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Signed autograph letter informing a clergyman that he has no power as President to appoint a Midshipman to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Autograph Letter Signed: "James Buchanan" as President, 1 page, 6¼x8. Washington, 1858 April 20. To Rev. John Chambers. In full: "I should gladly answer yr esteemed favor as it deserves; but the extreme pressure on my time prevents me from saying more than that I do not possess the power to appoint a midshipman. Nominations for the Naval School are made exclusively by Representatives in Congress from the proper District. I should gladly oblige Dr Odenheimer & yourself if this were in my power. In haste, I remain, very respectfully, Your friend." Buchanan was serving as Polk's Secretary of State when the Naval School opened on October 10, 1845 at Annapolis, Maryland. In 1850, the Naval School was reorganized as the U.S. Naval Academy. On August 31, 1852, appointments to the U.S. Naval Academy came under the control of Congress. While only U.S. Representatives could appoint Midshipmen at the time Buchanan penned this letter, today the President, Vice President and U.S. Senators may also appoint candidates for Annapolis, although U.S. Representatives still appoint a majority. The Dr. Odenheimer mentioned by Buchanan may have been WILLIAM HENRY ODENHEIMER, a fellow Pennsylvanian who was an Episcopalian priest and rector of St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia. Odenheimer was known for both his administrative work and ministry to people. He may have joined REV. JOHN CHAMBERS in recommending a worthy candidate for appointment to Annapolis. Folds, vertical fold touches the "m" in James, light tackhead-size stain at blank area under the signature. Lightly creased. Overall, fine condition.

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

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