• [Lewis and Clark, James Monroe] Bank of the United States President, Financier Nicholas Biddle Offers to Send Money

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    NICHOLAS BIDDLE (1786-1844) was a child prodigy, entering the University of Pennsylvania in 1796 at the age of 10. He was not allowed to receive his degree when he was 13 because of his age. He went on to study at Princeton, where he graduated in 1801 as valedictorian.

    Biddle prepared Lewis and Clark’s report of their extraordinary expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River and he encouraged President Thomas Jefferson to write an introductory memoir of Captain Meriwether Lewis. Biddle’s name doesn’t appear on the work as he was elected to the state legislature and was compelled to turn over the project to Paul Allen, who supervised the project and was recognized as the editor.

    In 1819, President Monroe appointed him one of the government directors of the Bank of the United States.  He became its president in 1823, and his administration illustrated his belief in the necessity of a central banking institution to stabilize the currency and curb the inflationary tendencies of the era. Biddle became the leading target of the Jacksonians in their war against the bank. The bank failed to be re-chartered in 1836.  

    The following letter, offered here, was written by Biddle while he was President of the Bank of the United States. One page, 8” x 10” ALS, June 24, 1834, to William L. Stone of New York.

    “Dear Sir,

    “I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 23rd inst. And have time to say only that if you will be good enough to let me know the amount, I will send it to you.

    “With great respect,

    “N. Biddle”

    The recipient could possibly be WILLIAM LEETE STONE, a journalist and historical writer mostly on topics relating to the Revolutionary War. Stone was a noted abolitionist and a Free Mason, later abandoning Masonry believing it had outlived its usefulness.

    Folds, light toning with some mounting traces on the verso that do not show through.

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