blue and white enamel borders.
Oval, 35mm (1 3/8in) high
Provenance: The Collection of the late Nigel Davis

Footnotes

  • Martin, an ensign in the British army, had risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel by 1771. He was appointed royal governor of North Carolina, succeeding William Tryon, who had been transferred to New York after the battle of Alamance. Martin achieved a good understanding with the Regulators, many of whom remained faithful to the crown throughout the American Revolution. He assumed a firm attitude toward the Whigs and, when the difficulties with the home government reached crisis-point, was secretly active in organizing the Highlanders and other loyalist elements. In his speech to the assembly in April, 1775, he defined his position in energetic terms. The assembly replied with equal resolution, whereupon he dissolved it, and began to enlist a loyalist force.

    On 24 April, a body of Whigs attacked his house and carried off the six guns planted there. The following day Martin sent his family to New York, and took refuge on board the sloop-of-war Cruiser, transferring his headquarters to Fort Johnston on Cape Fear River. When the Mecklenburg Resolutions were published he transmitted a copy of the document (which he described as 'setting up a system of rule and regulation subversive of his majesty's government') to England, whilst still affirming his belief that he had the means in his own hands 'to maintain the sovereignty of this country to my royal master in any event.' As a precautionary measure, Martin procured from General Thomas Gage in Boston a supply of arms and ammunition. In July of that same year, he was suspected to have instigated a plot to arm slaves and, led by John Ashe, a band of incensed colonists marched on Fort Johnston. Ordering the fort demolished, the governor fled on board the Cruiser and then issued a proclamation of extraordinary length, which was denounced as a malicious libel by his Whig enemies.

    In January, 1776, Sir Henry Clinton came with a body of troops to aid Martin in re-establishing the royal authority. However, the presence of General Charles Lee's forces deterred him from landing. The expedition of Lord Cornwallis and Sir Peter Parker was expected from Cork to assist Sir Henry but was hampered by a storm at sea. Following the Highlanders defeat at Moore's Creek Bridge, Martin embarked on Parker's fleet and arrived at Charleston in June, 1776. He importuned the British to send arms and money for a Loyalist corps in North Carolina, and offered to raise and lead a battalion of Scottish Highlanders to rally the people of the western counties around the royal standard if he were restored to his old rank in the army. The means were furnished for the formation of military bodies but the commission that he asked for was refused. He remained with Cornwallis, with whom he entered North Carolina after his victory at Camden and together they attempted further invasions, only to be checked at King's Mountain and Cow-pens. Governor Martin's health was destroyed by the fatigues of the campaign. He left North Carolina for Long Island in March, 1781 and shortly afterward embarked for England.
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