A draft of the Pacificus VI (1793) essay led an auction of artefacts connected with founding father Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton's handwritten text is an argument in favour of a 1793 declaration of neutrality in the war between revolutionary France and the allied Great Powers of Europe.
Public awareness of Alexander Hamilton has grown in recent years
President George Washington declared America neutral in the conflict almost as soon as it began.
This declaration annoyed some of the founding fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson agreed that America needed to stay neutral but believed the US was showing its hand by making a formal declaration so early on in the game.
In fact, he was so incensed that he resigned.
But Hamilton defends Washington, writing (sic): "But the cause of France is the cause of liberty.
“Tis our own cause; and it is our first duty to countenance and promote it—whatever foundation there may be for the suggestion, it is intirely foreign to the question of gratitude.”
The previously unrecorded lot made $262,500 in the January 18 sale in New York.
Other pieces included love letters, autographs and locks of Hamilton’s hair.
Public awareness of Hamilton’s life and work has increased over the past couple of years thanks to the success of Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda’s hugely popular musical.
The show tells the story of Hamilton’s extraordinary life through song. Unusually, it also includes hip hop elements.
It recently moved to London, after a record breaking run on Broadway that saw it gross $3.3m in a single week.
Selby Kiffer, Sotheby's senior books and manuscripts specialist, said: "It's highly unusual, but highly gratifying, when popular American culture is informed so directly by our historical past."
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