DescriptionElbridge Gerry Autograph Letter Signed "E. Gerry". Two pages (one sheet), 6.5" x 8", Cambridge [Massachusetts], August 24, 1812, to His Excellency William Alexander. In part: "I regret exceedingly, that an accident, which I flatter myself you will excuse when informed of it, has prevented an answer to your letter of the 6th of April 1811. The number of letters which I received in that year is almost incredible...the secret journals of Congress to the year 1780 are in my possession & shall be delivered to your order; but I am under an obligation of form not to divulge the names of the secret agents you refer to, or of the woman, as she was the particular friend of Mr. Pinckney. Any information which I can give you, in your important pursuit, you will command freely..."
Gerry served in the Continental Congress and was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, yet he refused to sign the Constitution. He served in Congress and was one of the three United States representatives sent by John Adams in 1797 on a peace mission to France. When Minister Tallyrand demanded a bribe (the XYZ affair), the two countries entered into a quasi-war. He later served as Madison's vice president and as governor of Massachusetts, where he approved of a redistricting plan that ensured Republican domination of the state. The term "gerrymandering" came from him. A fine letter.
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