The £100 Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund sword to Capt Rutherford, sold for $235,000 (£173,000) hammer at James D Julia on April 11.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

My US-born wife points out that since it was not until 1776 – or, strictly speaking 1781, the end of the Revolutionary War – that the United States (as we now know it) came into being, he should more correctly be referred to as ‘American-born’.

To paraphrase the Duke of Plaza-Toro in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers: “It’s only a small matter; still, one may as well get it right.”

Wilfrid de Freitas


Montreal, Canada

PS I hope you will excuse the salutation. I just can’t bring myself to say ‘Madam’. Too many unfortunate connotations on this side of the Atlantic.