George Washington handwritten letter to John Marshall (ALS), congratulating him on his first election to a Federal Office: “With Infinite Pleasure I Received The News Of Your Election…a Few Days Now, Will Give Us The Result Of All The Elections To Congress & The Legislature Of The State”. GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799). Washington was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, President of the Constitutional Convention, signer of the Constitution and First President of the United States. JOHN MARSHALL (1755-1835). Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice, serving for thirty-five years. He oversaw landmark decisions such as Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden and the Dartmouth College case. ALS. 1pg. May 5th, 1799. Mount Vernon. An autograph letter signed “Go:Washington” and accompanied by a free franked address panel also signed “Go:Washington”. The former President wrote to John Marshall, congratulating Marshall on his election to the United States House of Representatives from the Richmond area. Washington hand wrote to the future Chief Justice (missing words are put in brackets): “With infinite pleasure I received the news of your Election. For the Honor of the District, I wish the Majority had been greater, but let us be content, and hope, as the tide is [turning, the current] will soon run strong on our favor. [I am] sorry to find that the publication [you allude to] should have given you a moments [disquiet] I can assure you, it made no im[pression on my] mind, of the tendency apprehend[ed by you]. [The] doubt you have expressed of Mr. [Hancock’s ele]ction, is unexpected as it is pain[ful in these] parts, we had set it down as cer[tain, and our] calculations went to eleven instead of nine. A few days now, will give us the result of all the Elections to Congress & the Legislature of the State; and as you are at the fountain of information respecting the politics of the members, give me, I pray you, the amount of the parties on each side, if you have the leisure & can ascertain them. With very sincere esteem & regards I am–Dear Sir–Yr Obedt & Affect Servt Go:Washington”. The address panel is in WashingtonÂ’s handwriting, and he sent it to “General Marshall in Richmond Go:Washington”; there is additional writing probably by a local postmaster. Includes dedication card reading “Presented to Louis Minor Coleman by his Aunt- Alice Marshall Coleman”, affixed to lower right corner of letter. Letter is mounted to grey card stock board. Letter – 9 3/4″ H x 16 1/4″ W. Board – 10″ H x 16 1/4″ W. Typed letter from Herbert A. Johnson, Associate Editor of “The Papers of John Marshall”, to Charles B. Coleman, Esq., dated February 26, 1968, included in lot. Provenance: The Estate of Charles Boyd Coleman, Jr., Chattanooga, TN, by descent from Lewis Minor Coleman, Jr., son of CSA Lt. Colonel Lewis M. Coleman and Mary Ambler Marshall, daughter of James K. Marshall and granddaughter of John Marshall (1755-1835). Lewis M. Coleman Jr. was related to the family of Henry Dearborn by his marriage to Julia Wingate Boyd, daughter of Annette Maria Dearborn Boyd, who was the daughter of Greenleaf Dearborn (1786-1846) and great granddaughter of Henry Dearborn (1751-1829) on her mother’s side. Note: This was not Marshall’s first political victory. In 1782, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, and remained there for seven years; he was again elected to the Virginia House from 1795 to 1796. In 1788, Marshall served as a delegate to the Virginia convention that ratified the new Federal constitution; Marshall was a staunch supporter of the new government. He declined Washington’s offer of Attorney General. During the Adams administration, he declined an appointment to the Supreme Court, but he represented the United States during the infamous XYZ Affair. His 1799 election to the House of Representatives was his first Federal victory; Marshall was helped because of his support from Patrick Henry. In 1800, President Adams named Marshall Secretary of State and the next year, Adams nominated him to become the fourth Chief Justice. The “Mr. Hancock” mentioned is most likely the Virginia Congressman George Hancock, who served in the House of Representatives from 1793 to 1797. The letter and attached address leaf are glued to a larger board and framed; paper loss affects about twenty words. The Library of Congress owns a letterbook copy of this letter and the missing words can be ascertained. According to The American Book Prices Current (a compendium of auction results), only three Washington to Marshall letters have sold in the past quarter century. A 1968 letter from Herbert Johnson, the Associate Editor of the Papers Of John Marshall, states “This is such an important letter that I know you value it highly. As you may know Washington was the most important influence that impelled Marshall to stand for election in the House of Representatives. This was his first domestic office with the national government and from it he moved to the State Department and then the Chief Justiceship…Washington’s request that Marshall provide him with the Virginia election returns–another indication of Marshall’s position in the Federalist party in Virginia…”. An additional letter included in this lot is dated June 1913 from United States senator/historian Albert J. Beveridge and reads, “Dear Mr. Coleman: Miss Lizzie Marshall of Leeds, VA informed me that you have some letters of Chief Justice Marshall – one of them from George Washington.” (Beveridge states he is gathering material to write the The Life of John Marshall and would like copies of the letters.). A great association between the first President and the great Chief Justice. Description courtesy of Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc. CONDITION: Overall good condition. Washington signature and writing in strong, clear condition. Areas of dampstaining, including faint 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ dampstaining over signature (does not affect overall quality). 3 3/8″ x 2 1/4″ area of text missing from left margin of letter (3 3/8″ x 6 1/2″ area missing in total extending from below address to left horizontal fold line). 1/2″ x 3/8″ area of lower right corner repaired (does not affect signature).
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