Lot 524: ALS, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.5 x 7.25, July 28, 1852. Letter to Boston Atlas editor Thomas Mayo Brewer, written during Scott's unsuccessful presidential run as the Whig party candidate, in part: "The 'extract' etc. is a miserable fiction with a very slight foundation of truth. Mr. Trist & myself, tho' not intimate, knew each others persons at Washington, quite well. He was appointed commissioner partly on account of his acquaintance with the Spanish language, & partly because he was known to entertain the most violent prejudice against me. Of this I was informed by letter at the time. He came up with the army while it lay at Jalapa. We had, after his landing, had a violent quarrel by correspondence, & hence we did not meet till we had reached Puebla. There he was seized with a dangerous illness-lodging with his friend Genl. P. F. Smith, in whose charge I had placed him. Thro' Smith (a capital fellow) he desired to see me, & I instantly repaired to his sick bed. I had already made every possible effort to serve him in his prostrate condition, & continued my attentions. Being of a generous nature, he became grateful & devoted. This is the whole story. Mr. Trist's appointment was eminently fortunate in respect to peace. He is highly brave & honourable, & was a great favourite with the Mexican Commissioners." Scott adds a pair of brief postscripts at the conclusion, signing with his initials, "W. S." In fine condition, with a trivial paperclip impression to top edge, and slight show-through from writing to opposing sides.
Appointed chief clerk of the State Department, Nicholas Trist was sent by Polk to negotiate an end to the US-Mexican War in 1847. While there, he developed a friendship with Winfield Scott-a friendship that led Polk to distrust him. When the President recalled Trist in October, he refused to leave and continued negotiations, successfully completing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February of 1848. He was fired upon his return and his career never recovered, but those who worked with him-including Scott, as evidenced in this letter-regarded him as an upstanding character and important piece of America's relations with Mexico. A charming and scarce letter written during Scott's run for the presidency.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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