CHIEF JUSTICE OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR. - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 06/01/1898 - HFSID 348159
Sale Price $3,612.50
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.The jurist handwrote, signed, and dated this letter in 1898, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, to longtime correspondent Lady Castletown Autograph letter signed "OWH" as Justice of the Massachusetts State Supreme Court. 4 pages, 15½x9¾, framed in Gallery of History style to 39½x21½. Boston, Massachusetts, June 1, 1898. In the letter, he writes about his fear - common at the time - that the Spanish fleet would shell Boston and his doubts about how Secretary of the Navy John Long would perform in the upcoming war. He also writes about Karl Marx: "With some misgivings, I am inclined to believe K. Marx a great man". On letterhead of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to Lady Castletown. Begins: "Dear Hibernia". In full: "I received yesterday a dear irritable letter from you on your return from your Expedition which only worried me because you say you are not well. Be quick to tell me that you are all right again. I infer that my letters have taken a long time on the way. I have written Every week or Every week but ones which I don't remember about quite certainly. Most of the letters were no good because I Could not bring myself to feel free in view of the Chances of their going astray. I suppose they will Come Struggling back to Ireland, but I am sorry that I should have seemed not to have done as I was bid. I did religiously - My work is also done Except a Consolation - and I still am hanging in Exasperating uncertainty as to coming over...It seems odd for John Long to be in Charge of the Navy Department. He was a lawyer here arguing Jury Cases before me and the others a little while ago and I don't suppose Knows much about ships - Also a Cold water man - and friendest I am told of a peace Society! But he is able and I hope suppose Knows Enough to keep himself in good hands. He was the Governor of the state who appointed me Judge which speaks for his intelligence - although he did not disguise that he would have liked to appoint another man, a democrat…With some misgivings, I am inclined to believe K. Marx a great man - more or less perverted with bitterness by proscription but having worked out for himself under Hegelian inspiration a sort of Evolutionary theory. The Hegelians you know would tell you that Hegel was the new father of Evolution…The little I have read, after beginning very quickly strikes me as delightfully amusing and …original. Mrs. De La Rue Smith seems to be Mrs. Pousmby de To …. Made articulate by the aid of the Doley Dialogues but none the less amusing enough --- Adieu Adieu It is - remember" Lightly creased with folds. Otherwise, fine condition. Accompanied by autograph envelope, unsigned, 4½x3½, 5-cent stamp affixed, postmarked Boston, Massachusetts, June 2, 1898. Addressed by Holmes: "per Lucania/The Lady Castletown/of Upper Ossory/Brooke's Club/St James Street/London W/17. June. 98". Fine condition. Holmes, as a justice of the Massachusetts State Supreme Court, wrote this letter to his friend Lady Castletown shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War (April 25, 1898). The declaration of war, which came two months after the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba (February 15, 1898), brought a fear of attack along the East Coast from the Spanish home fleet. Holmes wrote of his apprehension concerning a potential bombardment of Boston and the qualifications of John Long as Secretary of the Navy, appointed on March 5, 1897. Long, former Governor of Massachusetts and a highly reputed lawyer, knew little of naval affairs, though he proved competent in administering the general business of his office. Holmes shared his comments on his recent readings dealing with Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864), a prominent spokesman for German socialism, a founder of the German labor movement and a disciple of Karl Marx (1818-1883). Holmes also expresses an admiration for Marx for developing his socialist theory for a utopian society conditioned by the workings of historical events. Marx's ideas were based on the thinking of George W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), whose philosophy purported that all things can be explained by a unifying metaphysical process he called "the dialectic." The mixture of intellectual and personal anecdotes found in this letter was typical of the manner in which he wrote to Lady Castletown. LADY CASTLETOWN, the Honorable Ursula Clare Emily St. Leger, was married to the 2nd Baron of Castletown of Upper Ossory (southwest Leinster, Ireland). Sir Bernard Edward Barnaby FitzPatrick. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR. (1841-1935) began his judicial career in 1867 after graduating from Harvard Law School(1866). He practiced for 15 years, edited the American Law Review (1870-1873) lectured on law before his appointment to the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1882. After serving 20 years on that bench (1882-1902), he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to the United States Supreme Court, where heacquired the reputation as "the Great Dissenter”. He served as an Associate Justice for just over 29 years! Frame chipped along back edges. Otherwise, fine condition. Two items, framed together in the Gallery of History style: 39½x21½.
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