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Print Document Description  Print this page Questions about authenticity? Click Here

NATHANIEL BOND - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 04/26/1775 - DOCUMENT 5142
 

[ELBRIDGE GERRY], NATHANIEL BOND
Bond signs a desperate autograph letter to the future Declaration signer and Vice President, his fellow townsman, one week after the Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 1775), seeking armed protection until he can vindicate himself at a court martial: "I am in danger of my life every moment, thousands having sworn to kill me at first sight."
Autograph Letter signed: "N. Bond", 3 pages, 6x7¼, with integral address leaf. Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1775 April 26. "To/Mr. Elbridge Gerry/There". In full: "Every species of Misfortune seem to fall to my share, those things which I had no reason to fear no less than those which I had, a story that in the simplicity of my Heart I supposed true I had last Wednesday morning. For the sole purpose of removing what I believed extreme needless distress and anyone can presume as I can make it appear though as I did in my situation but my conduct is so strongly and barbarously cruelly represented that I am in danger of my life every moment. Thousands having sworn to kill me at first sight. What I must beg and entreat of you Sir is that you will be kind enough to appeal to the Commanding Officer to send immediately a strong guard to carry me to the camp for a trial by Court Marshall [sic]. This Sir is the only way by which I can be alive to hope one day longer. Though Sir I have done nothing worthy of the smallest punishment, having in this affair touching which the rage of many thousands is exercised against me, with a view to the general good for the truth of which I appeal to the Judge of Souls. If you have any faith in my [1 word illegible] or if you should regret to hear of my being hunted to an untimely Grave by murderous hands pray hear and immediately get [2 words illegible] Prayer of this letter and then I shall have an opportunity of saying many Things which I conceive may operate for the general salvation that otherwise I cannot convey. From your despised Friend and much obliged Servant" [signature] "To Mr. Gerry: If you cannot attend to the matter you will undoubtedly soon hear that I am gone from this life." Nathaniel Bond (1747-1777), a Harvard-educated doctor, lived in the seacoast town of Marblehead, which was also the birthplace of Elbridge Gerry. Gerry, a member of the state legislature, which was still meeting in spite of the royal governor's order dissolving it, would soon attend the Continental Congress, sign the Declaration of Independence, attend the Constitutional Convention (though opposing the resulting document), serve as Governor of Massachusetts (credited with inventing the "gerrymander") and die in office as Vice President of the United States. (Gerry had also had an eventful week; he and two fellow legislators had spent a night hiding in a field in their bedclothes from British soldiers sent to seize them.) Bond does not detail the facts of the incident which prompted this letter, evidently assuming that Gerry would already have heard of them. What transpired to so enrage Bond's fellow citizens in the week which began the American Revolution? As a medical doctor, had he treated injured British soldiers ("removing what I believed extreme needless distress")? The answer may lie buried in an archive somewhere. What is known is that Nathaniel Bond did resolve the suspicions of his neighbors, becoming the chief surgeon in the 21st Massachusetts Provisional Regiment, commonly known as "Glover's Regiment," composed of men from Marblehead. When that unit was reorganized as the 14th Continental Regiment, Bond continued to serve with the rank of captain. (Glover's regiment rowed Washington's army across the Delaware for his morale-boosting victory at Princeton.) Bond died while defending the new nation, March 7, 1777. Multiple fold creases. A paper border edge has been affixed to the edges of pages 3 and 4. Minor staining from original wax seal. Lightly soiled and toned. Minor show-through, front to verso. Overall, fine condition.


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NATHANIEL BOND  


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