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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Bainbridge, William (1774-1833) to Timothy Bigelow

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01125 Author/Creator: Bainbridge, William (1774-1833) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 23 February 1813 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket ; 26 x 21 cm.

Written aboard U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), Boston Harbor. Expresses pleasure in hearing of a vote of appreciation for the Constitution's victory over the British frigate H.M.S. Java. "To merit and receive the appreciation of our Country is our highest ambition, and is the greatest stimulus we can receive in the exertion of our duty." Addressed to Bigelow as the speaker of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Bainbridge was the naval commander of the U.S.S. Constitution. During the War of 1812, he captured the British frigate H.M.S. Java on 29 December 1812.

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