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Item 108 - James A. Garfield Catalog 555 (May 2019)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $200.00
Sold Price: $446.25 (includes buyer's premium)


ALS signed “J. A. Garfield,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 7.75, May 2, 1873. Letter to family friend Dr. John Peter Robison, in part: "I am on my way to Washington—where I shall send to press, as soon as I can a review of the Credit Mobilier matter. If you can get time to write me a brief letter repeating what we talked in May 1868 I shall be glad to have you do so. The points of what you told me, as I remember them, are these—That you spent some days as my guest, in Washington, during the trial of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson—and that while there I told you that Mr. Ames had offered me a chance to invest a small am't in a company that was to operate in land & building along the Pacific Rail Road. That I asked you what you thought of it as a business proposition, that I was not determined what I would do about it & suggested to you to talk with Ames & form your own judgment—and perhaps you might think well enough of it to advance the money, and buy some of the stock on joint account. But you did not think well of the proposition as a business enterprise—and did not talk to Mr. Ames on the subject. If this is substantially correct & you would write to me soon it will help me materially." He adds a postscript, signed "J.A.G.," in full: "Please address me at 1227 I St. N.W. Washington." In fine condition.

At this time, Garfield was embroiled in the famed 'Credit Mobilier Scandal'—the greatest political "storm" of the Gilded Age. In 1867, during the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, Congressman Oakes Ames had distributed cash bribes and discounted shares of Credit Mobilier stock to other congressmen in exchange for votes and actions favorable to the Union Pacific Railroad. When this corruption was revealed to the public in 1872, Garfield was among the politicians implicated in accepting stock. Although he was never exactly exonerated from the claims, and Democrats attacked him with talk of the scandal during his run for president in 1880, the Credit Mobilier crisis ultimately had little effect on Garfield's political career.

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