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    General Grant pens a respectful letter about Indian culture

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed "U. S. Grant / General." One and one-half ruled pages of a bifolium, 5" x 8", Washington, May 6, 1867, on letterhead reading, "Head-Quarters Armies of the United States." In this fascinating letter, General Grant, who had, only months earlier, received the rank of General of the Army - the first with that distinction since George Washington - writes to Nathaniel G. Taylor, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. As General of the Army, Grant oversaw Indian policy. In this letter of introduction, the general introduces "F. Buchon," an artist visiting the United States to paint historical scenes of Indians and of the "late rebellion," to Superintendent Taylor. (Later during his presidency, Grant made important reforms to Indian policy.) Here, he expresses the important foresight of preserving the "on canvass" scenes of the "native condition" that will soon "pass away as a real existence." Grant's respectful words about Indian culture were rare for such a military man of his time. Also included is the original transmittal envelope addressed to Taylor and reading in the left margin, "Introducing Mr. Buchon." Buchon was possibly a relative of French cartographer Jean Alexandre Buchon, who was known for his maps of North America. This letter bears folds and only minor staining. Bold text and signature. The text of the letter reads in full:

    "I take pleasure in introducing to you Mr. F. Buchon, an artist sent to this country to gather subject growing out of the late rebellion for historical paintings. Mr. Buchon proposes now to join one of our generals on the plains for the purpose of sketching the Indians in their native condition to preserve on canvass what in a few years must, from the growth of civilization in this continent, pass away as a real existence. It is in connection with this enterprise Mr. Buchon wishes to consult you."

    Tennessean Nathaniel Taylor, the recipient of this letter who was to assign Buchon to a general in the West, served as one of the first post-Civil War U.S. Representatives from his native state. President Andrew Johnson had appointed him Superintendent of Indian Affairs earlier in March 1867. He retired in April 1869.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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