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A five page ALS! Mrs. Jefferson Davis writes that her ?husbands papers would shed a little light upon the diplomatic relations of the Confederate government with foreign nations ? Mr Davis was greatly astonished at Mr Bigelow?s statements in the book he wrote [?France and the Confederate Navy?] and said the facts were most astonishingly perverted...?
New York, New York, January 13, 1899. 4" x 6.25". "Black-bordered Autograph Letter Signed ?Varina Jefferson Davis,? five pages, 4? x 6.25?, front & verso. The first four pages are on two conjoined sheets; page five and a nine-line postscript are penned on another pair of conjoined sheets. The Girard, W. 44th St. [New York City], January 13, 1899. To Dr. J.M. Callahan. Soiled. Fine condition.Accompanied by a black-bordered envelope, 4.5? x 3.5?, addressed by Margaret Howell Davis Hayes (1855-1909), the sole surviving child of President and Mrs. Davis, to ?Col E. Palfrey / Howard Memorial Hall / Camp Street. New Orleans.? Signed by her in the upper left: ?If not delivered / return to Mrs. / J.A. Hayes / 832 N Cascade Ave / Colorado Springs Colo.? Postmarked Beauvoir, Miss., May 18, 1899. Col. Edward Palfrey (1830-1901) was President of the Board of Governors of the Louisiana Historical Association from 1893 until his death. Col. Palfrey is mentioned in the letter here offered.Black-bordered because four months earlier, on September 18, 1898, President and Mrs. Jefferson Davis?s youngest child, Varina Anne ?Winnie? Davis, had died at the age of 34. Born in 1864, Winnie had become known as ?Daughter of the Confederacy? for her appearances with her father on behalf of Confederate veterans? groups.In full, ?Your?s has been received and I wish I could feel that an examination of my husbands papers would shed a little light upon the diplomatic relations of the Confederate government with foreign nations, but every paper Mr Davis had of much importance was seized except those which accidentally fell into the hands of an ignorant young man in Richmond who gave them out as autographs to many of his friends, and I have forgotten his name. I think Mr Slidell lost none of his papers, and it is more than probable if you would apply to Medme [sic] La Comtesse de St Roman 76 Ave Kleber Paris she might be able to help you. It is my happiness to know that the more our Confederate archives are investigated the more hightly [sic] the character of those who were the authors of them will appear. I shall go to New Orleans in Feb or March then if I can find any one fitted for the task I will have Mr Davis? papers indexed. Mr Davis was greatly astonished at Mr Bigelow?s statements in the book he wrote and said the facts were most astonishingly perverted. ?Col Ambrose Dudley Mann transcribed his very exact and reliable memory of our diplomatic relations with England in a kind of diary or resumé of his long and useful as well as honorable diplomatic career, and left the task of editing them to my daughter now deceased ?" We always hoped his son would administer upon his effects and transmit the immensely valuable Mss to us as we should cheerfully have surrendered the profits to him, but he died I believe without making any use of his father?s legacy to the world and I do not know where they could be found, or where to find his wife who may know something about them.? In a postscript, Mrs. Davis adds ?It has occurred to me that if you will write to Col Palfrey of the Louisiana Hist. Soc. he can probably put you in communication with some of Duncan Kenners relations who might find his papers for you. It is worth the trial.?The book Mr. Bigelow wrote was ?France and the Confederate Navy, 1862-1868: An International Episode,? by John Bigelow, published in 1888. He wrote about the construction in France and England of warships for the Confederate Navy, the movement of Confederate ships in European waters, and, in general, Confederate activities in Europe. Lincoln had appointed Bigelow American Consul in Paris in 1861, progressing to Chargé d?Affairs, and, in 1865, U.S. Minister to France, serving until 1866.Ambrose Dudley Mann (1801-1889), John Slidell (1793-1871) and James M. Mason were Confederate Commissioners to Europe. Slidell?s daughter Marie married French nobility becoming the Countess de Saint-Roman. Sent by President Davis, Duncan Kenner (1813-1887) arrived in Paris in early 1865 to approach the governments of England and France with an offer. In exchange for recognition, the Confederacy would abolish slavery. Kenner met with Slidell and Mason. Representatives of the French government informed Kenner that France would accept the deal provided that England would do the same. England refused."
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Last Found On: 2015-05-21           Check availability:      Biblio    


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