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The Secretary of the Navy wrote this letter discussing changes in the English language in 1858. Accompanied by a handwritten dinner invitation from his second wife to the wife of Senator George F. Edmunds.
Autograph letter signed "Geo Bancroft". 3 pages, 4½x7¼, 1 sheet folded, front and verso. New York, Dec. 10, 1858. In full: "To [illegible], We expect you, my dear sir, on Tuesday next at 5½ to dine. After leaving you I got Halliwell 3d Ed. & Wright. Neither has [illegible] as a man of the masculine gender was good English in Henry VIII's time : is in neither dictionary now. Nor in Taft, nor in Webster. It would be very [illegible] to see  together a bit of words in the Bible now obsolete; & [illegible] [illegible] of them so much the better. The laws affecting the changes in language would appear. The public is much interested in your speculations & inquiries & [illegible] will compete for being your publisher. Best regards to Mrs Marsh. Very truly yours". Postscripted: "The English use or did use much the phrase out of doors, too what was said [illegible] is the House of Commons." Lightly toned. Show-through from adhesive and writing, which touches body of letter but not signature. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. Accompanied by: Autograph letter signed "Elisabeh Bancroft". 2 pages, 4x6, 1 sheet folded, front and verso. Written on "Jan. 15". In full: "My dear Mrs Edmunds Will you and the Senator give us the pleasure of your company at dinner on Wednesday next at half past six, o'clock. You will meet only Mr Freemem the English historian and his wife with Mr & Mrs Henry Adams. Hoping that you will be able to grant out petition I am yours most truly". Lightly toned, soiled and creased. Body of letter, but not signature, is lightly smeared in places but legible. Light tear at bottom left corner of page 2. Folded in half and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. Both letters are affixed to a 5¼x7½ sheet of paper. "Elizabeh Bancroft" is George Bancroft's second wife, whom he married after the death of his first wife Sarah Davis in 1837. "Mrs Edmunds" is probably SUSAN MARSH EDMUNDS, the wife of GEORGE F. EDMUNDS (1828-1919) represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate from April 3, 1866 until his resignation on Nov. 1, 1891. He served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1883 to 1885 when, with no Vice President after Garfield's assassination, he was next in line to the Presidency. He was also a member of the Electoral Commission that decided the hotly contested election of 1876 - a squeaker with only one electoral vote between Republican victor Rutherford B. Hayes and Democratic Samuel J. Tilden, who won the popular vote. Historian GEORGE BANCROFT (1800-1891) is best known for his ten-volume History of the United States (1834-1873). Bancroft wrote well, and was accurate with his facts, but had a partisan viewpoint. (He was a Jacksonian Democrat, although one opposed to slavery). As President James K. Polk's first Secretary of the Navy (1845-1846), Bancroft established the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, finding the funds for the institution in his budget before Congress had authorized its creation. As Acting Secretary of War (1846), he issued orders to General Zachary Taylor to advance into territory disputed with Mexico, a move which triggered the Mexican War. He later served as the U.S. Minister to Great Britain (1846-1849), Prussia (1867-1871) and Germany (1871-1874). Two Items. 

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Born: October 3, 1800 in Worcester, Massachusetts
Died: January 17, 1891 in Washington, District of Columbia

Born: Oct. 1803 in Plymouth, Massachusetts
Died: Mar. 1886 in Washington, District of Columbia

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