Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 64

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Lot 60

Wythe, George. Autograph Document Signed ("Wythe") as attorney for the plaintiff, 1½ pages, 8 x 6¼ in., Orange County (Virginia), March 1748. A complaint filed by Wythe as a 22-year-old lawyer, for a widow, Ann Moore, against one Henry Downs, who owed a debt to Augustine Moore, now deceased. Wythe boldly wrote over 400 words in his very precise hand, prepared ahead and with amounts filled in later; the space left for the defendant's attorney is blank. Fine except for two small nicks at left margin, affecting one word of text. Elected to the Continental Congress (1775-76), Wythe would sign the Declaration of Independence for Virginia 28 years after he wrote this document. Wythe is one of the more difficult signers to obtain.

Wythe held many positions in the state of Virginia, including Attorney General (1753), Member of the House of Burgesses (1755-65), Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary (1769-1789), Speaker of the Virginia House (1777-78), and Judge of the Chancery Court of Virginia (1789-1806). He also freed his slaves and provided them support, willing part of his estate to three former slaves. His grandnephew, George Wythe Sweeney, discovered Wythe's intention and decided to poison the slaves so that he would be the only beneficiary, but Wythe also became a victim of the poison, dying a painful death. Sweeney was arrested and charged with murder, but got off because the only witness was a slave and the testimony of slaves was not allowed against a white person.
Estimated Value $3,000 - 4,000.

Realized $1,888

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