• MA Legislator to Zachary Taylor Whig Appointee: Strawbridge v Curtiss Supreme Court Case, 1820

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    WILLIAM SULLIVAN (1774-1839), American statesman, Massachusetts legislator and Brigadier General of the State Militia, was the author of "Familiar Letters on Public Characters and Public Events," in 1834 which was reprinted in 1847 as "The Public Men of the Revolution."

    WILLIAM MORRIS MEREDITH (June 8, 1799 -- August 17, 1873) was a lawyer, politician and the 19th Secretary of the Treasury, appointed by President Zachary Taylor in 1849 who wanted a Pennsylvania Whig for his cabinet. Meredith strongly opposed free trade legislation, passed the year before under his predecessor. He felt there was no need to protect the American workman who was subject to competition from poorly paid European labor.

    3 pp, 8" x 9 3/4", Boston, Oct. 4, 1820, ALS, Sullivan writes to Meredith, regarding a legal matter and addressing a case he brought before the U.S. Supreme Court (Strawbridge v Curtiss), which resulted in the court holding that if there are two or more joint plaintiffs or defendants in case, each plaintiff must be capable of suing each plaintiff in the courts to sustain jurisdiction of the case. In part, "I sent two affidavits referring it to your discretion to determine which to use -- also exemplification of will -- and Strawbridge’s power of attorney. I cannot tell when I was in Phild' but I am sure and declare that I was not in Pennsylvania at any time in the year 1798 nor in 1799 -- nor before the first day of June 1800. I think I went to Phild' sometime in the summer of 1800 and was there three days. I went on a very pressing errand, in no manner connected with anything relating to Wm Williamson or his estate or affairs. I remember it was very hot and I well remember (excuse me) that I remarked that night brought with it, no refreshing coolness...I was not on that occasion absent from Boston 14 days in the while & travelling was not performed as expeditiously...I have not been in Philadelphia at any time since Williamson died...I think I saw Strawbridge in the summer of 1800 in Phild. one evening if I ever saw him in my life of which I am by no means certain. But sure I am he never spoke to me of his suit and how strange it is, that I should appear on the docket as Defendant when Strawbridge will know that Williamson's will was not proved here that he alone provide it in Phild. that I had no property of Williamson & never had any property of his...I am entirely ignorant why my name was used in the action...He was not a very clear headed man...but a very honest man... The power of attorney was principally designed to enable me to sue one Zebina Curtis in Strawbridge's name. I did so and the case went to the Supreme Court in Washington and is reported as Strawbridge v Curtiss..." More Expected toning and soiling, folds, vertical split between pages, affecting nothing.

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