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"WE ARE NOT, SURELY, WORSE OFF THAN IN THE FALL OF '76" (AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1779.) Lovell, James. A member of the Continental Congress reflects on the progress of the Revolution. Autograph Letter Signed, to "Dear Sir," 4 pages, 7x5 3/4 inches, on 2 sheets; each sheet inlaid, folds. With typed transcript. [Philadelphia?], 17 November 1779
James Lovell (1737-1814) was a teacher at Boston Latin School at the outset of the Revolution. When he wrote this letter, he was serving a term in the Continental Congress, and was a signer of the Articles of Confederation. He helped develop a cipher system for diplomatic correspondence. His first concern here is the abortive French naval support expedition led by the Comte d'Estaing, which resulted in American defeats in Rhode Island and Savannah: "I must be honest with you in owning the extremity of chagrin at the fruitlessness of the Count's visit to this continent. In imagination I had settled myself & my family up the Bay of Funday in consequence of his reduction of Halifax." He concludes on a note of tempered optimism, though: "It's hoped that the enemy are not in condition to get any considerable advantage this winter, notwithstanding our ill plight as to men, money & clothing. We are too, too much dependent on the chapter of accidents, but we are not, surely, worse off than in the fall of '76." Provenance: from the collection of William Wheeler III.
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