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Lot #3
Benjamin Rush

Rush forwards a respectful letter by Benjamin Franklin to a patriot's widow

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Estimate: $2000+
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Rush forwards a respectful letter by Benjamin Franklin to a patriot's widow

Signer of the Declaration of Independence and surgeon general of the Continental Army (1746-1813). ALS signed “Benj'n Rush,” one page, 8 x 9.75, August 9, [no year]. Letter to Rebecca Archer, the widow of Capt. Henry Waldegrave Archer. In part: "In looking over a number of letters from Dr. Franklin, I met with the enclosed, in which your deceased husband's name is mentioned with great respect. Recollecting the affection you bore him, and the tenderness with which you nursed him during the long and distressing illness which preceded his death, I presumed the perusal and possession of a letter which does him both justice and humor could not fail of being acceptable to you." A pencil notation to the address leaf notes that the enclosed letter was dated June 17, 1778. In very good condition, with scattered staining, areas of seal-related paper loss, and complete separation from its integral address leaf (which is still present).

In 1778, Henry Waldegrave Archer made application to Benjamin Franklin in Paris, hoping to join the American cavalry in the revolutionary cause. He explained: 'I want to join the American Army and become a citizen. Although I am an Englishman I did not enter the King’s army, because it would have meant fighting my conscience; that army will probably become the instrument of despotism. In the United States, on the contrary, the disciplined soldier and the free citizen are compatible.' Franklin then recommended Archer to Rush in a letter of June 17th, introducing him as 'a young Gentleman of excellent Character,' and recognizing his 'Zeal for the Cause of Liberty, and strong Desire of being serviceable to it and to our Country.' It was this letter that Rush would later send to Rebecca Archer, his widow.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #602 - Ended February 10, 2021

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