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AutographsArchive of Letters Written to Revolutionary War Brigadier General William Shepard of Massachusetts, 1790-97
(GENERAL WILLIAM SHEPARD), U.S. Congressman and Brigadier General of the Massachusetts Militia who prevented the capture of the Springfield Arsenal during Shays' Rebellion.
This is an archive of four letters that were written by Abel Whitney to Militia General and Congressman from Massachusetts, William Shepard, focusing on themes regarding payment to Whitney, the great esteem of George Washington, and Shepard's failing health. Each letter is in excellent condition. Please contact us for a full transcription of each letter, if desired.
1. December 26, 1797, brown ink manuscript letter written on laid paper, two pages, 8.75" x 7". In this letter, Abel Whitney writes to confirm that the Congressman, Hon. William Shepard, received his previous letter and petition for 350 dollars a year. There has been no reply, and Whitney is beginning to become concerned. There is a 1/2" hole on the front page. On the back there are red wax remnants from original mailing. The script is beautiful and the creases from the integral (self-made envelope) are almost invisible. Overall this is a wonderful document. Shepard was a famous war General and honorary figure of the time, who had much power in the region. If Whitney could get Shepard to promote his petition in Congress, it would surely be accepted.
2. May 30, 1797, two pages, 8.75" x 7.25", Choice Extremely Fine. A 1-1/2 page letter from Abel Whitney to the "Hon. William Shepard Esquire" of Philadelphia, with outstanding political content focused on Whitney's interest in feedback on the political climate in the House of Representatives and seeking intelligence about perceived reactions to the President's upcoming speech. It is written in brown ink on laid paper, the letter is clear, bold and easy to read. The integral (self-mailing envelope) has retained much of the original red wax seal. There are a few slight creases throughout that are barely visible from the front and do not hamper the text in any way.
3. May 3, 1790, Letter from Abel Whitney about the report from the Secretary of the Treasury regarding his petition of "furnishing reward to the officers employed" and the Secretary's mention of seven percent of the monies collected. As Whitney's own salary will be affected by this decision, he let's Shepard know that ten percent would not be perceived as too lavish a reward. This three-page letter measures 8.75" x 7", Choice Extremely Fine. The letter was written in brown ink on laid paper, and is in excellent condition. The typical creases from the integral (self-made envelope), are hardly noticeable and in no way detract from the text. There are no tears, holes or chipping, and the red wax from the original seal is present. The script is beautiful, bold and clear.
4. January 16, 1790, brown ink manuscript letter on laid paper, 2 pages, 9" x 7". Whitney expresses displeasure with the procrastination of the Secretary of the Treasury (in releasing the) report. "Suppose for example, that I should resign, should die, or lack satisfaction will it afford me or my family, that my succesor in office is well paid; when I got nothing." He writes to Shepard, currently in Congress, in hopes that he can help with the desired pay increase. There is a 1" hole on the front page caused from the wax remnants seal that does not affect the text on the front side and removes the word "humble" on the back side. It is clear and easy to read.
A historic collection of four related letters. (4 items)
William Shepard, soldier, born near Boston, Massachusetts, December 1, 1737; died in Westfield, Massachusetts, November 11, 1817. He enlisted in the provincial army at seventeen years of age, served in 1757-63, was a captain under Sir Jeffrey Amherst, and participated in the battles of Fort William and Crown Point. He became colonel of the 4th Massachusetts regiment in 1777, and served till 1783, participating in twenty-two engagements, and winning a reputation for efficiency and courage. He settled on a farm in Medway, Massachusetts, after the peace, was a member of the executive council in 1788-90, a brigadier-general of militia, and in that capacity during Daniel Shays's insurrection in 1786 prevented the insurgents from seizing the Springfield arsenal. He was subsequently major-general of militia, and in Congress in 1797-1803.
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