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Morton handwrote, signed and dated this letter to W. E. Curtis in 1898. In it, the former Secretary of Agriculture writes that he wants to accept a position forming a new Department of Agriculture in Argentina, but isn't sure how to convince his family and friends that he should take the position.
Autograph letter signed "J Sterling Morton". With pencil notations on front and verso in unknown hand. 2 pages, 8½x6¼, 1 sheet folded, front and verso, on stationery from the Waldorf-Astoria, New York. Sept. 14, 1898. Addressed to W. E. Curtis. In full: "Dear W.E. Curtis I cabled [illegible]:- 'Thanks. Definite answer next month' Some of my relations and some of my friends too raise objections to my acceptance But I am inclined to accept There are great possibilities in the enterprise. It might result in great mutual advantage commercially to Argentina and to the United States. And I can think of no better use of human life and energy than the endeavor by faithful and intelligent service - to con-fer benefaction. It seems credible that Americans can, by an enlightened and helpful interest in its development make the Argentine a firm commercial friend. It would be a very grateful task if I could efficiently become useful in establishing satisfactory trade relations with that Country. It would be worth the voyage and all sacrifices if one could even help to strengthen our present amicable relations with that young Republic. How shall I convince my family and friends that I ought not to reject this great honor? How shall I make it seem to them (as it now begins to appear to me) that it my duty [sic] to accept, and to go, and to work with all my strength to found for Argentina a useful and efficient Department of Agriculture? Never in my life have I been more perplexed as to what I ought to do. Consider me not too tedious. But prepare to hear from me again. Address me here until Wednesday. Hope to see you [illegible] Yours". It doesn't seem that Morton succeeded in convincing his family or even himself of taking this position in Argentina. Morton (1832-1902, born in Adams, New York) was Secretary of Nebraska Territory (1858-1861) and served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture in his second term (1893-1897). Morton also founded Arbor Day. Lightly toned and stained. Right of sheet discolored and with adhesive residue. Folded once (not including spine of letter) and unfolded. Some handwriting is lightly smeared. Otherwise in fine condition.

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Born: April 22, 1832 in Adams, New York
Died: April 27, 1902 in Lake Forest, Illinois

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