Guide to the Papers of John Otis, 1835 - 1851Manuscript MS-1132

Introduction to the Collection

Contains diary entries, notes, drafts of letters, drafts of resolutions, lecture notes, and essays of Congressman John Otis of Maine.

About half of the collection is related to Otis' role as a member of the Northeast Boundary Commission including diary entries made en route to, and during his stay in Washington in the summer of 1842. The entries provide detailed descriptions of meetings with the principal negotiators of Webster-Ashburton and include drafts of treaty provisions. The entries also record personal interviews with Albert Gallatin, Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton as well as Otis' personal thoughts on fellow Commissioner Judge Preble and various deliberations, debates and boundary proposals. Also includes drafts of letters to Webster and Lord Ashburton as well as peripheral material related to matters involving federal compensation to Maine and other repercussions of the treaty.

The other half of the collection relates to Otis' role as a lawyer, politician and interest in literary/scholarly matters. These include a defense of a bill on cheap postage, a statement opposing Webster's appointment to Secretary of State, a House report on the censure of Rep. Joshua Gibbons for misconduct in postal affairs, a speech opposing a bill for the settlement of the Texas border, a resolution in support of Whig candidate Edward Kent for Governor of Maine, a lecture of the work of D'Aubigné and an essay on the art of Biography.

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