[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM JOHN TRUMBULL TO HIS FATHER, JONATHAN TRUMBULL, REGARDING LONDON BUSINESS DEALINGS AND ANTI-AMERICAN SENTIMENT]
by Trumbull, John
Amsterdam, 1781. pp. Quarto, on a folded folio sheet. Old folds. Small loss in center of sheet, not affecting text. Strip of later paper at left edge of first leaf. Light toning and soiling. Good. In a folio-sized black half morocco and cloth clamshell case, spine gilt. Painter John Trumbull writes to his father, Connecticut governor and merchant Jonathan Trumbull, relating information about business affairs in London and some of the anti-American sentiment at work against him there. John Trumbull's skill with the pen earned him the notice of Gen. George Washington, drawing battle plans at Lexington, and Washington made him an aide-de-camp. Trumbull later served as a colonel under Horatio Gates, but retired from the army in 1777. In 1780 he traveled to Paris on business for his father, also journeying to London and the Netherlands, whence he wrote this letter. Trumbull expresses a resigned frustration over his treatment as an American in London during the American Revolution. Exactly why he thought he would be welcome, as a former rebel officer and son of a rebel colonial governor, is unclear, and the English showed remarkable restraint in just warning him out of town. He explains to his father at some length the involvement of the London counting house in anti-American politics, noting they host expatriate Loyalists on a regular basis. He writes: "Dear Sir, Before I left London, I called at Messrs. Lane Son & Frazer's counting house, to have some conversation with them on the subject of their debt; but finding none of them at home, & being oblig'd to leave the City the next morning, I wrote a few lines explaining your wish to bring the affair to a conclusive fulfillment, & assuring them that tho' the war, & consequent distress of America had not advanc'd the facility of a payment, yet if they chose to confide full powers on that head to their attorney Dr. Johnson, they might depend upon every degree of honour on your part. After having finished the letter, I was desir'd to step into the house of the elder Mr. Lane, whom I found accordingly. I told him my name and the subject on which I came to converse, and was treated as I expected rather cavalierly. I took leave therefore immediately, in the same style, telling him that he might depend upon it I was as perfectly indifferent to the business as he possibly could be. But if the house should see fit to think a little more at leisure on the subject, I had left a few lines with a direction under which they might write to me. On my arrival here I found the letter of which I enclose a copy & to which I have return'd a few lines in answer, as you will see, & which I hope will prove agreeable. "It is proper I should add a few words on the character which the house supports in the present contest, which is most inveterately anti American. Their table is attended one or two days in every week by the Refugees [i.e. Loyalists], and when some two years ago a subscription was set on foot for the relief of the American prisoners, a counter subscription 'for the purpose of enabling His Majesty to carry on the just and necessary war against his rebellious subjects in America' was put about, and among many others this house subscribed one hundred pounds. In short, every part of their conduct & language as I have been constantly inform'd, is hostile in the highest degree, and it was for this reason that I avoided calling upon them, until the whole force of Refugee vengeance had been exhausted upon me, & I had nothing more to fear."
(Inventory #: WRCAM42984)
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.