Asa Biggs to R.M.T. Hunter, 1860, in Annual Report of the American Historical Associal For the Year 1916, Vol. II, Correspondences of Robert M.T. Hunter 1826-1876, ed. Charles Henry Ambler (Washington: United States of America Government Printing Office, 1918), 308-309.
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.
Williamston, N.C. March 27th, 1860.MY DEAR SIR: Although I have escaped from the corrupt and corrupting atmosphere in Washington, and the strife of politics, and feel relieved by the escape, I feel a deep and abiding interest in the success of our government and a heartfelt sympathy for you and others: a small Spartan band it is true, who I believe are endeavoring to guide the state safely in her driftings to ruin. It has been evident to my mind for a long time that a large number of our Statesmen of all parties are being corrupted, the evident tendency of which is to lead to centralization and disaster; and my great hope has been on the masses, who although frequently misled yet I believe had an honest purpose to do right. Recent measures however in the name of protection, grand plans of internal improvements, homestead laws and pension laws &c have been inaugurated, well calculated to diffuse and infuse among the people the same corrupting influence that we see so lamentably operating upon the politicians; and if these measures are successful, which I greatly fear, this great hope of mine is taken away. The dangerous rock upon which we are threatened with shipwreck (slavery) in my opinion has been seized upon by the suggestions of political ambition to obtain power and place induced by the extravagance of the government and our departure from the economy and simplicity of our fathers who organized the government. All things however seem to be tending to centralization, corruption and ruin, and I admire the more those statesmen, few in number though they be, who have the moral courage to resist the evil spirit of the times and who if calamity befall us can truthfully say “I advised and warned against these influences and did not yield to the seductions to falter from pursuing the path of duty and safety.” But it is not my purpose to write you a letter on the corrupting tendency of the times for I know with your experience I am far behind you in a knowledge of the dangers that beset us; but it is to enquire whether there is hope for our escape. I am decidedly of the opinion that we need and ought to have a Southern man for the next President and I am, as decidedly in favor of your nomination. We must have some one who as the courage and ability to stand in the breach and who will fearlessly exercise his power to discountenance and denounce the corrupting measures of the day or we cannot escape the ruin which threatens us. Although I know I differ from the generally expressed opinion, yet I believe a Southern man of the right kind, will be more generally and cordially sustained by the Northern Democracy than one of the many Northern aspirants and expectants who are rivals to each other. I am aware of the difficulties and improbabilities of your nomination but recently I have entertained some strong hope.
I know that it will be impossible for you to reply in full, if at all, to the numerous letters you receive on the subject, but if you can find time to drop me a line, entirely confidential if you please, give me your opinion as to the prospect of your nomination or if that is not practicable or probable who at present bids fair to obtain the nomination I shall be greatly obliged to you.
Lest I bore you with too long a letter I conclude. I have many pleasant recollections of Washington and particularly of those with whom I cooperated in the public service in endeavoring to keep the administration of the government within the Constitution.