Nov 08, 2018 - Sale 2492

Sale 2492 - Lot 202

Price Realized: $ 1,820
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
PAYING FOR DEBTS OF SON DISMISSED FROM HARVARD (SUPREME COURT.) JOHN MARSHALL. Autograph Letter Signed, "J.Marshall," as Chief Justice, to Harvard tutor Joseph G. Cogswell, expressing gratitude for the efforts expended on behalf of his own son, sending a check drawn on a New York bank, regretting that he could not send one drawn on a Boston bank, asking that he convey compliments to Harvard President John T. Kirkland, expressing embarrassment that Kirkland had incurred expenses in correcting his own son's misbehavior, and, in a postscript, requesting that no receipts be sent. Addressed in his hand on terminal page. 2 1/2 pages, 4to, written on two sheets; remnants of prior mounting at left edge of first page, small hole in top margin of first page repaired with paper verso, bottom edge of first page trimmed, second leaf inlaid, small hole from torn seal repaired with tissue on terminal page. Richmond, 25 May 1815

Additional Details

". . . Finding it impracticable to obtain bills on Boston at present, & being unwilling to suspend payment of debts which ought never to have been contracted, I have taken the liberty to forward you a draft on New York which I trust will pass, though perhaps at some discount, in the banks of your city. . . .

". . . [P]resent my respectful compliments to the President . . . . I am much obliged by the measures he took for the correction of John, & am truely chagrined that a son of mine should have proved so unworthy of his attentions, & should have thrown away the advantages he might have derived from the instruction which he might have received.

"My son will never forget his obligations to you, & I entreat you to believe that they will ever be retained in grateful recollection . . . ."

In the spring of 1815, Marshall's son had been expelled from Harvard for repeated offences involving the drinking of alcohol.

Published in "John Marshall & 'Debts Which Ought Never to Have Been Contracted': An Unpublished Letter," in Green Bag, vol. 4, no. 1.

From the Collection of William Wheeler III.