View full screen - View 1 of Lot 66. LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD | Lucretia Garfield sends an encouraging, albeit mistaken, report of her husband's recovery from an assassination attempt to Queen Victoria.
66

LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD | Lucretia Garfield sends an encouraging, albeit mistaken, report of her husband's recovery from an assassination attempt to Queen Victoria

Estimate:

3,500 - 5,000 USD

Property from the Collection of Elsie and Philip Sang

LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD | Lucretia Garfield sends an encouraging, albeit mistaken, report of her husband's recovery from an assassination attempt to Queen Victoria

LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD | Lucretia Garfield sends an encouraging, albeit mistaken, report of her husband's recovery from an assassination attempt to Queen Victoria

Estimate:

3,500 - 5,000 USD

Lot sold:

3,528

USD

Property from the Collection of Elsie and Philip Sang

LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD

MANUSCRIPT LETTER DRAFT OR TELEGRAM SIGNED ("LUCRETIA R. GARFIELD") AS FIRST LADY, TO QUEEN VICTORIA (DIRECTED TO "OSBORNE—ENGLAND"; I.E., OSBORNE HOUSE, ISLE OF WIGHT), REPORTING ON PRESIDENT GARFIELD'S CONDITION


One page (7 7/8 x 4 3/4 in.; 201 x 122 mm) on a bifolium of plain paper, written in a hurried secretarial hand, [Washington,] 17 August 1881; lightly wrinkled, a few ink spots.


On 2 July 1881, President James Garfield was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C., by Charles Guiteau, a mentally disturbed office-seeker. Garfield survived the initial attack, but died eleven weeks later, 19 September, from infection probably caused by nonsterile medical care.


The President's two-month fight for life riveted the attention of the nation—and of the world. The impact in Great Britain of Garfield's shooting and death was much more pronounced than that for Abraham Lincoln, who had been assassinated just sixteen years earlier. This was due partly to English ambivalence towards the Civil War, but more so to improved transatlantic telegraph communication, which allowed immediate reports and updates on Garfield's condition to reach the English people. One particularly sympathetic British observer was Queen Victoria, still mourning the death of Prince Albert. The monarch stayed in close touch with Mrs. Garfield, who here prepared a reply to one of Victoria's inquiries.


"Your Majesty's kind inquiry finds the President's condition changed for the better. In the judgment of his medical advisors there is strong hope of his recovery. His mind is entirely alert and your Majesty's kind expressions of sympathy are most grateful to hear as they are gratefully acknowledged by me." In fact, although the President would live for another month, his condition was worsening. 


At the time of Garfield's funeral, Queen Victoria wrote again to Lucretia Garfield: "I have anxiously watched the long … painful sufferings of your valiant husband and shared in the fluctuations between hope and fear, the former of which decreased about two months ago, and greatly to preponderate over the latter—and above all I fell in deeply for you!" With this letter, Victoria sent a large wreath of white tuberose, which was placed on Garfield's casket during the lying in state in the capitol and his funeral in Cleveland. The wreath is preserved at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Mentor, Ohio.