103
103
Johnson, Andrew, seventeenth President
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 3,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
103
Johnson, Andrew, seventeenth President
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 3,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Johnson, Andrew, seventeenth President
Autograph letter signed ("Andrew Johnson"), 1 page (10 x 8 in.; 254 x 203 mm), Washington, 28 January 1850, to Treasury Secretary W. M. Meredith, integral address leaf; silked.  Half green morocco clamshell case, spine with brown morocco gilt lettering-pieces.
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Provenance

Mrs. Philip D. Sang, sold Sotheby's 28 March 1985, lot 184

Catalogue Note

Andrew Johnson, as Congressman, makes enquiries into the government funding of the Smithsonian Institution.  "Will you be kind enough to inform me what kind debentures the Smithson Fund consist, the prospect of their being paid and when, the original amount received by the United States, the amount of interest paid out of the Treasury upon the same and whether that interest has been reinvested in stocks of the U. S.  I would like to know the precise condition of the fund and whether Arcansaw [sic] and the other states holding the fund have paid back into the treasury either interest or principal, or made any arrangements to do the same.  Your early compliance with this request will much oblige." 

James Smithson, the British chemist, stated in his will that £120,000 be "left to the United States for the purpose of  founding an Institution at Washington to be called the Smithsonian Institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."  After several years of congressional haggling, the building of the institution was begun in 1846.  Some of the surplus funds were invested in trust for the continuing use of the institution.  A portion of these funds were invested in worthless Arkansas bonds, which Johnson discusses here. 

 

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York