Monday, April 23, 2012

Not Your Typical "Dear Mr. President" Letter

In the Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress is a document probably unlike any other.  It is, first of all, a runaway slave advertisement from Jackson, Tennessee and dated January 18, 1861. It is about a runaway named Jacob who left his master J.B. Long on December 27, 1860. But, amended to it is a handwritten portion that is apparently a personal note to president elect Lincoln.  Lincoln had been elected in November 1860 and was set to be inaugurated in March 1861.

The handwritten part reads: "You damned old negro thief  if you dont find the above described slave, you shall never be inaugurated President of the United States -- You old cuss --When you find him you must send him right home"

Regardless of whether Long wrote the amended note or not, the person who did write it felt that Lincoln was responsible for the loss of the slave and that his election threatened the institution.

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