Lot 27: Civil War-dated autograph endorsement, signed as president, "A. Lincoln," dated June 4, 1863, on the reverse of the second integral page of a two-page letter of the same date sent to him by Samuel A. Foot. Foot writes, in full: "Under the new arrangements, which it is understood are about being made in respect to South Carolina, the Government may need the services of some one as U. S. District Judge for the District of that State. I offer my services for that purpose, with the understanding and pledge on my part, to resign whenever the Government can find a suitable person, a citizen of that state, to take the position." On the reverse Lincoln has forwarded Foot's letter to his attorney general, Edward Bates, writing, in full: "Attorney General, please preserve-Judge Foot is cousin to the Admiral, & is vouched as an excellent man. A. Lincoln, June 4, 1863." Letter is also docketed in an unknown hand: "South Carolina District Judgeship, June 4, 1863." In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, scattered light soiling, a thin line of toning through endorsement and first letter of Lincoln's signature, and scattered light creasing.
Just months after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Samuel A. Foot, former presiding judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, offered his services to stand in as District Judge for South Carolina. The most pressing legal issue facing the courts was the implementation of the Proclamation, which asserted the freedom of slaves in the rebellious states and offered no compensation to their owners-earlier legislation was in conflict with this, requiring that individuals were to return runaway slaves to their owners. Federal judges would have to rule on the new law, for which purpose abolitionists like Foot were encouraged to render their services. Despite Lincoln's glowing endorsement of Foot, whom the New York Times referred to as Lincoln's 'warm friend on many occasions,' the Attorney General's office left the judgeship vacant. This war-dated document holds an excellent personal endorsement for a friend and fellow abolitionist at a critical time in the battle against slavery.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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