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The former President's signed, handwritten reply to a request for an autograph
ALS: "James Buchanan", 1 page, 6½x8. Wheatland, near Lancaster, 1862 August 12. To Wm Jas Marrin. In full: "With many thanks for your kind wishes, it affords me pleasure to furnish you my autograph." Seventeen months earlier, Buchanan's presidential term had ended and he retired to his 22-acre estate, Wheatland, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. During Buchanan's last three and a half months in office, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas had seceded. On February 18, 1861, two weeks before Buchanan's term ended, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America. As he approached the end of his term, Buchanan wrote to the widow of President Polk that he was "heartily tired of my position as president. I shall leave it...with much greater satisfaction than when entering on the duties of the office." Buchanan's did not believe the southern states had the right to secede, but he also doubted the federal government's authority to prevent secession by force. As he wrote this letter, the enormous cost of a military resolution of the sectional dispute was becoming clear. More Americans had fallen at Shiloh in April 1862 than in the entirety of the Revolutionary War. A month after this letter was written, the bloodiest single day in American history transpired on the battlefield of Antietam, a mere 130 miles from Buchanan's Wheatland home. Folds, one vertical through "m" of signature. Fine example.

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Born: April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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