Jefferson Davis ALS, "the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their old masters...neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving" Incredible
4p, 6.5" x 7.75", Lennoxville, Canada, April 7, 1868. Davis writes to John Taylor Wood, a fellow Confederate who had escaped to Canada after the Civil war about his recent visit to the South and his pending court case. Flattened folds from mailing, slight tears not affecting the quality of the document, scattered toning and foxing not affecting the bold signature.
"The desolation and despondence of the people I found even greater than I had imagined. The failure of last year's crop rendered the planters generally unable to repay the advances which their merchants had made, and the latter unable to get further Bank accomodations [sic], were unable to make even the small advances to the planters which they required to buy food for their laborers and teams. The negroes have to a great extent become vagrant and the common complaint was that neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving. The poor creatures are however much to be pitied for their destitution and we who knew their utter inability to govern themselves may well question whether they or those who forced them into their present condition are most responsible for the crimes they commit. So far as my observation went, the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their old masters, ever recurring to the last fleshpot...
...On the 25th of March I was required for the third time to appear at Richmond to answer to the pending prosecution, but a short time before that date I was notified that the hearing of the case was postponed to the 14th of April, and afterwards that the case was further postponed to the May term. Whether anything will then be done beyond a renewal of the bond and the naming of another day is very doubtful. It is also expected by some having better opportunity than myself to form an opinion that my attendance may be dispensed with. This embarrasses me in the formation of any plans for the future, so that I am still quite adrift. Several advantageous propositions have been made to me, but all contingent as rather [unintelligible word] postponed until I am free from the restraints of this government prosecution..." Signed, "Jeffer Davis."
Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was a 19th-century U.S. senator who served as Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce before becoming President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
John Taylor Wood (1830-1904) was an officer in the United States Navy and the Confederate Navy. He resigned from the U.S. Navy at the beginning of the American Civil War and became a "leading Confederate naval hero" as a captain in the Confederate Navy.
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