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One page autograph letter signed to Tench Coxe.
Decem. 11, 1787., New York - 4to, 24 lines, approx. 170 words; with integral address leaf bearing .2 cent postage and New York post office rubberstamp; break at wax seal (no loss of text), some wear and browning, previous folds. Apparently unpublished. A thirty year-old Webster writes in anger about the return of some pamphlets: "Mr. Wharton, with whom I left a draft for 20 dollars for the pamphlets, has returned me the order unanswered. I am sensible, Sir, that you are not personally obligated to answer it, but as one of the company concerned, I supposed you would take pains to see the business done. I know not who the persons are, that constitute the Society & Committee, but, Sir, I must take the liberty thro you to inform them, that I consider this delay, evasion or refusal, by whatever name it ought to be called, as a repetition of incivilities or rather injuries which I have before experienced in Philadelphia; & as a continuation of that want of attention & politeness for which the citizens are distinguished. But, Sir, I am above asking anything of the citizens, even for justice - The sum is trifling, & you may be assured that no person will be troubled with another syllable upon the subject." An interesting letter begging to be interpreted. In October of 1787 Webster had published his pamphlet, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, which urged the adoption, by the confederated states of America, of the newly submitted federal Constitution. In his diary for December 1, 1787, Webster records that he wrote "to Mr. Wharton." Our letter possibly refers to an order for or solicitation of copies of the pamphlet, filled on December 1, but not paid for; and the copies of the pamphlet, with "the draft for 20 dollars", were returned to Webster by Wharton without explanation. The reason for the pamphlets being returned may lie in the fact that proponents for the Constitution were not entirely happy with the text of Webster's pamphlet (see Ford, Notes on the Life of Noah Webster). Tench Coxe (1755-1824), to whom the letter is written, was the noted American political economist and member of the Annapolis Convention, which considered measures for the better regulation of commerce, and which called for the Constitutional Convention of 1787. How long Webster had known Coxe is not certain, but Webster notes in his diary that they had dined together in February of 1787, just after the close of the Annapolis Convention, and just prior to the start of the Constitutional Convention. Also present at that dinner was Jared Ingersoll, a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress. Taking his revenge on Wharton, we may further surmise that Webster writes to Coxe (Coxe being "one of the company concerned" with the adaptation of the Constitution) to register his complaint on the treatment received at the hands of Wharton. Ironically, the day after this letter was written, Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution. On the 20th of December, Webster records in his diary: "Mr. Wharton from Phild. calls on me", but nothing more is known about this meeting. Wharton is possibly Samuel Wharton (1738-1800), like a Webster a friend of Franklin, and a noted Philadelphia merchant, a member of the Continental Congress in 1782-83, and member of the Philadelphia city council.
      [Bookseller: Rulon-Miller Books (ABAA / ILAB)]
Last Found On: 2013-11-13           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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