Boyer, J. N.
Pair of Letters Signed, Philadelphia, May, 1829 to Lewis Reese, Reading, Pennsylvania

quarto, two letters, six pages, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Letters written by Boyer, from prison in Philadelphia, seeking assistance in obtaining a pardon for an unspecified criminal conviction – and then excoriating his enemies:

      “Philada May 16, 1829

       Dear Sir,

          I have this day had the pleasure to receive a line from Mrs. Boyer I was sorry to find that my friend Mr. Muhlenberg cannot make it convenient to go on to Washington in my unfortunate case – The fact is if it is in the power of you & the rest of my Friends – Say Mr. Kerper, Mr Nagle and others to prevail on Mr. Muhlenberg to go. It would in the opinion of all friends here be in their opinion the means of a speedy pardon If he cannot be prevailed upon I should be glad to have Mr. Dunn to go – or to write to Mr. Douglass at Harrisburg to prevail on Genl Barnard or Judge Frank to go. There are several persons here desirous to go – but I do not wish unless I can get no other person to employ such a man as Chas J. Jack or any one like him to go on if Mr. Muhlenberg cannot be prevailed upon to go to Washington. I would thank you to obtain my papers that were sent to Mr. Muhlenberg after he is done with them – that is my petition for a pardon the Sentence of the Court the Depositions & Petitions &c &c If no person can be got at Reading or at Harrisburg to go on to Washington Send the papers to me to Philada that I may be able to get a proper person to go on the sooner the better. Mrs. Boyer sent the papers to Mr. Muhlenberg – She can get them by sending when they are wanted – probably Mr. M may want them a few days whether he goes to Washington or not – I wrote to Mrs. Boyer after you have read your letter please call on her. She will inform you the contents of my letter &c – much will depend on the Respectability of my petitioners from Reading – all you & my friends can do will be required. If a Petition was sent to Jacob Miesy Esqr. Bern – he would procure names I wrote to Mr. Muhlenberg – Mrs. Boyer can inform you whether he is done with the Papers or not. I leave the management of my unfortunate fate rest with you and the rest of my friends. What you think is most advisable for you to do with regard to my interest & that of my unfortunate family have it done speedily you also stated something about the Marshall to me – It would perhaps be well in the mean time if something was done at Reading in that respect…”

      “Philada May 25, 1829

      Dear Sir,

          Your favour of the 22d was handed to me this morning. The post office is open to deliver letters until 8 o’clock of a Saturday evening only and on Sunday. I do not know that any one delivd so that this excuse must satisfy you for not having my confession of Judgment as you desired p return of Mail. I am not disappointed in the information you give me from Mr. Muhlenberg. I know his willingness to serve me knowing also at the same time that he has to serve me knowing also at the same time that he has become a political man – will give my enemies a strong hold to work on his feeling against me. I am satisfyd to yield.

           I stopped the Petition from going to the Jury men for the Signature until I heard from Mr. Muhlenberg now your line satisfys me that I have nothing to look for from there at this time he may be correct I will give up – I was visited a few days ago by a committee of Gentlemen who have promised to do what is to be done in this city-  Sheriff Strembeck – Judges of the different courts – men of the first respectability in this city who have heard the Trial – have signed my petition and not only that but have drawn up Petitions in there own Language – in their Opinion acquitting me altogether of any guilt and considering me as an innocent & persecuted man – notwithstanding the Editor of your German Bible in the County of Berks thinks that any man who would sign my petition for a pardon was no better than myself. I am not disappointed in that man – Look at him is enough he pays me in the same coin I am paid by others I was a supporter of his Establishment from the start. I have stuck by him and do to the present day – his paper is this day carried to my House. I have during the last 20 years paid him a great deal of money. I have when in a situation to do it obliged & accommodated him with means & Friendship – I defy any of my enemies to come forwd place their hand on their heart and say Honestly that they have ever asked a favour of me which was in my power to grant them that I refused – how am I paid now from the most of them. Why Sir I could name to you men among my enemies whose life I saved I stepped forward at the risk of my own life when a dagger was drawn to plunge into one of them held by a man in Frothing fury – ready to give the mortal state – (I clinched him and carried him off and gained the victory) That very man now Sir is at the head of my enemies. Why Sir I could name to you many that could not have lived without my assistance that I fed & cloathed them & their families. I have a list of debtors now laying before me which I count as lost amounting to the enormous sum of Two Hundred thousand Dollars – Some have been Sheff Some members of the Legislatures & that owe me thousands of dollars spent my money to get into office when they had all they could get of me – turned about and are now amongst my bitterest enemies – during all this time my poor wife slaved herself both night & day lived frugal and often even stinted herself and my poor children – Whilst these men were spending the sweat of her brow in all means of Debauchery - my wife not even Indulged herself to go to see a friend or a Neighbour to stay from Home a Single Night since we are married for 21 years – If I stay here and have my health and senses notwithstanding that I am a convicted man I shall make some people blush for shame. I have my records at reading that I can prove all I say without a Judge or resorting to the means used against me to pay to obtain bad men to testify – I do not wish to be understood that I mean to hide the Guilt of which I am charged under the good character and conduct of my poor wife – what I mean to say is what man is there who calls himself a Christian brought up in the same place with another being on terms of intimacy in his Family returning neighbourly and Friendly visits in Branches of both familys – Who could rob a family in the first [place of the] means they have – then in addition to that their only earthly support- Why not if a man wishes to murder let him come boldly on the highway and murder the person he intends with a deadly weapon and not commit murder on an innocent wife poor & helpless children. That will now in all probability now for want of a protector fall a victim to the leader of the band or be thrown into the streets for want of a shelter. Why sir I have for the last 18 months pressd people to get my own and have collected about $ 5000 which I had every dollar to spend in the criminal prosecution against me thinking to save the character of my poor family. The money is gone In the walls of a prison pennyless & my poor family without means. I get lost some times do not shew this to any person but keep it to yourself and any part thereof that you wish explained I can do it with truth… Your Unfortunate J. N. Boyer”