GARFIELD, James A. Autograph note signed ("J. A. G."), TO SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES G. BLAINE (1830-1893), Washington, 19 March , 11 a.m. 1 page, oblong (2 11/16 x 4 1/16 in.), on Executive Mansion stationery. Minor remnants of mounting on verso.
A RARE GARFIELD AUTOGRAPH NOTE AS PRESIDENT, TO HIS SECRETARY OF STATE, IN THE AFTERMATH OF TSAR ALEXANDER'S ASSASSINATION: "Dear Blaine. If convenient, please come over in the course of an hour. I want to see you a few minutes." After Blaine's distinguished career as a member of the House and Senate, he vied unsuccessfully with Garfield for the GOP nomination in 1880, but agreed to serve as the nation's chief diplomat. President Garfield here turns to Blaine to discuss the U. S.'s official response to the assassination of Russian Tsar Alexander II. The Tsar had been the target of no less than four previous attempts to kill him, in April 1866, April 1879, December 1879 and February 1880. The fifth and last effort was led by a Polish nihilist, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, who, acting in concert with six others, tossed a series of crude hand grenades at the emperor's coach outside the Winter Palace, killing Alexander on 13 March 1881. Just a few months later, on 2 July 1881, Blaine would be walking alongside Garfield when Charles Guiteau shot the President, inflicting the wounds that claimed Garfield's life in September 1881.
Garfield's presidential autograph letters are extremely rare, partly due to his penchant for dictating his letters during his brief term in office. Only four full autograph letters in office have been offered at auction in the last quarter century.