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Item 157 - South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Catalog 491 (Jan 2017)

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Sold Price: $32,340.00 (includes buyer's premium)


Signer of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina (1742–1787). A radical Whig, Middleton was one of the more vocal members of the South Carolina's Council of Safety and was known for his ruthless treatment of Loyalists. Middleton was imprisoned in 1780 when the British captured Charleston and spent a year in custody in St. Augustine. Revolutionary War–dated ALS signed “A. M.,” three pages two sheets, 7.75 x 11.75, October 29, 1782. A lengthy, witty letter addressed to his brother-in-law, “Charles Pinckney Esquire, at Mrs. M. Funn’s in Second Street, Philadelphia,” who had also been captured and imprisoned by the British after the siege of Charleston. Middleton describes his southward journey home after having served in the Continental Congress since 1781. He also takes time to praise John Hancock and advises his young correspondent to visit him in South Carolina as soon as he had "sown a few more of your young Oats.”

In part: “We arrived here last Evening after a tolerably agreeable Journey; considering bad weather, Stumps, Stones craggy hills &ca. we have met with some hairbreadth Scrapes, but came off without accident having got over the worst of the road, we now expect to rode upon Carpets, & outride the Wind—Poor Elliott the first day or two rode upon Pins, now & then damn'd the Sulky, then the blind Horse, then the Liquor Case, (the bottom having jolted out) & Bobby came in for a few Cases—Upon this, as upon all similar Occasions, I recommended Patience, & we now have nothing to do but to think & talk of our Friends, to laugh at difficulties, see our Horses well fed, eat when we can get it & Sleep when we don’t forget it. In accord we are now in a good train, with a prospect of quick Journey—I inclose you a Letter [not present] to Mr. Hancock; he was a very benevolent worthy man. & took pleasure in doing Kindnesses—I make no doubt he Continues the same unless his government may have Soured his Temper, which is not very probable, as Dignities conferd upon a man of Sense, generally tend to humanize, & I hope you will find it so—Remember me affectionally to the major & his family; tell him I think he will judge right in taking the other road, we have found this hitherto much more broken & disagreeable than I expected—let him know the Two Horses he spared me are well, the large Horse is…a little lame…but goes very well. & the white foot is too good to run with the rest, as he chooses to draw the whole weight himself, so that he is confused to the sue of George, who had the honour of being nearly starved in the Tower—Acquaint the Major I shall depend upon him his driving directly to the Ashley River where we will make the best preparations for his reception the Times will admit of—I fear he will not find Hay or blades, but hungry Horses will eat Straw—He must not Omit bringing Mrs. M. F. I shall expect—pray make my Love to her, & to Miss Polly my respects to the old Lady, & Compliments to all in the House with you—Mrs. M. F.'s light shines every night to that we see her good works, we have not yet consulted the Bundle of good things, but often think & talk of her without their Assistance, we shall apply to it when we get into the Wilderness– there is a manner of conferring favours, which renders them infinitely more gratefull, there were stolen upon us, & I shall not easily forget them; The Lantern shall be dedicated to the bona Dea, & the Sun, in my Museum; if I have one left—Don’t forget to acquaint Mrs. Morton (the fat House keeper) if she should call, that the first money I can…scrape together after I get home shall be forwarded to her—I shall say nothing more to you upon the subject of your Projects; I spoke my mind freely, as I wish you happiness; I know your Father will expect to see you before you embark for Europe, & under that Idea, I make sure of seeing you in Carol[ina] as soon as you have sown a few more of your young Oats—But go where you will…it will give me pleasure to hear from you—We leave this in a few minutes, & I have not time to correct this scrawl—your critical Eye must therefore excuse Errors of the Pen &ca. Believe that there are not many…PS: Elliot presents his Compliments to all in your circle—Nothing new here, either foreign or from the South Adieu—I shall write to Mr. Izard when I have more to say to him." In fine condition, with a few scattered light stains, toning to the integral address panel, and unobtrusive repairs to a small seal-related tear.

A marvelously informal and chatty letter revealing the dynamism of Middleton's personality. Pinckney later became an influential delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Examples of Arthur Middleton’s autograph are extremely rare, and he is often cited as the third-rarest signer following Gwinnett and Lynch. War-dated autograph letters, especially of such length and quality, are of the utmost desirability and hardly ever appear for sale. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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