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    William Henry Harrison, a day after his inauguration, signs one of two Manuscript Letters as President known to exist! William Henry Harrison Manuscript Letter Signed "your Obt Servt/W.H. Harrison" as President, one page, 8" x 10". Washington, March 5, 1841. To B.F. Butler Esq., New York. In full, "Your Resignation of the Office of Attorney of the United States for the Southern District of New York is received. Permit me to thank you for the offer to continue in the discharge of the duties of the Office until I can appoint your successor and to request that you will do so. Very Respectfully." Attorney General in the Jackson and Van Buren cabinets from 1833-1838, Democrat Benjamin F. Butler also served as Secretary of War ad interim from October 1836 to March 7, 1837. On December 10, 1838, three months after Butler resigned from his cabinet, President Van Buren sent this message to the U.S. Senate: "I nominate to the Senate Benjamin F. Butler, of New York, to be attorney of the United States for the southern district of New York, in the place of William M. Price, removed." That same day, it was "Resolved, That the Senate advise and consent to the appointment of Benjamin F. Butler, agreeably to the nomination." Van Buren and Butler had been law partners 20 years earlier.

    On March 12, 1841, a week after he wrote this letter, Whig President Harrison sent to the Senate four nominations of collectors of customs, four nominations of surveyors and inspectors of the revenue and the nomination of "Ogden Hoffman, of the city of New York, to be district attorney of the United States for the southern district of the State of New York," succeeding Benjamin F. Butler. Later that day, it was "Resolved, That the Senate advise and consent to the appointment of the said persons, agreeably to their nominations respectively." Four years later, to the day, on March 12, 1845, Democratic President James K. Polk sent to the Senate his nomination of "Benjamin F. Butler to be attorney of the United States for the southern district of New York, in the place of Ogden Hoffman, whose commission will expire this day." It was confirmed by the Senate and Butler returned to his old post, resigning in 1848.

    William Henry Harrison was inaugurated as the ninth President of the United States on March 4, 1841, one day before he signed this letter. On March 5th, Connecticut Senator Jabez Huntington reported to the Senate that, as requested, he had notified the President that the Senate was assembled and ready to receive any communications he may be pleased to make and that the President replied that he would make a communication to the Senate immediately. On March 5, 1841, before or after he wrote this letter, President Harrison sent a message to the Senate with his cabinet nominations for confirmation. This letter was written in the White House on Harrison's first business day in office replying to perhaps the first letter he received as President. A day earlier, Harrison had delivered what is still the longest Inaugural Address in U.S. history, a 105 minute, 8,445 word speech. It was an estimated 48 degrees in an overcast Washington that day, with a cold, wintery wind. The 68-year-old former General did not wear an overcoat, hat, or gloves and caught a cold which developed into pneumonia.

    On April 4, 1841, on his 32nd day in office, William Henry Harrison died. Twenty-four Harrison presidential documents (12 in private hands, 12 in institutions), three presidential Autograph Letters Signed, and two presidential Manuscript Letters Signed are known to exist. This letter, which was part of the Forbes Collection sold at Christie's in 2002, and one other, are the only Manuscript Letters Signed of William Henry Harrison as President known to exist! Clean and fresh in appearance, there is light soiling on one word near the right margin. With almost indiscernible, minor, expert strengthening on verso at the edges of the two horizontal folds and behind one tear at a blank edge, the condition of this letter is very fine, superior to any of the other 24 William Henry Harrison presidential documents, three presidential ALsS and one presidential Manuscript LS known to exist! This exceedingly rare letter would easily be the cornerstone of any presidential collection.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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