Description

    Secretary of State Daniel Webster answers then Congressman Millard Fillmore's request regarding appropriations for the government's diplomatic expenses for 1842

    Daniel Webster Manuscript Letter Signed "Danl Webster" as Secretary of State, six pages, 8" x 13", front and verso. Department of State, Washington, April 13, 1842. To "Hon. Millard Fillmore,/Ch[airma]n. Comm[itt]ee. of Ways and Means/House of Representatives." In part, "I have the honor to receive your note of the 16th February, enclosing a copy of a resolution of the House of Representatives, and requesting information thereon. In reply I have the honor to state that there are no officers employed by this Department who are not clearly provided for by law, independent of the appropriation acts, except the Superintendent and watchmen of the Northeast Executive Building..." Webster explains the exceptions adding that "it may perhaps be considered necessary to include in the bill to be reported, a clause providing for the salary paid to the Drogoman [interpreter] to the Legation to Turkey [and] the salary of the Consul at London." On February 15, 1842, Tennessee Congressman Meredith Gentry had made a motion "that the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, to which said [appropriations] bill [No. 74] is committed, be instructed to strike out every clause or item of appropriation which is not authorized by existing laws." Fillmore then wrote to Webster. According to the "Journal of the House of Representatives," on April 14, 1842 (after Congressman Fillmore received Secretary of State Webster's reply to his February 16th letter), "Mr. Fillmore moved the following resolution, viz: Resolved, That all debate upon the bill of this House (No. 74) making appropriations for the civil and diplomatic expenses of Government which was taken up in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union on the 8th day of February last, shall cease in said committee on Saturday next, at 12 o'clock meridian, and the committee shall proceed to vote on all amendments pending, or that may be offered to said bill, and then report the said bill and all amendments which may have been agreed to the House, unless the same shall be sooner reported to the House." The resolution passed 100-73. On Saturday, April 16, 1842, the appropriations bill passed the House and, on May 16th, the Senate; on May 18, 1842, President Tyler signed it into law. Accompanied by an engraved portrait of Webster. The edges of each sheet of Webster's letter are folded and curled; the original string tying the pages together is present. There is minor feathering of ink affecting the "eb" of the signature. Webster would also serve as Fillmore's Secretary of State when Fillmore succeeded to the presidency upon President Zachary Taylor's death. Fine condition.


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