Description

    John McLean Autograph Letter Draft Unsigned. Two and one-quarter pages, 8" x 10", January 6, 1847, Washington, to "Mr. Galloway". This retained copy containing many of Supreme Court Justice's personal political opinions bears many strikethroughs and corrections, which are themselves interesting. The letter begins, "Since 1829, having been a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, I have not had occasion publicly to avow my views on the political topics of the day, but, lately opinions have been attributed to me which I have never entertained, and my friends think that should not no longer remain silent ["on a subject in which they feel some interest" has been struckthrough] under such imputations. My opinions have always been openly avowed in conversations with my friends ["and others" was inserted here] on all subjects. In this respect I have been less reserved than policy required."

    McLean then writes of his party affiliation: "In answer to the ["imputation" has been struckthrough] charge that I am no Whig, ["and that I am opposed to their professed principles" has been struckthrough] I have only to remark that I have never ["voted" has been struckthrough] given an Anti-Whig vote, and that I heartily approve of the great principles professed by the Whig Party." About his interest in the presidency, McLean admits, "I have no solicitude in relation to the presidency. The office, in my judgment, is fallen below the aspirations of an honest man, ["except except for the purpose of thoroughly" has been struckthrough] unless it be to reform the administration of the government. ["And I solemnly declare that if the office were within my reach" has been struckthrough] No other motive could induce me to accept the office, if it were within my reach. . . ."

    After serving as the sixth U.S. Postmaster General, John McLean (1785-1861) was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving a long and notable career from 1830 until his death in 1861. Throughout those years he associated with every political party, including the Whigs. He longed to be president and was often offered as a candidate.
    With folds and slight bleedthrough. Fine.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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