Lot 1: Supremely desirable partial ALS as president, one page, 8 x 3.75, September 1, 1797. Letter to "Col. McHenry, Secretary at War." In full: "I return all the Inclosures with this Letter. I think you are in the right to remove your family from danger of the Epidemic Fever, and advise you to expose your self as little as possible." Affixed to a slightly larger sheet. In fine condition, with a central vertical fold. An epidemic of yellow fever swept the young nation beginning in the summer of 1797, and Philadelphia—the home of the government until 1800—suffered more than any other city. McHenry began making arrangements for his family to move in August and wrote in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., that he had secured a retreat forty miles away down the Lancaster Road but hoped 'there will be no occasion to use it.' As the fever spread, however, McHenrry and his family removed from Philadelphia to stay in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, a small town thirty-three miles west. Despite these precautions, McHenry himself fell ill within two weeks of receiving this letter and slowly recovered away from the city while still attending to his duties by mail. A crisply penned and beautifully preserved example of a scarce Adams presidential letter, in which he addresses one of the early non-military crises that threatened the budding nation.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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