Lot 32: Exceptional and tremendously rare pairing of presidential documents: a partly-printed DS as president, signed "James A. Garfield," one page, 17 x 13.5, June 13, 1881. President Garfield issues an unusual postmaster appointment. In part: "Having suspended John T. Gibson from his office as postmaster at Huntington, in the County of Cabell and State of West Virginia, in accordance with the terms of section 1768 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. I do designate Judson Spofford to perform the duties of said suspended officer, subject to all provisions of law applicable thereto." Crisply signed at the conclusion by President Garfield and countersigned by Acting Postmaster General James N. Tyner. Followed by a second partly-printed DS as president, signed "Chester A. Arthur," one page, 17 x 13, October 26, 1881. President Arthur officially appoints Spofford as "Postmaster at Huntington, in the County of Cabell, State of West Virginia." Signed at the conclusion by President Arthur and countersigned by Postmaster General Thomas L. James. Both documents retain their original gold seals and ribbons affixed to the lower left. In overall very good condition, with intersecting folds with small edge separations, a few small edge tears, some mounting remnants and stains to edges, and slight soiling to the signature areas from lying against the seals.The statute cited in the Garfield document allowed the president to suspend any civil officer, with the exception of judges, while Congress was in recess. A special session of the 47th US Congress had ended on May 20 and Garfield was shot on July 2, leaving him just over a month to utilize this ability. When he took office, the Post Office Department was the largest department in the federal government and highly prone to corruption—possibly the reason behind Gibson's termination, which the Senate Journal simply describes as 'for cause.' Arthur succeeded to the presidency after Garfield succumbed to his wounds on September 19, 1881, signing this postmaster appointment just over a month later. Because of Garfield's brief tenure in the White House his presidential documents are exceedingly scarce, and a 'matched pair' such as this is hardly ever seen.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 456
Wednesday, 15th July 2015
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