Letter from Lucius Q. Lamar to Howell Cobb, July 17, 1857

    Source citation
    Lamar, Lucius Q., to Howell Cobb, Oxford, MS, 17 July 1857. As printed in The
    Correspondence of Robert Toumbs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb, Vol. 2, ed. Ulrich Bonnell Philips. Washington D.C.: American Historical Association Annual Report, 1913, p. 405-406.
    Author (from)
    Lucius Q. Lamar
    Recipient (to)
    Cobb, Howell
    Date Certainty
    Meghan Fralinger
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    OXFORD, Miss., July 17th, 1857.

    DEAR SIR: For the first time in my life, I write to you with a feeling of embarrassment. But I am acting form the same impulse which linked me to your name and fortunes in Georgia, admiration of the statesman, and love of the man. The cloud which obscures your prospects will ever cast its shadow over mine.

    You doubtless have learned ere this that I have been nominated for Congress. I was anxious to go under your Administration in order to give you a more efficient support than I had been able to give. If I cannot do this it will give me no pleasure to go to Congress. I presume you have seen my resolutions on Walker and the report of my remark about yourself. I feel confident from what I knew of you that you could not sanction such detestable conduct. But the givings out of the Union and of the Examiner give me some uneasiness. Those papers have taken up the defense of Walker in a real ex-cathedra style. If they express the views of the Administration I regret that they so palpably misconceive the grounds of our opposition to Walker’s conduct. We are represented as being opposed to the Kansas convention submitting their constitution for adoption or rejection to the people of Kansas. This is not true. So far as this point is concerned our objection goes no further than to Walker’s threat to make sure a course a sine qua non of admission as a state into the Union. He says in his Topeka speech and intimates in his inaugural that the constitution to be formed, unless so submitted, will be destitute of any binding authority. He certainly cannot speak the sentiments of the Administration in that. I cannot entertain the thought that you would oppose the admission of a slave state merely because her constitution was not submitted back to the people. I think the argument of the Union that the people of Kansas are not acting under the authority of Congress in preparing to form a state constitution is utterly empty and ridiculous. Why Robert J. Walker himself admits that act convoking the convention is fully authorized by the organic law of the territory. But suppose there was not? Was there any law authorizing the people of California to form their constitution? Are we of the South to be made to see California hurried into the Union against all law and all precedent because she is a free state and Kansas subjected to the rigors of the inquisition because she has a chance of being a slave state? I do not wish to argue the point because I fear it is too late. Great injustice is done to those who denounced Walker. They are not the enemies of the Administration. As God is my witness my main object was to give you and the Southern members of the Cabinet moral support in your effort to have Walker repudiated and condemned by the administration; for I felt sure you would make such an effort. It is a great error to think that this feeling is confined to a few. It pervades the whole mass of the Democracy here. You can’t find one man who avows his approval. If the administration adopts Walker’s policy it may cause the Missi. Democracy to cease their expressions of indignation. For we feel that there is no other party which will do us any justice at all. But the enthusiasm of the party will vanish, the energy and momentum of an approving public sentiment will be irretrievably lost to the Administration…
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