Lot 162

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**Pierce Butler Autograph Letter Signed, Discussing the Constitution and First President dated: 29 May 1788, Mary Ville, South Carolina, To Honorable Elbridge Gerry, Cambridge Massachusetts

Butler reported on a visit by Mr. Lane by whom he had received Gerry's "very acceptable letter." However, he declined Gerry's invitation to visit because "we are, as I mentioned in my last letter, in a great degree tied down to this place, by having expended a Considerable sum of money on the first Purchase and the Additions to the House, which will be the best I think in this state when finished." He then mentioned the tie that had connected Gerry and Butler in friendship. Both men had served as delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia the previous year that had produced the nation's Constitution and that was currently in the process of ratification by conventions in the various states. "Possibly you will have heard, before this reaches you, that So Carolina has agreed to the new Constitution. I was not of the Convention. I chose to decline serving. [T]omorrow is fix'd on as a day of great rejoicing in Charleston. If I should serve as a Member of the New Congress, I should rejoice, sincerely rejoice, to meet my friend Gerry on the floor. I think there is little doubt of the Constitution being adopted by nine States. It will I think open a new political scene in America when ever it takes place. I trust the change will be for the better, for surely our present political situation is bad enough. I may say despicable." Butler then speculated on the first president under the Constitution. "I take it for granted that the Eyes of all are on General Washington as President. Pray who is thought of by the Eastern states for Vice-President? I could wish our state to be in Union with yours. What scrambling there will be for Judgeships &ca &ca. A private station is good enough for me. But in every vicissitude of life I shall always be in truth & sincerity My Dear Sir, Yr affectionate friend. P. Butler" The letter was docketed on the verso by Gerry: "So Carolina Letter Mary Ville Honble Pierce Butler…ansd 29th July 1788.
Two pages, on laid paper, W7 3/4" L9 3/4"

Provenance: Joseph Rubinfine, 26 Nov 1975
Dr. & Mrs. C.G. Hopper, Jr. Collection

Other Notes: Butler and Gerry did serve together in the first Congress under the Constitution. Butler was a senator from South Carolina and Gerry was a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.

Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) American Founding Father, merchant, politician, and diplomat. He served as the fifth vice president of the United States under President James Madison from 1813 until his death in 1814. Gerry was signer on both the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation.

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February 10, 2023 11:00 AM EST
West Columbia, SC, US

Charlton Hall

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