• Lincoln Emissary To Jeff Davis, John Roberts Gilmore, Aided Lincoln's Re-election

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    JAMES ROBERTS GILMORE (1822-1903) was an American merchant and author. Prior to the Civil War, he had a successful cotton and shipping business. As an abolitionist, after the start of the war, he wrote novels, war songs and ballads based on realistic protrayals of southern life, pressing for emancipation. To support this position, he founded the Continental Monthly, which was discontinued after President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.


    In April 1864, Gilmore visited Lincoln and convinced the President to dispatch him and Methodist parson-colonel James F. Jaquess on a visit to Jefferson Davis in Richmond. Agreeing, Lincoln delivered a proposal for peace which included the perpetual abolition of slavery and immediate recognition of the supremacy of the Union. Lincoln offered $500 million as compensation to slaveholders, restoration of the Confederate States to the Union and amnesty to all those engaged in the rebellion.


    To expedite the mission, Lincoln issued passes to both and ordered General Grant to permit them to pass the Union lines.  Although the trip was not productive of a surrender, they met Davis, who indicated that slavery was not a barrier to a settlement. Upon returning North, Gilmore published Davis’ statement which almost certainly favored Lincoln’s bid for the presidency in 1864.


    Offering a one-page, 5 ½ x 8, ALS, New York, April 26, 1894, on letterhead of the Cyclopedia Publishing Company. Gilmore writes as Editor-in-Chief, to Mr. Coster. “I beg to hand you, enclosed [not present], a statement of my estimate of the business of the Cyclopedia, based upon what has already been done.


    “Yours sincerely,


    “James R. Gilmore”

    From the Norman Boas Collection.


    Folds, light toning. Overall excellent condition and a fine example of an important figure during the Civil War from a man whose involvement with Lincoln and Davis certainly helped Lincoln’s re-election prospects.


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