Willard Saulsbury, Opposing Lincoln from the Senate Floor
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An infamous United States Senator reiterates his vehement opposition to Lincoln’s “infernal abolition policy,” the source of the nation’s “war and divisions.” WILLARD SAULSBURY.
Autograph Letter Signed, as U.S. Senator from Delaware, to James H. Hall, Washington, D.C., February 10th, 1865. 2 pp.
“The prospect for the future of the Country is dark indeed. The message of Lincoln today shows conclusively that we could have peace and probably reunion but for his infernal abolition policy. Under this administration or any other governed by a similar policy there will be no peace, no union but war and divisions. Under these circumstances a seat in the Senate perhaps is not desirable. I should however be glad to see you back here and hope you will be returned. I fear however that your great monopoly will send a republican if you have any purchasable material in your legislature.”
Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1858, Willard Saulsbury (1820-1892) was a harsh critic of Lincoln’s administration, and particularly of Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. Saulsbury once attempted to prevent a vote sustaining that controversial executive order, railing against the President on the Senate floor as “an imbecile” and “the weakest man ever placed in high office.” Vice President Hannibal Hamlin called Saulsbury to order, but the Senator refused to take his seat, brandishing his revolver at the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms who had been ordered to remove him from the Senate floor. He was eventually calmed and left the chamber.
Saulsbury served two full terms in the Senate before losing his bid for reelection in 1870.