William Wilkins, veteran Pennsylvania Democratic politician and former secretary of war under President John Tyler, responds to correspondence from politician and editor/publisher of the New York Courier and Enquirer, James Watson Webb. Infuriated by Webb’s political allegiances and his position on slavery, Wilkins writes scathingly on many of the central aspects of the Sectional Crisis. Wilkins has a clear sense of disdain for “fanatics,” i.e. abolitionists or reformists, whom he deems immeasurably dangerous to the Union. Brought up in the Revolutionary era of Webb's distinguished military father, the eighty year old Wilkins berates Webb for turning away from his “Old Federalist Blood,” towards the new Republican Party. (By Leni Petrov)
William Wilkins to James Watson Webb, March 26, 1860, Homewood, PA, Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.
Leni Petrov, Dickinson College
Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College