Auction Date:2012 Mar 14 @ 18:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:5 Rt 101A Suite 5, Amherst, New Hampshire, 03031, United States
ALS in French, signed “Sade,” one page, 6.25 x 8, October 27, 1799. Penning a threatening letter to a man who had cheated him in a business deal, the Marquis writes, translated in full: “Your insulting letter, Citizen, against a man who will always have my friendship, saddened me. Citizen Gauffridi has and always will have my entire confidence, and I cannot blame him for not allowing you to deceive me. You cannot conceal the fact, Citizen, that you have not paid me the price my timber is worth, and yet I had trusted you. Being far away, it was impossible for me to establish whether I was being duped; you took advantage of the situation and you have me, as most, a quarter of the value of the stuff I was selling you. I am calling on your conscience. Will you dare say that it does not reproach you with your behavior in my regard?
And yet, Citizen, such is my desire to keep on doing business with you and to keep on talking to you, that I do not hold you unworthy of my friendship and that I am sending in this very same mail a note to Citizen Gauffridi asking him to suspend all legal actions against you, because and with the condition that you sell for me my property in Mazan to the man in Venasque, as you mentioned in your last letter; whatever I lose with you I will consider to be the bribe for the deal you will have secured on my behalf; but without this condition I have no reason to spare you, since only your cheating will remain visible, and no compensation could take care of it; without this cause, as I said, I shall ask Citizen Gauffridi to follow suit, unless, to reimburse me for the damage you caused, you pay me instantly 1000 Francs above the sum you gave me for the sale.” Address panel on the reverse is penned in Sade’s hand. Intersecting folds, show-through from writing on the reverse, and slight haloing to the text and signature, otherwise fine condition.
The Marquis de Sade was nearly penniless when he wrote this letter, and his desperation is clearly apparent in the text. He was nearly a year behind in his rent and would soon be hospitalized for malnutrition. Gaspard Gaufridy was de Sade’s lawyer and personal friend and managed the finances of his estates at Mazan, Saumane, Arles, and La Coste. In the autumn of 1799, Napoleon staged his coup d’etat and would later order de Sade’s arrest and his confinement at the insane asylum Charenton, where he would spend the rest of his days.