Description

    Whiskey Rebellion - Judge Richard Peters, Jr. Two Autograph Letters Signed and an Autograph Document Signed in full. The material concerns the transportation and trial of several prisoners captured in western Pennsylvania in the federal campaign against the Whiskey Rebellion in the autumn of 1794. Richard Peters (1744-1828) was the federal judge who, with U.S. Attorney William Rawle, accompanied the federal army sent to quell the rebellion in order to establish an orderly legal process for arrested suspects. Peters writes to David Lennox in an ALS, 1 page, 6.5" x 8", [no place], Oct. 18, 1794, who had been one of the two excise inspectors attacked in July, 1794 prompting George Washington to order General Henry Lee and 15,000 troops to march into western Pennsylvania. Peters, following the first round of arrests in October, asks that the prisoners, "[George] Wisegarver & [George] Lucas be separated from the Rest of the Prisoners. When you bring them before me let Lucas & Wiscarver be the last brought that I may sift the others well before these two appear. Mr. Espy has been kind enough to accommodate me with his Office to which you will please to have the Prisoners conducted." Because of the distances involved, as well as the difficulty in obtaining indictments due to the scarcity of evidence, the trials were not held until the spring of 1795. Writing again to Lenox in an ALS, 1 page, 8" x 9.5", [no place], March 6, 1795, Peters informs the marshal that "...the criminal trials will no be had till the 4th of May next. It will therefore be necessary that you should, by printed Notification, inform the Jurors & Witnesses of this Arrangement. But as I do not know that Mr [William] Rawle wishes to be done as to the Grand Jury & the Witnesses in the Part of the Prosecution. I think it best before you take any step to call on him & get his Directions to which I shall agree. It must be remembered that the people in the western Country were all told that public Notifications would be given in the News Papers of Philada., Carlisle & Pittsburg..." In the end, of the twenty prisoners brought east for trial, only two were convicted of treason and sentenced to hang. President Washington pardoned the two on the grounds that one was "insane", the other a "simpleton." Also together with an ADS, 1 page, 8.5" x 5", [no place], December 24, 1794, being a bill for $79.01 to "The United States...to Cash Expended...in conducting, William Bonham from Northumberland to Philadelphia with the assistance of those Gentleman & Returning..." A superb collection of material concerning the transport and trial of suspected participants in the Whiskey Rebellion. Richard Peters, Jr. (1744-1828) was a militia captain in the American Revolution, a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, as well as a federal district judge and state senator. All three pieces bear the expected folds, some minor marginal losses, ADS lightly toned, else very good to fine condition. Rare. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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