• 1832 Letter: MD Gov. Howard Admits Financial Difficulties; Seeks Senate Post to Increase Income

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    GEORGE W. HOWARD (November 21, 1789 – August 2, 1846) was the 22nd Governor of Maryland, serving from 1831 to 1833, and the second son of Governor John Eager Howard. George Howard had been elected a member of the Governor’s Council in January 1831. He had worked closely with his predecessor Governor Daniel Martin. When Martin died in 1831, Howard, as President of the Council, succeeded him. When the term expired, the Maryland General Assembly elected Howard for a full one-year term. Howard was a fervent anti-Jacksonian while in office. He advocated the establishment of a State Bank, opposed the doctrine of nullification and was a foe of lotteries.

     

    GENERAL SAMUEL SMITH (July 27, 1752 – April 22, 1839) was a United States Senator and a Representative from Maryland, a mayor of Baltimore and a general in the Maryland Militia. During the Revolutionary War, Smith served as Captain, Major and Lieutenant in the Continental Army. Prior to the war, as a young captain, he was sent to Annapolis to arrest royally appointed Governor Eden, suspected of supporting Britain, and seize his papers. During the War of 1812, Smith commanded the defenses of Baltimore during the Battle of Baltimore and Fort McHenry. Smith is credited for the American victory there. Smith was Vice-President of the Maryland State Colonization Society, an organization dedicated to returning black Americans to Liberia, where they would lead free lives.

     

    GOVERNOR GEORGE POINDEXTER of Mississippi was later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Poindexter was appointed to the Senate in 1830 to fill a vacancy and served from 1830 to 1835. Poindexter’s outspoken opposition to the Federalist Party resulted in a duel challenge from Abijah Hunt. Poindexter killed hunt in the duel, and some accused him of shooting prematurely, but he was still able to enter politics. Halfway through his one-year term as governor, Howard found himself in financial difficulty and sought to obtain the position of Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate. It is unclear whether he could hold both offices at the same time, was looking ahead to the expiration of his gubernatorial term or was planning to resign as governor to become Sergeant at Arms. Research shows he didn’t receive the appointment.

     

    In this one-page 8” x 10” ALS, Washington, June 25th, 1832, he writes to Smith asking for his support. “Impressed as I am with a deep sense of your former kindness and knowing as I do the lively interest you take in the welfare of all those who contributed towards the defence and solution of our beloved Baltimore, I am emboldened to solicit the favour and honor of your vote & unbounded influence in my behalf in the election for Sergeant at Arms of the Senate of the United States. “Permit me, Sir, to enclose for your inspection, Gen’l Van Ness’s recommendation with Col. Josh Watson’s note of concurrence, of which, I have made no other use than its submission to the P.M. Gen’l Maj. Barry in 1829. [Barry was Postmaster General in the Jackson Administration.] “As regards my single self, I could live upon a Soldier’s pay, but when it is known that I have three female children without a mother to support, clothe and educate on a…trifling pension, my anxieties and necessities may well be imagined, though never explained by Your Obedient Serv’t, Geo. W. Howard “I flatter myself that my esteemed friends Judge Ellis, Gov. Poindexter and Mr. Chamless would unite with you, Sir, forwarding my interest. Were time allowed, I could obtain letters of recommendation from my friends to other Honorable Senators.”

     

    Toning and an irregular right margin, affecting few words. Fold reinforcement. Some edge chipping. Very readable and a fine piece of Americana.

     

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