Lot 61: BUTLER, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed, "B.F. Butler," as US Attorney General, to New York State Comptroller Azariah C. Fla
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: BUILDING NEW YORK UNIVERSITY BUTLER, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed, "B.F. Butler," as US Attorney General, to New York State Comptroller Azariah C. Flagg, appealing to him for help in securing [debt] relief on behalf of New York University. With his Franking Signature and holograph address on address leaf. 1 page, 4to, ruled paper, with integral address leaf; address leaf inlaid, folds. Washington, 17 February 1838
"I understand that the Council of the University of the City of New York, desires a postponement of the collection of the judgment, moved against them for the benefit of the state, until the result of their application to the Legislature, for relief in the matter, can be known. From the statements made to me a year or two since, I was inclined to think, that the Legislature would feel it just to extend some relief; as it seemed to me, that in consequence of the unfortunate delay in the delivery of the marble, the University had been subjected to a considerable loss. I do not profess to be master of the subject, nor do I know that you can grant the desired postponement; and the object of my present note is merely to commend the subject to as favorable a consideration, as your powers & sense of justice will allow."
In 1833, when New York University purchased the Washington Square property which forms the center of today's NYU campus, the University also contracted with the prison at Sing Sing to provide a quantity of marble for building. On February 1, 1838, a judgment was filed against the University on behalf of the prison, presumably because the University finances were insufficient at the time to pay for the marble. On May 14, 1840, the New York Senate passed an act directing the Comptroller to credit the prison for the amount of the judgment.