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    James K. Polk Autograph Letter Signed as a Congressman from Tennessee to an unidentified recipient. One and one-half pages on one sheet, 7.75" x 9.75", "Murfreesborough" [sic] [Tennessee], October 2, 1835. Marked "Private & Confidential" at the beginning of the letter and "Burn this" at the end. The final wish obviously went unheeded. Polk has written this letter and signed it in bold, black ink. This letter exhibits smoothed folds, along with some archival repairs along the folds on page two. Tape exists along the right edge of page two. Minor stains.

    Speaker Polk writes in part: "I am writing you from Shelbyville. I have seen Col. Saml. Mitchell whom wishes you to impress on Mr. [John C.] C[alhoun]. When he comes out, not to seem to be too anxious at first. He suggests that he might first seek employment as a journeyman &c. Mitchell is of opinion that by acting prudently he will succeed. He is very anxious that he should do so and Mr. C. may rely upon Mitchell & others as friends who will be ready to render prompt assistance if need be. Mitchell is decidedly of opinion that if he should not be able to trade, that he should start a new establishment, and thinks it would succeed well. He is of opinion . . . that it would be much better to obtain the old one, even at a high price. I write you this at the request of our friend that in the event Mr. C. has not set out, you may see him before he starts. I learn that Judge Kennedy & Byrum have had a difficulty at Columbia, but you will no doubt have learned all the particulars this. I will start home this evening, and will be in Nashville on Monday evening on the stage. . . ."

    James Polk was first elected to Congress by fellow Tennesseans in 1825 at the age of twenty-nine, much too young, many thought. As a young congressman in Washington, he roomed with other members of Congress from Tennessee, including Sam Houston. In 1834, Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson resigned. Polk jumped at the chance to become speaker but lost to John Bell, another Tennessean. The next year, after winning reelection as congressman, Polk ran again as speaker. This letter was written during his campaign, which proved successful when he defeated Bell.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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