PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA) - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 09/15/1881 - HFSID 1388
JEFFERSON DAVIS. Manuscript LS: "Jefferson Davis", 2½p,
5x8¼. 61 Avenue Friedland (Paris, France), 1881 November 15. Unnamed
recipient beginning "Dearest Friend". In part: "After my arrival in
Paris returning from Chantilly I had a recurrence of the attack from which I
suffered before leaving you, and have not been out of the house & seldom
out of the bed since Dr. Bucklin has been waiting me daily since Friday last, Dr
Herbert being previously prescribed for me. I am now better and at this morning
sitting up. The ship on which I expected to leave for New Orleans has
abandoned the trip...Our cosy (sic) evenings & to me, charming
conversations are ever in my mind. If you were going with us so that they might
be continued indefinitely the home of congenial minds & confiding hearts
would be before me at the end of our Journey. My wife has anxiously desired to
take you to the seclusion of our Gulf home & the inclusion of minds &
hearts like your own, but if this may not be, we shall hope to have frequent
news of you & yours. Mrs. Davis will be very busy preparing to leave yet
if she can do so she & Winnie will run out to say Goodbye to you...."
Varina Howell (1826-1906) and Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) were married in
1845. "Winnie" was the pet name Davis gave to their daughter, novelist Varina
Anne Jefferson Davis (1864-1898), who was 17 at the time of this letter.
Born while her father was President of the Confederate States of America
(1861-1865), she is known as the "Daughter of the Confederacy". Jefferson
Davis left for Europe with Varina in August 1881, sailing from New Orleans for
Liverpool. From Liverpool, they went almost directly to Paris to reunite with
Winnie who had been sent to school in Europe. They visited former U.S. Minister
to Switzerland and Confederate diplomat Ambrose Dudley Mann and Davis' Secretary
of State Judah P. Benjamin who had escaped to England after the war, set up
a large legal practice and served as Queen's Counsel (1872-1883). Mann had an
apartment in Paris and a country house in Chantilly. Davis spent his time at
Chantilly, while Varina and Winnie shopped in Paris. The Davis's departed from
Southampton on November 22, 1881, exactly one week after this letter, for
New York, and were back in Mississippi before years' end. In fragile condition.
Lightly nicked, worn edges. Folds which show partial separations in places but
all text in tact. Lightly creased and soiled. Folds not at signature.
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