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"PATRIOTISM WAS ABLAZE THROUGH THE TOWN" (AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1781.) H. Ridgely, Jr. Letter describing the festivities in Baltimore after the Yorktown surrender. Autograph Letter Signed to Ann "Nancy" Ridgely of Elk Ridge, MD. 2 pages, 13 x 8 1/4 inches, with address panel and no postal markings; foxing, seal tear with partial loss of two words, light wear at folds, unrelated passage from Laurence Sterne added below text of letter. Baltimore, MD, 27 October 1781
This letter was written just eight days after the surrender by Cornwallis at Yorktown: "I started from my father's just time enough to reach Baltimore at a reasonable hour, & on arriving in its vicinity, had I not been previously informed of the capture of Cornwallis & his band, I should not have known my what inference to have drawn from the roaring of cannon & discharge of musketry. I have never seen as many smiling countenances since the war as I saw that evening. The gentlemen of Baltimore dined at the court house & drank many patriotic toasts in the evening. There was an elegant illumination through this town, at least I thought it elegant, as I never had an opportunity of a similar scene. In fact, Nancy, patriotism was ablaze through the town, & I should experience very agreeable emotions, could I be induced to believe that it was the genuine rejoicings of Whiggish hearts exhibited to public view in the light of candles. But as the old adage is, 'we must hope for the best, the worst will come.' I had almost forgot to tell you that the presence of the ladies added considerably to the illumination."
The author was likely Henry Ridgely Jr. (1758-circa 1800), son of Major Henry Ridgely of Anne Arundel County, MD, whose niece Ann Ridgely (1759-1850) would soon marry Dr. Francis Brown Sappington (see lots 159, 160, and 229 for related papers).
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