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The Future Vice President of the Confederacy discusses Texas Annexation

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512.     STEPHENS, Alexander Hamilton. Autograph letter, signed, to Governor George W. Crawford (governor of Georgia) discussing politics and Texas annexation, dated at Washington, D.C., December 19, 1844. 4 pp. on a bifolium (25 x 20.2 cm), grey laid paper with watermark (1840). Creased where formerly folded, small chip at lower right corner (no loss), small void at blank centerfold, overall very good, with transcription.

     Stephens played an important role in Texas annexation; he offered, in consultation with Tennessee Senator Milton Brown, the joint resolution (January 16, 1845) declaring the terms under which Congress would admit the Republic of Texas to the Union as a state. In the present letter, written immediately before the introduction of the said annexation resolution, Stephens writes Georgia Whig Governor Crawford an insider letter discussing intricate political matters ranging from duties on railroad iron, to Thomas Hart Benton and the “old Hickory dynasty,” to Polk’s welcoming of Calhoun. On the Texas question, Stephens refers to “a war message…sent in to the House today” (a reference to Mexico’s threats to the U.S. should annexation occur). Stephens concludes: “For my own part I think all will be safe—though I am a little afraid if Texas should be mixed in the contest. What say you?” On the Texas annexation question, the Southern Whigs were caught in a political quandary, faced with a choice between doing what their constituencies wanted or doing what was politically expedient in order to ensure Whig political empowerment in the face of discord with Northern Whigs. See Michael A. Morrison, “Westward the Curse of Empire: Texas Annexation and the American Whig Party” in Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. X, No. 2, Summer, 1990, pp. 221-249.

     Stephens (1812-1883), a Georgia native, was an influential Confederate politician who served as the Vice President and in 1865 negotiated with Lincoln for terms. Arrested after the war, he was released after five months and resumed his political career, being elected to Congress and the governorship of Georgia. Stephens County, Texas, was named in his honor.


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,200.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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