Cincinnati: October 9, 1851. Two-page letter, on recto and verso of a sheet of pale blue paper, written in a neat hand. Very Good.
Disney's Letter, discussing the upcoming contest for Speakership, exposes the growing rift between slave and free states, resulting from competition for control of the newly acquired territories from Mexico. "The South feels disposed to form a combination so as to give the South the Speakership in the next Congress and to give the North the Clerkship-- provided he is a man affiliated with the South." Disney aspires to become Speaker: "All my information indicates that I shall succeed yet you know a combination of this sort might be false to all my prospects." He suggests an argument for a Northern candidate [himself] based on "fairness": "Slave States have had the Speakership for 39 years against 23 for the free states... Virginia & Kentucky alone have had it for 25 years." Disney's plans would run to ground: Democrat Lynn Boyd, a Kentuckian, would be elected Speaker in late 1851 and hold the office until 1855.
Acquisition of western territories as the result of the Mexican Cession would strain the Union to the breaking point. Free Soil Democrats-- primarily in New England, New York, and the Old Northwest-- resented the domination of their Party by slaveholders who wished to open the territories to slavery. The issue of slavery in the territories would split the Democratic Party, overturn the Missouri Compromise, lead to civil war in Kansas, create the Republican Party, and eventually cause secession and war. Item #34633