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Auction Description for RR Auction: RR Auction: Rare Manuscript, Document, and Autograph Auction

RR Auction: Rare Manuscript, Document, and Autograph Auction

by RR Auction


1,082 lots | 1071 with images

April 16, 2014

236 Commercial Street

Suite 100

Boston, MA, 02109 USA

George Washington

Lot 1: George Washington

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Description: ALS signed "Go: Washington," one page both sides, 7.25 x 11.75, Mount Vernon, May 25, 1785. Letter to Major Robert Lewis and Sons. In full: "In consequence of your letter of the 5th of last month, I discharged Willm Roberts from his attendance at my Mill. It now is, & has been for some times past without a Miller-and as Mr. Davenport from your acct would be ready to take charge of it in about three, not seven, weeks, and not yet come, and nor any acct of him, I am apprehensive of some disappointment.If this is the case, I should be glad to know it as soon as possible, One Baker who referred to you for a character, & was employed by Col. Biddle at his Mill near George Town (Maryland) has applied to me; but considering myself under an engagement I gave him no encouragement. A person who writes the enclosed letter has also offered; but I gave him no answer, and some others have likewise made applications; but as I depended upon Davenport I asked for no character, nor enquired into their qualifications.If Davenport should have disappointed me, would Baker answer my purpose? Would Reynolds do better? Or have you any other in view which you may think preferable to either? I am sorry to give you so much trouble with my affairs but hope you will excuse it."A small note of provenance is affixed to the inside of the partial second integral page. Note reads, "This letter was found many years ago, among the papers of my grandfather Robert Lewis. I desire my son Robert will take charge of it. Laurence Lewis, February [22, 1849]." A second included slip slip traces the Lewis genealogy from Ellis Lewis (1680-1750) to Robert S. Lewis (b. 1919). Partial separations along the very fragile intersecting mailing folds, with one archival repair to separated lower right panel (not affecting any text), a few trivial areas of paper loss along folds, moderate toning, old tape repairs, a few small areas of paper loss along edges and page, one area affecting last number in date, and scattered light soiling, otherwise good condition.As the British evacuated the last of their troops from the newly independent United States at the close of 1783, Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief and returned to Mount Vernon. Though his retirement was brief, returning to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to take his place as president of the Constitutional Convention, the break did enable him to set straight affairs at his beloved plantation. Built in 1771 to increase the production of flour and cornmeal for export, his enormous stone gristmill had remained little utilized while he was at war. In this letter, he seeks out the proper Miller to run it. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA.

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John Adams

Lot 2: John Adams

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Description: ALS, one page, 4.75 x 7, no date [but circa 1790s, likely during his vice-presidency]. Letter to Joshua Johnson at Great Tower Hill. In full: "The Bearer is represented to me as an American Prisoner. He is informed that you have a Vessel bound to Baltimore, and desires to engage on board of her if you have a place for him. I would pray you to admit him." Reverse of second integral page bears an address panel in another hand. Attractively double-cloth-matted and framed with a portrait of Adams and a small plaque to an overall size of 25 x 18.25. In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, a couple passing through single letters of signature, some brushing of ink to recipient's name in lower left, and scattered toning and soiling, mostly to second integral page.Sent to France on behalf of the colonies to negotiate a treaty of alliance in 1778, John Adams made the acquaintance of agent Joshua Johnson for the first time; twelve years later, Johnson was appointed US consul at London, a position that kept him in contact with Vice President Adams. The two would become significantly more familiar during Adams's presidency, when his son, John Quincy-who had joined him on the initial trip to France, as well as subsequent diplomatic visits to Johnson in London-married Johnson's daughter Louisa in 1797. Despite his reservations about his son marrying a non-American-born woman, he quickly welcomed his new in-laws to the family. A handsome letter with interesting family and diplomatic association. Oversized.

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Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Lot 3: Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

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Description: Partly-printed vellum DS, signed "Th: Jefferson" as president and "James Madison" as secretary of state, one page, 10 x 15.25, April 17, 1805. Scalloped-top ship's pass issued for "the Ship Friendship of Salem, Israel Williams master or commander...mounted with ten guns, navigated with twenty two men to pass with her Company, Passengers, Goods and Merchandise without any hindrance, seizure or molestation of the said Ship." White paper seal affixed to lower left remains intact with loss of a couple corner tips. Intersecting folds and Madison's signature somewhat light, otherwise fine condition.The Friendship was a 171-foot long merchant vessel completed in 1797 by Master Shipbuilder Enos Briggs of Salem, Massachusetts, and Israel Williams became its first captain. On a trade mission bound for Batavia in 1798, Williams found the supplies for his crew running low-most crucially, fresh water. Luckily, Williams was able to improvise a method of distilling saltwater from the ocean, which allowed his crew to survive the rest of the journey. The Friendship made 15 voyages during its years in service, traveling throughout the world to India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean, and Russia, until its ill-fated final voyage in 1812-the captain, then Edward Stanley, was unaware of the declaration of war against England, and his ship was captured as a prize of war by the British HMS Rosamond. A choice example of a document issued for a ship with a particularly fascinating history, featuring an especially bold Jefferson signature.

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James Monroe

Lot 4: James Monroe

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Description: Partly-printed scalloped-top vellum DS, one page, 10.5 x 15, June 12, 1817. Ship's pass reads, in part, "Suffer the Schooner Vestal of New York, Elisha Mix master or commander...mounted with no guns navigated with eight men to pass with her company passengers goods and merchandise, without any hindrance, seizure or molestation." Signed at the conclusion by Monroe and countersigned by Acting Secretary of State Richard Rush. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, irregularly trimmed edges, and some light creasing and wrinkling. The white wafer seal is intact, but cracked.

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James Madison and James Monroe

Lot 5: James Madison and James Monroe

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Description: Partly-printed vellum DS signed by Madison as president, "James Madison," and Monroe as secretary of state, "Jas. Monroe," one page, 10 x 15, December 28, 1811. Scalloped-top ship's pass issued for "the Schooner Arrow, Pearl Durkee master and commander...mounted with four guns navigated with twenty men to pass with her Company Passengers Goods and Merchandise without any hindrance seizure or molestation of the said Schooner." Bright white seal affixed to the lower left remains clean and intact but for two of the tips. In fine condition, with barely visible intersecting folds, light foxing and staining to edges (heaviest to upper right), and writing and signatures a shade or two light.The Arrow was used as a cargo vessel trading between the United States and France, a hazardous task as Britain had imposed restrictions on such trade-they were at war with Napoleon and desired an all-out embargo to prevent supplies from reaching him, while also weakening the French economy. On May 8, 1812, the Arrow was returning from France laden with goods such as brandy, champagne, silk, nuts, and toys when the 38-gun frigate HMS Andromache, commanded by Captain Sir George Tobin, seized Arrow and her cargo. The British then took the Arrow to Plymouth Dockyard where between June 1812 and January 1813 she was re-fitted to be used by the Royal Navy. These types of trade restrictions and aggressive actions against US ships were a leading cause of the War of 1812. In addition to being signed by two presidents, the historical context of this document makes it a truly exceptional piece.

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