Washington: 1814. unbound. Outstanding and historically important autographed letter signed -- an immediate and first-hand account of the death of Vice President Elbridge Gerry on the morning of Nov. 23, 1814 while serving in office. 3 pages each measuring 10.25 x 8.25 inches, Washington D.C. Written to Col. James T. Austin, Gerry's favorite son in law, in part: "...It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your late most excellent father in law, my much esteemed friend, the late Honorable Vice President of the United States. He departed this life at 11 o'clock this morning, of a sudden infusion of the lungs [pneumonia]. He presided in usual health in the Senate yesterday, in the evening he complained a little and ordered some chocolate. After taking it he looked over his letters and papers and was cheerful through the evening. The next morning he sent for the landlady and desired her to have chocolate made thin - observing that he had a very strange feeling in his breasts but that he rested last night totally well...The chocolate was prepared and he breakfasted on it at the table with family...appearing totally well. At 10:00 the carriage came to take him to the Senate...it being rather early...but he rode to his office and went in. He then complained of feeling very sick - went back and sent for his carriage, which came immediately and went home. On stopping at our door Capt. Read, one of our porters...perceiving that he was very ill...stepped to the carriage and asked him if he was sick. He faintly replied 'yes'. He immediately took him in his arms and placed him on the bed in his room, where he expired in about 15 or 20 minutes without appearing to take any notice and without uttering another word. Dr. was immediately called and came about 5 minutes before he breathed his last - but nothing could be done for him. The melancholy tiding was immediately communicated to the President...and Congress. The Senate appointed a Committee to make arrangements for his funeral....to take place tomorrow at 1 o'clock. The keys of his closet and his books and papers will be sealed up - and the whole preserved without the least inspection until directed and received by his family..." Ironically, the morning Gerry died, he had attempted to participate in the Senate hearings at which the pros and cons of a Peace Treaty with Great Britain were debated. One month latter, on Dec. 24, 1814, the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. Small tear-hole at left hand margin incurred by the removal of the wax seal; otherwise very good condition with rare postal markings.
American financier and lawyer who was a close friend of Signer of the Declaration of Independence Elbridge Gerry. During the War of 1812, he was instrumental in securing a loan of $5,000,000 for the national government, which enabled the United States to pursue war with Great Britain. Despite founding the Exchange Bank of New York as well as other prestigious financial institutions, he spent the last years of his life in bankruptcy.