A. Johnson ALS Ridiculing Congressional Opponent L.C. Hayes, Possibly Longest Handwritten Johnson Letter Known

8pp on four sheets, measuring 7.75" x 9.75", Washington, D.C., dated February 9, 1851. Signed "Andrew Johnson" and addressed to his close friend and political confidant, Major Sam Milligan. Each sheet has been placed in a protective sleeve, all of which are housed in a handsome custom presentation portfolio, with marbled boards and a portrait of Andrew Johnson. Flattened mail folds, along with light toning and contemporary ink smudges. There are a few instances of ink burn. Previous mounting residue along the edges and at some folds. Boldly signed.

The letter, marked "Confidential," discusses Johnson's upcoming battle in the Congressional election, critiquing his opponent Landon C. Haynes.

In part:

"…I have read your letter carefully and think I have comprehended the whole matter as you do and have no doubt of your having taken the right view of the subject. There is nothing that Mr. Haynes and the clique he is connected with could do that would surprise me in the slightest degree for I consider them capable of condescending to any kind of means that would enable them to attain their end fair or foul. By the same mail I received several letters from Hawkins so all very much of the same tenor of yours, manifesting much interest and giving unsaid encouragement so for as the people are concerned - all assuring me that a large majority of the democracy are decidedly for me…Mrs. Haynes I think from some letters I have received is made to believe by some of the Whigs that they will not run a candidate and that the contest will be between him and myself and that he will obtain their support - in this too he may be signally mistaken. Upon this point I have some assurances that may be considered as reliable as anything that could be obtain from Whigs for I received some letters from men in the district that would surprise you in the event it was narrowed down to a contest between him and myself. But things of this kind will not do to rely on as a general. They must be looked to only as an incident, for there is one thing certain, Whigs shall never use me…Milligan - now is the time to dispose of this fellow if it is done now in a proper manner he will be out of the way here after. Whether I succeed or not I desire the district to be rid of him…'Delenda est Carthago' he must be defeated…He is not entitled to the confidence of the people, the honor of the Station nor the immolaments of the office…I neither care for him or dread him in any way, mentally or physically—In a single contest I think I can beat him easily and am more than willing to try it in that way…"

Andrew Johnson was first elected to Congress in 1843, having ousted the Whig candidate, and went on to win his next four terms. However, in 1851, a large faction of Tennessee Democrats who were displeased with Johnson's performance in Congress convinced Landon Carter Haynes to run against him for his seat in the House of Representatives. This proved to be one of Johnson's toughest campaigns, and the two canvassed the district together, engaging in fierce debates in front of large crowds. Johnson ran on a platform of passing the Homestead Bill, while Haynes rebuked the bill for facilitating abolition. The Whigs, indeed, did not nominate a candidate of their own, so the battle came down to just the two men. Johnson ultimately prevailed, winning the election by just over 1,600 votes. This remarkable, boldly penned letter is unpublished and believed to be one of the longest handwritten letters that Johnson ever wrote.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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