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195   William Pitt the Elder Autograph Letter Archive  $1000 $1618 $1780 6 You must login to place a bid.
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#195 - William Pitt the Elder Autograph Letter Archive Estimate: $12,000+

On unrest in Boston, 1773: "I spoke in favour of these true Sons of civil and Religious Liberty"

British statesman, called William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778) who led his country during the Seven Years' War. Archive of ten ALSs by William Pitt the Elder, signed either at the conclusion or in the third-person, "Chatham," plus one unsigned handwritten letter from Pitt, totaling 33 pages on 19 sheets, dated from January 4-September 18, 1773. The letters are to Thomas Hollis, and are affixed within a volume containing an additional five autograph letters signed by Hester Pitt, Countess of Chatham, interspersed with Hollis's retained true copies of his letters in response. The significant volume represents their full correspondence (over 85 pages in total) during this historic period of global change, as revolution fomented in America—their letters form a wide-ranging dialogue touching upon unrest in Boston, religious liberty, and human rights.

On February 3rd, Pitt observes that "Boston is, I find, in a high ferment of Spirit. The Town meeting has honor'd me, by order, with their resolution printed. These worthy new-England men feel, as Old-England ought to do. If Rights and Liberty were truely dear here, They cou'd not be oppre'd there. Virtues wou'd not be Crimes, even in the Eyes of Courtiers. Corrupt as the Times are, God only knows the Issue." This elicited a lengthy and impassioned response from Hollis on February 15th: "The People of New England, the first People upon Earth, for plain sense & virtue, have original Sin in them, and are to be humiliated therefore!"

On April 18th, two years to the day before Revere's immortal ride, Pitt writes: "Things seem hastening to a Crisis at Boston, their answer to Governor Hutchinson contains many curious particulars, and is strongly reason'd. But the Times are most adverse to their claims, even the Opposition deserted them and the Wigs are offended or take the Pretense at the Bostonians raising the Power of the Crown, at the expence of the Authority of Parliament. I have ever found, this thrown in my Way, when I spoke in favour of these true Sons of civil and Religious Liberty. I look forward to the Issue with very painful anxiety, the whole Constitution is a shadow. Toleration has been again proved a Mockery." Hollis agreed with Pitt's assessment, noting that he thought New Englanders to be "an excellent people," they are at times indiscreet, and often trust their gravest concerns to "imbecil[e]s—or worse men!" Yet Hollis also laments, "Glib Master Hutchinson, will not suppose a Case for resistance, though John Lock and three Nations could, not a Century ago; and the People of Boston do not seem willing to specify a case full out, hitherto: and so the mighty waters flap each other, before the Storm! Alas Britain! Alas the House of Hanover!"

In very good condition, with the front board of the book detached but present. Ex. The Malcolm S. Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents, Christie's. Provenance: Thomas Hollis V (1720-1774) - bequeathed to Brand Hollis - bequeathed to John Disney (bookplate, his sale, Sotheby’s, 22 April 1817) - Alfred Morrison (bookplate, his sale, Sotheby’s, 5 May 1919, lot 2789, to G. D. Smith) - Carl H. Pforzheimer (ms. accession no.) - Sotheby's, New York, 16 December 1992, Lot 233.

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