CHARLES J. GUITEAU - AUTOGRAPH LETTER DOUBLE SIGNED 10/17/1881 - HFSID 283731
Sale Price $5,100.00
CHARLES J. GUITEAU
Awaiting trial for the assassination of the President in 1881, Guiteau signed this autograph letter demanding that an account of his life given to a prosecutor who had posed as a reporter and that the account be published in full in the NY Herald
Autograph Letter signed: "CG", 2 pages (front and verso), 5x8. [Washington, D.C.], "Oct. 17" . To "Mr. Smith". In full: "I expected you today. I want to work on my book. Send a man tomorrow sure. I saw Saturday's republican. It contains a fine report generally. I don't think much of democratic papers. Send me Stalwart, N.Y. & Washington. If Caskill was not mean, he would allow my attorneys to copy from Bailey's dictation my autobiography & thus save me the trouble of dictating it. If he has a particle of honor he ought to do this considering how his Bailey got it. There is nothing I wish to withdraw. Bailey obtained the information on his, & Corkhill's statement that he was a reporter of the NY Herald, & promised to publish it in full in the Herald, & he said it would make 40 columns, that Mr. Bennett was personally interested in my case, etc. I therefore gave Bailey a full & graphic description of my life experience, which latter in politics, law, theology, etc." Charles Guiteau (1841-1882), a failed lawyer, involved himself in the 1880 Presidential campaign, writing a speech on behalf of James Garfield that the Republic Party published and gave some limited circulation. Guiteau credited himself with having secured Garfield's election, and hounded the staff of the President-elect for a diplomatic appointment. Firmly rebuffed by incoming Secretary of State James Blaine, Guiteau decided to assassinate Garfield. After much preparation, he shot the President on July 2, 1881. Garfield finally died on September 2, as much a victim of poor medical practice as of Guiteau's bullet, and the assassin was charged with murder. This letter was written from confinement as Guiteau awaited trial, which began on November 4.District of Columbia DA George Corkhill, called "Caskill" in Guiteau's letter, would head the prosecution team. Corkhill introduced his legal colleague Edmond Bailey to Guiteau as a newspaper reporter, and Bailey dictated Guiteau's account of his life. Guiteau, obviously craving publicity, is incensed that his account will not receive the publicity he expected. Guiteau was found guilty on January 25, 1882, and he wasexecuted by hanging on June 30. The Stalwarts mentioned in the letter are the Republican faction opposed to civil service reform. Ironically, Guiteau's murder of the President further discredited the old "spoils system" of patronage appointment, and assured passage of the Pendleton Act of 1883, establishing the U.S. Civil Service Commission. Chester Arthur, formerly a Stalwart chosen as Vice Presidential candidate to placate Republicans unhappy with the reformer Garfield, supported reform in the wake of the assassination. Edmond Bailey claimed to have destroyed the notes he took while interviewing Guiteau. Evenly toned, left edge ragged as if torn from previous binding. Two horizontal letter folds affecting signature. Otherwise, fine condition.
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