2 pages | SMC 1558
Among Harrison’s White House effects were three handwritten letters, one or two dictated letters, and perhaps a dozen or so signed documents. The autograph, in office, is the rarest of any president. This autograph letter was written a scant six days after his ill-fated Inauguration and as such, is the ultimate presidential rarity. Here he complains that he is so besieged with office-seekers and well-wishers that he cannot attend his personal financial affairs. “I am so much harassed by the multitude that call upon me,” he says, “that I can give no proper attention to any business of my own.” This hurried and oddly garbled letter – full of dropped or duplicated words – concerns his personal indebtedness
The letter exhibited here is one of only three that Harrison wrote in his own hand, as President. Its rarity, in fact, is legend.
Autograph Letter Signed (“W.H. Harrison”), as President, 2 pages, recto and verso, quarto, Washington, March 10, 1841. To R. Buchanan.
One of three autograph letters in office extant; the only one, in fact, to ever be offered at public auction. Of legendary rarity.
Used with permission of Shapell Legacy Partnership 2.
all pages and transcript
My dear Sir
I enclose herewith a letter to you from our friend Charles Macallister & I also enclose his letter to me on the subject upon which I ask the [...] of yr. friendship.
I said to Macallister that the balance of my debt to the Bank U.S. was about $4'000 [sic]. I am however convinced that it cannot be any thing like that unless they charge compound interest which I believe they have done. Will you before you close the matter with the Agent have the goodness critically to examine the account from the beginning. If they have been in the habit of adding the interest to the principles at fixed periods, I will not pay it. Perhaps it is imposing too much upon you to request you to attend to this Matter if it is employ some competent person to make the examination.
You will see from Macallisters [sic] letter to me that he thinks U.S. Bank notes will fall lower than they are. If this is so it would [text is crossed out] be evidently wrong to settle the business in Cincinnati & take the receipts
I must refer you to the papers for all the news [sic]
Give my best respects to Mrs Buchanan
W. H. HARRISON
R. Buchanan Esq.
Genl. W. H. Harrison.
March 10 } 1841
" 16 }
H. I. J.