Apr 17, 2012 - Sale 2276

Sale 2276 - Lot 28

Price Realized: $ 13,200
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
CAPTURE OF "A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . . WITH SOME WICKED INTENTION" HENRY, PATRICK. Autograph Letter Signed, "P Henry," as Governor of Virginia, to Benjamin Harrison, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, describing the capture of two spies. 2 pages, 4to, with integral address leaf; ink burn in paraph of Henry's signature, address leaf inlaid, short closed separation along center fold. [Williamsburg, VA]?, 25 May 1779

Additional Details

Henry reports on the capture of Zechariah Snead, who was "detected going secretly to the British flag-vessels," and Letitia Fitzgerald, wife of a British nobleman: "A great variety of circumstances concur to induce belief that this is a dangerous woman, and that she came hither with some wicked intention."
Henry wrote this letter a week before relinquishing the governor's office to Thomas Jefferson, and demonstrates an unusual concern for due process: "The executive, having in these two instances exercised a power not expressly given them by law, I take this method of informing the legislature of it, and have only to add that apprehension for the public safety is the sole reason for the proceeding." Published in Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches, 3:242. Provenance: Anderson's Simon Shwartz sale, 8 November 1926, lot 349; William D. Morley's Louis J. Kolb sale, 17 November 1941, lot 110.