Envelope or Cover. This secretive letter, signed only “T. O.,” was sent from New York to “T. G. Slaughter / Farmingham / Dartford / Kent / Great Britain”. It is datelined “N. Y. June 17/68” and enclosed in an envelope franked with a relatively scarce 12-cent Washington stamp with an “F grill” (Scott #97, cat val $300) which paid the “treaty rate” for transatlantic transit to London. It bears a New York foreign mail postmark with fancy cancel, a London “PAID” handstamp, and Dartmouth backstamp indicating it arrived on 2 July. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided.
The letter reads in part:
“Last evening I called on Suptt Babcock . . . when they informed me that they had held money for me. . .. I am much obliged to you for sending it [although] at present I am not in need. I sent you the papers during the Trial of the President and hoped they arrived safe. I will send you one on the 6th of July as a great traumatic meeting to be held here on the 4th for the purpose of nomination a president for the next election on their platform in opposition to the radicals. I would write oftener and tell you what I am doing could you keep this information from those claiming to be closely united with myself. I want to have nothing to do with them or they with me. . ..”. Very good. Item #010150
The trial to which T.O. refers was, of course, the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson in the U. S. Senate, the culmination of a bitter policy dispute within the Republican Party over how harshly the South was to be punished during its “Reconstruction” following the Civil War.
The upcoming “great traumatic meeting” was the Democratic National Convention to nominate a candidate for President in 1868 which was to be held at Tamany Hall in New York City from 4 to 6 July. Political fireworks were expected to be hotly contested between George H. Pendleton, Andrew Johnson, Winfield Scott Hancock, and a host of others. That said, the Democrats motivation to preserve white supremacy was clearly expressed in the convention motto, “"This is a white man's country, let white men rule." And as Francis Preston Blair, the party’s eventual candidate for Vice-President later announced, the issue in this contest was the overthrow of Reconstruction, as the radical Republicans had forced it in the South."
(For more information, see “Impeachment Trial of President Andrew Johnson, 1868” at the U. S. Senate website and “The 1868 Democratic Party Presidential Nomination” at potus-geeks.com)A secretive and philatelically valuable letter that is certainly deserves additional research to determine the full extent of its historical significance. I have been unsuccessful in discovering a relation ship between “T.O.”, Babcock, and Slaughter, although the names Babcock and T. G. Slaughter appear in some documents related to the Methodist Church..