May 09, 1849

Polk, Exhausted, Says He’s Feeling Better Now That He’s Out of Office and Can Rest - and Dies One Month Later

Autograph Letter Signed
1 page
SMC 244
Polk, who rose in the White House at dawn and worked on through the night - and spent only forty-two of his fourteen hundred and sixty days in office away from his desk - may be said to have worked himself to death, dying less than four months after his presidency, at the age of fifty-three. This letter, however, finds him, briefly, feeling well, between the cholera he most likely picked up on his way home from Washington, in New Orleans, and the cholera that killed him one month later.
 
Now that I am a private citizen - relieved from all public responsibilities - I am quietly at home enjoying the repose which I so much needed.  I was seriously indisposed during the latter part of my return journey from Washington - but my health is now entirely restored.
 
Polk’s respite from severe diarrhea lasted roughly another three weeks, at which point, exhausted, he sickened one last time, and died on June 15th.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, Nashville, Tennessee, May 9, 1849. To John W. Forney in Philadelphia. 
Read transcript Bookmark