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Lot #2057
Charles Guiteau’s Nine-Page Open Letter to the American People

The assassin’s declaration from jail: “Twelve men say I wickedly murdered James A. Garfield”

Estimate: $6000+
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The assassin’s declaration from jail: “Twelve men say I wickedly murdered James A. Garfield”

AMS signed “Charles Guiteau,” nine pages, 4 x 12, January 26, 1882. Guiteau’s open letter headed “To the American People,” written from jail on the day after his conviction. In part: “Twelve men say I wickedly murdered James A. Garfield. They did it on the false notion that I was a disappointed office seeker. My speech they say made no impression on them. I am not surprised at the verdict considering their class. They do not pretend to be Christian men & therefore, did not appreciate the idea of inspiration. They are men of the world & of moderate intelligence, & therefore, are not capable of appreciating the character of my defence. According to one of them, ‘We all had a grog at each meal & a cigar afterwards,’ which shows their style and habits. Men of this kind can not represent the great Christian Nation of America. Had they been high-toned Christian gentlemen their verdict would have been, ‘Not guilty, because of insanity’…I am God’s man in this matter just as truly as the ‘despised Galilean’ was God’s man…it seemed a small thing for his acquaintances to kill him but his death stirred the wrath of the Almighty, & he got even with them forty years later, at the destruction of Jerusalem AD 70, & He will get even with the American people if a hair of my head is harmed. God will vindicate me even if the nation rolls in blood! Mere physical death is nothing to me…I had rather be hung, so far as physical death is concerned, than die from a painful illness or meet with a railroad or steamboat accident. I hardly think I am destined to be hung, & therefore give myself no thought on that, but am anxious to have my character and inspiration vindicated. To that end I need help as herein mentioned. My friends need not be ashamed of me. Some people think I am the greatest man of his age, and that my name will go into history, as a patriot, by the side of Washington & Grant.” Each narrow page is affixed to a slightly larger card. In very good to fine condition. Accompanied by a large label apparently once used in an exhibition. Guiteau’s letter was published in several newspapers around the nation. A long, fascinating explanation and justification from the assassin himself. Ex. Charles Hamilton, June 29, 1981; sale 138, lot 97. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities: Elite 100
  • Dates: #484 - Ended September 25, 2016

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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