PRESENTATION COPY OF WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON'S DEFENSE OF HIS ACTIONS IN COLOMBIA, INSCRIBED TO AN IMPORTANT POLITICAL SUPPORTER
HARRISON, William Henry. Remarks of General Harrison, Late Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Colombia, on Certain Charges Made Against Him by That Government. To which is added, an Unofficial Letter, from General Harrison to General Bolivar, on the Affairs of Colombia. Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1830. Octavo, modern half black morocco, marbled boards; pp. 69. $19,500.
First edition, presentation copy, of General (later President) William Henry Harrison's defense of his actions while serving as American ambassador to the Republic of Colombia in 1829, inscribed and signed by Harrison to an important political supporter, J.S. Skinner of Baltimore: “Mr. Skinner Postmaster [Bal]timore with the respects of W.H. Harri[son].” Harrison autographs are scare, and presentation copies of his few published writings are quite rare. To our knowledge only one other presentation copy has ever been offered for sale.
John Stuart Skinner, then postmaster of Baltimore, is best known to posterity as the publisher of American Farmer and as the editor of the American Turf Register and a prolific writer on sporting themes. He was also politically influential and an important supporter of Harrison in Maryland. Harrison appointed him assistant postmaster in his brief administration. The text of the pamphlet is Harrison's defense of his conduct while American ambassador to the new state of Colombia. Harrison was appointed to that post in 1828; shortly after arriving in Bogotá in February 1829, he decided that Bolívar nursed plans to make himself an emperor, and became involved with the faction opposing Bolívar. These interferences were deeply resented by the Colombian government, and on September 21, 1829, Harrison received a notice that Jackson had replaced him with T.P. Moore, who arrived in Bogotá that day. On September 27 Harrison wrote Bolívar a letter of "extraordinary temerity, urging him to adhere to the tenets of republicanism" (DAB). Harrison was more or less forcibly ejected from the country two weeks later. Harrison immediately wrote the present work, defending his conduct and making public his controversial letter to Bolívar. Streeter 1740.
As seen often, Harrison's inscription on the title page is somewhat cropped, partially clipping Harrison's name, removing the last three letters. Marginal loss to title expertly repaired, close tear to one leaf repaired, light scattered foxing. Very good condition, attractively bound.