Cushing, Caleb

1866 ALS to powerful New York Republican boss Roscoe Conkling

Price: $95.00

Description:
(1800-1879) Mass. lawyer, state legislator and jurist, US Rep 1835-43. In 1843 President Tyler nominated Cushing as Secretary of the Treasury, but the Senate refused to confirm him. He was, however, appointed by Tyler in 1843 to be commissioner to China, serving to March 4, 1845. In 1844 he negotiated the Treaty of Wanghia, 1st treaty between China and the US, which opened 5 Chinese ports to US trade and established the principle of extraterritoriality. While commissioner to China he was also empowered to negotiate a treaty of navigation and commerce with Japan. Appointed 23rd US Attorney General 1853-57 (Pierce). A Northerner with Southern sympathies, he supported the Dred Scott decision to such a degree that Chief Justice Taney wrote Cushing thanking him for his support. He presided over the 1860 Democratic National Convention which met first at Charleston and later at Baltimore, until he joined those who seceded from the regular convention; he then presided over the convention of seceding delegates who nominated John C. Breckinridge for the Presidency. President Buchanan sent him to Charleston in 1860 as confidential commissioner to the South Carolina secessionists. Despite having favored states' rights and opposed abolition of slavery, he supported the Union during the Civil War. Andrew Johnson appointed him one of 3 commissioners assigned to revise and codify the laws of the United States Congress, serving 1866-70. In 1868, with the Minister Resident to Colombia, Cushing went to Bogotá and worked to negotiate a right-of-way treaty for a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama. At the 1871-72 Geneva conference for the settlement of the “Alabama” claims, he was appointed senior US counsel by President Grant to the Geneva Tribunal of Arbitration. He was Minister to Spain 1874-77. Nominated as Chief Justice in 1874 but not confirmed by Senate. 7 ¼ x 4 ¾ ALS, Washington, May 181866, to Hon. Roscoe Conkling, regarding a meeting with him at Cushing’s home. Roscoe Conkling (1829-1888) NY US Rep. 1859-63 & 1865-67, Senator 1867-81. Powerful NY political boss, rival of Blaine for 1876 GOP presidential nomination, opposed Hayes & Garfield and resigned Senate seat in protest of Garfield’s interference in Conkling’s control over patronage in NY. Sought but failed in reelection bid, declined Supreme Court appointment in 1882.

Condition: Very good, slight ink smears from hasty folding
Type:Letter






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