DAVIS, JEFFERSON. (1808-1889). First and only President of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865). Uncommon Autograph Letter Signed twice; “Jefferson Davis” and “J.D.”, while seeking employment opportunities in Europe and was still under indictment, until Andrew Johnson issued on Christmas Day of 1868 a presidential “pardon and amnesty” for the offense of treason to “every person who directly or indirectly participated in the late insurrection or rebellion”. Four pages, octavo. “Sunday evening”, [England], November 1, 1868. Previous mounting traces, else fine condition. To “James Spence Esq., Abercromby Square, Liverpool”. Davis writes:
“Dear Friend, I had expected to see you tomorrow when passing through Liverpool en route to Leamington [Spa – a town in Warwickshire], but now have just learned that it will be better to go at our earliest hour than was intended and thus it may not be possible for me to call on you. Until I know whether my presence at Richmond will be required it is not possible to form any plans for my future movements. If I go to America you will see me in a few days, if not you will hear from me and I shall hope to see you in Leamington. Enclosed is a note from Dr. Grinsdale which explains itself; will you oblige me by settling it and charging the amount to my account. When you write to Mrs. Spence please present to her my best regards and with most friendly remembrances to all the members of your family believe me to be very truly yours, Jefferson Davis. P.S. The more haste the less speed and now I have an earnest get off in the morning—yours, J.D.”
There are clear indications from the content of this letter that Davis may have been expecting Johnson’s universal pardon. Just a remarkable piece of Americana, documenting this era, and worthy of inclusion into any collection.