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    John Fitch Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 8" x 13", New York, May 5, 1772, to his sister regarding his journey to New York, giving a daily account of the trip. When he reaches to New York several days later, he was "...Innoculated [sic] as Soon as Possible..." Inoculation involved exposing otherwise healthy individuals to a disease, in this case smallpox, in the hopes that they catch it and survive, thereby building up an immunity. The technique was employed years later by George Washington for his army. The following day he "...went to Court where there was Six Men and Women found Guilty of Steeling by the Jury Their Sentance [sic] is not Red [sic] off yet but it is Supposed that they will be Condemned to be Hanged." He then relates the story of a fire "...near Chappel Street where we Board." He has added a postscript at the end: "You need not be Afraid a Catching the Small Pox of this letter for there is no Danger at all." Folds are weakened from water damage resulting in separation in places and minor loss of text. Uneven toning.

    John Fitch (1743-1798) joined the Continental Army after his Trenton, New Jersey, business was destroyed by the British. During the harsh winter of 1777, he provided the troops at Valley Forge and at Philadelphia with food at his own expense. He was captured by Indians in 1782 and handed over to the British, spending the remainder of the war in Canada. According to some sources, Fitch was haunted by dreams of being pursued by Indians in canoes which inspired him to create a faster ship. His nightmares gave birth to the steamboat.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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