CLEVELAND, Grover. Autograph draft manuscript, comprising the opening section of HIS FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS, with several autograph emendations and corrections by Cleveland, containing approximately 250 words, [Washington, D.C., delivered 8 December 1885]. 2 pages, folio (12¼ x 7½ in.), in ink on blue lined paper, written on rectos only, joined along inner fold, some slight soiling, otherwise in fine condition. In a green morocco protective portfolio.
THE ONLY SURVIVING PORTION OF PRESIDENT CLEVELAND'S HANDWRITTEN DRAFT OF HIS FIRST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
This, the sole extant portion of Cleveland's draft of the State of the Union Address, commences with a thoughtful restatement of the duties enjoined upon the Chief Executive to present an annual message to Congress, describes the significance of such joint sessions, and stresses that the President's annual message testifies to the separation of powers: "The Constitution which requires those chosen to legislate for the people, thus representing them in their highest attribute of sovereignty, to annually meet in the discharge of their solemn trust, also requires that the President shall give to Congress information of the state of the union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall deem necessary and expedient. At the threshold of a compliance with these constitutional directions it is well for us to bear in mind that our usefulness to the people's interests will be promoted by a constant appreciation of the scope and character of our respective duties as they relate to Federal legislation. While the Executive may recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient, the responsibility for legislative action must and should rest upon those selected by the people to make their laws."
Then Cleveland shifts his focus to foreign relations: "It is gratifying to announce that the relations of the United States with all foreign powers continue to be friendly... No questions are pending with any foreign government but such as are amenable to normal diplomatic treatments."
The address that Cleveland gave on the 8th of December added a two-paragraph section eulogizing Vice President Thomas Andrews Henricks who had died suddenly. Cleveland also expanded his comments on the separation of powers, in a new paragraph placed before the "jealous watchfulness of our constituencies" sentence. The entire text of Cleveland's address totals nearly 20,000 words, and provides detailed information on the nation's foreign relations, industrial advances, tariff issues, civil service reform, and his recommendation that free silver coinage be terminated. Cleveland also pointed out the need for legislation to provide for "the death, disability, or removal" of President and Vice-President (the Presidential Succession Act was passed in January 1886). Published in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, ed. J.D. Richardson, 8:324-365.
[With:] RIVES, G.L Autograph letter signed ("G.L. Rives"), "My Dear Maud," Washington, D.C. 8 February 1888. 2 pages, 8vo, Department of State stationary. Rives forwards Cleveland's draft to his sister, attests to its genuineness and informs her that "the rest of the draft was torn up, -- so this is all there is of it."
Provenance: John Stuart Groves, booklabel in portfolio, (sale, Phillips New York, 30 September 1982, lot 705).