Jun 21, 2018 - Sale 2483

Sale 2483 - Lot 188

Price Realized: $ 938
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
"WASHINGTON A SCENE OF DISSIPATION AND EXTRAVAGANCE" (MADISON, JAMES.) DUANE, WILLIAM. Autograph Letter Signed, "WmDuane," to "My dear and respected friend," discussing turmoil in the Madison White House. 4 pages , 9 3/4x7 3/4 inches, on 2 detached sheets; first sheet missing an inch from lower corner just touching text, thin strip of mounting remnant in margin of final page just touching signature and coming detached from leaf, docketed in left margin of first page. Philadelphia, 4 March 1811

Additional Details

William Duane (1780-1865) was an influential newspaper publisher and Pennsylvania state legislator. Written on the eve of the War of 1812, this letter discusses the chaos his sources had described within James Madison's White House: "It is impossible to mistake the operation of measures as they are now going on. Mr. Madison's house is a scene of odious intrigue. Washington a scene of dissipation and extravagance which those who have seen the courts of Europe say they do not equal. In the cabinet, Mr. Gallatin [the Secretary of Treasury] with all the powerful and flexible faculties which he possesses and knows so dexterously to apply on one side; the Smiths [Secretary of State Robert Smith and brother Senator Samuel Smith] with an equally powerful influence . . . between them Mr. Madison is like a man with his head in a noose, and these parties holding each of them an end of the rope--he must select or perish between them. . . . It is well known at the Presd'ts house that [Secretary of War William Eustis] has been concerned in an intrigue against Mr. M." Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton "has been sickened to the soul to see what he has seen. These things and a thousand others have made me almost despair of the republic." Provenance: Sold by Mary Benjamin via her Collector magazine to Henry E. Luhrs and his private Lincoln Library, January 1952; Heritage's Luhrs sale, February 2006, to the consignor.