• Impoverished War of 1812 Hero Seeks Senate Sergeant At Arms Position

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    Offering a one-page, 8 x 10, ALS, Washington, June 25th, 1832, by one GEORGE W. HOWARD, who had become indigent and sought help from several friends, including GENERAL SAMUEL SMITH, to whom he addresses the letter, to secure an appointment for him as the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms.  While we cannot say conclusively, we believe the author to be Captain George W. Howard, who served in most major campaigns in the northern frontier along the U.S.-Canadian border, including the Niagara Campaign.  Howard saw action in the May 1813 assault on Fort George, repelling the British assault on Black Rock in July 1813 and at the Battle of Chippewa in July 1814. Note in his letter, he refers to his soldier’s pay, further indicating this may be Capt. Howard.


    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.


    Howard makes reference in the letter to GOVERNOR GEORGE POINDEXTER of Mississippi, who 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.


    In this one-page 8” x 10” ALS, Washington, June 25th, 1832, Howard writes to Smith, “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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