Major John Andre - RARE & Earliest Autograph Letter Signed - Famous British Spy

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Seller: grayautographs (927) 100%, Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, Ships to: US, Item: 153462065727 JOHN ANDRE. John Andre (1750-1780) was a British Army officer hanged as a spy during the American Revolution due to an incident in which he attempted to assist Benedict Arnold’s attempted surrender of the fort at West Point, New York to the British. RARE, EARLY, AND LENGTHY AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY JOHN ANDRE, THE FAMOUS BRITISH ARMY OFFICER HANGED AS A SPY DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Rare, early, and lengthy autograph letter signed by, “J. Andre,” at 19 years old to the British poet Anna Seward regarding his courting of the British writer Honora Sneyd. The letter is five pages on three leaves; created in Clapton, London on October 3, 1769; measures quarto; in very good condition with separations to the folds having been professionally repaired, soiling, and parts of the third leaf missing and having been attached to a larger sheet; accompanied with an original 1859 steel engraving portrait of Andre; housed in a beautiful leather presentation folder entitled in gilt, “Autograph Letter of Major Andre,” with damage to the center of the spine; and accompanied with literature that references the letter including Winthrop Sargent’s 1861 The Life and Career of Major John Andre and D.A.B. Ronald’s 2019 The Life of John Andre. ANDRE WRITES TO THE BRITISH POET ANNA SEWARD REGARDING HIS COURTING OF THE BRITISH WRITER HONORA SNEYD We were only able to locate two other items signed by Major Andre available for sale at auction in the past 25 years: one sold for $43,000 at Christie’s in December 2007 and the other was estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 at RR Auction in February 2012. In addition, according to the historian and author Winthrop Sargent, who wrote the first biography on Andre, this the earliest letter known to exist from Andre. An ultra-desirable letter from the man who launched Benedict Arnold into infamy. ACCORDING TO THE HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR WINTHROP SARGENT, WHO WROTE THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY ON ANDRE, THIS IS THE EARLIEST LETTER KNOWN TO EXIST FROM THE MAN WHO LAUNCHED BENEDICT ARNOLD INTO INFAMY The letter reads in full: “Clapton, Oct. 3, 1769, From their agreeable excursion to Shrewsbury, my dearest Friends are by this time returned to their thrice beloved Lichfield—once again have they beheld those fortunate Spires the constant witnesses of all their pains and pleasures. I can well conceive the emotion of joy which their first appearance from the neighboring hills, excites after absence;—they seem to welcome you home, and invite you to reiterate those hours of happiness of which they are a species of monument. I shall have an eternal love and reverence for them. Never shall I forget the joy that danced in Honora’s eyes, when she first Shewed them to me from Needwood-Forest on our return with you from Buxton to Lichfield. I remember she called them the Ladies of the valley—their brightness and elegance deserve the title; oh! how I loved them from that instant! my enthusiasm concerning them is carried farther even than yours and Honora’s, for every object that has a pyramidal form, recalls them to my recollection with a sensation that brings the tear of pleasure into my eyes. How happy must you have been at Shrewsbury! only that you tell me, alas! that dear Honora was not so well as you wished during your stay there. I always hope the best! My impatient spirit rejects every obtruding Idea, which I have not fortitude to support. Doctor Darwin’s skill, & your tender care will remove that sad pain in her side which makes writing troublesome to her; which robs her poor Cher-Jean of those precious pages, with which he flatters himself, she would otherwise have indulged him. So you happiness at Shrewsbury seemed to be indebted to public amusements. Five virgins—united in the soft bonds of friendship. How I should have liked to have made the sixth. But you surprise me with such an absolute exclusion of the Beaux. I certainly thought that when five wife virgins were watching at midnight, it must have been expectation of the Bridegroom’s coming. We are at this instant five virgins writing round the same table—my three sisters Mr. Ewer & myself. I beg no reflecting injurious to the honor of poor cher jean. My mother is gone to pay a visit, and has left us in possession of the old coach; but as for nags we can boast of only two long tails, and my sisters say they are sorry cattle, being no other than Mr. Ewer and myself, who to say truth, have enormous pig-tails. My dear Boissier is come to town—he has brought a little of the soldier with him, but he is the same warm, honest intelligent friend I always found him. We are jealous of your correspondents, who are so numerous—yet write to the Andre’s often, my dear Julia, for who are they that will value your letters quite so much as we value them? The least scrap of a