1853 William H. Seward Handwritten, Dated, Signed Letter To Alexander Boteler For Sale

William H. Seward

President Abraham Lincoln reading Emancipation Proclamation To His Cabinet, with William H. Seward seated foreground, with his arms folded, white tie,facing Abraham

1853 - Letter to U.S. Senator from Virginia, Alexander Boteler, from WILLIAM H. SEWARD handwritten, signed, dated letter on embossed stationery, embossed with Royal crown, “Bath”, a wreath beneath, circled – please see our photos. Before the commencement of the American Civil War, William H. Seward, a U.S. Senator from New York, made a few trips to England and Europe in behalf of the Emancipation Society. Seward was also chiefly responsible for ensuring that the Confederacy was never officially recognized by European countries throughout the American Civil War. Beautifully handwritten on fine coated paper, faintly lined for straight line handwriting, with gilt page edges on all 3 page edges, came from a writing booklet with the hinge reinforcement along the original book edge on the verso. Neat intersecting folds, slight expected toning after 160 years, absolutely fine condition. As you read on you will need to know that First Lieutenant Richard Seward of Pennsylvania was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. William H. Seward’s grandfather, Colonel John Seward, served with George Washington’s army throughout the Revolutionary War.

The letter reads:

“Auburn September 23rd 1853. Dear Sir – I thank you sincerely for your kind attention in sending on the petition of Richard Seward for a commission in the Revolutionary Army of the United States. The family from which I am derived was in New Jersey during the war of independence and the father of my father was Colonel of the Militia in active service. The petitioner Richard was I think his brother. The ardor of his patriotism is pleasing to me and will be equally so to the other members of the family. Again giving you my thanks and my best wishes for your self all. I remain, very respectively, your obedient servant, William H. Seward. Alexander R. Boteler Esq. Shepherdstown, Va.” Here Seward is thanking Boteler for an old Revolutionary War military petition that he found and forwarded on to Seward as a thoughtful and kind gesture of friendship. The second and third pages of the stationery open to a 2 page section with a middle fold. The fourth page has Boteler’s initials and date of “Oct 29/77 A.R.B.” – Boteler thankfully kept his correspondence. After the American Civil War, Boteler was appointed a member of the United States Of America Centennial Commission in 1876 and was later appointed a member of the Tariff Commission by President Chester A. Arthur and was made a pardon clerk in the Department of Justice by Attorney General Benjamin H. Brewster. Boteler died in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on May 8, 1892.

Each page measures 8-1/8” tall x 6-1/2” wide or 20.7, 16.5cm.

William Henry Seward (1801-1872), born in Florida, New York, was a very important American politician, lawyer, and real estate agent from the state of New York. Seward worked as a lawyer from 1823 to 1839 and continued as a senior partner in New York City law firm of Blatchford, Seward & Griswold until his death; Seward was the Governor of New York from 1839 to 1842; United States Senator from New York from 1849 to 1861; and, the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, from 1861 to 1869. William H. Seward was a passionate opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was widely regarded as the leading contender for the party's presidential nomination in 1860. Denied the nomination, he became a loyal member of Lincoln's wartime cabinet, and played a role in preventing foreign intervention early in the war. On the night of Lincoln's assassination, he survived an attempt on his own life. As Johnson's Secretary of State, he engineered the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia in an act that was ridiculed at the time as "Seward's Folly." His contemporary Carl Schurz described Seward as "one of those spirits who sometimes will go ahead of public opinion instead of tamely following its footprints." On the night of April 14, 1865, Lewis Powell, an associate and co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth, attempted to assassinate Seward at his Washington D.C. home. Powell's attack on Seward was coordinated with Booth's attack on President Abraham Lincoln and George Atzerodt's aborted attack on Vice President Andrew Johnson in order to maximize the element of surprise and to sever the continuity of the United States government. Another member of the conspiracy, David Herold, led Powell to the Seward home on horseback and was responsible for holding Powell's horse while he committed the attack as well as guiding him out of the city during their escape. Powell was able to gain access to the Seward home by telling the butler that he was delivering medicine for Seward, who had been badly injured nine days earlier trying to catch a pair of runaway horses.

Powell's attempted assassination of U.S. Secretary of State, William H. Seward

Upon entry to the home, Powell began up the stairs, but was stopped at the top of the stairs by Frederick Seward, William Seward’s 35 year old son. Frederick told Powell that his father was asleep and that he (Frederick) would take the medicine to him. Unsure of what to do, Powell turned around and began descending the stairs, but then suddenly swung back around, drew a pistol, and pointed it at Frederick's head. The pistol misfired. Realizing he needed to act quickly, Powell began beating Frederick over the head with the barrel of his gun. The force of Powell's blows crippled Frederick Seward and left him sprawled on the floor, in a pool of blood. Powell's gun was also rendered useless during the melee, as it had become jammed.

Seward's most famous achievement as Secretary of State was his successful acquisition of Alaska from Russia. On March 30, 1867, he completed negotiations for the territory, which involved the purchase of 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of territory (more than twice the area of Texas) for $7,200,000, or approximately two cents per acre (equivalent to $120 million in today's dollars). The purchase was variously mocked by the public as Seward's Folly, "Seward's Icebox," and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden." Alaska celebrates the purchase on Seward's Day, the last Monday of March. When asked what he considered to be his greatest achievement as Secretary of State, Seward replied "The purchase of Alaska—but it will take the people a generation to find it out".

Alexander Robinson Boteler (1815-1892) was born in Shepherdstown, Virginia (now West Virginia). Boteler graduated from Princeton College in 1835 and engaged in agriculture and literary pursuits. He was elected an Oppositionist to the United State House of Representatives in 1858, serving from 1859 to 1861. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and was a member of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's staff. Boteler was chosen by the Virginia Convention to be a representative to the Provisional Confederate Congress in 1861 and was later elected a Democrat to represent Virginia's 10th District in the Confederate States House of Representatives in 1861, serving from 1862 to 1864. After the war, he was appointed a member of the Centennial Commission in 1876 and was later appointed a member of the Tariff Commission by President Chester A. Arthur and was made a pardon clerk in the Department of Justice by Attorney General Benjamin H. Brewster. Boteler died in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on May 8, 1892.


1853 William H. Seward Handwritten, Dated, Signed Letter To Alexander Boteler

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