Lot 8020: James K. Polk Signed Handwritten Letter
28th June 2018
ALS, one page both sides, 7.75 x 9.75, October 17, 1840. Letter to Colonel Samuel H. Laughlin, in part: "Learning on my return from the District that the prepared meetings in Carman & White had been abandoned, I have written to Tunny & Frick that I would be at Winchester or such other point in Franklin as they might select—on Monday the 26th Instant—if they would get up a meeting for that day. I take it for granted they will do so, and would be glad to meet you there, unless you are more profitably engaged elsewhere. I hope you will not fail to address the people in Bledsoe & Marion before the election. Geo[rge] Carroll’s failure to go to E. Tenn. is most unfortunate. Hollingsworth however started this evening past I think & will be thus at the Public Dinner on the 21st. Our friends in the District speak with great confidence of an increased Democratic strength in that part of the State—Since the election in 1839.—With proper vigilance to bring every Democratic voter to the polls—and to guard against fraudulent or illegal voting we must carry the State in November. The appearances are that Georgia has gone against us. I have great confidence however that we will carry N. York & N. Jersey and all will yet be well. Let our friends be of good cheer—and…all go to the polls on the 3rd of November." Addressed on the second integral leaf in Polk's hand. In very good to fine condition, with a tear to the left edge, partial separation along the hinge, and seal-related paper loss to the integral address leaf. Following a four-year term as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Polk was elected governor of Tennessee in 1839. His two-year administration was absorbed primarily in national politics, and in this letter he refers to the upcoming presidential election of 1840. The election saw politically inexperienced Whig William Henry Harrison square off against Democrat Martin Van Buren. In spite of Polk’s optimism regarding improved demographics in Tennessee, Harrison easily won the state and the election. A desirable, boldly penned letter boasting exceptional political content.
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