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George Washington ALS As Rev War Gen
Item Details
Description

George Washington ALS As Rev War Gen'l to Sister of Gen. Charles Lee

A superb 1p autograph letter signed by future 1st U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799) as "G:o Washington" at lower right. Written at New York State Headquarters on May 15, 1783. On a single sheet of watermarked laid stationery paper. Expected paper folds, mostly smoothed, and two minor splits running along horizontal folds discretely repaired verso. Light overall toning. A little griminess in the lower right corner affecting the "ton" of Washington's signature. A former collector has inscribed Washington's life and death dates along the bottom edge recto. Else beautiful, clear, and boldly written. 7.25" x 8.875." Displayed to the left of a high-quality photo reproduction image of "George Washington Taking the Salute at Trenton" after the original painting by John Faed, ca. 1899, in a crisp white mat. Matted to a completed size of 21" x 14.125" x .5."

George Washington, then finishing out the remaining seven months of his term as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, penned this letter to Sidney Lee (1727-1788). Miss Lee, in Chester, England, was the last surviving sibling of General Charles Henry Lee (1731-1782), a military commander of the Continental Army who had fought at the Battles of Brooklyn and Monmouth. Lee had died of fever in Philadelphia on October 2, 1782, and Miss Lee had been trying to finalize the details of her brother's estate ever since. She had reached out to Washington--her brother's erstwhile rival--because of his considerable influence, and his "character for benevolence." The second of Washington's replies to Miss Lee's original letter can be seen below.

Transcribed in full:

"Head Qtrs State of New York

15th May 1783

Madam,

Pursuant to the promise in my last, I wrote to a Gentlemn who I thought most likely to obtain an authentic Copy of your Brothers Will, and have received an answer, of which the Inclosed is a Copy--When I get the Will it shall be forwarded, notwithstanding Copies thereof appear to have been sent to you heretofore.

With the greatest respect

I have the honor to be

Madam

Yr Most Obed. Servt

G:o Washington."

Washington and Lee exchanged eight letters between January 14, 1783 and April 5, 1785 regarding General Charles Henry Lee's will. All of this correspondence can be accessed via the National Archives Founder Online database (copies of which are provided here for reference.) Miss Lee had first approached Washington in mid-January 1783, when she asked him to obtain "an attested Copy of his [Charles Lee's] last will, should he have made one in [Writing] and if in that Will has any interest."

Our May 15, 1783 letter was Washington's second to Miss Lee, assuring her of any assistance that he could provide. Yet one year later, Sidney Lee still encountered considerable difficulty in settling the legal matter: her brother's executor didn't reply to her letters; out-of-state witnesses needed to confirm the authenticity of the will; the law firm Muse & Atkinson was dismissive of her claims. Her luck seemed to change one full year later, in April 5, 1785, when Sidney Lee sent her last letter to Washington from London. She was in the city with favorable news of an imminent settlement.

The question of General Charles Henry Lee's will was further complicated because of his mixed military record. Lee was a candidate for command of the Continental Army, but he lost out to George Washington. This slight probably lead to personal resentment of Washington. As early as 1776, Lee had criticized Washington's military strategy and questioned his authority. Lee's decision to retreat at the June 28, 1778 Battle of Monmouth proved catastrophic to his career. Washington relieved Lee of his command, the two exchanged incendiary letters, and ultimately, Congress fired Lee. The fact that Lee had been dismissed from the Continental Army did not promote his posthumous interests among members of Congress, even on behalf of his deserving heirs.

The terms of Lee's will were eventually resolved. As Lee's principal heir, Sidney Lee benefited from her brother's English estates, but she suffered a financial loss of at least £4,500 in consolidating her brother's American holdings.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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George Washington ALS As Rev War Gen

Estimate $18,000 - $20,000
Jun 30, 2021
See Sold Price
Starting Price $5,500
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Ships from Wilton, CT, United States
Local Pick-Up Wilton, CT, United States
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0317: George Washington ALS As Rev War Gen

Sold for $15,000
15 Bids
Est. $18,000 - $20,000Starting Price $5,500
Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books
Jun 30, 2021 10:30 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0317 Details

Description
...

