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(CIVIL WAR.) Josiah M. Lucas. A congressional insider describes the mood as secession spreads. Autograph Letter Signed to Ozias M. Hatch of Springfield, IL. 3 pages, 10 x 7 3/4 inches, on one folding sheet; folds, minimal wear. Washington, 26 January 1861
Josiah M. Lucas (1812-1889) was born in Maryland, went to Illinois as a young man, knew the young Lincoln, and relocated to Washington in 1849. In 1861 he was postmaster of the House of Representatives. Here, he writes to another old Lincoln friend, Ozias H. Hatch (1814-1893), then the Illinois Secretary of State. In the months between Lincoln's election and inauguration, Lucas offers Hatch the inside scoop.
"My opportunities of knowing what is going on, and also the public feeling, is quite as good, and I think better, than any ten senators or representatives. . . . They are standing in the midst of a revolution with folded arms, upon a baseless punctilio, when the very ground beneath them is crumbling away. They talk learnedly about the unconstitutionality of secession &c &c when he sees the secession of state after state and the withdrawal of members. They talk about coercion . . . How is it possible for one half the Union to coerce the other? Then it is plain that the thing is ridiculous. . . . Revolution rules the hour and is daily gathering strength." Lucas holds up Maryland governor Thomas Hicks, a lukewarm Unionist trying to straddle the line, as a "model for the proper course of action."
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