Lot 128 of 395:
ALs 1809 New York Patrician Rapist seeks Wall Street loan  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$125
$200 - $300

Autograph Letter Signed - 1809 New York Patrician Rapist seeks Wall Street loan

Bedlow, Henry

Newark, NJ


January 4, 1809


2 pp. + stampless address leaf.

To Henry Remsen, Wall Street, New York: "From an acquaintance…and not fm. a family connection, I'm prompted to ask the loan of $200…In making this approach to you I feel all the pain that must arrive in the breast of a man, unaccustomed to ask favors. I have rent due to the amount of $500 and not one dollar have I recd. frm. Mr. Beekman.  At no period of my life have I felt the want of money so much as the present. The littleness of Mr. B['s] mind and flintyness of heart has ever kept me at a distance fr. him in percuinary matters. My pride is much [?], never having received any favors fm. my relations…"  Well-connected within the New York elite, Bedlow was related to the Rutgers and DePeyster families, and an in-law of John Beekman, one of the richest New Yorkers - who had snubbed him for good reason. In 1793, as a "libertine" bachelor in his 20s, Bedlow was tried for the rape of a poor young woman whose father was popular among the city's Irish "seafaring" community. Defended by expensive legal talent who argued that Bedlow had merely "seduced", not raped, the woman, his acquittal led to a riot by workingmen who attacked the expensive brothel (on Beekman Street) to which Bedlow had decoyed his victim. As the prostitutes fled, the mob destroyed the building and all its elegant furniture, then attacked other "houses of ill fame", their "miserable inmates" being "driven naked and houseless into the streets." Bedlow himself went into virtual hiding, moving to his family's New Jersey home, where he married the respectable daughter of a South Carolina physician.  Henry Remsen, to whom he sent this financial plea, was another "gay old bachelor" who had married late in life, and a Wall Street wheeler-dealer whose well-paid lobbyists Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had won him control of the city's water supply. Bedlow lived on in purposeful obscurity for another 30 years, forgotten by his illustrious relations. This letter is one of the very few records of his later life after his acquittal in the first notorious rape trial of the new American Republic.

Lot Amendments

Some light soiling; very good.

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