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Samuel Bard, George Washington's Doctor and Founder of

lot 0014
Estimate $2,000 - $2,400Oct 02
Lot 0014
Bard Samuel

3pp autograph letter signed by Samuel Bard (1742-1821), addressed to his father John Bard (1716-1799) on May 5, 1764 from Edinburgh, Scotland. Written on watermarked cream laid bifold paper. The integral address leaf has been docketed in the elder Bard's hand, and bears remnants of a red wax seal and philatelic markings. Traces of old tape at hinges, and minor isolated loss corresponding to one of the seal fragments. Expected folds. Else very good to near fine. 7.25" x 9".

When Samuel Bard returned from Europe, he found his father in debt for his education, which had cost more than £1,000. Bard went into partnership with his father and took no salary beyond his expenses for three years to repay the debt from the profits of the business, which amounted to £1,500 per year.

In full:

"Edinburgh May 5th 1764.

Honrd Sir

A few Days ago I received your Letters of the 17th of January by Mr Alder together with a Box of sweet meats, which Mama was so kind as to send me, & for which I can only return her my most hearty Thanks. They will give me an Opportunity of obliging some Persons from whom I have received many Favours. since the Date of yours I have received a letter from my Brother of March the 5th which gave me the Happiness of hearing you were all in good Health.

In your letter you desire me to persist in my Enquiry with regard to Montpelier. I have in several of my former Letters aquainted you what Progress I have made in that affair. that I have found Mr Bowels’s Heir, and have wrote to him offering him £250 sterg as you desired me for these Lands, that he has as yet given me no answer, I suspect because he thinks the offer too little nor do I care to write to him again before I receive an answer from you relating to it, as I not only can not make him a farther offer before I have your orders for it, but really can not negotiate the Business with him should he accept of that already made him, until I receive a credit for the Purchase Money uppon some Mercht in London, as I have sufficiently explained in my former Letters. I mentioned Mr Franks as a proper Person for this Purpose.

Last Week for the first time I received Orders from Mr Board to draw upon him for the whole produce of the Winters Bark, being £36 sterg. the snake Root is not yet sold, but I am afraid I shall receive no better accounts of that than I have of the other, for he acquaints me the Quallity of it is bad, and the Market fallen. You promise in one of your former Letters to send me some Madera Wine, but the bad success of our first Venture, and the Height Duties Wines pay here, induce me to desire you would not be as good as your Word. In my former Letters I have sufficiently acquainted you with the state of my accounts, so that I need not here repeat how much I should be obliged to you, to relieve me as soon as you conveniently can, from my present disagreeable circumstances.

The inclosed is a letter from Docr White to Govr Colden which I promised to convey to him.

As this is the last week of the medical Classes I am really so much hurried and fatigued with attending some of them no less than three times a Day, that I really can not set down to writing with that ease & with Pleasure, I would allways wish to feel when I write to you. I hope therefore you will excuse me if I do not make this Letter a long one, & that Mama my Brother & sister, will pardon me if I put off answering their Letters untill the next Packet, by which they may depend upon hearing from me very fully. Present my best Compliments to all my friends, especially to Mr Hemp & sisters, & tell him I am sorry he is the only one of my friends who has not yet favoured me with a Letter. If you see Mr David Colden pray make my excuse to him, and assure him that I shall myself by the next Packet, acknowledge the receipt of his favours.

I am Dr Sir

your affectionate & dutifull

son Saml Bard".

Samuel Bard was born in Philadelphia as the son of Dr. John Bard and graduated from King’s College (Columbia University) in 1758, before traveling to Europe for a medical education. He spent five years in France, England, and Scotland, and earned his M.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 1765. When he returned, he entered into partnership with his father. He married his cousin Mary Bard (1746-1821), and they had six children. Samuel Bard founded the first hospital in New York City in 1769 and formed the plan for a medical school. He left the city during the Revolutionary War, but soon returned to secure his property and worked as a physician while the British occupied the city. After the war, George Washington selected Bard as his personal and family physician. In 1791, he helped found the New York Medical School at Columbia College. After 1795, Bard and his partner, Dr. David Hosack, were physicians to Alexander Hamilton and his family. Bard retired from his profession in 1798 but returned to the city when a yellow fever epidemic again appeared in 1803. He and his wife died of pleurisy one day apart and were buried in one grave.

John Bard was born in New Jersey, but his father died when he was young. His mother sent him to Philadelphia, and he was apprenticed to an English surgeon for seven years. He became acquainted with Benjamin Franklin and opened his own medical practice in 1737. In 1740, he married the niece of his master. In 1743, Franklin suggested that he might have better prospects in New York City, where two prominent physicians had recently died. He followed Franklin’s advice and established a successful practice in New York. He became the first president of the New York Medical Society. The town of Hyde Park, New York, famous later as the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, was named for Bard’s estate, “Hyde Park,” named for a colonial governor of New York and New Jersey.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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Westport , CT, USA
Westport , CT, USA