1787, William Foster, Boston Merchant, Rowe's Wharf,, ALS re: payments

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  • Item Category: Books, Paper & Magazines
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Feb 08, 2012
  • Channel: Auction House
This item is a wonderful, original letter dated 1787, where William Foster has written to Welcome Arnold, regarding various payments and the fact that it may turn into a prosperous venture, signed William Foster. Letter is 8x10, minor paper loss and edge toning, else in in overall very good condition...

William6 Foster was born in Cambridge,Suffolk, Massachusetts September 28, 1746. He married Grace Spear September 29, 1768. . He was in London, England, April 8, 1783, the date at which letters patent were issued to him authorizing certain changes in his coat of arms. He was a prominent merchant and public spirited citizen of Boston about the time of the Revolution.

The following extract from the Minutes of the Selectmen of Boston (October 31, 1768) illustrates the dawn of an anti-slavery feeling in Massachusetts:

.The Several Constables of the Watch directed, by the Selectmen, to be watchful of the Negroes and to take up those of them that may be in gangs at unseasonable hours: Zachary Johonnot, Esq., Messrs. Nathan Spear, William Foster and others, enter their Complaint with the Selectmen against John Willson, Esq., of the 59th Regiment of Foot for practicing on their Negro servants to induce them immediately to enter into a dangerous conspiracy against their Masters, promising them their freedom as a reward,

In 1666 a protective battery called the Sconce, or the South Battery, was built at the foot of Fort Hill in the area now known as Rowes Wharf. In peace the Battery had a company assigned to it in case of invasion, but had only one gunner. During the 1740's, the Battery was extended into the harbor and was manned by thirty-five guns. In the early 1760's, Rowes and Foster's Wharves were built on the site of the old Battery. Foster's Wharf was originally called Apthorp's Wharf. Charles Apthorp, being a staunch Tory, backed the wrong side in the Revolution, and it was his confiscated land and wharf that merchant William Foster bought for 6,266 pounds, 12 shillings in May 1782. Rowes Wharf, however, has carried its builder's name since its inception. John Rowes' ships sailed the ocean filling his shop and two warehouses with imported silk stockings, ribbons, Spanish silks, linens, woolens, Indian and English taffetas and salt...

Welcome Arnold, was a Deputy (RI Assembly) from Smithfield at which time he was also appointed as a Justice of the Peace. In 1777, 1786, and 1788 he helped crew the fire engine near the Great Bridge, and in 1790 was appointed a Fireward[en].. In 1778 he was elected representative to the Assembly from Providence along with known Gaspee raiders Paul Allen and John Brown, and fellow suspect Theodore Foster. He was biennially reelected up until his death in 1798. He had also been elected a Deputy Assistant to the Assembly to represent Providence in 1782, akin to the more modern-day State Representative. He was also a Speaker of the Rhode Island Assembly five times. In 1778 he actively encouraged the adoption of the Federal consititution by Rhode Island. In 1778 Welcome Arnold was appointed to the City Audit commission, and was elected to the Providence Town Auditor in 1779. In 1787 he was appointed by the Providence Town Council one of the overseers of the new hospital, and in 1788 was appointed to the Committee to Superintending and Regulating the Market. We also see his signature applied to monetary instruments used in Rhode Island at the time. He helped John Brown, Christopher Sheldon and others mark out the channel for the Providence River in 1788, and in 1790 he was appointed a Surveyor of the Highways, and appointed onto the original Providence Public School Committee and helped purchase the lands and buildings for its first s...

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