CLINTON, George. Manuscript and autograph journal and letterbook, containing transcripts of some 134 documents (28 in Clinton's hand and signed, 14 in clerical hands but signed by Clinton, the rest in secretarial hands); comprising a detailed record of Clinton's acts as New York Governor, Commander-in-Chief of the New York Militia and Admiral of the state Navy. Included are proclamations, messages, letters of transmittal, list of documents submitted to the legislature, responses from the Senate and Assembly etc. Various places (Poughkeepsie, New York City), dates from 28 October 1781 to 3 December 1787.
Folio, 152pp., in ink in a blank book of 184pp., with 4½ pp. clipped newspapers with text of proclamations; several transcript proclamations bearing papered seals (an eagle rampant with motto "Excelsior"). Light dampstains and occasional stains, small repairs at upper inner corner of some pages. Calf-backed decorated paper boards, rubbed, one leaf loose.
GEORGE CLINTON'S PERSONAL JOURNAL AND LETTERBOOK, 1781 TO 1787: INCLUDING MANY IMPORTANT PROCLAMATIONS
A remarkable chronological record of "a great war governor and the father of his state" (DAB), documenting Clinton's official acts during the critical years from 1781 to the end of the Revolution, the peace treaty in 1783, the years of the Confederation, the admission of the state of Vermont and Shay's Rebellion. (Clinton strongly opposed the new Constitution, but when the ratification convention met in June 1788, Clinton was named president.) The first proclamation, entirely in Clinton's hand, affirms recognition of Holker as French Consul to the state. Several early messages deal with aspects of the Yorktown campaign, culminating on 25 October in "the Surrender of the British Army under Lord Cornwallis...." On 6 November 1783 Clinton issues a proclamation celebrating the Treaty of Paris, which has "put an end to the effusion of human Blood by proclaiming a cession of hostilities" and affirming the "freedom, Sovereignty and Independence..." of the U.S. He designates December 2 as a "day of Public Thanksgiving." The following proclamation, dated 15 November, concerns the impending British evacuation of New York.
The next, dated 9 December, orders the Legislature to re-convene "at the City Hall of New York" on 6 January 1784. In a nine-page address for that event Clinton proclaims that "the seal is put to our Independence" after the "late arduous contest." He laments "the Ruins of this once flourishing city and its vicinity," and reassures the public that they need not fear "despotism" or the power of "an hereditary nobility." Those reassurances "are strongly enforced in the last circular letter of our patriotic and illustrious Commander in Chief" (Washington had delivered his historic resignation address to the Continental Congress in Annapolis on 23 December 1783). In a proclamation of 4 February 1787, Clinton reports on a message from Governor Bowdoin of Massachusetts, exposing "a horrid and unnatural Rebellion...to subvert and overthrow the Constitution" and calling for the arrest of its leaders, especially Daniel Shays.
Provenance: George Clinton - Ebenezer Hazard (1744-1817) of New York - The present owners, by direct descent