May 22, 2014 - Sale 2351

Sale 2351 - Lot 155

Price Realized: $ 20,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
FROM THE DRAFT OF THE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS WASHINGTON, GEORGE. Autograph Manuscript, unsigned, 28-word fragment from the first page of the discarded draft of his first inaugural address: "not as a ceremony without meaning, but with a single reference to our dependence" and on the verso, "we are now to take upon ourselves the conduct of that government. But be--" Inscribed recto in right margin by Jared Sparks: "Washington's hand-writing. J.S." 3/4x7 inches; complete separation at center vertical fold expertly repaired verso with tissue. Np, [30 April 1789]

Additional Details

Jared Sparks (1789-1866), as compiler of the Life and Writings of George Washington, 1834-37, had been entrusted with the manuscripts of Washington's Mount Vernon estate. As his project drew to a close, autograph seekers frequently appealed to him for samples of the first president's handwriting, and Sparks would indulge them by sending notes and other manuscript items that he deemed unimportant. After most of these "unimportant" items were disbursed, Sparks began cutting into strips the remaining "unimportant" items to meet the growing demand, and the present lot is an example of one such scrap. See Nathaniel E. Stein's "The Discarded Inaugural Address of George Washington," in Manuscripts: The First Twenty Years, pp. 239-54.
The first page of the draft, as reconstructed from the known fragments (George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen, Liberty Fund, 1988, ch. 167), begins: "We are this day assembled on a solemn and important occasion. . . . not as a ceremony without meaning, but with a single reference to our dependence upon the Parent of all good. It becomes a pleasing commencement of my office to offer my heart-felt congratulations . . . ."
with--Jared Sparks. Autograph Letter Signed, to Rev. S.A. Smith, regretting that the collectors have exhausted his stock of autographs and enclosing "a scrap of Washington's hand-writing." 1 page, 8vo. Cambridge, 20 February 1857. With the original envelope.