Item 134 is a letter from a notable figure in very early American history. Nathaniel Ward was a Puritan clergyman who came to America in 1634. He served as a minister, but is most noted for writing the Body of Liberties. Adopted in 1641, it was the first legal code in America. Much of it was very humane and ahead of its time. Many of the individual rights it granted would later become part of the Bill of Rights. However, religious toleration was not one of Ward's strong suits, and he allowed for severe church authority and biblical punishments (death) for causes such as not worshiping the right god or witchcraft. This letter is addressed to Simon Stock, a Catholic missionary with whom he had running disagreements. It is filled with comments such as “you manifest your impudent arrogance,” and “logicke being an art that you are utterly unacquainted with.” This copy was evidently not sent to Stock, but a manuscript copy Ward sent to his friend Sir Edward Deering for review. It is undated, but based on references in it, would appear to be from 1642. £9,500 (US $15,102).
Not everyone focused on religion as a grounds for killing people. John Adams (not the American John Adams, but the rector of Blackawton) kept a commonplace book of his notes. On July 10, 1735, he wrote of some “motives to cheerfulness in religion.” One of those is, “God is your portion, Christ is your savior, the spirit is your guide, life is given you for your own improvement, death will be your gain & Heaven will be your home.” This is really much nicer. Item 2. £750 (US $1,192).
Item 57 is a collection of 8 documents concerning a terrible seafaring tragedy in 1833. The Amphitrite was a convict ship, transporting 106 women prisoners, 12 of their children, and a crew of 16 to Australia. It didn't get very far. She ran aground off the French coast. The French offered to bring the passengers into port for the night, but Captain John Hunter refused. He figured a rising tide would lift the boat free in the morning. After a storm began to brew he still refused all help. The winds and waves eventually tore the ship apart, and all but three of the crewmen who were good swimmers perished. The pieces in this collection were once possessed by William Hamilton, British consul at Boulogne-sur-Mer, whose actions that night were brought into question, but who was later exonerated. £1,250 (US $1,987).