ALS signed “Jeffer. Davis,” one page, 6.5 x 8, July 11, 1860. Letter to David Funsten of Virginia, who would serve in the Confederate Congress. In full: “I regret that my health will not permit me to accept the kind invitation communicated by you, to address the Democracy of Alexandria, Va. tomorrow evening. My heart will be with you and my hope is confident that the land of Washington of Henry, of Jefferson and Madison will not fail to appreciate and to maintain the principles which saved the Government in 1800 and which are involved in the issues of 1860.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the signature).
During this period conflict erupted in Davis’s Democratic Party over the nomination of a candidate for the 1860 presidential election, resulting in a division that produced multiple nominees, most notably John C. Breckinridge and Stephen A. Douglas. The division was irreconcilable—Breckinridge favored secession and the breakup of the Union, while Douglas denounced secession as criminal and was willing to maintain the integrity of the Union at all hazards. Jefferson Davis pledged his full support to Breckinridge, and here invokes the names of Virginia’s greatest patriots—George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison—to express his confidence in the people’s dedication to states’ rights and the Democratic cause. He further recalls the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800, which represented a major political realignment and ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule. An exceptional letter—written less than ten months before Virginia’s secession—touching upon American history past and present. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.