Description

    Illinois lawyer Abraham Lincoln writes a letter to Senator William Seward's law firm

    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed one month before beginning his senate campaign against Stephen Douglas. One page, 5.25" x 4.5", May 2, 1858, Springfield [Illinois] to the law firm of William Seward, Lincoln's future secretary of state. In full:

    Messieurs Blatchford, Seward & Griswold
    29 Nassau St.
    N.Y.
    Gentlemen-
    Your, inclosing note of L. J. N. Owen & Bro, is received, and shall be attended to.
    Yours,
    [?]
    A. Lincoln

    Formed in 1854, the New York law firm of Blatchford, Seward, & Griswold specialized in patent law and included Samuel Blatchford, William Seward, and Burr Griswold. Blatchford (1820-1893) began his association with Seward as his private secretary. He later studied law under Seward and became his law partner. Later, after Seward's death, Blatchford was appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Griswold (1823-1886) was married to Blatchford's sister. William Seward (1801-1872), who had been New York's governor in the early 1840s, was serving as a U.S. Senator when this letter was written contemplating a run for the White House in 1860.

    Lincoln first met Seward ten years earlier in September 1848 while both were campaigning in Boston for Zachary Taylor - Lincoln's first participation in a presidential campaign. At the rally, Seward, already a popular politician known for his anti-slavery stance, predictably spoke against the evils of slavery; Lincoln spoke about other matters. That night, they shared a hotel room, a common act in the mid-nineteenth century, and spent much of the night discussing the "peculiar institution" of slavery. Their second meeting came two years after this letter was written, again on the campaign trail; this time it was Seward campaigning in Springfield for Lincoln, who had earlier in the year defeated Seward for the Republican presidential nominee. This letter, affixed to a larger sheet (8" x 10"), is on toned laid paper with some light stains. Near fine.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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