Manuscript letter signed


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VAN BUREN, Martin. Manuscript letter signed. Washington, May 19, 1830. Single sheet of unlined paper, measuring 8 by 12-3/4 inches; p. 1. $1350.

Manuscript letter in a secretarial hand appointing a former Maine Supreme Court justice to the position of Minister to the Netherlands, signed by Secretary of State and future president Martin Van Buren.

This letter appoints a powerful Maine judge, William P. Preble to be a diplomat to the Netherlands. The letter, written in a secretarial hand and signed by Van Buren as Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson, reads: "Department of State. Washington 19th May 1830. No 5. William P. Preble Esquire. Envoy Extraordinary & Minister. Plenipotentiary of the U.S. to the Netherlands. Sir. The Senate hearing advised and consented to your appointment as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands, I herewith transmit to you your commission in that character. I am respectfully Your Obedt: Servt: [signed] Martin Van Buren." Appointee William Pitt Preble began his career as a lawyer in York, Maine. Preble had a quick ascent within the field, earning an appointment as County Attorney for York County and then becoming United States Attorney for Maine. In 1819, Preble served as a delegate to the Maine Constitutional Convention, which resulted in Maine statehood (Maine was previously part of Massachusetts). After the convention, Preble was named one of the first Justices of the Maine Supreme Court. It was shortly after leaving that appointment that, in 1829, President Jackson appointed Preble Minister to the Netherlands. The appointment arose out of an agreement the King of the Netherlands had made to mediate between the U.S. and Great Britain to set the border between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Preble's in-depth knowledge of Maine law made him a prime appointee. Preble served for two years, returning to the U.S. to accept an appointment as one of the federal commissioners assigned to work with British counterparts in order to resolve remaining issues related to the border question. Maine's border issues were resolved in 1842 with the passage of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. Preble settled into private life, becoming the president of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, where he used his border knowledge to negotiate transnational rights of way.

Slightest wear and toning to margins, faint folding creases. Very nearly fine condition.

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