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WILLIAM C. ENDICOTT - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 04/09/1869 - HFSID 17470

He writes a contentious letter to Boston lawyer Samuel Sewall, regarding a property dispute in the town of Nahant. If Sewall's client won't compromise, "we shall be forced to take such actions as the law permits us."

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WILLIAM C. ENDICOTT He writes a contentious letter to Boston lawyer Samuel Sewall, regarding a property dispute in the town of Nahant. If Sewall's client won't compromise, "we shall be forced to take such actions as the law permits us." Autograph Letter signed: "Wm C. Endicott", 6 pages, 5¼x8. Salem [Massachusetts], 1869 April 9. To Samuel E. Sewall, Boston. In full: "I was on the point of writing you a note today when Mr Messer appeared with your note of this morning. I do not think it possible that it could have been stated at the town meeting that yu had made an agreement with me for a compromise of the Nipper Stage matter. You did not make such an agreement, & Mr. Johnson the chairman of the selectmen I am very sure does not so understand it. I did understand that you thought there should be an adjustment, and hoped that it might be brought about, and that you would confer again with Mrs. Tudor on the subject, Mrs. Snow being about the last time I saw you. Pending further negotiations, I thought it best that the town at their town meeting should take such action, or express such opinions as would indicate to the selectmen and also the owners of the property what the public wishes were in relation to the matter. This you will remember I stated to you I should do. For myself I did express a very decided opinion that when the whole matter was fairly presented, that it could and would be adjusted, and in expressing this opinion I counted on your cooperation and good judgment. Mr. Johnson has been to see me since the meeting and told me what took place, and what had impressed him most was that it had been denied that you were Mrs. Tudor's counsel or had any authority or right to act or even talk about the matter for her. The circumstances under which I opened the negotiations with you, and the purpose I had in view I think I sufficiently explained to you. I did not know any other or better way to make the first step in attempting to settle that which seemed to me should be settled. I know you were the Trustee of a large part of the Nahant property, had acted as her counsel in many matters there, and that your relations were such with her that you could easily communicate with her, and the usual & professional practice in such cases directed me to you. I did not consider that you were committing her or yourself in the matter. I think we entirely understand each other so far as the subject matter of your note is concerned. I do not think it would be proper for me to take the same course with Mr. Atwood, he not being a lawyer, I should not feel like making proposals to him.. Though of course I should be very happy to meet him if desired. But I see no objection to my stating to you what it has been my purpose to state before receiving your note of this morning, and eclose to you a copy of the note at the Town Meeting. We believe that we can clearly establish the fact that there is a public landing at the place designated near to Nipper stage, a portion of which indeed the important portion of which has been inclined by Mrs. Tudor's agents. It being a public landing thus obstructed, the remedy in the public is the same as when a person enclosed or builds a fence on a common or training field or across a highway. Any person having occasion to use it may remove the obstruction, or may by complaint to the grand jury cause an indictment to be found against those who erect or maintain such obstructions. The town of Nahant has no rights there as a corporation of course, but it is usual for the public to look to the town authorities to act in such matters, and the action of town meeting is such an expression of opinion that the selectmen, unless some arrangement is made will be obliged to take one or the other course above stated. Whether they do this as officers or citizens is immaterial. To avoid taking this decided course I consulted with you believing that we might settle the controversy. I believe we can now; we are willing to make all reasonable concessions, and I should advise arbitration if we cannot agree after conference. But if we are not met in a similar spirit, we shall be forced to take such actions as the law permits to us. What that is I have stated, as I understand it. I hope to hear a reasonable reply from you or from those who have authority to deal with this matter. If in town tomorrow I will call & see you. Very truly yours".  William Crowninshield Endicott (1826-1900), a Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice (1873-1883) and Democratic candidate for Governor of that State (1884), was President Cleveland's Secretary of War in his first term (1885-1889). An active Secretary of War, Endicott introduced examinations for officer promotions and revamped the nation's coastal fortification. He was the first Democrat to hold the office since the Civil War. He was a direct lineal descendent of John Endecott, the first Governor of colonial Massachusetts (from 1629). Samuel E. Sewell (1799-1888), a Boston attorney active in the struggle against slavery and for women's rights, had a Massachusetts lineage as distinguished as Endicott's. His ancestor Samuel Sewell (1652-1730) had been a judge in the Salem witch trials, but also wrote one of the first anti-slavery tracts in the colonies (1700). Multiple mailing folds. Toned and creased. Corners worn. Edges lightly chipped. Otherwise, fine condition.  

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