George Washington ALS As Rev War Gen'l to Sister of Gen. Charles Lee

A superb 1p autograph letter signed by future 1st U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799) as "G:o Washington" at lower right. Written at New York State Headquarters on May 15, 1783. On a single sheet of watermarked laid stationery paper. Expected paper folds, mostly smoothed, and two minor splits running along horizontal folds discretely repaired verso. Light overall toning. A little griminess in the lower right corner affecting the "ton" of Washington's signature. A former collector has inscribed Washington's life and death dates along the bottom edge recto. Else beautiful, clear, and boldly written. 7.25" x 8.875." Displayed to the left of a high-quality photo reproduction image of "George Washington Taking the Salute at Trenton" after the original painting by John Faed, ca. 1899, in a crisp white mat. Matted to a completed size of 21" x 14.125" x .5."

George Washington, then finishing out the remaining seven months of his term as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, penned this letter to Sidney Lee (1727-1788). Miss Lee, in Chester, England, was the last surviving sibling of General Charles Henry Lee (1731-1782), a military commander of the Continental Army who had fought at the Battles of Brooklyn and Monmouth. Lee had died of fever in Philadelphia on October 2, 1782, and Miss Lee had been trying to finalize the details of her brother's estate ever since. She had reached out to Washington--her brother's erstwhile rival--because of his considerable influence, and his "character for benevolence." The second of Washington's replies to Miss Lee's original letter can be seen below.

Transcribed in full:

"Head Qtrs State of New York

15th May 1783

Madam,

Pursuant to the promise in my last, I wrote to a Gentlemn who I thought most likely to obtain an authentic Copy of your Brothers Will, and have received an answer, of which the Inclosed is a Copy--When I get the Will it shall be forwarded, notwithstanding Copies thereof appear to have been sent to you heretofore.

With the greatest respect

I have the honor to be

Madam

Yr Most Obed. Servt

G:o Washington."

Washington and Lee exchanged eight letters between January 14, 1783 and April 5, 1785 regarding General Charles Henry Lee's will. All of this correspondence can be accessed via the National Archives Founder Online database (copies of which are provided here for reference.) Miss Lee had first approached Washington in mid-January 1783, when she asked him to obtain "an attested Copy of his [Charles Lee's] last will, should he have made one in [Writing] and if in that Will has any interest."

Our May 15, 1783 letter was Washington's second to Miss Lee, assuring her of any assistance that he could provide. Yet one year later, Sidney Lee still encountered considerable difficulty in settling the legal matter: her brother's executor didn't reply to her letters; out-of-state witnesses needed to confirm the authenticity of the will; the law firm Muse & Atkinson was dismissive of her claims. Her luck seemed to change one full year later, in April 5, 1785, when Sidney Lee sent her last letter to Washington from London. She was in the city with favorable news of an imminent settlement.

The question of General Charles Henry Lee's will was further complicated because of his mixed military record. Lee was a candidate for command of the Continental Army, but he lost out to George Washington. This slight probably lead to personal resentment of Washington. As early as 1776, Lee had criticized Washington's military strategy and questioned his authority. Lee's decision to retreat at the June 28, 1778 Battle of Monmouth proved catastrophic to his career. Washington relieved Lee of his command, the two exchanged incendiary letters, and ultimately, Congress fired Lee. The fact that Lee had been dismissed from the Continental Army did not promote his posthumous interests among members of Congress, even on behalf of his deserving heirs.

The terms of Lee's will were eventually resolved. As Lee's principal heir, Sidney Lee benefited from her brother's English estates, but she suffered a financial loss of at least £4,500 in consolidating her brother's American holdings.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

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