Ham, Levi Jefferson
Autograph Letter Signed. Newfield, (Maine) Jan. 28, 1839, to Maine state Senator Samuel Mildram, Augusta, Maine

Quarto, three pages, plus stamp-less address leaf, formerly folded, otherwise, in very good, clean, and legible condition.

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Ham congratulates Mildram, "and the Democracy of Old Wiles and of the state that you are again called to your former post of usefulness in the Ho. of Repts. "Do our friends all behave well this session or not? Are they all REAL or PRETENDED Democrats?"

He then praises Mildram's Senate colleague Nathan Ide for "an important principle...incorporated into an act of incorporation...Mr. Ide's section holding the private property of every Stockholder for the whole amount of corporate debts. I could carry it one step further - that is, there should be no private property exempt from attachment for corporate debts - it is, and ever has been a libel of the most palpable character on equal laws and free institutions that a man should be permitted to contract debts in a corporate capacity, defraud the unsuspecting poor and honest man and yet wallow in wealth and riot upon the productive labour of industry in his private capacity.

If an association of men have not confidence enough in their own Chimerical schemes to hold themselves bound to pay all the debts which they contract or order contracted, why  should we give them the privilege (for right it is not) to go on with their Utopian undertakings to a great extent, see them fail, as every reasonable man would have known from the first, and the turn round to their labourers and others and say 'Oh, we have no corporate property", ergo 'you cannot have your pay'?

I believe the only votes I ever gave as a public man which I would alter if I could by wishing is the acts of incorporation I voted for without some such salutary provision…

Give Mr. Ide and all other interested, and accept for yourself, my views of the rights of all concerned on such subjects, but public opinion and public men were not prepared to take the step. I hope you will prosecute the principles to its final results

Give Mr. Ide and all other interested, and accept for yourself, my most sincere thanks for agitating the question. It ought to go before the people and they will decide rightly."

Levi Jefferson Ham, a Dartmouth graduate, was a physician who was elected as a Democrat to the Maine Senate in 1835, serving as its President until 1838, the year before he wrote this letter. He was credited with helping to establish the first insane asylum in Maine and with negotiating the border dispute with Britain. He later moved to South Bend, Indiana, where, during the Civil War, he served as an Army surgeon, and, after the War was elected Mayor of the city.