Hero of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War
General-in-Chief of the United States Army
Autograph Letter Signed
Written to the prominent lawyer and civil servant, Samuel L. Gouverneur concerning the presidency of "Old Hickory," Andrew Jackson!
(1786-1866) A year older than the Constitution, the venerable Winfield Scott, hero of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, became General in chief of the U.S. Army in 1841, a position he still held at the start of the Civil War. A true professional soldier, he was one of the very few men in the country who saw the need to prepare for a major military effort as the impending Civil War grew ever closer. His "Anacondona Plan" proved to be very sound and helped to defeat the Confederacy. Succeeded by General George B. McClellan in November 1861, he retired to write his memoirs, and died at West Point in 1866 where he is buried. A Virginian, he was the only non-West Pointer of Southern origin in the Regular Army to remain loyal to the Union. His service as the Commanding General of the United States Army for twenty years was the longest that any officer ever held that position.
Autograph Letter Signed: 7 3/4 x 9 3/4, in ink. This is the post script of a folded letter written by Winfield Scott to the prominent lawyer and civil servant, Samuel L. Gouverneur, who was both the nephew, and son-in-law of U.S. President James Monroe. The content is excellent and this post script stands on its own merits as it is both signed and dated by Winfield Scott. Known as a folded letter, this letter sheet was used not only to write the letter on, but it was then folded using a blank panel on the reverse side to address it as an envelope would be. It is entirely addressed in the hand of Winfield Scott: "To Samuel L. Gouverneur, Esqr., Post Master, New York," and it has been free franked, stamped in red, "FREE."
P.S. The debate on the deposit question was this morning postponed till tomorrow, some five sets of resolutions on the subject having been yesterday referred to a Commissioner & a report made thereon this morning, it became necessary to print the new resolutions. Rely upon it, the removal of the deposits will be strongly condemned by an immense majority. This condemnation, I think cannot [but help] to break the administration phalanx in the U.S.H. of Representatives & induce some thirty or forty Jackson** men to vote for a restoration. Rely also upon the appearance that the President will not dare to veto the Resolution if it passes the two Houses of Congress.
Jan. 14, 1834
**General Winfield Scott is referring to President Andrew Jackson, who was serving as the 7th President of the United States when this event happened.
The letter is in very good condition with light age toning and wear and some paper loss at the upper left corner which does not affect any of the content. There is another area of paper loss at the left edge which does cause the loss of 2 words, and there are remnants of the original red wax seal at the right edge which does not affect any of the content. Very desirable.
The recipient of this letter, Samuel L. Gouverneur, was a prominent attorney, civil servant, and both the nephew and son-in-law of the 5th President of the United States James Monroe. Born in 1799 in New York City, his mother was the sister of President Monroe's wife. After his graduation from Columbia in 1817, he served as the private secretary of his uncle President James Monroe. Gouverneur married President Monroe's daughter (his first cousin), Maria Hester Monroe, on March 9, 1820, and it was the first wedding ever held in the White House for a child of a President of the United States. General Thomas Jesup served as groomsman at the wedding. Gouverneur was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1825, and he served as Postmaster of New York City from 1828 to 1836. He helped former president Monroe press his claims to the U.S. Congress to repay mounting debts, and after Monroe's wife's death in 1830, the former president lived with his nephew/son-in-law until his own death in 1831. Gouverneur was executor of Monroe's estate, which had to be sold off to pay the debts. Monroe was buried in the Gouverneur family vault at the New York City Marble Cemetery, until descendants had the remains moved to the James Monroe Tomb in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Monroe's personal papers were left to Gouverneur, who started work on publishing them, but the project was never finished. The Gouverneur's later moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the consular bureau of the U.S. Department of State from 1844 to 1849. After congress agreed to buy the papers of President Monroe, Gouverneur proposed a similar arrangement, which was finally concluded in 1850. After his wife Maria died in 1850, he married Mary D. Lee, granddaughter of Thomas S. Lee, and they retired to the Lee estate called "Needwood," near Frederick, Maryland. The family relations reached a breaking point during the Civil War, as Gouverneur supported President Lincoln and the Federal Government, while his in-laws were deeply rooted in the Confederacy. Samuel L. Gouverneur died on September 29, 1865, living long enough to see the Federal victory, and peace restored to the Union that his uncle President James Monroe helped to create as one of the "Founding Fathers."