ASSOCIATE JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. CURTIS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 10/25/1872 - HFSID 76209
Sale Price $510.00
BENJAMIN ROBBINS CURTIS
Former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis wrote this letter in Boston about the death of a mutual friend in 1872, two years before his own death.
Autograph letter signed "B. R. Curtis" and, in postscript, "B R C". 4 pages, 5x8, 1 sheet folded, front and verso. Boston, Massachusetts, Oct. 25, 1872. In full: "Dear Stoughton I have this evening recd. your letter of Saturday which has grieved me. Yesterday I have a letter from the Ms [illegible] saying so many other things he expected to meet me at dinner at your house tomorrow. This I am [illegible]; & this morning I had another letter from him, saying he had learned form you I should not be in N. Y. as expected. The last must have been one of the last acts he did. This is a great shock to [illegible] so good a man to have him depart so suddenly, & there is a petition in the Litany to be to be [illegible] 'from sudden death.' But in Dr. Clark's revisions of the Litany, in use at the King's Close in Boston, the words changed to 'death unprepared for.' This, I think is the right expression of the wish. The form of petition in the Episcopal service is probably derived from the [illegible] church which deemed rights [sic] of extreme unction important. & then there would be an opportunity for in case of sudden death. But they who do not value such rites, do not need to pray for opportunity to have them practiced. And surely, for far as the Man himself is concerned, the briefest & the most suffering [illegible] from this would to another is the best. I have had friends very near to me die in this way & I always tell it to be most merciful to them. To the survivors the shock is greater & it may be that more suffering is occasions to them. It is different, but doubt if it is more. And especially if the sufferers can & will realize that their dear father [illegible] thus best gone. He must dies - has he not thus best died. Pardon me for writing in this strain about this event I am deeply [illegible] by it. Yours always." Postmarked: "P. S. It may be that his daughters would care to have their last letters of their father & if they should of course they are at their service." Appointed by Millard Fillmore in 1851, Curtis (1809-1874, born in Watertown, Massachusetts) served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court until he resigned in 1857. Curtis, who had written one of the two dissenting opinions in the 1857 Dred Scott case, resigned due to the bitter feelings engendered by the case. One of the nation's leading lawyers, Curtis was Chief Counsel to Andrew Johnson at the President's impeachment trial in 1868. Handwriting is spotted and smeared and has bled in places, but is legible. Show-through touches both signatures and handwriting. Folds and creased (not near signature). Otherwise in fine condition.
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