JOHN P. VAN NESS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 12/23/1832 - HFSID 34838
Sale Price $488.75
JOHN VAN NESS
The Mayor of Washington seeks Congressional funding to reclaim portions of the National Mall from private uses.
Autograph Letter signed: "John P. Van Ness", 2p, 7¾x9¾. No place, Sunday evening, 1832 December 23. Addressed in his hand on integral mailing leaf to C. F. Mercer, Washington. In full: Will you do me the favor to obtain from :Mr. Jarvis, Chairman of the Committee on the Public Buildings, whether that Committee and Congress will probably act promptly on the subject of the Resolution (referred) for a repurchase of the Mall property? In consequence of repeated assurances, the confident opinion that Congress wishes to & will repurchase, we have hitherto, though at considerable inconvenience, refrained from any measures that might embarrass the transfer of the property; bout our circumstances now require action in the case. I have not the pleasure of knowing, personally, Mr. Jarvis, or I would do myself the honor of calling to see him, although I am most incessantly & laboriously engaged at present. Any information you may receive in the morning I will be much indebted to you for, as our Council is to be in session at 4 O'Clock P.M. tomorrow. With great respect & consideration your obedient servant." JOHN VAN NESS (1770-1846) served part of one term in the US Congress from New York (1801-1803), the seat declared forfeit by Congress when Van Ness accepted from President Jefferson an appointment as major in the Washington, D.C. militia. Thereafter Van Ness lived in Washington and focused on the District's affairs. Rising to the rank of major general in the militia, he also served a term as Alderman and then was Mayor of Washington, D.C. (1830-1834). Van Ness was also a charter member (1833) of the Washington National Monument Society, which began raising money by subscription for the construction of the Washington Monument. Van Ness did not live to see the cornerstone of the obelisk laid (1848), nor was the reclaiming of the National Mall completed until the 20th century. He would no doubt be pleased by the chain of museums and monuments which compose the Mall today, stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol. CHARLES FENTON MERCER (1778-1858), the letter's recipient, was Congressional Representative from Virginia (1817-1839) and Chairman of the U.S. Houses' Committee on Roads and Canals. The Mr. Jarvis mentioned in the letter may have been Leonard Jarvis, who represented Maine in the US Congress at the time of this letter (1829-1837), although his Congressional biography lists him as chairing the Navy Committee, not the Committee on Public Buildings. Slightly soiled. Mailing folds. One-half-inch hole at upper left corner. Two one-inch tears on integral leaf and adhesive remnant from mailing seal. Otherwise, fine condition.
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