He signs a "strictly private" autograph letter to a friend discussing whether
he would accept the position of Secretary of State if offered it by
Political ALS: "James Buchanan", 1 page, 8x10. Wheatland, near
Lancaster, 1852 November 23. The future 15th U.S. President writes to Henry
Welsh, Esquire. In full: "I have received the Buckwheat flour, &
you could have sent me nothing more acceptable. Bye the by, this reminds me that
I have never, I believe, paid for the flour I received last year. I hope you
will let me know the amount. I have literally no news. I receive letters daily
from this & other States urging me strongly to accept the State Department,
just as though this were in my power; whilst several of my friends are of a
contrary opinion. Should it ever be offered, I shall decide the question
deliberately. All my personal wishes are against it, nor can I at present
foresee that either my duty to my country or my friends require that I should
sacrifice my private inclinations. What is your opinion? All of this is of
course strictly private - from your friend." Buchanan had served as
Secretary of State from 1845-1849 in the Democratic Polk Administration.
Whigs Taylor and Fillmore won in 1848, but the Democrats were returned to power
when Franklin Pierce was elected President in 1852. Buchanan was never
offered a post in the State Department. His rival for the 1852 presidential
nomination, William L. Marcy, was asked by Pierce to be Secretary of State.
Buchanan was asked to be U.S. Minister to Great Britain, a post he
accepted. He returned in April 1856 and, at the Democratic Convention held
in Cincinnati, June 2-6, 1856, became the only person in history to deny an
incumbent U.S. President renomination. He served one term, leaving office seven
weeks before his 70th birthday. On blue paper. Usual folds, 1 horizontal fold
runs through top loop of the "J" in James and the "B" and "h" in Buchanan. 1
vertical fold between the "a" and "m" in James, else fine.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
PRESIDENT JAMES BUCHANAN
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