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Sale 38 Lot 1175

QUASI-WAR WITH FRANCE ROBERT WHARTON. Federalist mayor of Philadelphia, 1798-1824. A.L.S. 1p. 4to, Philadelphia, Jan. 21, 1799 to Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin concerning a recent offer of a commission in the Federal Army and its potential conflict with his duties as mayor of Philadelphia. In part "...It hath been intimated to me, that under the Constitution of Pennsylvania, there results an incompatibility in my continuing an Alderman and Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, as I have accepted form the President of the United States a Captain's Commission in a Volunteer troop of cavalry. I beg the favor of you to cause the opinion of the Attorney General of this State to be taken on the subject, and that you will be so obliging as to make a communication to me, as so as it will consist with our convenience...". It took a little time to discover the answer, but on March 6, Wharton wrote again to Mifflin in a similar A.L.S. (included) 1p. 4to., Philadelphia noting that "Finding from the Attorney General's opinion...that here is an incompatibility on my holding a Commission under the President of the United Sates, as captaining a volunteer troop of Cavalry, and, at the same time, acting as Mayor of this City, I have returned my Military Commission to the Secretary at War, and intend to retain my civil appointment...". The issue of multiple office holding was a major grievance among the Whigs during the American Revolution and many of the new state constitutions prohibited the practice. Wharton, a staunch Federalist, and a key protagonist in the raging battles between Federalists and Republicans in the late 1790s over the Quasi-War with France. Aware of the potential for controversy if he were to accept his commission while serving in a civil office, he wisely consulted with others before accepting it. In light of the severe political acrimony of the period, he made a smart move. Light toning at weak folds, both retain original address leaves, else very good. Together two pieces.
Estimate $ 300-400

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