• [Astor Library] Charles Bristed Calls William Seward's Letter to Diplomat Motley 'Disgraceful'

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    CHARLES ASTOR BRISTED (October 6, 1820 – January 14, 1874) was an American scholar, author and trustee of the Astor Library.  He was born in New York City, the son of Rev. John Bristed, an Episcopal clergyman from a New England family, and Magdalena Astor. After his mother’s death in 1832, he went to live with his grandparents, fur-trader John Jacob Astor and Sarah Todd at their home, “Hellgate,” where many famous writers of the day visited.  Charles graduated from Yale College in 1839 with honors and from Trinity College in Cambridge, England, in 1845.


    Bristed makes mention of William Seward’s letter to John Lothrop Motley.  Motely, essentially, was accused of being disloyal to President Andrew Johnson’s policies while acting as a diplomat. At one point, Motley helped prevent European intervention on the Confederate side of the Civil War.  When confronted by Seward about his feelings toward Johnson’s policies, he was offended and threatened to resign. Seward accepted his resignation.


    3 pp, 6 ½ x 7 ¾, ALS, Transition House, Charleston, SC, Feb. 3, 1867, to Leland.  “I was reminded of you day before yesterday while dining with some of the reconstructed Secesh...I was especially surprised to find that his ‘party’ was well known to some parties here...The planters party collapsed...You probably agree with me that Seward’s letter to [John Lothrop] Motley is most disgraceful. ‘Judgment’ ought to have fled to brutish beasts ‘—i.e. the President’s party since men—i.e. the Radicals have lost their reason; but it hasn’t.


    “...Pray direct (if you write before hearing from me again) care of Col. H.A. Raymond, East Battery, Charleston, S.C...”


    Written on onion skin paper with a CSA watermark.  A bit difficult to read. A few small tears repaired with archival tape.  Even "sun" stain on first page and bleeding through to the verso.


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