Lot 100: James Monroe Free Frank to W. Benton, Manager of His Aldie Plantation Oak Hill
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: MONROE, JAMES. (1758-1831). Fifth president of the United States. Free Frank. (“James Monroe”). 1p. 12mo. N.p., N.d. The integral address leaf to a letter no longer attached addressed in Monroe’s hand to WILLIAM BENTON in “Falls river near Aldie,”(1788-1881), the manager of his Aldie plantation Oak Hill. ********** Monroe served in the Virginia House of Delegates, the Continental Congress and the U.S. Senate before his appointment as ambassador to France. Despite his diplomatic skills, the weakening relations with France brought him back to the U.S. where he practiced law and served three consecutive single-year terms as governor of Virginia, from December 1799 through December 1802. Monroe then returned to Paris to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase and work towards improving relations with France, which was threatening American maritime trade. During the War of 1812, Monroe served as President Madison’s secretaries of state and war. In 1816, Monroe was elected president and presided over the “Era of Good Feelings,” a time of reduced partisan disagreement. ********** Born in England, Benton immigrated to the United States in 1803, and met James Monroe during the War of 1812. Trained as a bricklayer, Benton oversaw the construction of Monroe’s Oak Hill plantation which he went on to manage. He named his first child James Monroe Benton. ********** The ink postmark and “FREE” stamp are very faded. Folded with tears along the folds inexpertly repaired with tape. Scattered toning and wear. In good condition.