ALS signed “B. Arnold,” one page both sides, 7 x 8.5, February 1, 1788. Handwritten letter by Benedict Arnold discussing his New Brunswick lumber trade with the United States and the misuse of his name as debt security. In part: "In the Spring of 1786, Capt. Abiather Camp was Employed by me to barter some provisions in the States for Lumber, and to agree for a quantity of Lumber to be paid for in Goods. He went to Machias, where contrary to my Instructions he trusted his Goods, (which have never been paid for) and Contracted in his Own Name to Deliver Sails & Cordage, Anchors etc. for a vessel, and receive Lumber in payment, in expectation that I would furnish the Goods, but as, on his return I had not the Goods he Applied to Mesr. McGeorge & Co. to furnish the Articles & take Lumber in payment, as the People with whom the Contract was made, were strangers to him, they wished me to be Security, which I offered to do provided they would give me a Commission‰Û_which they declined, & delivered the Goods to Capt. Camp‰Û_They in my Absence pretended to Mr. Hervey that, I had obligated myself for the payment of the Debt and to prevent a Suit Mr. Hervey was induced to draw a Bill on me for the Amt. of their Demand, which has been returned Protected for which they have now sued him." A late 19th-century presentation inscription is written along the bottom in another hand. Handsomely double-matted and framed with an engraved portrait (featuring a facsimile signature) to an overall size of 17.75 x 13.5, with a window in the backing for viewing the reverse. In fine condition.
In 1785, after living in London for several years, Benedict Arnold returned to North America to live in St. John's, New Brunswick, and entered into a mercantile business with his sons, Richard and Henry. He soon became thoroughly disliked by both Loyalists and Americans in the area due to a series of bad business deals and legal battles, filing frequent lawsuits over petty debts—which he refers to in the present letter. Further, this letter appears to relate to one of his troubled business ventures, with a Captain Abiathar Camp Sr. (1732-1788), who was born in Durham, Connecticut, but moved to Saint John because he was a loyalist during the Revolution. A desirable autograph letter signed by one of the most notorious figures of the American Revolution.