Lot 518: Civil War–dated manuscript DS, one page, 10 x 15.5, September 23, 1861. As president of the Confederacy, Davis appoints James M. Mason of Virginia "to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Confederate States of America near Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland." Signed at the conclusion by President Davis and countersigned by Secretary of State Robert M. T. Hunter. Matted and framed. In fine condition, with small separations to edge of the central horizontal fold.
Mason had been one of Virginia's senators for nearly fifteen years before being expelled in March 1861 for his support of the Confederacy. Davis appointed him and his fellow former senator, John Slidell of Louisiana, to represent the fledgling Confederate States of America in England and France. They were en route to their destination aboard the RMS Trent when Commander Charles Wilkes of the warship USS San Jacinto intercepted the steamer and took them prisoner, precipitating the so-called Trent Affair. While the Northern public was thrilled, the British were outraged. Meanwhile, the South hoped that it would sway Great Britain into joining them in the war against the Union. In the end, President Lincoln relented and freed Mason and Slidell on January 1, 1862, allowing them to travel abroad. Confederate documents related to this critical diplomatic moment in American history are extremely rare.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs And Artifacts Auction 469
Wednesday, 10th February 2016
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