Description

    [Frank James]. John Newman Edwards Autograph Letter Signed "J. N. Edwards." Two pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Jefferson City [Missouri], March 27, 1883. Five months after surrendering to the authorities of the state of Missouri, Frank James was whiling away the time in a Gallatin, Missouri jail charged with murder stemming from a July 1881 train robbery in which a passenger and a conductor for the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad were killed. Knowing how frustrated he is in jail, Edwards writes to James saying: "You are impatient, and naturally so; but always remember that you have had a world of popular opinion and public prejudice to meet and overcome. We who know you fully, and there are only a few of us who do, know that you have been more sinned against than sinning." Edwards insists that the public has harbored a false impression of his character, regarding him "...as a human monster, who should be hunted like a wild beast and killed on sight." But this misperception is changing, he says, "by your being in prison...Your bearing, your good sense, your quiet reserve, and your manly conversation have made you friends everywhere, and these in turn have made other friends who have never seen you...The newspaper had made you a bloody devil. Save and alone the newspaper which I worked upon...you had no journalistic friend in Missouri. Now you have two-thirds of the State."

    Edwards goes on to warn Frank to be wary of news he hears from the outside. "You will never go to Alabama. You will never go to Minnesota. This whole matter is perfectly understood...Take your trial at Gallatin. You will be acquitted surely...Do not get impatient, and do not borrow [?] trouble." In the end, Edwards was only half right. Frank was acquitted of murder during his Missouri trial and he was never tried for the Northfield, Minnesota, robbery, but he was sent to Alabama to answer for an 1881 robbery of a federal paymaster. His Alabama trial lasted ten days and he was again found not guilty.

    Folds are weakened and separating in places, especially at the left edge of the vertical fold. Chipping along the upper edge. Lightly toned with scattered spots of foxing. Slight bleed-through of ink.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
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