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FRANCIS SCOTT KEY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/20/1815 - HFSID 286078

FRANCIS SCOTT KEY In this handwritten and signed letter, the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner discusses appearing before the United States Supreme Court Autograph Letter Signed: "F.S. Key", 1p, 8x9½. Geo: Town, 1815 February 20.

Sale Price $6,800.00

Reg. $8,000.00

Condition: fine condition
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FRANCIS SCOTT KEY In this handwritten and signed letter, the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner discusses appearing before the United States Supreme Court Autograph Letter Signed: "F.S. Key", 1p, 8x9½. Geo: Town, 1815 February 20. Integral leaf addressed by Key to: "Mr Thomas Biddle/Philadelphia". Postmarked Georgetown, Feb 22 ("22" handwritten). Docketed above address panel, probably by Biddle: "F.S. Key/Georgetown, Feby 20, 1815". In full: "Your cause will be called I presume in two or three weeks, but if the trial is not pressed by your opponent, it can be continued till the next Term - nor is it likely he would object to the continuance - I observe no Counsel has yet entered an appearance for it. - If it is thus put off till the next Term, it will afford you the means of compromising it, if you think you can do so on advantageous terms. As to your success, I think it as certain as any thing undecided I can conceive of can be. - Not only is it a very plain case in your favour, as I think, but two of the Judges of the Sup Court - Washington & Story have both so adjudged the point on which it chiefly depends. -- They would not, at least Story would not, of course sit in the cause, but their opinions would have weight; & it is to be presumed their decision would be confirmed by the other Judges. -- I should think the question so important on one to Insolvents in the different States that they would pay the debt sooner than risque a trial. - Judge Washington has given me his opinion but if you have a paper containing it you may send it." Appointed by President John Adams, BUSHROD WASHINGTON, nephew of George Washington, served as Associated Justice of the Supreme Court from 1798-1829. Appointed by President Madison, JOSEPH STORY served as Associate Justice from 1811-1845. By 1805, Francis Scott Key had a well-established law practice of in Georgetown, a suburb of Washington, D.C. By 1814, he had appeared many times before the Supreme Court and had been appointed the United States District Attorney. Just five months before writing this letter to a client, one of attorney Key's other clients, Dr. William Beanes, was captured by the British as they retreated from Washington after burning numerous buildings, including the White House. Beanes was held aboard a ship in Chesapeake Bay, so Key boarded a prisoner exchange boat and headed towards the British fleet on September 13, 1814. That evening, the British bombarded Fort McHenry while Key was aboard the ship negotiating Beanes' release. Key was so stirred by the rockets' red glare and the bombs bursting in air, that he wrote a poem entitled "Defence of Fort McHenry". It was renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner". Autographs of Key signed so close to the time he wrote the National Anthem rarely appear on the market. Folds, one-inch tear at left margin, small nick at right. Integral address leaf attached. Otherwise, fine condition.

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