1843 · George Town [Maryland, later incorporated into Washington, D.C.]
Written to the wife of the U.S. Naval officer who in 1842 seized and briefly held the port of Monterey under the mistaken impression that war with Mexico had begun, this supportive, warmly written letter assures that lady that "the great mass of the loyal American Citizens view it [her husband's action] as a chivalrous and most glorious act of military vigilance; indeed two of the most intelligent and influential members of Congress a few days since declared, that but for political considerations involving at the moment National Courtesy, they would move the presentation of a Splendid Sword to the Gallant Commodore in Commendation of his Conduct . . ." In addition, Steuart notes that he is quite confident that Commodore Jones will be well provided for financially.
Origin & Provenance: The writer was neither Lieutenant Colonel William Steuart, who died in 1839, nor William Steuart, chief statistician of the Bureau of the Census, who was born in 1861; rather, this was beyond a doubt => the William M. Steuart for whom Steuart Street in San Francisco was named — the acting chairman of the California State Constitutional Convention in 1849 and a one-time candidate for governor of the state.
Steuert first went to California as a secretary to Commodore Jones and maintained strong ties to the family. Folded as mailed, with traces of original red wax seal; lower inner corner reinforced with cellophane tape some time ago. Two small spots of staining. => A personal yet politically instructive window on contemporary opinion, written by someone who was surely (kindly!) "spinning" yet (also) knew whereof he spoke. (Inventory #: 36541)