Lot 4: John Adams - Exceptional LS
8th March 2017
Exceptional LS, one page, 7.75 x 9.75, February 20, 1818. Letter addressed to "Le Ray de chaumont Esquire," James Donatien le Ray de Chaumont, the son of Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, an important French supporter of the American Revolution. In full: "Unfortunately, by some irregularity in the Post Office, your Address arrived before your letter, of the 4 of February. I wrote you my thanks immediately. Some week or fortnight afterwards I received your kind letter. I recollect to have given you familliarly and jocosely certain English bones to pick at a time when I thought you an ingenuous and promising youth and when I wished to turn your attention to the study of that language. And I feel a pride in the recollection that forty years ago I contributed in the smallest degree to the accomplishment of a Gentleman who has been so eminently friendly and useful to my country, which he has made his own as I am at length reduced to the eternal complaint of Voltaire, 'Vieux et malade,' and am obliged to have recourse to the delicate fingers of my little Granddaughter to write what mine ate too parralitick to effect." Also franked on the integral address leaf by Adams, "Free, J. Adams." In fine condition, with several intersecting folds and seal-related paper loss to the integral address leaf. Accompanied by a gorgeous custom-made presentation folder. Adams would have become acquainted with the elder Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont while serving as United States Envoy to France in 1778–1779, along with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee. Chaumont was especially close to Franklin and became an invaluable ally in attaining French fiscal and military support during the American Revolution. His son traveled to the newborn America in 1785, where he settled in Otsego County, New York. Known in America as James Le Ray, he became a citizen in 1790; he acquired much property in the area, and today two towns in New York and one in Pennsylvania are named after him. A wonderful letter from America's elder statesman, reminiscing about his time in France some "forty years ago."
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