• [Dred Scott, Johnson Impeachment] Daniel Webster Receives Friendly Letter From Reverdy Johnson

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    Offering a 1 ½ pp, 8 x 10, ALS by REVERDY JOHNSON, 14 March 1843, Baltimore, to DANIEL WEBSTER and docketed on the verso by Webster “Private Reverdy Johnson 14 March 1843.” Both Johnson and Webster achieved enormous notoriety during their distinguished and controversial careers. Johnson was involved in defending Andrew Johnson at his impeachment trial, supporting the slavery side of Dred Scott and later supporting the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.  Among other issues, Webster became known for defending the union during the states’ rights Nullification Crisis.


    The personal letter, offered here, reads, in part, “...My last letter was not intended to draw a reply from you, as the frankness & friendly finding of your answer to my first was perfectly satisfactory, assuring sir, as it did, that our friendship [is] unimpaired. But still I would like to know that the letter was received...Sincerely your friend, Reverdy Johnson”


    The Dred Scott decision was thought to be the worst decision in the court’s history, clearly demonstrating horrific racism against African Americans.


    Johnson was a conservative Democrat who supported Stephen A. Douglas in the presidential election of 1860.  Despite his involvement in Dred Scott, Johnson was personally opposed to slavery and became a key figure in the effort to keep Maryland from seceding from the Union during the Civil War. He also defended Lincoln conspirator Mary Surrat, who hanged with the other conspirators.


    WEBSTER (1782-1852) was a lawyer and statesman who represented New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress and served as the 14th and 19th U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore.  He argued more than 200 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.


    A fine example of mid-19th century Americana involving these two important Americans.


    Small pin holes to the edges, indicating previous storage, with some chipping away from the writing. Light toning and soiling.


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