George Washington’s 1798 Letter on World Peace

LOS ANGELES- Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena, is proud to announce the auction of The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector on December 18 in Los Angeles. Part I of The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector will include 300 of the most important manuscripts of the collection with total sale estimates in excess of $8,000,000. The entire collection has over 3,000 items and will be sold over the next two years.

Highlighted first in what will be a series of press releases is the most important handwritten George Washington letter still in private hands. Signed, “G. Washington,” this  2 page handwritten letter from Mount Vernon, dated 15 August 1798, is written to the Reverend Jonathan Boucher about the reverend’s book View of the Causes & Consequences of the American Revolution which he dedicated to George Washington.
Washington writes in full: “I know not how it has happened, but the fact is, that your favour of the 8th of Novr, last year, is but just received; and at a time when both public & private business pressed so hard upon me, as to afford no leisure to give the “View of the causes & consequences of the American Revolution” written by you, and which you had been pleased to send me, a perusal. For the honor of its Dedication, and for the friendly & favourable sentiments which are therein expressed, I pray you to accept my acknowledgment of thanks.

Not having read the Book, it follows of course that I can express no opinion with respect to its Political contents; but I can venture to assert, beforehand, and with confidence, that there is no man in either country, more zealously devoted to Peace and a good understanding between the two Nations that I am - nor one who is more disposed to bury in oblivion all animosities which have subsisted between them & the Individuals of each.

Peace, with all the world is my sincere wish.  I am sure it is our true policy.- and am persuaded it is the ardent desire of the Government.- But there is a nation whose inter-medling, & restless disposition, and attempts to divide, distract & influence the measures of other countries, that will not suffer us, I fear, to enjoy this blessing long, unless we will yield to them our rights, & submit to greater injuries and insults than we have already sustained, to avoid the calamities resulting from War.

What will be the consequences of our Arming, for self defense, that Providence, who permits these doings in the Disturbers of Mankind; & who rules and Governs all things, alone can tell.  To its all powerful decrees we must submit, whilst we hope that the justice of our Cause if War must ensue will entitle us to its Protection.
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This is undoubtedly one of the finest handwritten letters by George Washington in existence. It was composed just after the first President’s time in office and during a very politically charged, heightened dealing with France after they perceived America to be favoring Britain. The first President declares above, Peace, with all the world is my sincere wish.  I am sure it is our true policy.- and am persuaded it is the ardent desire of the Government. The letter and book were delayed in reaching Washington, and though he did not have the time to examine the volume, Washington nonetheless thanks Boucher for the dedication, and states, there is no man in either country, more zealously devoted to Peace and a good understanding between the two Nations than I am - nor one who is more disposed to bury in oblivion all animosities which have subsisted between them & the Individuals of each. The legendary handwriting expert Charles Hamilton, upon examining this magnificent handwritten letter, was quick to assess its value, declaring it “. . . probably the most important Washington letter still in private hands.” It is expected to fetch $200,000 - $300,000.

ABOUT PROFILES IN HISTORY

Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation’s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.  Born into a family of antiques dealers in Rhode Island, Joseph “Joe” Maddalena learned early on how to turn his passion of collecting historical autographs into a career. Needing to support himself, Joe turned to his hobby of buying and selling historical documents as a potential way to earn revenue. On weekends he scoured old Hollywood bookstores for letters and rare books. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, Joe pursued his passion to become a full-time dealer of historical documents, and opened his first office in 1985. A lifetime member of the Manuscript Society, Joe is widely recognized as the nation’s leading authority on entertainment memorabilia and historical documents. Profiles in History has established itself as the world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood memorabilia, having held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia and owning virtually every Guinness Book record prices for original screen-used memorabilia. With an extensive network of dealers, collectors, and institutions, Profiles in History is proud to play an important role in the preservation of motion picture history. Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions highlights include the “Cowardly Lion” costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); Steve McQueen’s “Michael Delaney” racing suit from Le Mans  ($960,000); a Panavision motion picture camera used by George Lucas to film Star Wars  ($624,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); Marilyn Monroe’s platinum & diamond wedding band from her marriage to Joe DiMaggio ($504,000); Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds” dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  ($356,500); a King Kong 1933 six-sheet movie poster ($345,000); Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Star Wars  ($240,000); Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” hat from The Wizard Of Oz ($230,000); and The Invisible Man 1933 one-sheet movie poster ($230,000). From the history-making Debbie Reynolds Auction in June 2011, Profiles in History sold the Marilyn Monroe “Subway” Dress from The Seven Year Itch for $5.52M, the Marilyn Monroe signature red-sequined showgirl gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for $1.44M and the Audrey Hepburn Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady for $4.44M. In February 2012, Profiles in History arranged the sale of a pair of Judy Garland screen-used Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz  to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In addition, Joe Maddalena is the star of Hollywood Treasure, which just ended its second season on Syfy.  Hollywood Treasure  takes viewers into the fascinating world of showbiz and pop culture memorabilia.

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