DescriptionGeorge Washington Partial Manuscript and Signature ("Go:Washington") Signed accompanied by a Jared Sparks Autograph Letter as provenance. Washington's partial manuscript (7" x 2.5") is not dated. On the recto, Washington has written, "[...] name a bye-word on the earth. Hence we were exposed to insurrection at home, and contempt abroad. Hence there were nations, which, in some measure exclude our vessels from their ports, checked our Commerce [...]" He writes on the verso, "[...Igno]rant or wicked rested unconcerned. Even fearfulness siezed, in many instances, up on those well-meaning politicians, whose security had been produced by the scantiness of their information & the confinement [...]" These lines are quoted with some deviation in David Humphrey's The Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys as part of a speech prepared for the Society of the Cincinnati to be delivered on July 4, 1789. Though Humphreys, who served for a time as Washington's personal secretary after the war, does not say who gave the speech-or if the speech was actually given-The Papers of George Washington infers that Humphreys prepared the speech for Washington to deliver. The Papers also infers that the speech was never delivered. Regardless, this partial manuscript proves that Washington produced a version of the speech in his own hand. The toned manuscript is hinged along the left margin to a larger piece of paper. The two right corners of the manuscript have been damaged by an attempt to secure the paper to its backing. In the left margin of the recto, Jared Sparks, who once owned the manuscript, has written, "Washington's handwriting."
Affixed to the backing but below the manuscript is Washington's excised signature (3.75" x 1"). Washington signed firmly and clearly above printed decorative designs. Printed below the signature is "1768." Some foxing exists.
Jared Sparks, who had published his multi-volumed Life and Writings of George Washington in the 1830s, owned this manuscript and signature until "Miss Abby L. Davis" requested them ca. 1850. Indeed, Sparks owned many Washington documents which he used to write his lengthy biography. Between the 1830s and 1850s, he gave many of them away to collectors. Miss Davis was one of those collectors. Responding to her request (which is not included in this lot) in a letter (which is included), Sparks sent her the partial manuscript and signature. Writing from Harvard University as its president on May 16, 1850, he writes: "I regret that it is not in my power to send you a more attractive specimen of Washington's handwriting. Many of his autograph letters have been in my possession, but the collectors have long ago exhausted my stock. I enclose the best that I can furnish." Miss Davis glued Sparks' letter (7.5" x 6") to a larger piece of paper. All three items-Washington's partial manuscript, signature, and Sparks' letter-are in fine condition. All text is clear and bold.
David Humphreys, The Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys (New York: Printed by T. and J. Swords, 1804), 335; W. W. Abbot, ed., The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series 3, June-September 1789 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989), 114-115.
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