letter will be received with the greatest joy—write, therefore, if it were only to give us the comfort of having a piece of paper which has recently passed through your hands;—Honora will put in a little postscript, were it only to tell me that she is my very sincere friend, who will neither give me love nor comfort—very short indeed, Honora, was thy last postscript! But I am too presumptuous. This cher jean is an important fellow, but he will grow discreet in time—you must consider him as a poor novice of eighteen, who for all the sins he may commit is sufficiently punished, in the single evil of being 120 miles from Litchfield. My mother and sisters will go to Putney in a few days to stay some time. We none of us like Clapton. I need not care, for I am all day long in town, but it is avoiding Scylla to fall on Charybdis,—you paint to me the pleasant vale of Stow in the richest autumnal coloring. In return I must tell you that my Zephyrs are wafted through cracks in the wainscot; for murmuring streams I have dirty kennels; for bleating flocks, grunting pigs; and squalling cats, for birds that incessantly warble. I have said something of this sort in my letter to Miss Spearman and am twinged with the idea of these epistles being confronted, and that I shall recall to your memory the Fat Knight’s love-letters to Mrs. Ford, & Mrs. Page. Julia, perhaps thou fanciest I am merry. Alas! But I do not wish to make you as doleful as myself; and besides when I would express the tender feelings of my soul, I have no language which does them any justice. If I had I should regret that you could not have it fresher: and that whatever one communicates by letter, must go such a round-about way before it reaches ones correspondent; from the writers heart, through his head, arm, hands, pen, ink, paper over many a weary hill and dale, to the eye head, & heart of the reader. I have often regretted our not possessing a sort of faculty, which should enable our sensations, remarks, &c. to arise from their source in a sort of exhalation, and fall upon our paper in words and phrases properly adapted to express them, without passing through an imagination, whose operations so often fail to second those of the heart: then what a metamorphose should we see in people’s style! How eloquent those who are truly attached! how stupid they who falsely profess affection! Perhaps the former had never been able to express half their regard; while the latter, by their flowers of rhetoric, had made us believe a thousand times more than they ever felt—but this is whimsical moralizing. My sisters Penserosos were dispersed on their arrival in town, by the joy of seeing Louisa and their dear little Brother Billy again, our kind and excellent uncle Giradot, & uncle Lewis Andre. I was glad to see them but they complained not without reason of the gloom upon my countenance. Billy wept for joy that we were returned, while poor cher-jean was ready to weep for sorrow. Louisa is grown still handsomer since we left her. Our sisters Mary and Anne knowing your partiality to Beauty, are afraid that when they shall introduce her to you, she will put their noses out of joint. Billy is not old enough for me to be afraid of in the rivalway, else I should keep him aloof, for his heart is formed of those affectionate materials so dear to the ingenuous taste of Julia, & her Honora. I sympathize in your resentment against the Canonical Dons, who stumpify the heads of those good green people, beneath whose friendly shade so many of your happiest hours have glided away—but they defy them; let them stumpify as much as they please, Time will repair the mischief—their verdant arms will again extend and invite you to their Shelter. The trees in the cathedral walk in Litchfield. [The evenings grow long. I hope your conversation round the fire will sometimes fall on the Andres; it will be a great comfort to them that they are remembered. We chink our glasses to your health at every meal: “Here’s to our Litchfieldian friends,” says Nanny;—“Oh-h,” says Mary;—“With all my soul,” say I;—“Allons,”] cries my mother;—and the draught sems nectar. The libation made, we begin our uncloying theme, & so beguile the gloomy evening. Mr. and Mrs. Seward will accept my most affectionate respects. My male friend at Litchfield will join in your conversation on the Andre’s: among the numerous good qualities he is possessed of, he certainly has [gratitude, and then he can] not forget those who sincere[ly love and esteem him.] I, in particular, shall always [recall with pleasure the] happy hours I have passed [in his company. My f]riendship for him, and for [his family, has diffused] itself, like the precious oint[ment from Aaron’s bea]rd, on every thing which [surrounds you, therefore] I beg you would give my amities [to the whole town. Per]suade Honora to forgive the [length and ardor of the] enclosed, & believe me truly your affectionate & faithful Friend, J. Andre.” Country/Region of Manufacture: United Kingdom, Original/Reproduction: Original, Signed by: John Andre, Autograph Authentication: Guaranteed to pass PSA/DNA, JSA, or Beckett

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