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ABERCROMBY Sir Ralph - Autograph Letter Signed 1793 while on campaign in the Netherlands

  • £625.00

Sir Ralph ABERCROMBY (1734-1801)

Autograph Letter Signed (“Ra: Abercromby M. Gen.”) to “My Lord” discussing problems with troop movements in the Western Scheldt at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars.
1½ pages 4to, Helvoet, 2 April 1793. 
An interesting letter dating from the start of hostilities with France, which were to continue for twenty-two years.
Since I had the honor of writing your Lordship yesterday. Captain Manley has received instructions from the Duke of York to conduct the Troops here, to Sanvleit in the Wester Scheldt, but as the wind is contrary, he proposes to carry the Fransheit to Wilhelmstadt, and from thence to Steinbergen, as the nearest Landing place to Bergen-op-Zoom. From the instructions I received previous to the embarkation of the Troops, there were certain limitations enjoined which would have made me very cautious in moving from hence, and of which your Lordship was fully informed. These limitations I supposed arose from the then existing state of this country which would have made it rash to commit the Kings Troops. As I was directed to communicate with your Lordship, and to follow such instructions as I should receive from you, I beg you will direct me in what manner I am to act, and how far I am at liberty to depart from the strict letter of any instructions. . .”
In the last months of 1792, France crossed into the Austrian Netherlands, where their border was threatened by Austrian forces. As the French continued their advance into the Dutch Republic, they were confronted by a coalition of Austrian and Dutch forces, who eventually defeated them at Neerwinden in March 1993. The Dutch had already called upon their British allies for assistance and the British, appalled by the execution of Louis XVI in January of that year, were quick to respond. By March, British troops had crossed the Channel, arriving at Helvoetsluis under the command of the Duke of York.
Although the French were thrown into some disarray by the defection of General Dumouriez to the Austrians shortly afterwards, the French were ultimately successful, establishing the Batavian Republic.
The ink is somewhat faded, but the letter remains entirely legible. Remains of guard at left margin, very slightly touching a few words.

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