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Auction: Auction 09.12.1993
was auctioned on: 9 December 1993
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WASHINGTON, GEORGE]. LEAR, TOBIAS, Personal secretary to Washington . Autograph letter signed ("Tobias Lear") TO BENJAMIN LINCOLN, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Mount Vernon, 5 February 1789. 2 pages, 4to, integral address leaf [ with ] WASHI...

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Estimate: US$15,000 - US$20,000
Price realised:  US$16,100
Lot number 224, Views: 96

WASHINGTON, GEORGE]. LEAR, TOBIAS, Personal secretary to Washington . Autograph letter signed ("Tobias Lear") TO BENJAMIN LINCOLN, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Mount Vernon, 5 February 1789. 2 pages, 4to, integral address leaf [ with ] WASHINGTON, GEORGE. Autograph free frank ("Free G:Washington") on integral address leaf addressed in Lear's hand, with a nearly intact red wax seal, recipient's docket, square hole where in margin of address leaf where opened. THE DAY AFTER THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, WASHINGTON FRANKS AN IMPORTANT LETTER DISCUSSING PATRICK HENRY, THE VICE-PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS AND EXTOLLING THE TRIUMPH OF FEDERALISM An extremely interesting letter from many standpoints. First, it was written (and presumably franked) by the future President one day after each state's electors had cast their votes in the first Presidential election under the new Constitution. Washington's free frank is therefore one of the very first by Washington as President-elect , although the count of the electoral votes was not formalized until April 6. It is curious that Washington should frank the letter at all, since he neither wrote nor dictated it. The frank raises the tantalizing question of whether Washington may in fact have been aware of the contents of Lear's letter. Lear's remarks on the certainty of the election of Washington are of great interest, as are his comments on John Adams's public character. For many months, Benjamin Lincoln had actively championed Adams for the post of Vice-President (see D.S. Freeman, George Washington , 6:154). Lear also comments meaningfully on the bitter contest between the Federalists and anti-Federalists in Virginia and the diminished stature of Patrick Henry, an ardent anti-Federalist. Laer writes: "Your correspondence with the General gives me frequent opportunities of hearing of your welfare, and imforms you of all the important transactions of a publick nature which take place here. This is the cause of my writing to you so seldom...." Lear apologizes for not visiting Lincoln while in Massachusetts last summer, because: "I knew that my presence was in some measure, necessary here, and I felt anxious to come on with all the dispatch in my power." The General wrote to you by the last post [probably a reference to Washington's letter of 31 January, Fitzpatrick 30:189-190], since which nothing material has come to hand except the returns of [state] Electors from the several Districts - 8 of whom, out of eleven (there being no return for one district) are staunch Federalists. This is a strong proof that the sentiments of the people in this State were not in unison with the late Assembly [of Virginia]. Mr. Adams is the man who will have at least a majority of the votes of this State as Vice President, and from every information that we have...I think there is not a doubt but that he will be chosen to the second place in the Government by a considerable majority of the Electors. The first place [the Presidency] must be filled by the General; he will hardly have the privilege of chusing [ sic ] for himself whether he will accept or not; and I think it cannot but be very pleasing to him to see the probability there is of such assistance in the arduous task as will be given him by the abilities, integrity - and respectability of Mr. Adams. "An idea has been held up here, & I believe has been pretty current through the States, that Mr. H-- [Patrick Henry] would not accept of the second post in the Government if he should be chosen to it; he has gained no credit by this, and indeed he seems not to be held in that high estimation at present that he was a few years ago; several circumstances have tended to lessen his popularity....." In a very real sense, long before the Electoral balloting on Febuary 4 and the official count of April 6, it was evident that Washington would be elected President. The outcome of the voting was in a way pre-determined by the widespread selection of staunc

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Auction 09.12.1993
Date of the auction: 9 Dec 1993
Address: Christie's
New York, Park Avenue