May 05, 2016 - Sale 2413

Sale 2413 - Lot 97

Price Realized: $ 3,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
"[SENATOR] PIERCE . . . [WAS] A RADICAL & INFLEXIBLE DEMOCRAT IN ALL HIS VOTES" BUCHANAN, JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed, to editor of the Harrisburg Democratic Union Isaac G. McKinley, commending his editorials but wondering whether their circulation would be disadvantageous given the conflict in PA [possibly the tumult caused by passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850], outlining some observations about the character of General [Franklin] Pierce, and mentioning Pierce's connection to the Cilley duel. 1 page, 4to, pale blue paper, with integral blank; folds. (TFC) Wheatland, 11 June 1852

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". . . The editorials of the last Union are admirable & I could wish them to be in the hands of every Democrat in the Union. You, with mr. Parke & other friends, can best decide whether in view of the terrible & doubtful conflict before us in Pennsylvania, the circulation of these articles . . . would injure the cause. . . . And permit me to thank you . . . . I hope I may yet live to do you good.
"I served in the Senate with General Pierce all the time he was a member of that Body . . . . I recollect him as a radical & inflexible Democrat in all his votes, sometimes going beyond Silas Wright & myself. . . . The Whigs . . . may possibly endeavor to attack him, though unjustly, about the Cilley duel. . . . Judging from Pierce's old associations, I should infer that the Barnburning wing (Van Buren's) of the New York Democracy would have much influence over him."
Jonathan Cilley (1802-1838) was a representative from ME, who was murdered in a duel by KY representative William J. Graves on behalf of James Watson Webb. Webb, a newspaper editor, had been criticized by Cilley during a session of Congress. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Franklin Pierce, friends of Cilley, expressed their outrage, as did other Northerners, many of whom saw dueling as a barbaric Southern institution, which Southerners resented.