Description

    Timothy Pickering Autograph Letter Signed "Timothy Pickering" to "The President of the U. States," one page, 7.75" x 9.75". Philadelphia, September 9, 1795. In full, "Agreeably to my intimation yesterday, I have the honor now to inclose the three addresses from Georgetown & Columbia in So. Carolina, & Warrenton in No. Carolina, being all that remain in my hands. Draughts for answers are inclosed in the addresses respectively, expressing ideas varied to correspond with the tenor of the three addresses. I hope you will not be teazed [sic, teased, meaning annoyed] with any more. With great & sincere respect." The "three addresses" concerned opposition to Jay's Treaty of 1794 with Great Britain. At the time, Timothy Pickering was Washington's Secretary of War. A scandal involving an intercepted French message led to Secretary of State Edmund Randolph's resignation on August 20, 1795. Pickering served as Secretary of War and acting Secretary of State from then until his appointment as Secretary of State on December 10, 1795.

    President Washington had left Philadelphia on the morning of September 8th, shortly after speaking with Pickering, reaching Mount Vernon on September 13th. On September 14, 1795, the President wrote the following letter to William Falkener, chairman of a meeting of citizens at Warrenton, N.C.: "I received your letter of the 22d. of August, covering an address from the Inhabitants of Warren County who assembled to consider of the treaty lately negociated [sic] with Great Britain; and, expressing their disapprobation of it, desired that it might not receive my sanction. Previous to that meeting the treaty had received my assent. The principles which governed my determination have been made public. While I regret a difference of opinion on this subject, with perfect sincerity I assure my fellow Citizens 'that my attachment to the Constitution is unalterable, and my zeal to promote the happiness and welfare of my Constituents diminished.'" On the same day, Washington wrote similar replies to George Heriot, chairman of a meeting of the inhabitants of Georgetown, S.C., and to Thomas Taylor, known as the "Father of Columbia, S.C.," chairman of the meeting of the Camden and Orangeburg districts, South Carolina. Jay's Treaty included the following: "His Majesty consents that it shall and may be lawful, during the time hereinafter limited, for the citizens of the United States to carry to any of His Majesty's islands and ports in the West Indies from the United States, in their own vessels...it being expressly agreed and declared that, during the continuance of this article, the United States will prohibit and restrain the carrying any molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa or cotton in American vessels, either from His Majesty's islands or from the United States to any part of the world except the United States." Jay may not have known that cotton had recently replaced indigo as a major crop in the Carolinas. This letter bears a notation at the upper edge handwritten by Jared Sparks: "(Fr. J. Sparks)" indicating it was from his collection. Sparks had access to Washington's correspondence and edited The Writings of George Washington (12 volumes, Boston: 1833-1837). Minor remnant at edge on verso from prior tipping. An historic letter in very fine condition.


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    October, 2007
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