THE PROPERTY OF DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF EBENEZER HAZARD (1744-1817)
DUANE, James (1733-1797). Autograph letter signed ("Jas. Duane"), as delegate to the Continental Congress, to Governor George Clinton, Philadelphia, 13 [altered from 12] May 1780. 3 full pages, 4to, verso docketed, "Private."
REPORT FROM CONGRESS: A PLAN OF FINANCE AND NEWS OF THE SEIGE OF CHARLESTON. A fine, detailed report from the Continental Congress, where Duane had served as a New York delegate since 1774. As yet, he tells the Clinton, "nothing has occurred which call'd for your Excellency's attention. The new Plan of Finance I found completed and laid before the states for their approbation....The pressure of our publick affairs leaves no room for objections or alteration. The support of publick Credit and the supplies for the army are hazarded on its success..., the least delay must be attended with extensive mischief." He comments on "the success of our enemies in Georgia," and "the vigor of their operations in South Carolina, ought to arouse us to corresponding exertions, and to reanimate those patriot virtues which gave birth to our struggle for freedom..." He wonders "what will be the Fate of Charles Town is uncertain; it is besieged by a formidable Army and the Enemy have carried their ships over the Bar...The garrison is strong," he notes," and the British "bombs and cannon" have not had serious effect. "Sir Henry Clinton may repent of his temerity" if new reinforcements or a French naval force arrives. "An obstinate defense we can expect from the bravery of our Generals and the garrison, but the event is in the hand of Heaven." (Ironically the Charleston garrison of some 5,500 troops at Charlestown had been forced to surrender the day before Duane's hopeful letter.)
Duane remarks on urgent Congressional business concerning "the revolted Citizens of our state." But not all the states are yet represented in Congress, especially Maryland and Georgia. He comments on other business before Congress including a "great contest respecting our boundaries" (probably the long-standing dispute over the Hampshire Grants), and assures the Governor that "my utmost attention will be given to this great object of my mission. I well know its vast importance...."Provenance: See note preceeding lot 316