McLean, John

1840 ALS while Associate Justice, to the lawyer son of his Assistant when Postmaster General, later counsel for Lincoln assassination conspirators, the Surratts

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Description:
(1785-1861) American jurist, Ohio US Rep 1813-16, Ohio Supreme Court Justice 1816-22, US General Land Office Commissioner 1822-23, Associate Justice US Supreme Court 1829-61. As Postmaster General 1823-29 (Monroe-Adams), he presided over massive expansion of Post Office into new western states and territories and elevation of Postmaster Generalship to Cabinet office. Associated with every party on the political spectrum, from Jackson Democrat to Anti-Jackson Democrat, Anti-Masonic Party, Whig, Free Soiler, and Republican. Because of fierce anti-slavery positions, considered by the new Republican party as its 1856 presidential candidate but nomination went to Frémont. Won 12 votes on 1st ballot at 1860 Chicago Republican Convention which ultimately nominated Lincoln. As Associate Justice, in Dred Scott v. Sanford, his fierce dissenting views are believed to have forced Chief Justice Taney into a harsher and more polarizing opinion than he originally planned. Wrote Court's opinion denying there was a common-law copyright in US law in Wheaton v. Peters. 10 x 8 ALS while Associate Justice, 1-1/4 pps (1st & 2nd pages of folded sheet, no postal markings), Washington, March 9 1840, to lawyer Joseph Bradley, involving an issue as to Post Office accounts. Justice McLean sends Bradley (not present) "some remarks on certain vouchers", and presumes originals are in the Treasury Department. He tells Bradley that his "...argument on the construction of the act of 1835 is with the Attorney General and I wish to call for the original, as a copy, should the Attorney General decide against me. If the decision shall be favorable, I wish you to give some attention to the accounts before the auditors. He must allow, I think, upwards of four thousand dollars. You will see the items charged and can apply to them the principles decided." McLean sends a file consisting of letters between a Mr. Dealin and himself "reflecting the accounts" to give him some knowledge of them. McLean will be in Louisville a part of the summer if not the whole of it. Worthy of further research, likely dealing with issues arising from McLean's tenure while Postmaster General. JOSEPH H. BRADLEY (1803-1887) Washington lawyer, son of Abraham Bradley, Jr. (1767-1838), lawyer, jurist, cartographer, and Assistant Postmaster General for 30 years, including under McLean's tenure. Abraham Bradley was responsible for moving the government post office from Philadelphia to the new capital at Washington, hosting the national post office in his own home for a period. He drew detailed innovative postal route maps and his original 1796 work was one of the 1st comprehensive maps of the US. Son Joseph (Yale 1821) studied law while working in the Office of the Clerk of the US Supreme Court. Admitted to the DC Bar in 1825, he became one of the most prominent members of the DC bar for some 60 years, and was considered one of the best criminal lawyers in the country. While representing the Surratts in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy trial, he and presiding Judge Fisher had hot words and Judge Fisher disbarred Bradley; he was reinstated 6 years later by the Supreme Court.

Condition: Good, slightly light, folds, tiny gouges at top right & top left corner
Type:Letter






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