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Lincoln’s First Vice President Mulls His Replacement’s Impeachment Trial

My impression is … that Mr Wade will not offer me any place, if he shall become Prest… You can hardly tell how we all feel humiliated & mortified here at home, that the vote of Mr. F[essenden]. is the subject of bets on the street by gamblers.

HANNIBAL HAMLIN. Autograph Letter Signed, to Sidney Perham, May 9, 1868, Bangor, Maine. 2 pp., 5 x 8 in.

Inventory #22863.02

In the midst of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, former Vice President Hannibal Hamlin writes to Maine Congressman Sidney Perham, who had voted for Johnson’s impeachment. Hamlin correctly speculates that he would not be offered a position if Johnson was removed and replaced by Benjamin Wade. The office of vice president remained vacant after Johnson became president upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Under the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, the president pro tempore of the Senate, then Radical Republican Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio) would become president if Johnson were removed from office.

Hamlin then discusses the Republican party’s embarrassment over whether Maine’s Senator William P. Fessenden (Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary from July 1864 to March 1865), would vote on impeachment. Ten former Confederate states had not yet been readmitted, so 27 states were represented in the Senate, with 54 members. To meet the required two-thirds majority, 36 senators had to vote to convict. On May 16, 1868, a week after the present letter, Fessenden committed political suicide. Believing that prosecutors had manipulated the presentation of evidence, and erred in basing impeachment on violation of the questionable Tenure of Office Act, Fessenden joined all nine Democrats and nine other Republicans to vote for acquittal. In each of three votes, the count was 35 to 19 in favor of conviction - one short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

Paul Revere’s Iconic Boston Massacre Print

Revere’s print quickly became one of the most successful examples of political propaganda of all time. The depiction of the event, and a poem printed below, vilify the British Army and list the first casualties of the American Revolution: “Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore, Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore...The unhappy Sufferers were Mess[ieur]s Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, Jams Caldwell, Crispus Attucks & Pat[ric]K Carr Killed. Six wounded; two of them (Christr Monk & John Clark) Mortally...” Rushed into print less than a month after the event, Revere’s print helped unite the colonists and, in American minds, cast the British as aggressive oppressors— making rebellion easier to justify.

PAUL REVERE. Engraving. “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King-Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Reg.” Printed by Edes & Gill, Boston, Mass., 1770. First edition, second state (clock showing 10:20), original hand coloring. 1 p., LVG watermark, 9⅝ x 12 in. Inventory #25697

History You Can Own

We can help you enjoy an inspirational connection to your favorite historic figure, event, or idea.

Important documents and artifacts can be loaned, placed on deposit, or donated to ensure their survival for generations to come. Seth Kaller, Inc. can coordinate all aspects of collection-building, including acquisition, authentication, appraisal, conservation, framing, insurance, and recognition for your family, your company, or your foundation.

Items presented here are drawn from our broad inventory. We have many more original documents and collections, ranging from $100 to millions of dollars, please contact us if you have specific interests.

Authenticity Guaranteed

We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of our documents. We verify authenticity through our own expertise and archival research, as well as in consultation with independent experts and institutions. Client references furnished on request.

Seth Kaller is a leading expert in acquiring, authenticating, and appraising rare historic documents and artifacts. Kaller has built museum-quality collections for individuals and institutions, as well as legacy collections for philanthropists to donate. He has handled important manuscripts, documents and rare books relating to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; leaves from George Washington’s draft of his inaugural address; Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” manuscript and signed copies of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation; and Robert E. Lee’s farewell to his troops.

We are members of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA), Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the Manuscript Society.

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