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Gregory, Dudley
Autograph Letter Signed, August 6, 1843 to an unknown recipient

octavo, two pages, formerly folded, in very good, legible condition. With handwritten note in upper margin: “From D. S. Gregory, Esq., Mayor of Jersey City, Member of Congress, etc., etc.”

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“Dear Sir,

              I have perused the testimonial sent me with your note of Saturday, and they are of great consequence to you. Do you desire me to show them to the Schuyler’s? - … I think I had better give you a letter of introduction to Mr. Robt. Schuyler, who went to Russia, and who no doubt will give you letters, and also you advise which may be of consequence. If you say so, I will send the papers to him and say that I will be glad to introduce you by letter to him. I shall probably see his brother tomorrow (the Vice Prest. Of our RR) and I saw him on Satdy also, when I mentioned that a friend of mine intended to offer his services to the Russians &c &c. He said that every thing depended on the impression made on the barriers surrounding the powers  - & much had to be done by bribery! Indeed, he said, no other way was effectual….”

         New York politician Dudley Sanford Gregory (1800-1874), after becoming rich managing the state lottery, was elected the first Mayor of Jersey City, and later became a colleague in Congress of Abraham Lincoln. As director of over a dozen railroad companies, he was well acquainted with Wall Street wheeler-dealers, such as Robert Schuyler, once called “America’s first railroad king”, and his brother George. The Schuylers were then lobbying to sell machinery to the United States Navy, pointing to their experience as the first Americans to build a warship for Czarist Russia. The British, who had long monopolized foreign naval construction in Russia, jeered that the Schuyler’s steamer ‘Kamschatka’ was poorly constructed, ridicule George Schuyler dismissed as one of the many “difficulties thrown in my path” on his 1842 Russian tour. He made no mention of the official bribery which he confided to Gregory. Ten years later, 46 passengers died in the derailment of a train owned by the Schuylers – the first great railroad disaster in America, followed by the first great Wall Street fraud when Robert Schuyler issued millions of dollars in counterfeit stock certificates of the hard-hit railroad company. As some of America’s richest men discovered they had been swindled, Schuyler fled to Europe and was never brought to trial, dying on the French Riviera in 1855.