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    Acting Confederate States Attorney General Wade R. Keyes Autograph Letter Signed "Wade Keyes". Four pages of a bifolium, "4.75" x 7.75", Richmond; December 24, 1863. Addressed to Governor of Alabama, Thomas Hill Watts. In his letter, Keyes provides secret information on the building of Ironclads and the Confederacy being recognized by Mexico. It reads, in part:

    "I am going to tell you something about the ironclads and as the information has not been published you will consider yourself in the bonds of secrecy. Dayton or Drayton the Yankee minister at Paris complained to the French minister that we were building ironclads visibly in France. The minister explained that he could not act on suspicion. The Yankee then bribed the chief clerk of the contractor and obtained a copy of the contract & laid it before the minister who thereupon ordered the work to stop. Slidell addressed a note to the Emperor reminding him of the facts under which the building was commenced and received a note in reply from the French minister asking him to come & see the Emperor. The Emperor told him that he was not in a condition right now for a war with the United States but that he had given his word & the minister's order was overlooked & the work goes on. Now another piece of private news is that the minister has sent a message to our government to send a minister to Mexico & it is understood that one of the first acts of Maximilian's government will be our recognition. Maximilian will reach his empire in Feby. I do not think there is the slightest hope that the Yankees will do anything except talk big on account of our recognition or on account of the ironclads. I wish they would 'pitch into' France & England & Mexico & Spain & so on until they got enough against them to make the fight interesting & something like equal in their opinion of themselves...Yankees are a damn mean people & that our success is written in large letters in the Book of Fate....Can you not whip the Yankees out of N. Ala. with state troops!"

    In 1861, France invaded Mexico and later installed Maximilian I of Mexico as Emperor in 1864. The French believed that an alliance with the Confederacy would aid their standing in Mexico, but could not formally recognize the Confederate States of America without risking war with the United States. Mexico was, however, sympathetic to the Confederate cause, and Maximilian would later provide settlements in Mexico for ex-Confederates who fled the U.S. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Flattened mail folds and lightly toned throughout. Else very good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 308

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