Description

    "I was present when he breathed his last."

    [U.S. Supreme Court] Group of Three Richard Peters Autograph Letters Signed. These letters, two of which are addressed to Supreme Court Associate Justice John McLean, contain meaningful details on the illnesses and deaths of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and Associate Justice Joseph Story. Also, Peters' 1831 letter to Justice McLean contains information about the important Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia. Peters, the fourth reporter of decisions for the U.S. Supreme Court from 1828 through 1843, has signed each letter "Rich Peters".

    (1) One page, 8" x 10", July 6, 1835, Philadelphia, to Associate Justice John McLean. Peters was present at the death of the longest serving chief justice in U.S. history, John Marshall. He writes about the sorrowful occasion in this 1835 letter. In part: "The Chief Justice expired this afternoon at half past 6. I was present when he breathed his last. He went off without a struggle, and had his three sons at his bed side. The death of Thomas was not communicated to him. The loss is inexpressible to the Country." In the spring of 1835, Judge Marshall, at the request of family and friends, traveled to Philadelphia to seek medical relief. There he died on July 6 with three of his sons present. His eldest son Thomas, an attorney, had died seven days earlier on June 29, at Baltimore at the age of fifty. This letter, with postmark, has the original red seal and resulting tear; with folds. Near fine.

    (2) Two pages, 7.75" x 10", October 27, 1831, Philadelphia, to Associate Justice McLean, concerning the health of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Peters also writes about the Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in which Justices McLean and Joseph Story participated, along with Chief Justice Marshall. In part: "You will have the Cherokee and Georgia before you at next term. . . . [Concerning] the matter of 'Foreign State' - or 'State', the matter will be before you upon the Constitution - the Treaties, and the Law of 1802." This letter, which contains the red seal and a tear resulting from the original opening of the letter, is worthy of further research. With postmark; near fine.

    (3) One page, 8" x 10.5", September 12, 1845, to an unnamed recipient concerning the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story. With folds; fine.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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