Grover Cleveland, New to the Oval Office, Confides That He Is Overwhelmed With the Job of Being President

He tells an old friend that “matters have reached such a pass since my return that much of the time I hardly know whether I stand on my head or heels.”

Edward Bacon was a Buffalo, New York, attorney who formed a friendship with Grover Cleveland before either rose to fame and fortune. Cleveland became governor of New York and then President of the United States, while Bacon went on to become a railroad tycoon who partnered in business deals with J. Pierpont...

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Grover Cleveland, New to the Oval Office, Confides That He Is Overwhelmed With the Job of Being President

He tells an old friend that “matters have reached such a pass since my return that much of the time I hardly know whether I stand on my head or heels.”

Edward Bacon was a Buffalo, New York, attorney who formed a friendship with Grover Cleveland before either rose to fame and fortune. Cleveland became governor of New York and then President of the United States, while Bacon went on to become a railroad tycoon who partnered in business deals with J. Pierpont Morgan.

Just six months after Cleveland took office, Bacon presumed on their friendship to espouse the cause of a Army lieutenant named Squires, who must have been the son of a close friend or relative. The youth wanted an overseas posting. Cleveland ran for president on a pledge to end corruption and special favors in government, and he sought to find a way to let his friend down easy by asking Bacon to provide additional materials. But in doing so, he exposed the fact that he was overwhelmed with the job of being President.

Autograph letter signed, as President, on Executive Mansion letterhead, September 22, 1885, to Bacon. “Your letter is just received. I ought to have answered you back & have no excuse that I think would hold water, though matters have reached such a pass since my return that much of the time I hardly know whether I stand on my head or heels.

“My suggestion is that if you deem it very important to accomplish the Squires assignment you pursue and send to me or the Department the request and as nearly as possible the unanimous request of the family that he be assigned to the duty you claim. I hope that you are well and still feeling the good effects of your short sojourn at the hotel at Willis Pond.”

A fascinating and revealing letter showing the effect that entering the presidency can have.

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