Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 238

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(1800 - 1891) American historian, Secretary of the Navy, and founder of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Very fine content A.L.S. "G Bancroft" 2pp. 4to., [n.p., Boston?] "Monday Eve." 1844 to Martin Van Buren requesting more detailed biographical information for his biography, Martin Van Buren to the End of his Public Career (1889). Bancroft writes, in part: "...Some details from yourself of your first entrance into public life, which you once gave to me in conversation, I must have, then some sketches of conversations with Gen. Jackson. In short; I shall trouble you daily, & you can dictate to Smith if you have not time to write yourself. With Marcy I abhor man worship; not is that the object, but a statement of the course of political life in your day & your relations in the representation of the true doctrine. Choate would have resigned if Webster could have been elected. The Whig house positively would not elect him; which will not increase Webster's love of Clay. I have just made myself familiar with your New York politics in early times: having finished tonight reading Chancellor Livingston's Letters & correspondence during a period of time & twenty years". Bancroft's biography would take over 40 years to see publication. According to his preface to the 1889 work, he had undertaken the biography at the behest of "Silas Wright, then United States Senator of New York...I answered that I did not possess adequate materials for the undertaking. At a later day he brought me a singularly complete collection of manuscripts, including letters and papers extending to the end of Van Buren's public career....The manuscript was seen by Van Buren, who pronounced it, as a record of facts relating to himself, authentic and true. At the time of its preparation the public mind was grievously agitated by part division on public affairs and on public men; the manuscript was, therefore, put aside for publication in times more favorable to a fairness of judgment on the character and career of Van Buren...". Usual folds, weak folds repaired, else very good condition.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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