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The French-born American scholar, who came to the US with Baron von Steuben during the American Revolution, writes to France in his native language concerning some rare books.
Autograph Letter signed: "Peter S. Du Ponceau", 3 pages (integral leaf), 7½x9½. Philadelphia, 1822 November 20. To "Monsieur Boffin [?], permanent secretary, in Paris. In French, very loosely translated. "The letter which you did me the honor of writing on August 2nd has only just reached me four or five days ago in consequence of the yellow fever epidemic in New York. The Philosophical Society has received the beautiful letter of the Antiquarians of Massachusetts which your learned society was kind enough to send. It will be studied for eight days here and then sent on a ship departing for Boston. The shipment arrived in good order, including the records of the Celtic Academy in five volumes, that of the Royal French Society of Antiquarieans, the Celto-Breton Grammar and Dictionary of Mr. Le Genidee. Only and probably not your fault but that of the voyage, the third volume of the Memoires of the Celtic Academy was not in good order. [He discusses other books and reports of interest, and concludes by expressing the thanks of the American Philosophical Society and of himself.] Your very humble and obedient servant". French-born philosopher and linguist Peter Stephen Du Ponceau (1760-1844) emigrated to America with Baron von Steuben, and served as von Steuben's secretary during the Revolutionary War. (Von Steuben drilled George Washington's army.) Remaining in the US, Du Ponceau joined the American Philosophical Society in 1791, serving as its President from 1827 until his death. Du Ponceau made groundbreaking studies of native American languages, and also concerning Chinese script. Pencil notes (unknown hand) at top right of first page. One vertical and one horizontal fold. Lightly creased. Lightly worn. Otherwise, fine condition.

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