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447   John S. Mosby  $500 Unopened $500 0 You must login to place a bid.

#447 - John S. Mosby

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“As for what is called the negro policy, I can see no difference between Cleveland, McKinley and Roosevelt—except that Cleveland invited Fred Douglas and his white wife to mingle on a footing of social equality”

Carbon TLS signed “Jno. S. Mosby,” three pages, 8 x 12.5, August 13, [1904]. Letter to Captain S. F. Chapman in support of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 presidential campaign. In part: “I notice in the Southern papers—notably in the Richmond Times-Dispatch—a disposition to make comparisons of the policy of Mr. McKinley and of Mr. Roosevelt toward the South to the disparagement of the latter. Some of them say that a continuation of McKinley’s policy would have dissolved the Solid South. I can see no evidence of it or difference in their policies. McKinley appointed a great many more negroes than Roosevelt has. There are two Land Offices in Alabama; the Receivers of both places are negroes and excellent officers. Nobody finds fault with these appointments—both were appointed by McKinley. It is as idle now to question the wisdom of the policy that made the negro a citizen as to arraign the Power that made him a man. The Republican leaders are dead; or have joined the Democratic party. I have never heard of a single negro appointment by Mr. Roosevelt either in Alabama or Virginia. Yet the politicians are trying to scare people with the bogie of negro ascendancy. I heard in Alabama that there are less than two (2,000) thousand negroes registered in the whole State; I doubt if there are as many registered in Virginia. White supremacy cannot be made an issue although the Democrats are trying to persuade people that it is. That is the only way to keep the South Solid. You know how nurses keep children quiet by telling them ghost stories; this is a ghost story." He continues with a lengthy discussion of the elections of 1896 and 1900: "As for what is called the negro policy, I can see no difference between Cleveland, McKinley and Roosevelt—except that Cleveland invited Fred Douglas [sic] and his white wife to mingle on a footing of social equality with white people at his exclusive card receptions; white Roosevelt lunched alone with Booker Washington who had called to ask him to appoint two old Confederates to office in Alabama. The emoluments of the Recorder of the District were larger than those of any other office in the gift of the President; Cleveland brought a negro, Mathews, here from New York, and gave him the place. The Bar of the District in vain protested against it. When I came back from Hong Kong I heard that Mrs. Lyons, the widow of my old friend, James Lyons of Richmond, was in office here. I looked her up and found her a clerk under Mathews. I have just received a letter from Frank Pemberton who says, ‘I hate the modern negro’—which implies that he loves the original African. He says that,—‘Our otherwise estimable President is crazy upon the negro question.’ Now I really don’t think there is anything heroic in abusing a negro; and must confess that I prefer the educated negro to the savage. He is the most docile of all races; his labour has created the prosperity of the South. It will not make him any worse to teach him to read the Lord’s Prayer. Frank is against educating the negro and seems to hold Roosevelt responsible for his education. I have always given the Southern people the credit for it. They certainly claim it. There were negro schools all over the South long before Roosevelt was President. Free schools came with reconstruction and the abolition of slavery. The educated negro produces several times more cotton than his illiterate ancestors. I suppose you saw that the Democratic Convention of West Virginia refused to adopt a white man’s supremacy plank in their platform. Their candidate for vice-President, Davis, was present but, unlike Frank, he doesn’t hate (or pretends that he doesn’t) the negro—he wants his vote. Frank wants Jeff Davis for President—and is waiting for the Resurrection…Mr. Roosevelt is not the first President who has been accused of being too fond of the negro. Tom Moore came to the United States when Jefferson was President and wrote a series of poems in the form of letters…rather worse than lunching with Booker Washington." Mosby also added a number of ink corrections and additions throughout. In very good condition, with scattered foxing and staining.

Mosby’s politics following the Civil War differed from many of his southern compatriots—he became a Republican and actively supported his former enemy, U. S. Grant, in the first presidential election after the war’s end, saying that he believed the transition to be the best way to help the South—writing in 1904, his support of the Republicans continued as they tried to break into the political sphere of the “Solid South,” a term Mosby claimed to have invented in 1876. This letter demonstrates Mosby as an independent thinker—just as he had been in his military years—with the ability to persuasively appeal to Southern sensibilities while supporting a progressive platform. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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