Rare 200-year-old transatlantic letters could sell for £15,000

Christopher Woods, from James & Sons in Fakenham, holding up some of the letters which are up for auction 

Christopher Woods, from James & Sons in Fakenham, holding up some of the letters which are up for auction - Credit: James and Sons

It is a 200-year-old story of friendship from across 'the Pond' with childhood friends catching up on the politics, gossip and rumours of the day.

The correspondences of Paul Robinson and Richard Wright, told in 162 letters, reveal debate and comment about such historic events as the Peterloo Massacre, the trial of Caroline of Brunswick and the slave trade.

And now the set of letters are to go under the hammer at Fakenham auctioneer, James & Son's, on June 22 with a guide price of between £10,000 and £15,000.

The collection of packet post ship letters between Mr Robinson, from Liverpool, and Mr Wright, originally from England but living in Georgetown, Washington DC, captures the pair's 18 years of writing between 1816 to 1834.

The letters at James & Sons in Fakenham, are between Paul Robinson and Richard Wright

The letters at James & Sons in Fakenham, are between Paul Robinson and Richard Wright - Credit: James and Sons

The pair’s conversations cover a wide selection of topics and general news such as slavery, the prices of goods and the general politics of the areas, with printed inaugural addresses from presidents such as John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson - with the USA around 30 years old when the pair start writing.

Mr Robinson was an apprentice to a building firm in Liverpool who then became a partner, and he mentions in a great deal of depth the goings-on in Liverpool and across the country - such as the Peterloo Massacre in which his brother was present, the Duke of Wellington's ascent, and British political events such as the trial of Caroline of Brunswick who was accused of adultery by her husband George IV.

The complete collection has been read by Christopher Woods at the Norwich Street auctioneer.

The letters include the printed inaugural addresses from presidents such as John Quincy Adams

The letters include the printed inaugural addresses from presidents such as John Quincy Adams - Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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Mr Wood said he has spent around 150 hours on the collection, reading through every page for the items page ahead of the auction.

He said something like this is so rare, hence the hefty price tag.

“As correspondences, this is as rare as it comes,” Mr Woods said.

The letters at James & Sons in Fakenham, are between Paul Robinson and Richard Wright

The letters at James & Sons in Fakenham, are between Paul Robinson and Richard Wright - Credit: James and Sons

“To come as large as this and to have both sides of the story, makes it such an extraordinary lot.

“It is quite an engrossing read, the handwriting took some time to get used to but once I did, it was a very engaging thing to read that sort of history, and to have both sides in parallel is quite something.

“This is not something I will do again, as you just do not see this sort of thing.”