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AZEL BACKUS. Autograph Letter signed: "Azel Backus", 1p, 7¾x9½. Bethlem [Connecticut], 1802 February 22. Addressed in his hand on verso to Mr. Henry V Schaicek, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Also docketed on verso. In full: "I fine your nephew to be a pleasant tempered & affectionate youth not devoid of genius. The pangs of parting with you were pretty severe for the first twenty four hours. Since he has mingled with the other youth he appears cheerful & to have forgotten it all. His Reading Spelling & Writing are decent for his age. I have for the present put him to Arithmetic in which he is industrious & does well. The question whether he had better have a public or private education I cannot so well decide as after farther acquaintance. With respectful sentiments for your character heightened by the satisfaction of one short interview I am Sir, your devoted humble servt." Backus (1765-1817) was a Yale-educated minister who preached and ran a preparatory school in Bethlem, Connecticut. Several of his election day sermons, as well as his oration at the funeral of Governor Oliver Ellsworth (1797) were printed by the Connecticut legislature. In 1812 Backus became the first President of Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. Lightly creased. Vertical fold touches "B" in signature. ¼x½-inch paper loss at center of left edge. Overall, fine condition.

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Born: October 13, 1765
Died: December 28, 1816

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