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    Calhoun writes shortly after his "Address of the Southern Delegates": "With it, we may possibly save the Union, but if not, certainly ourselves."

    John C. Calhoun Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages of a bifolium, 8" x 10", Washington; February 4, 1849. Addressed to the former Governor of Georgia, W[ilson] Lumpkin, Calhoun discusses his proposal, "Address of the Southern Delegates," which was adopted on January 22, 1849. It reads in part:

    "...I send enclosed a copy of our Address, with the names of those who signed it appended to it. Those who declined were actuated by various motives. The whigs for the most part, because they profess to rely on Genl. Taylor to apply a remedy; but really because they were unwilling to separate from their Northern Allies, and thereby endanger the loss of the honors & emoluments they hope to derive from their victory...To obtain so many signatures, under such circumstances, shows not only a good but a strong cause. No one objected to the address, either as to the truth of its narrative, or the correctness of the conclusions drawn from the facts set forth. As far as we have heard, it has been well received even at the North by the considerate of all parties. I hope it and the Virginia resolutions will have a hearty response from the South. The whigs are alarmed, & the hunkers very uneasy...If we cannot get Union here, I hope what we have done will tend to unite the people of the South. It is all that is wanted. With it, we may possibly save the Union, but if not, certainly ourselves. I agree with you anything rather than submission and degradation." Signed, "J. C. Calhoun."

    Calhoun intended the address to bring the South under a unified pro-slavery argument by listing acts of "northern aggression," such as the nullification of constitutional guarantees regarding slavery and Northern states refusal to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793. He concluded by declaring that the Underground Railroad and abolitionists were attempting to overthrow white supremacy in the South. Only 48 of the 121 southern congressmen signed the proposal because, as Calhoun states in the letter, they believed the incoming President Taylor would decide in their favor. However, they were woefully mistaken as President Taylor advocated for statehood for California and New Mexico, two territories with anti-slavery footholds, further intensifying sectional resentment and setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850.

    Condition: Upper right corner of second leaf once separated, now expertly restored with Japanese tissue. Several other smaller closed tears likewise repaired with Japanese tissue. Some light toning with smoothed folds.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2021
    6th Saturday
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