Our Collection

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.

Macaulay, Catharine (1731-1791) to John Dickinson

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01790.02 Author/Creator: Macaulay, Catharine (1731-1791) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1771 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 23.3 x 18.1 cm.

Response in draft form to Dickinson's previous letter, concerning her hopes that America confine its "lust for ornaments to the limits of their own ingenuity."

Macaulay is a British historian who supported American liberty.

It was with some difficulties that I could prevent my Heart [struck: from] [inserted: the] being somewhat elated with Vanity on the reception of a present from [struck: one of] [inserted: a man of] the most Dignified character on the other side the Atlantick nor [struck: shall] [inserted: can] I ever wear [struck: the] the example of American industry [inserted: and ingenuity] without feeling a very sensible pleasure the best wish I can form for the Americans is that they would be always satisfied with the produce of their [struck: a] plentiful Country [inserted: that] they would confine their lust for ornaments to the limits of their own ingenuity and rather emulate that [struck: happy &] meritorious simplicity and [2] moderation which [struck: prevailed] [inserted: was to be found] in the [struck: most] happy and virtuous periods of the Greek and Roman States than the vices and luxuries which afterwards [struck: prevailed to] [inserted: prevailed in those] their [inserted: [struck: Republicks] illustrious Republicks to their entire] ruin and which mistaken Modern men call civilisation I am Sr with [inserted: all the] Gratitude esteem and Respect which are due to the virtues in your Character and the Favors I have received from you Your Very much obliged
And very humbe Sevt
Catharine Macaulay

Letter from 30 th
[struck: Mr John Adams
And Answer]
Mr Dickenson with the answer

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources