• Prominent RI Attorney Robbins Answers Request for Declaration of Independence Autographs

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    ASHER ROBBINS (1757-1845) was born in Wethersfield, CT, and graduated from Yale College in 1782. He was a tutor at Rhode Island College (now Brown University) from 1782 to 1790.  Robbins studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1792.  He began his law practice in Providence, RI, and later moved to Newport. He was appointed United States District Attorney in 1812 and was a member of the Rhode Island Assembly from 1818 to 1825.  Robbins was elected to the United States Senate in 1825 and was re-elected in 1827 and 1833. 

    John Quincy Adams was always on the lookout for corrupt politicians and he battled against many who cared more about securing lifetime salaries than helping the country. Adams was outraged by the efforts of Robbins, who wanted to use government funds to create a university and be named Rector Magnificus, which loosely means a person who is in charge of religious worship, assuring him a nice salary. The effort, however, failed.

    As a lawyer, Robbins had dealings with many prominent people, including Declaration of Independence signers William Ellery and Stephen Hopkins, both from Rhode Island.

    One-page, approximately 7 ½” x 8”, Newport, RI, Feb. 22, 1842, responding to a request for the signatures of Ellery and Hopkins.  “…I must have, among my papers, several autographs of William Ellery, whose name is to the Declaration of Independence; but at present I know not where to lay my hands on one; and my papers are so multitudinous it would take me days to overlook them.  Accidentally, I may come across one; if so, I will send it to you.

    “I have no autograph of Stephen Hopkins; nor do I know where one is to be procured.

    “Very respectfully,

    “Yr. ob. Serv’t

    “Asher Robbins”

    Folds, toning, chip in upper left margin, affecting nothing.

    Everything we sell is guaranteed authentic forever to the original buyer. We also offer a 30-day return policy. If you discover a problem or are dissatisfied with an item, please contact us immediately (617-236-4893). Our goal is to please every customer.  We are pleased to be members of The Manuscript Society, Universal Autograph Collectors Club and The Ephemera Society. [P145]