• Attorney Seeks Help from Co-Founder of Republican Party

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    One page, legal document, Meadville [PA], February 24, 1836, Thomas Johnson is seeking to collect judgment that he won in court from John Purdon, signed by Johnson but addressed to John M. Reed, attorney in Philadelphia. Integral address leaf with nice Philadelphia postmark.

    The document possibly refers to John Purdon, born in Philadelphia in 1784. He graduated from Princeton in 1802 and was admitted to the bar in 1806. He served in the state legislature but turned down a judgeship to work in his Digest – Purdons Digest – Laws of Pennsylvania. Purdon died while being treated by the primitive medical method of bleeding the patient.

    John Meredith Read (July 21, 1797 – November 29, 1874) was a lawyer, jurist, politician from Philadelphia, PA. He was one of the founders of the Republican Party and Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Both of his grandfathers – George Read and Samuel Meredith – had served in the Continental Congress. George Read was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    John was born across the street from Independence Hall. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and was admitted to the bar in 1818 and started a practice in Philadelphia. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1822 and served until 1824, but remained in private practice. His family had been Federalists, but Read became an ardent supporter of the Free Soil wing of the Democratic Party. In 1844, President Tyler nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States, but his earlier stance against the expansion of slavery caused Democratic Senators to oppose his nomination and it was withdrawn.

    When the Republicans held their first national convention in Philadelphia in 1856, he was a convention organizer and delivered the keynote. At the 1860 convention in Chicago, he received one vote on the first ballot for presidential nominee but he supported Lincoln.

    Seal tear. Folds. Toning, but very strong.

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