Lot 1009

Previous image preload Next image preload


(1757 - 1834) French statesman and military officer who served as a major general under Washington and was instrumental in the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown. LAFAYETTE TALKS OF A CAPTURED AMERICAN CORPORAL, SENTENCED TO BE HANGED BY THE BRITISH Great-content handwritten essay in French, 3pp. 8vo., [n.p, n.d.], titled "Moral & Literary Varieties: Adventure of an American Soldier", detailing the intended hanging of an unnamed American corporal after his capture by the British. Loosely translated, he writes in small part: "I was in 1781 in a province of the United States of America. It was the time when the two sides of the famous war for independence were the most bitter towards one another... I think this story will keep my readers entertained...I can say that I was an eyewitness, and I attest that I am only a faithful narrator...A poor corporal of the army of the Independence had fallen into the hands of an English party, and was condemned to death...The unfortunate man had...wanted to write to his wife to take leave of her. He wrote on Thursday, and must be executed the next day: But he thought that his woman could only have her letter on Saturday, Here is this letter. 'My dear wife...I will tell you that I was hanged yesterday between eleven and noon. It seemed to me that the weather was fine enough; which didn't upset me much. But I made, thank God, a very beautiful death, and I had the pleasure of seeing that the whole assembly pitied me. Remember me, and remind my poor children who no longer have a father (Initials)'...The people of his party released him and hung those who were going to hang him...our corporal, thinking rather of avenging himself for his enemies...let several weeks pass before writing to her. And this one was apparently impatient to console herself, and had not waited...she remarried as soon as she had found a partner...". Towards the conclusion, Lafayette writes that the soldier, upon returning home and finding his wife remarried, "...decided to laugh at his adventure...respected the pair...and cheerfully paid leave of the fortunate couple, to whom he wished all kinds of prosperity. His conduct was wise, it was even necessary." Lafayette adds "Le Mentor" at the conclusion. Whether the general's account is true will probably never be known. Very brittle, a few substantial but very clean splits and tears throughout the first page, temporarily mended with small pieces of archival tape. In need of further preservation

Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Shipments are sent via USPS Priority, USPS International Priority, FedEx and DHL (for most overseas shipments) or FedEx Ground at the auctioneer's option, signature is always required, unless other arrangements are made. Handling and shipping charges will be added to the invoice in one entry. Buyers should be aware that large, framed, fragile or odd shaped items can incur substantial shipping and packing charges. International shipments are invoiced by DIMENSIONAL weight, not the item weight. Please contact us for an estimate before bidding NOTE: Large, heavy or bulky items may not be shipped by the auctioneer - arrangements for shipping of these items via a third-party shipper may be arranged through the auction house. Customers who supply their own courier account number will still be charged a handling fee. Please allow 2-3 weeks for shipments after receipt of payment due to the high volume of packages being shipped.

July 15, 2020 11:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $499 $20
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 + $10,000