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Item   Title MB Now at Next bid Bids New bid Max bid  
17   James Madison  $200 $267 $294 4 You must login to place a bid.

#17 - James Madison

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An arms deal with the ex-president
Description                           Estimate: $1,000 - 1,500          

ALS, one page both sides, 8.25 x 10, June 7, 1817. Letter to George Bomford of the Corps of Engineers concerning a government contract for musket stocks. In part: “Mr. Eddins the proposed contractor for the musket stocks, has since my last, ascertained by a careful examination of the fund of walnut trees on which he relied that it will not yield more than about 12,000 stocks…He cannot therefore with prudence of safety engage for a greater amount. The form of the contract you inclosed has been so worded as to limit his engagement to that number and to the term of one year. Should it be found on trial that the trees he has in view will furnish a greater number, and it be desirable to the public, that a further contract be made, he will probably be willing to enter into one…If equally convenient, an alteration dividing the number of stocks into two equal annual supplies of 6,000, would be preferred…I regret that this limitation has been found necessary, and shall feel greater regret, if any inconvenience should result to the public, from what has passed.” In very good to fine condition, with the hinge separated, small tape repairs to fold splits, and show-through from writing to opposing sides.

Having just left the presidency in March to retire to his Montpelier plantation, Madison helped to supply the lumber needed to fulfill the military’s contract for musket stocks. Abraham Eddins won the initial contract, agreeing to produce 12,000 musket stocks out of walnut at a cost of 25 cents each; upon review, however, it seems that Madison’s walnut groves would not provide enough. Despite making a private profit in the deal, Madison’s character shows through in this letter as he insists upon doing what is most beneficial for “the public.” Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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