Concord, N.H. Dec. 3 1846. Autograph Letter SIGNED "Frank Pierce" 7.5" x 9.5" on light blue paper inlaid to another off-white border. Scripted on recto, verso blank with docket. Dated "Dec 3, 1846", and signed by Franklin Pierce as "Frank Pierce". Very fine condition with two ink smudges by author
Pierce Franklin 1804 - 1869 Franklin Pierce ALS, as counsel over conflict involving voter fraud in home state of New Hampshire. Although the exact nature of voter fraud described in Pierce's letter is unclear, it appears to have been written while he was acting counsel and to the opposing lawyer regarding a matter "for interest supposed to be in conflict with your connection with the use of the voters" within certain jurisdictions of New Hampshire communities. At the time, Franklin Pierce was a lawyer based in Concord, New Hampshire (he was a native of the state), and was functioning as an attorney just shortly before his active duty in the Mexican-American War. Voter fraud was already a large concern heading into the 1845 election, and the states were implementing laws and penalties for voter fraud. Voting was held differently within the states and although popular voting had not yet been adopted in all states, the election of 1848 was the first in which all states voted on the same day, owing to federal legislation passed three years earlier that fixed the date of presidential elections in an attempt to deter voter fraud. Even back then, people would vote more than once in an election or vote in multiple jurisdictions. During this period, various state laws were being put in place outlining the legal requirements for both voters and officials participating in the election. These included defining qualifications for voting, the format for the election returns, qualifications and duties of local election officials, and the procedure for counting and certifying the votes. Additionally, many states were stipulating penalties for voter fraud, such as being punished by a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars, and by imprisonment for a time not exceeding six months. Pierce's letter touches upon these issues and is addressed to an opposing lawyer. An interesting and ironic letter written by the future President of the United States, as one day his campaign would be influenced by these efforts being put in place at the state level. Scarce written, entirely in the hand of Franklin Pierce, with thought provoking content! Fine. Item #281
"Concord N.H. Dec 3, 1846 My Dear Sir, An application has been made to me to act as counsel for interest supposed to be in conflict with your connection with the use of the voters of the Winnepesaukee Lake town and of the Pemigewasset and Merrimack rivers - I suppose my engagements terminated with services before the legislation while the act of Jul 10 '46 in relation to which I had an interview with yourself and others at Boston was pending. This is my understanding of the matter and I suppose I might purposely have given an answer without any hesitation to my proposed clients but to provide against any possible misapprehension I have thought it best first to address you - Your friend and servant Frank Pierce / Sam Lawson Esq"