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Thomas Howard "A Sketch of the Interest of Great Britain in her American Colonies, with Some Remarks upon the Policy, Trade, and Commerce of America" Manuscript and Letter


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Howard, Thomas, 1735-1778

British military officer, Colonel Thomas Howard (1735–1778), was a commander of the First or Grenadier Guards and fought in the American Revolution. While returning to England in 1778, he was killed when his ship was attacked by an American privateer. His brother, John Howard (1739–1820), also a commanding officer of the Grenadier Guards and participant in the Revolution, became 15th Earl of Suffolk.

This collection includes an unpublished manuscript treatise in four notebooks (approximately 110 pages total), without indication of authorship, probably dating from the late 1760s. The text advocates free trade between Britain and the American colonies, encouragement of American manufacturing, a better understanding of the needs and desires of American settlers, limitation of taxation, and abolition of British legislation reserving white pines for British ships. Text is on rectos only, with occasional additions on the facing versos. Scattered throughout the notebooks are several loose paper fragments with contemporary notes and critiques in a different hand.

The manuscript is written in the same hand as an 8-page autograph letter signed (Philadelphia, November 30, 1777) by one Thomas Howard. The letter is addressed to Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1709-1786), on British military policy and difficulties in the American Revolution: "The country is so very strong, and the general enmity so very prevalent against us, that we find infinite difficulties whenever we are separated for any length of time from our shipping..." The author of the letter, and almost certainly of the manuscript treatise, was Colonel Thomas Howard (1735–78), a commander of the First or Grenadier Guards in America. He wrote the letter in Philadelphia during the winter of 1777–78, when British forces occupied the city and Continental forces were encamped at Valley Forge.

These materials were part of 21 other lots of archival papers from Holywell House, Hampshire, home of the Villiers family, earls of Clarendon. These papers chiefly relate to the life and careers of two contemporaries: Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury (1710–1753), and Thomas Villiers (1709–1786), created successively Baron Hyde of Hindon (1756) and Earl of Clarendon (1776). Clarendon was in British cabinet at the time of the American Revolution

Purchased, 2017 (AM 2017-95).

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This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in March 2017. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in March 2017.

No materials were separated during 2017 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Letter to Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon, 1777 November 30. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Manuscript, Part 1, circa 1774. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Manuscript, Part 2, circa 1774. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Manuscript, Part 3, circa 1774. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Manuscript, Part 4, circa 1774. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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