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LT. GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/21/1812 - HFSID 275357

A MONTH AFTER THE START OF THE WAR THAT WOULD MAKE HIM A HERO, SCOTT WRITES TO GENERAL THOMAS HENRY CUSHING REGARDING HIS RIGHT TO PUBLISH INFORMATION RELATING TO CUSHING'S COURT MARTIAL

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Reg. $1,200.00

Condition: lightly creased
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A MONTH AFTER THE START OF THE WAR THAT WOULD MAKE HIM A HERO, SCOTT WRITES TO GENERAL THOMAS HENRY CUSHING REGARDING HIS RIGHT TO PUBLISH INFORMATION RELATING TO CUSHING'S COURT MARTIAL
 
WINFIELD SCOTT. ALS: "W. Scott" on page 3, 4p, 7½x9½, conjoined leaves. Philadelphia, 1812 July 21. Addressed by Scott on verso of integral leaf to: "Genl. Thos: H. Cushing, Washington City." Headed: "(Unofficial)". Begins: "Sir". In full: "The letter which you did me the honor to address to me, on the 18th instant, is received. Your wish to suppress the publication of your trial, is natural in your circumstances: the publick may be less indulgent to you, than the court. This consideration, however, did not enter into my original determination, nor will it influence my conduct as to the future. The trial of a publick delinquent, is a matter of publick concern; and, as any person may prosecute, so may any person publish. Conviction and punishment have not their full effect unless the example be generally known. Hence, I deduce the right to print your case. But, if I were to publish, that you had been convicted of 'conduct unbecoming a gentleman' (I mean only to illustrate) when in fact the court did not attach that character to a certain offence, and only convicted you of a breach of orders, in one instance, & of unofficer-like conduct in in (sic) two others; - or, if I were to publish, that you had been cashiered the army, because you were curious in letters, when, in fact, you were only sentenced to be reprimanded in general orders, for that curiosity, among other things; - in either case, I should, perhaps, be guilty of a libel; and, if I am to judge from your letter to me, you would be glad enough to recompense yourself in damages. But, Sir, whatever I may offer to the press, on your subject, shall be the truth; and if your conduct has really been as blameless, as you have caused it to be represented - permit me to enquire, cui malo? The high swell of authority which your letter breathes, and the mandatory tone in which you endeavor to impose upon me, your construction of the 90th article of the rules & articles of war, might have been considered as imperative and conclusive, did I not know, as I think I do know, that your judgment, tho' extolled, =tolled, is not infallible, and your station, tho' high, not without its boundaries and limitations. Upon a private subject, therefore, or one which does not involve a question of military subordination, I must pray you to pardon me, Sir, if I neither regard your menaces, nor respect your authority. I have the honour to remain, Sir, Yr. most obt. servt." The U.S. had declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, just a month before Scott wrote this letter.THOMAS HENRY CUSHING (1755-1822) was a career soldier who headed the Seventh Military District from 1810-1811. Cushing, who had served as a Sergeant in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, had been promoted to Brigadier General in the spring of 1812. We have found references to his court martial in 1812, but information on the circumstances of Cushing's arrest and the outcome of his trial was unavailable. He did remain in the Army, however, receiving an honorable discharge in 1815, the year the War of 1812 ended, but Cushing saw no action due to poor health. WINFIELD SCOTT (1786-1866) rose to Major General in the War of 1812. During the Mexican War, he captured Vera Cruz, defeated the Mexicans at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey and Chapultepec and occupied Mexico City. Scott was General in Chief of the U.S. Army from 1841-1861. The last presidential nominee of the Whig Party, "Old Fuss n' Feathers" lost the election of 1852 to Democrat Franklin Pierce. Scott deserves to be recognized as one of the finest military leaders the U.S. has produced. His campaign from the coast to Mexico City, against a foe more skilled and tenacious than is generally recalled today, was bold, and brilliantly executed. The "Anaconda Plan" he proposed to President Lincoln in 1861, calling for a blockade of southern ports coordinated with a combined army/navy push down the Mississippi River to cut the Confederacy in half, provided the framework for ultimate Union victory. Lightly creased with folds, light vertical fold nicks the "S" of Scott. 2x¼-inch paper loss at blank area of lower integral leaf has been inexpertly repaired with tape on signature page. Light show through of ink. Lightly soiled, stray ink blots touch three words of writing on first page. Minor rust-colored stains on address leaf. Overall, fine and interesting.

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