GARFIELD, James A. Autograph letter signed ("J.A. Garfield") AS PRESIDENT to Wharton Barker ("Dear Barker") in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., 3 June 1881. 2 pages, 8vo (4 3/8 x 6¾ in.), written on rectos only of two sheets, first leaf with Executive Mansion heading, ink on page 1 slightly blotted, small stain at top of page 2.
GARFIELD IN OFFICE: THE PRESIDENT RECOMMENDS CAUTION IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF APPOINTMENTS.
A rare autograph letter from President Garfield, apparently concerning dissension aroused by the distribution of patronage in Pennsylvania. Three months after taking office, Garfield writes: "Dear Barker, Since you were here, I have seen some people from Philadelphia who say there will be [a] great deal [of] dissatisfaction if more people are brought into the Philad. offices from other parts of the state."
"This, in connection with my embarrassment in reference to the names already sent to the Senate--leads me to think we had not better go in the direction named at least for the present. I will delay at any rate until Windom returns."
Late in his Presidential campaign, Garfield employed a secretary, Joseph Stanley-Brown (1858-1941), who became adept at imitating Garfield's large, relaxed hand and took on the task of writing many of Garfield's letters during his very brief term as President. (President Arthur kindly suggested that Stanley-Brown retain his office under the new President, but Stanley-Brown declined; see lot 123). The present letter, though, is unquestionably in President Garfield's hand.
GARFIELD AUTOGRAPH LETTERS IN OFFICE ARE RARE. In the last 25 years, only one other Garfield autograph letter signed in office, on White House stationery, has appeared at auction (a one-page letter signed with initials, to Charles Clark, 30 June 1881, from the Forbes Collection, Christie's, 17 May 1996, lot 128, $18,000).