Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 44

Price Realized: $ 1,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Meetze, Henry A. A lawyer tries to prove a defendant is a "man of colour." Autograph Letter Signed to Jacob G. Wolfe of Sandy Run, SC. One page, 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches, with address panel and canceled stamp on verso; worn at one fold with slight loss of text, minor foxing. Lexington Court House, SC, 15 September 1851

Additional Details

In this letter, a prominent attorney weighs in on a legal case with a simple argument. The defendant had been passing as a white man, but if the prosecutors can prove he is a "free person of colour," they can circumvent the need for a jury. "Mrs. Meetze told me that you had learned that Griffin was a free person of colour, and that you would like to know whether a magistrate and freeholder could not try the case against him and impose upon him summary punishment. My opinion is that in as much as he has passed for and has been recognized as a free white man, that the best way to proceed is to let him remain where is until court, then his colour can be suggested and a trial had upon it. If a jury should find him to be a free person of colour, a magistrate and freeholder will be the competent tribunal, and they will have to try the case." The letter's author, Major Henry Adam Meetze (1820-1904), was later a Confederate officer.