7 3/4" x 9 3/4", folded. 1-1/3 pages, plus integral address leaf stamped 'FREE' and postmarked from Burlington, May 15. On light blue paper; small blank margin tear on last leaf from opening the Letter. Docketed as having been "Answered May 22/54." Very Good plus.
Free Soil men of all political stripes-- Whigs, Republicans, Anti-Nebraska Democrats-- united to elect Grimes Iowa's anti-slavery Governor in 1854. DAB credits him as the man who "made Iowa Republican, and allied it with the loyal states," believing that "the great issue was the extension or non-extension of slavery into the territories."
Grimes wrote this Letter during his campaign for Governor, as the anti-slavery forces were losing the struggle to bar slavery from the Kansas-Nebraska Territories. About two weeks after Grimes sent this letter, President Franklin Pierce would sign the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which inaugurated a bitter sectional struggle culminating in Civil War. Grimes's Letter promises to respond to the Washington Union's recent "three column editorial attack upon me." He seeks confirmation that "the Hon. Alex. H. Stephens...stated in your presence, or, predicted before you, that in fifteen years Iowa would be a slave state. Is it so? I have it from two gentlemen who I understand heard you say that you heard the declaration made." Grimes requests Mason to "telegraph me immediately."
Later, as Senator from Iowa, an ailing Grimes cast the decisive vote which saved President Andrew Johnson from conviction after his impeachment by the House of Representatives. Item #28013