Ingersoll, Charles Jared (1782-1862)
Autograph Letter Signed, Washington, D.C., April 20, 1842 to C. R. Buckalew, Berwick, Pennsylvania

quarto, one page plus stamp-less address leaf, with Ingersoll’s Free Frank as Member of Congress, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Ingersoll, a Pennsylvania statesman, writes about British philosopher John Locke and British imperialism in the Middle East.

         “Sir,

             Locke composed a constitution for South Carolina, but not for Georgia – such is my recollection. But you may ascertain all about it no doubt in Bancroft’s history where it is all finely told with great ability.

             Beyrout and St. John D’acre now occupied, I believe, by the English are in what is called Palestine or Holy Land. Whether the English government mean to own those places, which is yr question, remains to be seen.”

 

         Charles Jared Ingersoll, whose father signed the Constitution of the United States, was a Pennsylvania Congressman, one of the few Members of Congress with both foreign experience as attaché at the US Consulates in France and Germany and knowledge of international politics during the antebellum era, chairing the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during the Mexican-American War. As this letter makes clear, he was also one of the few Washington politicians of his day who could intelligently discuss the historical underpinnings of American democracy. His reference here was to the colonial-era “Constitution of Carolina,” written, in the mid-17th century, by British philosopher John Locke. Ingersoll is suspicious of British imperial ambitions in the Middle East, after British troops occupied Beirut and Acre during the Egyptian-Ottoman War of 1839-41.

His correspondent, Charles Buckalew, was then a 21 year-old law student and was probably hoping to get noticed by the illustrious Pennsylvania statesman, went on to become US Senator from Pennsylvania during the Civil War.