CHARLES WILLIAM GILLETTE (November 26, 1840 – December 31, 1908) was a U.S. Representative from New York, who graduated from Union College, Schenectady, NY, in 1861. Gillette enlisted as a private in the Eighty-Sixth Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, in August 1861 and was promoted to adjutant of the regiment in November. He was wounded and honorably discharged for disability in 1863. He was appointed postmaster of Addison on June 15, 1878, and served until July 26, 1886. Gillette was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third and to five succeeding Congresses.
Offering a group of 7 Letters to New York Congressman Charles W. Gillette from Thomas Smith and William C. Farnsworth as the nation was struggling on the verge of a Civil War. Our writers speak of President Fillmore, saving the union, making a speech on behalf of James Buchanan and Congressman Thomas K. Benton’s visit to Melrose, MA. The letters are dated from 1853-56, from Thomas Smith and William C. Farnsworth, various dimensions, 17 pp total, from State Bank and Hartford, CT, and Charlestown, MA, with good political content, providing many details to Gillette at this important juncture in American history.
In small part, [April 25, 1853]“…Glendenning had a call to go to Cromwell but has not accepted…Gen’l Wooster is in Texas. Frederick Mosher is in California…The Legislature meet here the 4th of next month. Hartford presents quite a lively aspect during the session. You will see members straddle the fences. Some clustered around the pumps. Some…at an uncommon pitch of voice. The Light Guards and the firemen are to parade the streets in their uniforms for the governor is to be re-inaugurated…” [October 25, 1854] “…I supposed the Railroad will soon be completed in Waterbury…I have much news at present as it regards financial affairs. They are decidedly close. Money can be loaned at almost any profit there is such a demand for it but the trouble with the banks is that when it is in such demand, they have not got it to spare…” [October 1, 1856] “…He is an out and out Fillmore man completely absorbed at the present time in the patriotic work of saving this glorious union. He makes a big address next week before the Fillmore Club in Melrose [MA]…Now though he is a general and I a mere private apt as I speak two nights previous to him, I expect that he will find the people of Melrose when he gets there very little inclined to save the Union. I did expect some time since to have taken rather an active part in this campaign. I have not made but a single speech yet, and that was for Buchanan. You will see I am striving to be perfectly impartial – one speech on each side. But then I expect to make rather more of an effort for John & Jesse, than I did for James B…I’m still residing in Melrose, and mean to till after the election. I must vote for president. Then to my friends talk a little of making a legislator of me, which means, to take $3 a day, and newspapers at the state’s expense…” [December 16, 1856] “…The election was coming on and an attempt must be made to save the country. Since the attempt has so deplorably failed and it is obvious that the country is obstinately disposed not be saved, but to go right straight to the dogs—I have hardly felt like writing to my companions in misfortune—the members of the patriotic band who, on the 4th, all fought and bled, died and went to thunder. But now that the din of the conflict has subsided, though we are dead, and the country is ruined, yet I feel disposed to reclaim my friends, and renew a correspondence on this, the other side of the political Jordan…We are having a good course of lectures delivered here on successive Tuesday evenings. Hon. Thomas K. Benton is here, or to be, this evening. Calculate T. hear Old Bullion, for he is one of the statesmen of America still living for whom I have some little respect—we shall give him a tremendous crowd of hearers…The Hall has been a great deal more than full…Invitation to party. Shall not go. Aristocrats – white kids, fine broadcloth, patent leather boots and all that…Don’t like the big bugs…”
Letters are in very good condition.
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