March 5, 1846. Manuscript Letter Signed, "James Buchanan" as United States Secretary of State, 7.75" x 9.75", 2 on light blue, wove, bifolium stationary, headed "Department of State, Washington". Writing on p. 1 & 2, 21 lines, approx. 175 words. Mailing folds, some insignificant edge splits at fold and tiny holds at intersection of horizontal and vertical folds.
James Buchanan (1791-1868). 15th President of the United States from 1857-1861, serving immediately prior to the American Civil War, represented PA. in the US House of Representatives and later the Senate, then served as Minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson, named Secretary of State under President James K. Polk, and is the last Former Secretary of State to serve as President of the United States. He was the last President born in the 18th century, the only president from the State of Pennsylvania to date, and the only president to have never married and to have remained a bachelor.
Buchanan was offered the position of Secretary of State in the Polk administration. Though he considered the possibility of instead serving on the Supreme Court, Buchanan accepted the position and served as Secretary of State throughout Polk's lone term in office. During that time, Polk and Buchanan nearly doubled the territorial extent of the United States through the Oregon Treaty and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In negotiations with Britain over Oregon, Buchanan at first advised a compromise, but later advocated for annexation of the entire territory. Eventually, Buchanan assented to a division at the 49th parallel.
After the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, Buchanan advised Polk against taking territory South of the Rio Grande River and New Mexico. However, as the war came to an end, Buchanan argued for the annexation of further territory, annoying Polk, who suspected that Buchanan was primarily concerned with eventually becoming president. Buchanan did quietly seek nomination at the 1848 Democratic National Convention (Polk had promised to serve only one term), but the nomination instead went to Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan.
Joseph Slocum, was a prominent Syracuse, NY inventor, businessman and New York State Assemblyman. He was a clever inventor, butcommercial success eluded him all his life. Like many antebellum entrepreneurs his fortunes rose and fell with the volatile market conditions. Following this assignement he was appointed as the mail agent for the New York to San Francisco line. Very good. Item #2422
A very positive Letter of Introduction for Joseph Slocum. Letter reads in full below: "To the respective Diplomatic and Consular Agents of the United States in Europe. - This letter will be handed to you by Joseph Slocum, Esq. of New York, who has been recommended to me by a portion of the delegation in Congress from that State, as a gentleman of sterling integrity, unblemished reputation, and a high sense of honor. He is now about to visit Russia, in compliance with a call made by direction of the Emporrr, with a view to the promotion of the arts and their adaptation to the use of that Government. Mr. Slocum intends, in the course of his journey, to visit many of the capitols of Europe, and should you have any dispatches, etc. to forward to any of our Ministers residing there, you may, with the utmost confidence, entrust them to his care. I take pleasure in introducing Mr. Slocum to your acquaintance, and in bespeaking for him, during his stay in your neighborhood, such friendly attention as you may find it convenient to extend to him. Your Obedient Servant /s/"