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Lot 214

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Description:

John McLean Postmaster General Signed Broadside & Free Frank

Fantastic Bi-fold Post Office Broadside, 7.5" x 9.75". Dated "March 23, 1826', and signed by Post Master General "John McLean". The second page contains an integral free frank, signed again by John McLean. Light toning, expected folds and a .75" hole to the second page due to the opening of the letter from the red wax seal.

McLean was appointed by Monroe to United States Postmaster General, and served in that post from December 9, 1823, to March 7, 1829, under both Monroe and John Quincy Adams. McLean presided over a massive expansion of the Post Office into the new western states and territories and the elevation of the Postmaster Generalship to a cabinet office. This broadside discusses the already daunting issues of the Post Office back in 1823 "Post-Masters are expressly forbidden to make use of may monies in their hands which are due to this department. This regulation has become necessary in consequence of the frequent failures of Postmaster to pay over promptly the balance due on the quarterly accounts: thus creating delays injurious to the public ...Post-masters being unauthorized in any case to give credit for postage, "'want of funds' can never be admitted as a valid excuse for any failure to make punctual payments ..."

While Postmaster General, McLean supported Andrew Jackson, who offered him the posts of Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy. McLean declined both and was instead appointed to the Supreme Court by Jackson on March 6, 1829, to a seat vacated by Robert Trimble. McLean was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 7, 1829, receiving his commission the same day. Known as "The Politician on the Supreme Court," he associated himself with every party on the political spectrum, moving from a Jackson Democrat, to the Anti-Jackson Democrats, the Anti-Masonic Party, the Whigs, the Free Soilers, and finally the Republicans. McLean was touted as a potential Whig presidential candidate throughout the 1830s-40s. President John Tyler offered him the post of Secretary of War, but he declined. Because of his anti-slavery-extension positions, he was considered by the new Republican party as a presidential candidate in 1856, but the nomination went to John C. Fremont. McLean sought the presidency again in 1860 despite turning 75 that March. He won twelve votes on the first ballot at the Republican convention; Abraham Lincoln ultimately was nominated.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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