"Doomed to the Gallows" By Public Opinion, James Buchanan Says History Will Vindicate Him

May 8, 1863

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"Doomed to the Gallows" By Public Opinion, James Buchanan Says History Will Vindicate Him
Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages | SMC 127

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      Background

      Buchanan’s retreat from office in 1861 brought him no peace. The South blamed him for not stopping the war and the North, for not starting it sooner. Here he argues that even though the Chief Justice has just made a speech dooming him to the gallows, history will vindicate him:
       
      The Chief Justice for the District of Columbia has doomed me in a public speech to the gallows.  The impotent malice so disgraceful to the ermine gives me but little concern.  I have taken care that I shall yet be truly presented to my countrymen. I entertain no fears in regard to their verdict. It will be in accordance with the opinion expressed by Mr. Holt in his letter of resignation of the 2nd March 1861, on file in the State Department, which concludes as follows: -

      "In the full conviction that your labors will yet be crowned by the glory that belongs to an enlightened Statesmanship & to an unsullied patriotism, & with sincerest wishes for your personal happiness, I remain most truly your friend." By the bye: -  Have you seen his scathing letter of 30 November 1860 against the abolitionists published in the Philadelphia "Age" of the 30th April?

      The travails of another president who failed to prevent the Civil War.


      Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages, quarto, Wheatland, May 8, 1863. To J.M. Carlisle, Esquire.
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      Wheatland, 8 May 1863.

      My dear Sir,

      Your welcome letter of the 19 ultimo was duly received;- & lest I may forget, - Miss Lane before she left home, desired me to express many thanks to you for the photograph.  We both consider it  an excellent likeness.

      I was most happy to learn that my solicitude for your pecuniary welfare need not have been so great.  It is highly gratifying for me to know that you have more appearances in the Supreme Court than any other barrister.  May your success long continue!  The Chief Justice for the District of Columbia has doomed me 

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      Page 2 transcript
      in a public speech to the gallows.  The impotent malice so disgraceful to the ermine gives me but little concern.  I have taken care that I shall yet be truly presented to my countrymen. I entertain no fears in regard to their verdict. It will be in accordance with the opinion expressed by Mr. Holt in his letter of resignation of the 2nd March 1861, on file in the State Department, which concludes as follows: -

      "In the full conviction that your labors will yet be crowned by the glory that belongs to an enlightened Statesmanship & to an unsullied patriotism, & with sincerest wishes for your personal happiness, I remain most truly your friend." By the bye:-  Have you seen his scathing letter of 30 November 1860 against the abolitionists published in the Philadelphia "Age" of the 30th April?

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      Page 3 transcript
      My health still continues good, though I have entered on my seventy third year. May yours be equally good at that advanced period of life!

      Please remember me, in great kindness, to Mr. Riggs & his estimable lady.

      From your friend

      James Buchanan


      J.M. Carlisle, Esquire