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Item 5020 - James K. Polk Catalog 472 (Mar 2016)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Estimate: $15,000.00 +
Sold Price: $32,540.90 (includes buyer's premium)


ALS as president, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 8 x 10, June 5, 1845. Letter to the retired Andrew Jackson at his Hermitage estate. In full: “I was much justified to receive your letter of the 26th ultimo. Will you say to Mrs. Jackson that her friend Mr. Taggart entered upon the duties of the office which had been promised him on the 1st Instant. I have not seen him since, but suppose he is satisfied. Thomas Damsten preferred a place in the Customs House at Philadelphia, to a situation here, and has been appointed by Mr. Horn to the situation he wanted. You were right in anticipating that Mr. [Martin] Van Buren would decline the Mission. In a letter of a very friendly character towards myself, to Mr. [Benjamin] Butler, through whom I had made known my wishes to him, he declined the Mission, but intimates that in a case of great emergency he would not withhold his services from the country.

Mr. [Edward] Everett ought to be recalled and will be as soon as I can find a suitable man to succeed him. In the existing state of our relations with England it is of great importance that the U.S. should be represented at that Court, by one of our ablest citizens and one possessing Diplomatic experience and thoroughly informed upon the question at issue between the two countries. I know of no one better qualified than Louis McLane your former Secretary of State, and I will endeavour to prevail upon him to accept the Mission, though I have doubts whether he will do so. He entered warmly into the support of the Democratic ticket last year, and is now giving a hearty support to the administration.

I rejoice that all is well in Texas.—I hope her Congress and Convention may accept our proposition without change or modifications. If the times are not so liberal to Texas—as the friends of annexation in this country desired, or as Texas—expected,—It should be remembered that it was with great difficulty that my proposition—could be passed through Congress last winter.—If Texas accepts our proposition, she may confidently rely upon having full justice done to her in the next Congress. I have no hesitation in saying that I will recommend and urge such a course, and I have not the slightest doubt that Congress will cooperate with me.—I will maintain too her boundary; to the extent to which she claims it.—Our old friend [Sam] Houston from whom I have just received a letter,—is probably now with you, as he writes me that he would leave New Orleans in a day or two—to visit the Hermitage. You can assure him of the liberal aims which I entertain toward Texas, in the event of her acceptance of our propositions without modifications or change.

The crowd of office-seekers—who have besieged me for the last three months—has greatly diminished, and I begin to have some quiet and repose, and more time to attend to my more important duties. I am much gratified to your opinions that the administration is getting on well. I hope it may be so thought by the country. Mrs. Polk desires me to present to you her kind regards and sincere wishes for your welfare and our joint prayer is that your life may be prolonged and that you may be blessed with happiness in this life and that which is to come.” Affixed at the left edge to a slightly larger sheet. In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed to Jackson in Polk’s hand.

A long piece of correspondence from one president to another, Polk describes his first months in office as a busy time sorting through official appointments and contemplating the future of Texas. Polk was elected to the presidency in part because of his determination to annex Texas, which he made part of his campaign platform. When writing this letter the process had already begun: the US Congress had passed a joint resolution for the annexation of Texas, and on June 23 the Texan Congress accepted. By the end of the year it was officially admitted as one of the Union’s states. Given Polk’s adherence to Jacksonian Democracy, this is an especially desirable letter.

Ex. Charles Hamilton, February 24, 1977; sale 103, lot 214. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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