ALS as president, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.75 x 9.75, Executive Mansion letterhead, January 18, 1873. Letter to "Dear Ford," discussing his real estate dealings. In full: "I am in receipt of your letter concerning the sale of the Carondelet property. I do not think Belt or Priest would be good men to bid in property for me, or to have knowledge of what I proposed to bid, or have bid, for me. Nor can I agree with them as to the value of the property. The sale was at a much lower price than I paid for a simple compromise when it was supposed that I held a title of equal value with Burns.
My suggestion is that you with, say John F. Long, fix upon the value of each of the lots that I am interested in, and the amount they would have to sell for to give me back the money I have paid out; and have bid up for me, rather than let other parties have any of the lots, a price sufficient to give me back my money if sold to other parties, provided to do so does not require a bid beyond what you appraise the property at. In that case I would bid up to your appraisement. I would suggest also that you select two or three discreet men to bid for me, understanding before hand what lots each were to bid in so they would not bid against each other, and you openly make the first bid on each lot, without any disguise as to who you are acting for, and that you bid in each instance just what the property sold for at the former sale.
To give me back the original purchase money, without interest, and without any return for the taxes I have paid, a portion of the lots would have to bring $150.00 per arpent and a portion $300.00 per arpent. I think Shipley can inform you which lots I paid one, and which two hundred dollars per arpent on. When I go to St. Louis I think I will commence suit against Burns even without hope of receiving anything, but to prove to the public, in a legal way, that he is a rascal not to be trusted, and to secure his removal from his present position of trust & profit."
He adds a lengthy postscript, signed "U. S. G.," in full: "Let me hear what you think of these suggestions before you act, and what Shipley thinks of them. I do not think it incumbent upon me to let the public, in this instance the enemy, know before hand who are bidding for me, or how much I am going to bid. It seems to be sufficient that they should know that you are acting for me. If however, you think there is the least impropriety in having any other bidder than yourself, or one known to be acting for me, then have it so. I would not do anything of even doubtful propriety for the land. Ask Shipley on this point." In fine condition, with partial splitting along the hinge. An interesting letter on real estate transactions executed while in the nation's highest office.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.