HOPKINS, Stephen (1707-1785), Signer (Rhode Island). Autograph letter signed ("Stephen Hopkins") to his wife Anne Smith Hopkins (1717-1782), Albany, N.Y. 5-6 December 1755. 2 full pages, small 4to, integral blank, folds neatly reinforced.
HOPKINS PREPARES TO RETURN FROM ALBANY, IN THE WAKE OF THE ALBANY CONGRESS
A successful merchant and legislator, Hopkins represented Rhode Island at the Albany Congress in June-July 1754, a parley of seven colonies to address joint concerns, mainly self-defense and relations with the Iroquois. While attending, Hopkins befriended Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania's representative, who largely drafted the "Albany Plan," a radical proposal for a federated government in which each colony would be represented. While the idea was endorsed by the Congress it was rejected by the Crown, on the grounds it impinged upon the King's prerogatives and was never ratified by the colonies. But it laid the groundwork for the Stamp Act Congress 10 years later, and, in time, for the Continental Congress.
Hopkins reports he has not been able to return from Albany due to the sickness of one member of his party. "...This unexpected delay is very far from being agreeable to me...but as it is not in my power to prevent it, I will rest contented...Heaven still gives me perfect health..." A Colonel Updike and his son became "tired of Albany" and left for home, "and the most of our soldiers and officers are also gone homewards...but here remains about Twenty who are sick that I intend to send away by water as soon as I can procure a Vessel...however I cannot go away and leave my poor Country men to perish here for want."
Picking up his pen the next day, he reports that overnight the Hudson River has completely frozen, "so that no Vessel can pass." This has "quite broke up my Scheme of sending George down to New York by Water..." So "now I must stay here until I can bring him with me by Land...."
AUTOGRAPH LETTERS OF HOPKINS OF ANY DATE ARE EXTREMELY RARE; ABPC records only two examples at auction since 1975. Anne Smith was Hopkins's second wife, whom he had married in 1754.