Nov 17, 2016 - Sale 2432

Sale 2432 - Lot 245

Price Realized: $ 938
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(NAVY.) Bourne, Benjamin. Letter discussing the creation of the United States Navy. Autograph Letter Signed "BBourn" as United States Representative for Rhode Island to his brother-in-law Doctor Peter Turner of East Greenwich, RI. 3 pages, 9 3/4 x 8 inches, on one folding sheet, address panel without postal markings on final blank; minor wear, mounting strip on address page. (MRS) Philadelphia, 25 January 1794

Additional Details

After the conclusion of the American Revolution, the United States had no naval force, rendering the young nation's merchant fleet vulnerable to pirates. This was remedied by the Naval Act, passed in March 1794. In this letter, congressman Bourne writes about the pending bill, "I think the measure for building a fleet, say, four ships of 44 guns & 2 of 20 will be carried, tho' it meets with much opposition. This is our only resource, however tardy in its completion, for the protection of our comerce against the Algerines." He discusses the potential tax revenues needed to fund it, adding that "no one thinks of a land tax. This resource is left to the state untill some national exigency comanding the assent of all classes of the community shall call for it." Bourne also discusses the French Revolution ("the French continue to butcher some of their best citizens"), judicial appointments, trade with England, and more. Provenance: Hamilton auction, 25 March 1965, lot 131, to the consignor.