Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Washington Text Found In Britain

LONDON -- Two handwritten pages by George Washington from what was to have been his 1789 inaugural speech until he changed his mind have been found under an old sofa in Britain, auctioneers say.


Written either side of one sheet of paper, they were found in an souvenir album under a sofa in a house at Aldeburgh 135 kilometers northeast of London, Phillips Auctioneers said Wednesday.


They will be auctioned in London on June 13.


Felix Pryor, Phillips' senior book specialist, said he had authenticated the pages in Washington's handwriting as part of the draft speech Washington had originally intended to deliver at his inauguration as first president of the United States April 30, 1789.


Phillips said interest from the United States could push their price far higher than the auctioneers' initial estimate of $228,000.


The draft rejects the possibility that Americans would prove incapable of governing themselves or would ever again consent to having external government imposed on them.


In the sheet to be auctioned, the writer rejects an imposed government, then continues:


"But until the people of America shall have lost all virtue -- until they shall have become totally insensible to the difference between freedom and slavery; until they shall have been reduced to such poverty of spirit as to be willing to sell that pre-eminent blessing, the birthright of a Freeman, for a mess of pottage; in short, until they shall have been found incapable of governing themselves and ripe for a Master -- those consequences, I think, can never arrive."