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    President Monroe oversees restoration of the Executive Mansion

    James Monroe Autographed Letter Signed as President. Two pages (and one line of text at top of third page) with integral address leaf, 6.5" x 8", Louden [County, Virginia]; June 29, 1818. Letter to Colonel Samuel Lane concerning housekeeping in the Executive Mansion. In part: "We arrived here last night, at about ½ after 7, quite safe. I have to pay Mr. Oneale for his horses....I have instructed him to your orders, obeying them as my own. I shall occasionally, enclose to you directions, for him, which I will leave open, & will thank to read & see that he executes. The carpets in the dining & drawing room shud. be taken up tomorrow, & Mr. Alexander, should be requested to take down the curtains & fold them up....I shall want other articles put up in a cask, before the wagon goes down, respecting which, I will write you by post, in a few days, as I shall frequently, while here & in Albemarle. I expect to return to the city, in a fortnight, or sooner, depending on circumstances....I shall write you by mail, frequently... James Monroe."

    When James Monroe assumed the presidency of the United States in March 1817, one of his priorities was the restoration of the Executive Mansion, which was burned by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812. The restoration of the building was overseen by the architect James Hoban, but when president, Monroe took an active interest in the the work, particularly in furnishing the White House. Since it was expected that much of the interior furnishing would come from France, Monroe donated many pieces to the White House that he purchased in that country when he served there as minister. Congressional appropriation of $20,000 for additional purchases of interior decorations was put under the supervision of Monroe, and he directed Colonel Samuel Lane, the superintendent of public buildings, to expend the appropriated funds. In the meantime, Monroe also put Lane in charge of his personal accounts and, as this letter shows, all White House expenses while Monroe was not in Washington. Unfortunately, for Monroe, when Lane died suddenly in 1822, it was discovered that Lane's bookkeeping habits were careless and Monroe found out to his surprise that he owed Lane money that Lane never attempted to collect.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with light creasing throughout. Address sheet has tearing and paper loss where seal has been torn open, with no loss to any text. Docketed in an unknown hand.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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