Sale 21BP03 | Lot 58

[WAR of 1812] LAWRENCE, JAMES. Autograph note signed, 1809.

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

Lot Details

Lot 58
[WAR of 1812] LAWRENCE, JAMES. Autograph note signed, 1809.
New York: 16 August 1809. Autograph note on an oblong slip signed "Jas Lawrence," the note directing John Bullus, Navy agent in New York, to advance money to Mrs. Lawrence "during my absence," the verso with a receipt for $100 signed by Julia Lawrence. 5 x 8 inches (13 x 20 cm); in an old double-sided frame. Album mounting to left extremity, unexamined out of frame.
Provenance: Collection of Dr. Eugene H. Pool, great-nephew of Lawrence, by descent

A scarce autograph note from the American naval hero James Lawrence (1781-1813) whose words "Don't give up the ship" have become one of the most famous statements in American military history. Here Lawrence signs a note reading in full "Dear Sir/I will thank you to advance to Mrs. Lawrence on order any money she may require during my absence. Your obed. serv. Jas Lawrence." The note is written during the period between Lawrence's command of two ships in the War with Tripoli, 1801-1805, and his death commanding the Chesapeake in the War of 1812. At the outset of that War, Lawrence had commanded the Hornet to victory over the Peacock off the South American coast in February 1813. Returned to New York, Lawrence was promoted to captain and ordered to take command of the Chesapeake. Taking the ship to Boston, Lawrence went to sea on June 1st, 1813, with the intention of capturing the British frigate Shannon, then blockading the port of Boston. In a brief but fierce battle, the Chesapeake was overtaken and Lawrence, wounded by small arms fire, was reported to have said "Don't give up the ship" as he was carried below deck. The Shannon towed the Chesapeake to Halifax where Lawrence died, his phrase instantly becoming one of the most repeated in American naval history.

Due to his short life and long stretches of time at sea, manuscript material from Lawrence is scarce, and we trace very few examples. The present note is countersigned by his wife, French born Julia Montaudevert Lawrence. The text of this note is published in A Catalogue of the Eugene H. Pool Collection of Captain James Lawrence, Salem, Peabody Museum, 1942, p. 24.


C Property from the Estate of Dr. James Lawrence Pool

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000

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Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

Thu, Dec 09, 2021 at 10am EST