Description

    Martin Van Buren Letter Signed "M Van Buren" as secretary of state. Three pages with integral blank, 8" x 9.75", "Department of State," Washington, September 19, 1829. Van Buren had several notable successes as Andrew Jackson's secretary of state, one of which was the repayment of American goods shipped to Britain and seized by the French Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Only six months into his tenure as secretary, he sent this letter, marked "Private" and addressed to "Messrs. Brown and Iver," regarding the negotiations of a treaty of reparation between the U.S. State Department and the French government, in part:

    "As the instructions which have been given to Mr. Rives, under the direction of the president, for concerting . . . with the French Government, the adjustment of existing demands of citizens of the United States . . . to claims . . . held by numerous individuals, and amount to large and undefined sums . . . it would contribute to the convenience of this Department . . . to have a limited number of the whole body appointed, with authority to confer with the Government in relation to those important concerns . . . I am not in possession of the necessary information to enable me to judge of the practicability of the measure suggested, but am aware that its accomplishment must necessarily be attended with difficulty. It is for the purpose of consulting with you as to its propriety, and the best mode of effecting it with the least possible notoriety and to bespeak the favor of your cooperation in facilitating the arrangement that I take the liberty of troubling you with this letter."

    Van Buren secured the promise from the French government to pay for the stolen cargo, but four years later, in 1833, they reneged on their promise nearly causing President Jackson to go to war. Van Buren, by this time vice president, was able to calm Jackson and war was averted. Folds show only slight separation along the right edge with two small ink spots on page three. Else fine.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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