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    Description

    James Knox Polk Autograph Letter Signed as President. Two pages of a bifolium, 8" x 10", Washington [D.C.]; October 1, 1846. Letter to Daniel Sturgeon, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, marked "(Private)", Uniontown, Pennsylvania, concerning the appointment of a Mr. Flennikin to a diplomatic post.
    "I received to day your letter of the 29th ultimo, with the letters enclosed in behalf of Mr. Flennikin. It has been my intention for many months past, as you know, to confer on Mr. Flennikin the appointment of Charge d' Affairs abroad, and have only been prevented from doing so by the embarrassments-which have been constantly interposed. These embarrassments have not arisen from any objections -to Mr. F, as to his qualifications to fill such a station, but from the difficulties of finding a suitable situation which would become vacant. I can now say to you that you may give him assurances that I will appoint him charge' abroad at the meeting or shortly after the meeting of the next session of Congress, and possibly at an earlier period. It may be in the course of a short time a vacancy will exist, and in that event it will give me pleasure to appoint him at once. He may in any event rely upon receiving the appointment shortly after the meeting of Congress, if not sooner... James K. Polk."

    This letter by President Polk to Senator Sturgeon was written during the first year of the War with Mexico. Daniel Sturgeon (1789-1878) was born in Mount Pleasant, present-day Adams County, Pennsylvania. He later moved with his parents to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1804. After attending medical school, Sturgeon practiced medicine in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, until he was appointed county coroner in 1813. Sturgeon entered politics and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1818 until 1824 and the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1825 until 1830, serving as President of that body for the final two years of his term until serving as Pennsylvania Auditor General from 1830 until 1836. He was elected by the state legislature to the United States Senate in January 1840 and was re-elected in 1845. He did not run for re-election in 1851. Following his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Sturgeon was appointed treasurer of the United States Mint in Philadelphia by President Franklin Pierce, serving from 1853 until 1858. It is not clear who Mr. Flennikin is and if Polk ever followed through on his pledge to appoint him to a diplomatic post. One suspects that Flennikin was a Pennsylvania friend and supporter of Sturgeon's and the senator was trying to obtain a patronage position for him. While Polk expresses his good intentions, one suspects, with a war going on, in addition to other priorities, the Flennikin appointment was not at the top of the president's list.

    Condition: The letter has the usual folds with toning, a bit darker at edges.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
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