Fine Books & Manuscripts
Davis, Jefferson (1808-1889) Autograph Letter Signed, 24 December 1860.
Three pages, on a Carson's Congress stationery bifolium, with the original envelope. To John W. French, written from the Senate Chamber, expressing his dismay at the unfolding of political events, i.e. the December twentieth secession of South Carolina, and impending secession of Mississippi. The envelope toned with tears, the letter clean, with folds, 8 x 5 in.
"I would have written to you often if my heart had been less sad, if hope had left me one ray to guide me towards the end we both desire. Necessity confronts me, and my duty is to meet the event which I have no power to control. Whatever of good it remains for me to do, whatever of power I have or may bear rests upon the confidence felt in me as a Southern man who will sacrifice everything for the Union, save the rights, the security, and honor of my constituents. Proud of their confidence, I am insensible to any inducement to depart from the path I have trodden during the trials which gave me the regard I possess in the breasts of the people of Missi[ssippi]." Notably, Davis first wrote the word "union" beginning with a lower case u, and then went over that original inscription, replacing the small u with a bold upper case letter.
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