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"... Success hangs by a thread..." - a rare letter from the Chinese revolutionary and first president of the Republic of China, writing as Premier of the Kuomintang

Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China (1866-1925). Letter signed ("Sun Wen").

No place, 21 Oct. [1922].

2 pp. 4to. In a secretarial hand.

Sun was an avowed anti-monarchist, and played an instrumental role in the overthrow of the centuries-old Qing dynasty (the last imperial dynasty of China) during the years leading up to the Xinhai Revolution (1911). He went on to become the first president of the Republic of China, and later founded the Kuomintang of China (Nationalist Party of China) in 1919.

From 1923 to 1926 Sun and the Kuomintang used Guangdong (his hometown) as a base to challenge the warlords in the north, who controlled much of the nation. In this letter, at the beginning of that effort, Sun identifies the urgent need to reclaim Guangdong, and addresses his army's needs to an apparent supporter: "Our troops have battled across thousands of miles, their food consumption is huge and resources are scarce. If it were not for the joint effort by supporters within the country and overseas and their generous donations, how could we have embarked on this great mission?" He goes on to note: "At this extremely critical moment where success hangs by a thread, we summon up our courage and lead all kindred spirits, each exerting the final effort towards the cause of overcoming the evildoers to settle the chaos".

Some soiling, particularly to margins, multiple small tears, some reinforced and repaired but not affecting text, a few chips to edges. Sun Yat-sen material remains exceedingly rare, only five letters have appeared at auction in the last 30 years.