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During boom time for the Post Office, Senator Buchanan signs an autograph letter informing a private mail contractor of his chances for government approval.
ALS: "James Buchanan" as U.S. Senator, 1 page, 8x10. Washington, 1837 February 20. To Henry Y. Slazmaher, Esq. In full: "Ere this you will have received the note which Mr. Hobbie addressed to me. From it you will perceive that the Postmaster General has promised you a hearing & that you should shall receive notice of the time. I regret to say I can give you but little encouragement. His decisions, so far as I know, are always against the contractors. Several of them have appealed to Congress, and I fear you will be placed under this necessity. Please to remember me kindly to your mother & the ladies of your family & believe me to be always your friend." At the time of this letter, the government held the monopoly on letter-carrying over official post roads (which included waterways). But the rising cost of postage created a system of private expresses. Eight years after this letter, a law created the contractor system which called for hiring private or star route contractors to carry the mail between post offices. SELAH REEVE HOBBIE (1797-1854) had served as Democratic Congressman from New York from 1827-1829 when President Jackson appointed him Assistant Postmaster General, a post he held from 1829-1851. The Postmaster General at the time was Amos Kendall, who had been appointed by President Jackson on May 1, 1835, continuing under Van Buren to May 25, 1840. Folds, one vertical touches the "e" in James. Lightly creased. Fine condition.

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Born: April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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