Friday, February 19, 2010


22 handwritten letters, 1848-1853, John Springs III (1782-1853) to son-in-law, AB [Adam Brevard] Davidson of Rural Hill Plantation, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sept. 11, 1848, NY - "I arrived here in my usual health from a trip down east as far as Portland having seen much of New England and the Yankey country. It is now very dry and some terrible disasters are taking place from fire. Last night between one and two hundred houses were burnt in Brooklyn just across the south river from this. A number of Engines went over from here to their assistance and they have Telegraphic News from Albany that a second fire has taken place in which 500 houses were burnt, and the fire still rages unstoppable."
Fugitive Slave Law

Oct. 2, 1850, NY - "A runaway rascal (James Hamlet) has been arrested here by the Marshal under the late law, and by him and his Posse taken to Baltimore, and delivered to his owner, a the expense of the US Government. I believe the law with a large part of the community here is a popular one, but is creating a great excitement among the colored Gentry and a few Abolitionists. I see it stated that about 200 runaway villains had left Pittsburg armed to the teeth denouncing the Government and the Country that would not protect them, and determined if necessary to fight their way to the Queens dominions of Canada. Meetings are being had in all the cities and principal towns and strong resolutions entered in to resist the fugitive slave law. One took place here last night, made up of blacks and a few Abolitionists, the strongest resolutions introduced and adopted, calling on all Patriotic lovers of liberty to join and aid, in resisting the own private opinion is it would have been better as some number [ministers?] proposed to have paid the owners for their property, out of the Treasury of the US. Collections are making to pay the passage and expense of some of the villains who may choose to go to Canada so as to get them entirely out of reach of their masters and the people here are gratified at that as they don't want them among them. I do wish there was some way to get our free blacks all off to the free states. I would be willing to contribute liberally to that."

Aug. 8, 1848, Philadelphia - "...reached this last night enjoying so far good health, and without any occurrence worthy of notice, save that between Washington and Baltimore we run over a drunk man lying in the road mashed him to a mummy. I found much political confusion and excitement at Washington I believe mostly growing out of the Presidential election, and from what I see in the Papers today it is feared the Democrats in NC will have a majority in the Legislature if they do not get the Governor."

March 18, 1850, Columbia, SC - Building of Greenville road, 15 miles finished, bringing down cotton and other commodities. "170 bales have been brought down in one trip."

Aug. 7, 1850, Stratford, CT - "We were eight days in Washington and each day attended in the Senate, saw and heard some of the great men of the nation. We remained one day in Philadelphia and six in N York. There was much excitement at Washington on the great compromise bill, and I was mortified to find discussion in Congress was mainly among the Southern men. It seemed they could not agree on any measure among themselves. Since I left that I don't often hear the subject mentioned. It at present seems a difficulty may take place between the US and Texas respecting her boundary with N Mexico."

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