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Autograph Letter Signed
Auburn: William H. Seward, 1853. First edition. Loose_leaf. Near Fine. An excellent Autograph Letter Signed dated September 23, 1853 from then United States Senator William H. Seward to a then-future United States Congressman Alexander R. Boteler, on light blue stationary showing an embossment for Bath, England near the upper left corner and sent from Auburn, NY where Seward lived. Seward served in the United States Senate from 1849 to 1861, being first elected as a Whig in 1849 and then reelected as a Republican in 1855. An ardent opponent of Slavery's spread, Seward also served United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and under his successor Andrew Johnson. Alexander Boteler, a witness to events at Harper's Ferry during John Brown's famous 1859 raid, was elected to the United States Congress as an Opposition Party candidate in 1858, serving from 1859 to 1861. Upon the Civil War's commencement, Boteler enlisted in the Confederate Army and was a member of General Stonewall Jackson's Staff. He was elected a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress in 1861 and was later that year elected as a Democrat to the Confederate States House of Representatives. After the War, Boteler was appointed a member of the Centennial Commission in 1876, appointed a member of the Tariff Commission by President Arthur, and subsequently made pardon clerk in the Department of Justice by Attorney General Brewster. From the content of this letter, we conclude that Alexander Boteler served Shepherdstown in some sort of record-keeping capacity and, based on Boteler's later employments, surmise that he calculated a political career and may well have taken the act described in this letter for the benefit of a sitting United States Senator in order to advance his own career prospects. The letter will be made clearer to the the reader by knowing that William H. Seward's ancestors included First Lieutenant Richard Seward of Pennsylvania who served as an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, Colonel John Seward (William H. Seward's grandfather), who served with George Washington’s army throughout the Revolutionary War. The letter reads as follows: "Auburn September 23rd 1853. // Dear Sir – // I thank you sincerely for your kind attention / in sending on the petition of Richard Seward for / a commission in the Revolutionary Army of the United / States. The family from which I am derived was / in New Jersey during the war of independence and / the father of my father was Colonel of the / Militia in active service. The petitioner Richard / was I think his brother. The ardor of his patriotism / is pleasing to me and will be equally so to the / other members of the family. // Again giving you my thanks and my / best wishes for your welfare. // I remain, very respectfully, / your obedient servant, / William H. Seward. // Alexander R. Boteler Esq. / Shepherdstown, / Va.” The letter's verso bears the penciled notation "Oct 29/77 ARB" -- presumably Boteler's notation. The letter is in Near Fine condition, showing one horizontal fold and two vertical folds for mailing, and with a piece of cloth tape to the far edge of the letter's verso, presumably for mounting in some sort of album. An interesting and personal letter from one of the United States' most prominent and important politicians to a then-future important politician and significant member of Confederate Army, sent prior the the outbreak of the Civil War at which time the two men's careers would take highly divergent paths in a manner emblematic of the many similar career and political splits of the Civil War era. Original autograph letters from William H. Seward are remarkably scarce to the market. RARE.
      [Bookseller: Allington Antiquarian Books, LLC]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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