Description

    A Document Signed by Sam Houston, Thomas H. Benton, Stephen A. Douglas and Thomas J. Rusk

    [Sam Houston, Thomas H. Benton, et al.] [Mexican American War]: Manuscript Document Signed. [Washington]. Feb. 2, 1847. Approximately 10 x 8 inches. One quarto page, written on folded sheet, with three signatures on verso. A couple smudges, else fine.

    This document is addressed "To the President," apparently of the United States, recommending Charles F. Vernon of Kentucky "for appointment as an officer in one of the...Regiments about to be raised for the War with Mexico...We believe that he is well quallified [sic] for a Captaincy, but in his anxiety to obtain a station in the Army we suppose he would be pleased to accept a Lieutenancy." It is signed by William Thomasson, Joshua Bell, John Tibbatts, Andrew Trumbo, J.J. Crittenden, Garrett David, John P. Martin, Henry Grider, John H. McHenry, and Bryan R. Young, all then representatives in Congress from Kentucky; Edward A. Hannegan, then senator from Indiana; Sam Houston and Thomas J. Rusk, then senators from Texas; Stephen A. Douglas from Illinois; and Thomas H. Benton, then senator from Missouri.

    Sam Houston was the first president of the Texas Republic, a member of the Texas Congress, once again president of the Republic, and later, governor of Texas. Thomas Rusk was a delegate to the convention which declared Texas independent in 1835, the first secretary of war of the new Texas Republic, a member of the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas, chief justice of the Texas supreme court, president of the convention that confirmed the annexation of Texas to the U.S. in 1845, and elected president Pro Tempore of the Senate in 1857. Stephen Douglas went on to defeat Abraham Lincoln (whom he famously debated) in a bid for the senate in 1847, and ran for the presidency in 1852 and 1856. John J. Crittenden served as U.S. attorney general under the Harrison administration; he later became governor of Kentucky, and was again appointed attorney general by President Fillmore. Benton was a prominent statesman who was influential in western exploration, especially the expeditions led by his son-in-law, John Fremont. Joshua Bell became secretary of state of Kentucky in 1849, and was a commissioner to the peace convention of 1861 in Washington, which was an attempt to avoid the impending Civil War. In 1854, John H. McHenry became a judge of the circuit court of several Kentucky counties. With the exception of Linn Boyd, U.S. Representative from Kentucky (served 1835-37 and 1839-55), who has not signed, this letter is endorsed by every U.S. senator (two) and U.S. representative (ten) from Kentucky in the 29th Congress (in session March 4, 1845 - March 3, 1847). According to Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the U.S. Army, Charles F. Vernon of Kentucky was appointed 2nd lieutenant of infantry (probably as a result of this superb letter of recommendation) on March 4, 1847. He resigned on December 20, 1847. A wonderful collection of Kentucky-related signatures, in addition to those of Houston, Benton, Douglas, and others.


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    April, 2012
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