Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsBoston MA
November 14, 2010 11:00 AMCalender

Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848)

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Auction: Books & Manuscripts - 2526BLocation: BostonDate / Time: November 14, 2010 11:00AM


Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848), Autograph letter signed, April 19, 1819, one page, as Secretary of State, to James Riley, Esq. of New York, thanking him for his letter, and for copies of his (Riley's) narrative and about the loss of the Oswego, (folds, mat burn around text, pinhole folder separation to center fold [not affecting text], some light edge chipping, overall toning, minor offset, and two tape strips at upper edge).

Text in full: "Sir, I have received your very obliging Letter, accompanied by a copy of the new Edition of your Narrative, with that of the loss of the Oswego, for which I pray you to accept my thanks. These works are valuable, not only by the interesting sympathies which they excite, but by the lessons of fortitude in sufferance, of persevering energy in action, and of reliance upon the superintending care of Providence in emergencies apparent by the most desperate, which they teach. I am with much Respect, Sir, your very humble and obedt. Servt."

Note: Adams is referring to Riley's autobiographical book, An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce..., first published in 1817. This work described his ship's wreck off the coast of the Western Sahara, and his and his crew's subsequent hardships in their trek across the Sahara including capture and slavery by native peoples. Riley became an outspoken voice against slavery, and his work was known to have been read by many politicians, including Adams, and Abraham Lincoln. The other book Adams references in this letter is likely Judah Paddock's A Narrative of the Shipwreck of the Ship Oswego... and of the sufferings of the Master and the Crew while in bondage among the Arabs, first published in 1818.
Estimate $2,000-3,000


James Riley, Secretary of State, Sahara, Western Sahara, Abraham Lincoln