Jean Harvey Baker, "Davis, Henry Winter," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00299.html.
Reelected to the Thirty-sixth Congress as a Know Nothing despite that party's waning power, Davis cast a crucial vote in the long struggle over the election of the Speaker of the House in the winter of 1859-1860. Yet his vote for the conservative Republican William Pennington was condemned by the Maryland legislature, one of whose members encouraged the appropriation of $500 to send Davis to Liberia. Undeterred in his effort to find a middle way between the North and South even as he despised the Democratic party as an organization of traitors, Davis supported the Unionist John Bell in the election of 1860. When southern states began seceding, Davis became a powerful voice in the antisecessionist movement in Maryland, and he tried to create an anti-Democratic coalition. "Smite fearlessly the Democratic party. The union will survive its fragments," said Davis as he argued that the election of Abraham Lincoln was not the threat that southerners described.