[Charles Guiteau] George Scoville Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, penned on recto and verso, 5" x 8", Washington, D.C., March 21, 1882. Following Charles Guiteau's assassination of President Garfield, the court appointed defense lawyers Leigh Robinson and George Scoville; however, Guiteau would insist on trying to represent himself during the entire trial. Scoville was Guiteau's brother-in-law, and throughout the trial he had grown tired of dealing with Guiteau and his questionable antics. Here, Scoville writes to Guiteau demanding payment for services rendered.

    Letter reads, in full: "Sir: Gen. Brooker handed me your note of yesterday. I have not attempted to do you harm, and shall not, whatever foolish thing you may do or say. But after all my sacrifices on your account, you must pay me some money when you have it, and can pay as well as not. If you will not do it freely, I shall compel you to do so by whatever means seem necessary, and the public will sustain me in so doing. You cannot get a lawyer of prominence to take hold of your case at this state if I withdraw from it. I have made inquiry enough to satisfy myself on that point. . . . Notwithstanding all your abuse, during the trial, as well as since, I shall continue to work for your interest, provided I am paid. When you had nothing, I said nothing about pay; but when you have money, and can pay as well as not, I shall require it the same as any other atty. . . . You can pay or hang, as you like. Geo. Scoville."

    Scoville chose to present an insanity defense. In his opening statement, Scoville told jurors that as society has gained more knowledge of insanity it had come to recognize that persons so afflicted deserve sympathy and treatment, not punishment. This defense was not accepted by the jury and Guiteau was sentenced to hang. In the years following Guiteau's execution, public opinion on the issue of his insanity shifted. Today, most neurologists would assert that Guiteau was indeed suffering from a serious mental illness. Letter is pristine, with creamy age-toning.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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