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BENJAMIN F. BUTLER. Autograph Letter signed: "B. F. Butler", 4p (integral leaf), 7¾x9¾. New York, 1840 July 11. To "The Hon. H. D. Gilpin", in full: "I was not aware until taking up the Evening Post last evening of the new obligation under which your kindness has laid me; and must ask you to bear with me whilst I convey to you what I know your generosity does not desire, the assurance of my warm & heartfelt gratitude. To be regarded, by a man like yourself, as deserving the public notice you thought it right to take of me, is indeed a rich compensation for any services I may have been so fortunate as to render to my country, and much more than an equivalent for the labor, responsibilities and occasional obloquy, which have attended them. In regard to the assaults sometimes made upon my personal character, if I have not been much injured or annoyed by them, they have yet been of this service to me: they have admonshed me of the fallibility and imperfection of my nature, since, with the purest motives, & the greatest circumspection I was capable of exercising, I have not always been able to avoid, what I am bound to believe, has, at least seemed to be equivocal; - they have taught me to seek for a higher & more durable species of approbation, than the opinions of men; & they have induced me to guard against lending too ready an ear, to accusations against others, by showing me, in my own case, how easily the best intentioned acts may be misapprehended or distorted, when viewed through the medium of personal or party prejudice. Besides, it has sometimes occurred to me, that in addition to the uses above referred to, it may also be a part of the design of Providence, in permitting us to be unjustly assailed, to chastise us for those sins of which every man must be cautious, but of which either the world knows nothing, or does not attempt to take cognizance. However this may be, one who is anxious of rectitude & motive, may well sustain many more & much graver assaults, than have been made on me; especially when he has the public support & enjoys the private friendship of persons like yourself. For the manner in which you have now given that support & manifested that friendship, I must again request you to accept my thanks, with the assurance that I am as always, your friend. [signature] PS. Be pleased to tender to Mrs. Gilpin my heartfelt & most sincere salutations." Benjamin Franklin BUTLER (1795-1858) a former member of the New York State Assembly (1827-1833), served as Attorney General under Presidents Jackson and Van Buren (1833-1838). In 1836-1837, he served concurrently as Secretary of War. Following his term, he was U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1838-1841, 1845-1848). He helped to organize what is today New York University's law school. Addressee Henry D. GILPIN (1801-1860) also served as President Van Buren's Attorney General (1840-1841), in which capacity he argued the government's (losing) position in the Amistad case before the Supreme Court. Paper separation at top (2-inch) and bottom (1-inch) edges of centerfold. One-inch, light moisture stain near middle of centerfold, on both facing pages.

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Born: December 17, 1795 in Kinderhook Landing, Columbia County, New York
Died: November 8, 1858 in Paris, France

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