Lot 51 of 419:
Letters from Lawyer William Sullivan 1796-1822  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$720
$500 - $800

Archive of 12 autograph letters, some signed or initialed, from William Sullivan to various persons

Sullivan, William

Boston, etc.



Various sizes, in ink, some are retained copies or drafts with corrections. William Sullivan (1774-1839) of Saco, Maine, became a leading lawyer in Boston, and a perpetual member of the legislature. His influence was felt throughout his broad circle of acquaintances. In October of 1796, a young man of 22, he traveled to Petersburgh, Virginia, where one of his duties was to negotiate with Genl. H. Lee ("Light Horse Harry" Lee, Revolutionary soldier and father of Robert E. Lee, at that time governor of Virginia). Though this letter is stained, it is quite legible, and gives a New Englander's view of the south and southerners, including their weakness for a particular drink, "There is however one custom of pernicious consequence among some of the best informed, which is drinking drams as soon as they are out of bed, composed of mint-water-sugar- & rum or brandy - and the name of this cordial is mint-julap..." Hi goes on to state, "That these people are deeply involved in debt is rather their misfortune than their fault. The wealth of the country is lands and negroes. The negroes must be fed & cloathed their food may be raised on the plantations (for it is rarely anything else but corn-bread & water) but their cloathing is always obtained from the merchants..." In 1812, he writes to Daniel Webster about political matters, "...It was agreed that as a federal president could not be elected, the next best think was to get rid of the present administration by whatever constitutional means we could use - the only probability of success in this object was to support Dewitt C...." A provocative and historically significant series of letters.

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Generally very good.

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