Dark-Horse James K. Polk Expresses Surprise at His "Wholly Unexpected" Nomination

July 4, 1844

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Dark-Horse James K. Polk Expresses Surprise at His "Wholly Unexpected" Nomination
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 1054

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      Background

      Here the first “dark horse” candidate to capture his party’s nomination for president declares he is as surprised as anyone at this startling turn of events. “My nomination was wholly unexpected by me,” he states – adding quickly, that if its effect will be to heal the Democratic party of the dissention that brought him to the fore as a compromise, then he shall be most happy “to have been the instrument in… effecting so great a good.” He thanks ex-Congressman Casey, whom he recalls with pleasure, for his good wishes for success in the “pending political contest.” Written on the 4th of July, no less.


      Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, Columbia, Tennessee, July 4, 1844. With address leaf on verso. To Zadok Casey in Mount Vernon, Illinois.
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      Columbia Tenn.  July 4th 1844--

      (Private)


      My Dear Sir:

      I had the pleasure to receive your very kind letter of the 12th ultimo -- written at New York some days ago, and should have answered earlier -- but for the pressure of other indispensible [sic] engagements -- which have occupied my whole time. I need scarcely say to you that my nomination was wholly unexpected by me. If its effect shall be to heal our disputation & restore harmony and union to the action of our party, I shall be most happy to have been the instrument in the hands of my political friends of effecting so great a good.-- I thank you for the kindly spirit of your letter, and for your good wishes for my success in the pending political contest.-- I remember with pleasure the intimate relations which existed between us,-- during our Congressional service,-- & was I assure you much pleased to hear from you, -- as I shall be again whenever it may suit your convenience to write.

      I am Very Truly

      Your friend & obt. svt.

      JAMES K. POLK


      Hon. Zadok Casey
      Mount Vernon
      Illinois

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      Hon. Zadok Casey
      Mount Vernon
      Jefferson County
      Illinois.