We will start with an atypical item from this catalogue as it is really not a piece of Americana, though it is most fascinating. About the only tie to America is that it is a British pamphlet from 1760, and after all, America was part of England in 1760. It is The Trial of Lawrence Earl Ferrers, for the Murder of John Johnson…in Full Parliament…April 1760. Lawrence (or Laurence, there seems some confusion) Shirley succeeded his insane uncle as the Fourth Earl of Ferrers in 1745. As such, it entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords. Shirley was not a particularly nice man. In his youth he had lived a life of debauchery in Paris. Elevation to lordship didn't improve his behavior much. He married an apparently lovely young woman in 1752, but by 1758, she obtained a separation from him for cruelty. That would have been very unusual and difficult for a woman to obtain in 1758, particularly with a right to financial payments from his lordship. Ferrers must have been a truly miserable human being. Drinking, violent outbursts, womanizing, and having a mistress with illegitimate children were among his faults. His murder victim, Mr. Johnson, was a family steward, a collector of rents who was obliged to turn over a portion of the income to Ferrers' separated wife. That did not sit well with Lord Ferrers, who took his anger out on Johnson with a gun. The Lord was convicted of murder, for which he was hanged like a common criminal. He was the last member of the House of Lords to be hanged. Item 96. Priced at $250.
Perhaps the most memorable quote about George Washington came from Light Horse Harry Lee's eulogy: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." John Brooks had a similar description of Washington in his An Eulogy, on General Washington, published in 1800. Nevertheless, Brooks quote is little remembered: "Great in war, great in peace, and great in the moment of his dissolution." First or great can be more or less interchangeable, but the last clause about being first/great in the hearts of your countrymen sounds more poetic than being great at the moment you dropped dead. Fortunately, Brooks tells us much more about the life of America's Revolutionary War hero and first President. Item 31. $175.