Letter Signed with Free Frank Signed - 1850
Letter Signed as Secretary of State, signed “Danl. Webster,” one page both sides, 4 x 6, Franklin, New Hampshire, dated October 28, 1850. In full:
My dear Sir,
I thank you for your letter of the 22nd: & will be quite obliged to you to send me a copy of your Pamphlet to Washington. I have not yet recd the copy mentioned in your Letter. I think a considerable number of the article(s) might be usefully distributed in & from Washington. I thank you my dear Sir for the friendly sentiments which you express in regard to my recent political conduct.
With much regard
Your friend and obedient servant,
E.H. Derby Esq
In Webster’s infamous “Seventh of March Address” to the Senate four months earlier, he supported the Compromise of 1850, five separate laws that were intended to balance sectional interests by (1) admitting California to the union as a free state; (2) allowing the New Mexico and Utah territories to determine the slavery issue by relying on popular sovereignty; (3) reimbursing Texas $10 million from the federal government for the loss of the New Mexico territory (4) abolishing the slave trade in the District of Columbia; and (5) enacting a new, harsher Fugitive Slave Act. All five bills passed. As secretary of state, Webster supervised the strict enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. His stand infuriated and alienated Northern antislavery forces and divided the Whig party, but delayed secession of the Southern states—and war—for a few years.
The letter has been tape hinged to an early 8.5 x 11.5 card to which has also been affixed the free-franked address panel (signed again by Webster) and intact wax seal. Hinging as noted, and light soiling to mailing panel, otherwise fine condition.
DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852) was a leading American statesman during the nation’s Antebellum Period. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests. His increasingly nationalistic views and the effectiveness with which he articulated them led Webster to become one of the most famous orators and influential Whig leaders of the Second Party System.
Daniel Webster was an attorney, and served as legal counsel in several cases that established important constitutional precedents that bolstered the authority of the Federal government. As Secretary of State, he negotiated the Webster-Ashburton Treaty that established the definitive eastern border between the United States and Canada. Primarily recognized for his Senate tenure, Webster was a key figure in the institution’s “Golden days”. So well-known was his skill as a Senator throughout this period that Webster became the northern member of a trio known as the “Great Triumvirate”, with his colleagues Henry Clay from the west and John C. Calhoun from the south. His “Reply to Hayne” in 1830 was generally regarded as “the most eloquent speech ever delivered in Congress.”
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