Lot #1
George Washington: William Cushing

"I had the pleasure of shaking hands with General Washington"—rare letter from one original Supreme Court justice to another
This lot has closed

Estimate: $3000+


"I had the pleasure of shaking hands with General Washington"—rare letter from one original Supreme Court justice to another

Early American jurist (1732-1810) who was one of the original five associate justices of the United States Supreme Court; he was the last judge in the United States to wear a full wig. Extremely rare ALS signed “Wm. Cushing,” one page both sides, 7.5 x 9, November 9, 1790. Handwritten letter to "The honourable James Iredell, Esqr., one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States." In part: "Mrs. Cushing joins me in sincere regards to you & Mrs. Iredell, Gov'r & Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. & Mrs. Treadwell. We arrived on Monday the 5th,& purpose setting out to-morrow for Richmond. The Court here was short, sat but two days—no civil business—a short trial for stealing a bank bill out of a Letter by a Letter-carrier in the city. The proof failed in two material points—no proof of his receiving the letter, nor of any money being in the letter. Day before Yesterday I had the pleasure of shaking hands with General Washington who was escorted into town in the morning by the light horse, reviewed several volunteer Companies of foot, & soon passed out of town & onward for Trenton…You have heard that Mr. Bushrod Washington is appointed to the bench, & I am told that he has gone on for the Southern Circuit & hope it is so…As to Elections—I believe the cause of liberty, of government & of order & decency will be strengthened rather than weakened, this trial, upon the whole." In fine condition, with a small edge separation to one fold and partial seal-related losses to the address leaf.

Cushing's autograph is among the rarest of all Supreme Court justices; the significant content of this letter—written to a fellow member of the Court and making reference to President Washington early on in his administration—makes it even more desirable.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Animation
  • Dates: #608 - Ended May 12, 2021

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