Stoddert, Benjamin

Ca. 1801 ALS from the 1st Navy Secretary, engaging in some influence peddling

Price: $395.00 Special Offer - $325.00



Description:
(1751-1813) Pennsylvania cavalry captain, secretary to Continental Board of War during the War of Independence. In 1781, he married the daughter of a Maryland merchant and went into business in George Town, Maryland (later, Georgetown, District of Columbia). President Washington asked Stoddert to purchase key parcels of land in the area for the nation's capital, before a formal decision to establish the federal city drove up prices, and Stoddert transferred parcels to the government. During the 1790s, he helped found the Bank of Columbia to handle purchases of land in the District of Columbia for the federal government. In May 1798, President Adams appointed loyal Federalist Stoddert to oversee the newly established Navy Department. As 1st Secretary of the Navy 1798-March 31, 1801, he dealt with an undeclared naval war with France (“the Quasi-War”). He realized the infant Navy had too few warships to protect a far-flung merchant marine and that the best way to defeat the French campaign against US shipping was by offensive operations in the Caribbean, where most French cruisers were based. Under his leadership, the Navy acquitted itself well and stopped depredations by French ships against American commerce. He established the 1st 6 navy yards and advocated building 12 ships of the line. Congress initially approved construction of 6, but after the peace accord with France, eliminated ships of the line and reduced the officer corps. His last years saw a decline in his fortunes: he lost heavily in land speculation, Georgetown declined as a commercial center, and the Embargo and War of 1812 halted overseas trade. 8 x 6 ¼ ALS likely while Secretary, on "Washington City” watermarked paper, no date (but ca. early 1801), to a Col. Bussard. Stoddert comments regarding the likelihood of Bussard securing a position as a one of the commissioners to superintend erection of public buildings in Washington, D.C., replacing the deceased Commissioner Scott (d. Dec. 25, 1800). Stoddert has not seen the President, and mentioned one McWilliams “…because I supposed he would be a valuable Comr – you had better raise no expectation perhaps a day or two will determine. – At present, I imagine the Prest thinks of Mr. Dalton.” At lower left is a note, likely in the hand of Col. Bussard: “I recd this since/I wrote my letter/WWB”. With integral address leaf. Gustavus Scott (1753-Dec. 25, 1800) Maryland lawyer and public official from Maryland. He was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention in 1774 & 1775, a member of the 1st state constitutional convention in 1776, and member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1780. Scott was elected to the Confederation Congress in 1784, but did not attend. He was one of the commissioners to superintend erection of the public buildings in Washington, DC 1794-1800. "Dalton" may refer to Tristram Dalton Jr. (?), son of Tristram Dalton Sr. (1738-1817), Mass. US Senator 1789-91. Dalton Jr. was induced by George Washington to invest heavily in property in what is now Washington, DC, which did not prove a successful venture for him.

Condition: Very good, small ink blob on 2nd “d” in signature, a rough edge, written on cheap, thin paper
Type:Letter






[View Shopping Cart]
[Home] [Articles] [Biography] [Calendar]
[Catalogue] [Search]



enbainc@cs.com

Edward N. Bomsey Autographs, Inc.
7317 Farr Street
Annandale, VA 22003-2516
(703) 642-2040(phone & fax)




Home
Home

Articles
Articles

Biography
Biography

Calendar
Calendar

Catalogue
Catalogue

Search
Search