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    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Endorsement Signed "A. Lincoln" as president. One page, 3.5" x 5.5", May 26, 1862, [Washington, D.C.], excised from a larger document. In this endorsement, President Lincoln asks Attorney General Edward Bates for his opinion on a claim left-over from the previous Buchanan administration concerning Washington Aqueduct contractor William H. DeGroot. In part: "Will the Attorney General please give his opinion whether this claim of William H. De Groot should be paid, the resolution of Congress to the contrary notwithstanding-". At the bottom of the endorsement is written in another hand, "6 June 1862/ Opinion Drd."

    William DeGroot was contracted to deliver bricks to the Washington Aqueduct, which was begun in 1853 and designed to deliver water to Washington, D.C. DeGroot was unable to carry-out the contract and the government refused to pay him. Oddly, he appealed for full payment. Congress assigned Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb to investigate and in 1858, Cobb decided that DeGroot was not entitled to prospective profits, but he was entitled to a partial claim for work done. In June 1860, after receiving his partial claim, DeGroot audaciously came back to the government seeking the full contract amount, plus some. This time, the matter was turned over to Secretary of War John Buchanan Floyd who awarded DeGroot an additional $119,000. The New York Times, however, exposed the payment and, after a great public outcry, the money was never paid. (Later in December 1860, President Buchanan asked for Secretary of War Floyd's resignation following scandals involving Floyd's corruption with government contractors [including the DeGroot scandal].) Not one to give up, DeGroot comes back here to ask for the rest of his claim. This endorsement, with mounting remnants on the verso, has some very minor stains; fine.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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