JAMES BUCHANAN, THE POLITICAL BOSS, ADVISES: “THE DELEGATES FROM PENNSYLVANIA, IF PRACTICAL, SHOULD BE UNITED IN ALL THEIR MOVEMENTS.”
BUCHANAN, JAMES. (1791-1868). Fifteenth President of the United States (1857-61). Autograph Letter Signed, “James Buchanan.” One page, quarto. “Washington.” May 4, 1840. To “Col. Reah Frazer.” Old printed description affixed in lower blank margin [as seen], else fine condition. Buchanan writes:
“My dear Sir I have received from Lancaster two or three hundred copies of my first reply to Mr. Davis, in German. [Pennsylvania at this time had a very large German speaking population]. If Mr. Myers would write to me & thinks it necessary I would send him fifteen or twenty. I gave two of them to Mr. Wadsworth of Louisiana for you. From your friend James Buchanan.
P.S. I think your determination is the proper one fairly & in good faith to obey your instruction & support Col. Johnston & if he cannot be nominated, then to go for Col. King in a Body. The Delegates from Pennsylvania, if practical, should be united in all their movements.”
The reply to Mr. Davis noted by Buchanan in our letter is likely related to the 1840 Senate debate regarding an Independent Treasury. During the heated debate surrounding this issue, charges of misrepresentation were laid against Buchanan by Massachusetts’s Senator Davis. Buchanan, a supporter of the Independent Treasury, fanned the political fire when he responded strongly to these charges on the Senate floor in early March. Though legislation establishing an Independent Treasury was approved by the President in June of 1840, Whig opponents of the bill forced its repeal the following year, and the debated over an Independent Treasury raged on.