[REVOLUTIONARY WAR-FLORIDA] TONYN, PATRICK, Colonial Governor. Long autograph letter signed.
St. Mary's, Florida, from on board the "Cyrus": August 10, 1785, 5 1/2 pages addressed to Lord Sydney, marked "Duplicate" (such letters were frequently sent two or more times, because of the vicissitudes that beset the Transatlantic mails). 12 1/2 x 8 inches (32 x 20 cm); approximately 140 lines, legibly written. Except for three binding holes in blank margin of each sheet, in very fine condition.
This letter recounts the end of the British colony in Florida, which had become a refuge for Southern Loyalists during the Revolution. East Florida had been ceded to Spain in 1783. The British evacuation was delayed until 1785, because of logistical and other problems. The letter recounts "the deplorable and wretched state of desolation" caused by the Spanish Government, "from a real want of money in general in their American Government ... the difficulties and expenses in effecting this business has been most shockingly purplexing [sic] and disagreeable ... the hire of small craft ... and the necessity of purchasing a quantity of provisions for the Transport ship ... the sum ... is enormous ... The Agent with four Transports with Emigrants and effects are to sail at the same time for the Bahamas..." These would be some of the last ships departing from the former Province, as the evacuation was already far behind schedule; the final ships sailed from St. Mary's River on November 19, 1785. This is an extraordinary account of the fate of Loyalists in the wake of the Revolutionary War. For an excellent article on this debacle, see
Charles Hamilton Autographs, Inc. Sale no. 14. September 22, 1966.
C The Collection of Jay I. Kislak sold to benefit the Kislak Family Foundation
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