Crittenden, John J. (ON HOLD)

1838 ALS while Kentucky US Senator of the future US Attorney General, authored 1860 Crittenden Compromise to avoid civil war

Price: $175.00

Description:
(1787-1863) Kentucky statesman, Attorney General under Presidents Harrison & Fillmore. His 1st wife was a cousin of Zachary Taylor and among their children were CSA Major General George Crittenden and US General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden. He allied with the National Republican (later Whig) Party, was a fervent supporter of Henry Clay, and an opponent of Democrats Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. The state Assembly chose him to fill a US Senate vacancy in 1817. The youngest senator, he was the 2nd ever chairman of the new Committee on the Judiciary and also a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs. He resigned in 1819 and moved to Frankfort to attract more legal clients. Among his clients were former Presidents Madison & Monroe, future VP Richard M. Johnson, and 3 future governors. President Adams appointed him US Attorney for Kentucky in 1827. In 1828, Adams nominated him to the US Supreme Court, but Jackson supporters in the Senate refused to confirm him. When Jackson won the 1828 presidential election, he removed Crittenden as US Attorney. In 1829, Crittenden was elected to the state House and served as Speaker for his entire term. He was active in organizing the Whig Party in 1834. Later in 1834, he was elected to the US Senate and named to the Committee on Public Lands and the Committee on the Judiciary, probably due to Clay's influence. He supported recognition of the Republic of Texas and was regarded as a moderate on slavery. In 1840, he backed the Whig’s nomination of Clay, and after Clay lost, supported Wm. Henry Harrison. Re-elected to the Senate in 1840, he resigned after he was named Attorney General in Harrison's Cabinet. After Harrison's death, he resigned and was appointed to the Senate in 1842, filling the vacancy caused by Clay's resignation. In Jan. 1843, he was elected to a full term over Richard Mentor Johnson and served on the Committee on Military Affairs. He supported Clay's 1844 presidential bid and, following Clay's defeat, was seen as the new leader of the Whigs. As Governor, he helped Zachary Taylor win Kentucky's vote in the 1848 election, and refused a post in his cabinet, fearing he would be charged with making a "corrupt bargain", as Clay had been in 1825. Following Taylor's 1850 death, he resigned the governorship to become Fillmore's Attorney General. In 1851, he acted as Secretary of State during Daniel Webster’s illness. After Clay's death, Crittenden encouraged Whig support for Fillmore’s 1852 nomination which went to Winfield Scott, and he declined to be nominee for Vice President. He was again elected to the Senate in 1853, and urged compromise on the issue of slavery to prevent the breakup of the union. When he assumed his Senate seat in 1855, Crittenden was 69, the eldest member of that body. The Whig Party now practically dissolved, he associated with the Know Nothing Party and campaigned for Millard Fillmore in the 1856 election. From 1858-60, Crittenden sought moderates from all sections of the country to effect compromise on territorial and slavery issues to avert war. In 1860, he helped form the Constitutional Union Party, orchestrated the nomination of John Bell, and actively supported him in the 1860 campaign. Even after Lincoln’s election, he rejected the idea that secession was inevitable and proposed the Crittenden Compromise, a package of 6 constitutional amendments and 4 congressional resolutions, in December 1860. Among the resolutions were a condemnation of Northern personal liberty laws and an assertion of the constitutionality of the fugitive slave law, and restoring the Missouri Compromise line extended it to California as a line of demarcation between slave and free territories. Other amendments would have guaranteed slavery’s legality in Washington, D. C. so long as it was legal in either Maryland or Virginia, and that slaveholders would be reimbursed for runaway slaves. The amendments denied Congress any power to interfere with the interstate slave trade or with slavery in the existing Southern states and made the fugitive slave law and three-fifths compromise perpetual. Republicans blocked Crittenden's plan and 6 others from coming to the floor for a vote. After the rejection of Crittenden's plan in committee, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia followed South Carolina and passed ordinances of secession. On Jan. 3, 1861, he recommended to the Senate that it be submitted to the people in referendum. Republicans in Congress effectively killed his proposal. He was elected to Congress in 1861 and continued to seek reconciliation between the states. On May 10, 1861, a conference was held to decide Kentucky's course in the war, Crittenden a Unionist representative, which adopted a policy of armed neutrality. In April, the General Assembly called a border states convention in Frankfort in May. On May 27, 1861, he was chosen chair of the convention which accomplished little beyond calling on southern states to reconsider secession and on northern states to moderate their demands. President Lincoln called a special session of Congress for July 4, 1861, and he introduced the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution blaming secessionist states for the war and stated that the object of the war was the defense of the Constitution and preservation of the Union. In the Senate, it passed 30–5; in Dec. 1861 the House voted it down 76–65. He spoke against admission of West Virginia to the Union, opposed the Emancipation Proclamation and the use of slaves as soldiers. Crittenden County and the town of Crittenden, Kentucky are named for him. 7 Ľ x 8 ALS “JJCrittenden” while US Senator, Washington, May 23, 1838, generously acceding to a polite request for his autograph: “I have the honor to receive your letter, expressing a wish to obtain my autograph – the courteous and complimentary terms in which you have been pleased to make this request, do persuade me to deliver a compliance with it…”

Condition: Very good, slight wrinkling and folds
Type:Letter






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