Grover Cleveland, Recovering From Secret Cancer Surgery, Reports He is "Getting to be Quite a Drunkard"

December 17, 1893

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Grover Cleveland, Recovering From Secret Cancer Surgery, Reports He is "Getting to be Quite a Drunkard"
Autograph Letter Signed
6 pages | SMC 1970

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      Background

      Cleveland reports to the lead physician of his secret cancer surgeries that he is back on the job, working late and hard, worrying about the Hawaiian Question; but having just finished his Message to Congress on that subject – opposing annexation and supporting restoration of the monarchy – he feels quite relieved. In fact, he confesses,

      I am getting to be quite a drunkard again and take a couple of drinks of whiskey a day, with very good results; and I smoke a cigar every day too.


      But there is yet another piece of business to attend to, before Cleveland can truly “feel happiness and more like a man”: Bryant has got to “accept the contents of [the] envelope enclosed with this as a Christmas present, or as a reimbursement of expenditures on our behalf, or as any other pretext except as payment, or as partial payment for anything you have done for me.” That debt, Cleveland adds, he wants to stand.


      Autograph Letter Signed, as President, 6 pages, octavo, Executive Mansion, December 17, 1893. To Dr. J.D. Bryant.
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      EXECUTIVE MANSION
      WASHINGTON.

      Dec 17, 1893

      My dear Doctor

      I was very much pleased to read your letter to-day and to know that all your household were well and to hear something of our lazy friend Keen.   I imagined when I saw the World of last Sunday that Buck and Gibson would think they "had got into business."  There is no bad wish that I do not entertain for that vilest and meanest of 

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      newspaper Sheets.  I am sorry that I am such a nuisance to you all.

      I have just finished a message to Congress on the Hawaiian question which I intend to send in to-morrow.  If you have any desire to learn the true inwardness and outwardness of that transaction Tuesday morning's papers will furnish you an opportunity.

      This job has worried me a good deal and kept me up pretty late one or two nights.  The clerks are now copying the message and since it is off my hands and mind I feel 

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      very much relieved.  It has left me in pretty good physical shape though I think there is about a teacup full of water in the left middle ear which makes me quite deaf again in that particular piece of souse.  I am getting to be quite a drunkard again and take a couple of drinks of whiskey a day, with very good results; and I smoke a cigar every day too.  The Dentist Doctors last contrivance works wonderfully well and gains me thus far much comfort.

      Now I come to something else.

      You know the love we all [
      sic] for you in this

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      household; but you do not know and never can know our deep sense of gratitude for all that you have done for me.  We are willing to remain in your debt because it intensifies our affection for you and because it is beyond our power to repay it.  Two dear children and ^abundant evidence in our own persons are conclusive proofs against us - to say nothing of associations entirely [text is crossed out] professional.

      And yet I am unhappy over the present situation and am determined to come to you as I have before done when in trouble.  You can make me feel happier and more like a man if you will accept the contents of 

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      EXECUTIVE MANSION
      WASHINGTON.

      envelope enclosed with this as a Christmas present, or as a reimbursement of expenditures on our behalf, or as any other pretext except as payment, unless a partial payment, for anything you have done for me.  I want that debt to stand.

      I have been called a willful stubborn man.  If there is any justification for that assertion I want to demonstrate it now.

      There! That will do!  I have studied this matter out and that's the way I want it.  Let that end it.

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      With sincere love, from such members of our family as are large enough to make their wishes known, to you and Mrs Bryant and Florence I am

      Faithfully Yours

      GROVER CLEVELAND


      Dr J. D. Bryant