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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.

Ellery, William (1727-1820) to George G. Channing

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03841 Author/Creator: Ellery, William (1727-1820) Place Written: Newport, Rhode Island Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 21 September 1812 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 20.5 x 17.2 cm.

Personal letter in which Ellery describes a man named Mr. Otis as "a mellifluous, pathetic speaker" and explains his views on the relationship between business activities and intellectual improvement as well as the proverbial saying "laugh and be fat." Discusses the current political climate, the non-importation act, relations with Britain, and duty collection. Mentions the alarm in Newport caused by the presence of three British frigates and the possibility of being attacked. Also concerns Ellery's uncertainty about the upcoming presidential election. Written shortly before the start of the War of 1812.

Ellery, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the collector of the port of Newport .

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