20
20
André, John, British Officer and Spy
Estimation
10 00015 000
Lot. Vendu 20,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
20
André, John, British Officer and Spy
Estimation
10 00015 000
Lot. Vendu 20,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

André, John, British Officer and Spy
Autograph letter signed ("John André"), one page (9 x 7 in.; 229 x 178 mm), Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 1 June 1776, to General Philip Schuyler,  enclosing the amount of 3 pounds for John Williams of Albany as payment for a counterfeit note inadvertently passed to the latter; minor loss in left margin from seal tear, blank verso stamped along bottom margin. Blue cloth folding-case, blue morocco spine lettered gilt; spine slightly sunned.
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Provenance

Justin G. Turner (stamp on bottom margin of blank verso)

Description

A gentlemanly exchange. The notorious future spy and conspiratorial partner of Benedict Arnold, Lieutenant John André, politely writes to Continental General Philip Schuyler: "I take the Liberty of enclosing to you the amount of a bill of £3 // – // – N Yk Curr y: with the request you would cause it to be paid to Mr John Williams of Albany, to whom it seems I gave a counterfeit Note of that Sum.

"Give me leave to take advantage of this opportunity to assure Mrs and Miss Schuylers of my Respects and to have the honor of subscribing myself | Sir | Your most obedient | and most humble Servant."

André was taken prisoner in November of 1775 at Fort St. John by American troops under the command of General Richard Montgomery. He, along with British regulars, were transferred first to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then to Carlisle. (General Schuyler had given his word that the officers would not be separated from their men.) André remained at Carlisle and then York until exchanged in December 1776.

Counterfeiting of early American paper money was a constant menace to the circulation of genuine bills. Capture of counterfeiters and passers was made difficult because bills of one colony were often passed in neighboring ones and because genuine bills were often artistically crude and poorly printed. Ironically, the following year when New York City was occupied by the British, an audacious advertisement for the free distribution of counterfeit notes appeared in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury in an effort to destroy the value of Continental currency. Washington commented as to this "unparalleled piece" that "no Artifices are left untried by the Enemy to injure us" (Newman, The Early Paper Money of America, pp. 24-25).

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

|
New York