Item #38822 NO. III. TO WM. L. MAY, ESQ. SIR - IT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE VICIOUS TO ATTEMPT TO DRAG DOWN VIRTUE TO THEIR OWN STANDARD. Benjamin Mills.
NO. III. TO WM. L. MAY, ESQ. SIR - IT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE VICIOUS TO ATTEMPT TO DRAG DOWN VIRTUE TO THEIR OWN STANDARD ...

NO. III. TO WM. L. MAY, ESQ. SIR - IT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE VICIOUS TO ATTEMPT TO DRAG DOWN VIRTUE TO THEIR OWN STANDARD ...

[Jacksonville, IL: Illinois Patriot, 1834]. Broadside, printed in four columns, 15-3/4" x 11-1/4." Right margins are wide and generous, inner margins trimmed closely, with three chips costing about ten words or parts thereof [or a total @3500 words]. Good or so.

The 1834 Congressional contest in Illinois's Third District was an unusually bitter one. Benjamin Mills opposed William L. May. "May, nicknamed 'Big Red,' owned slaves, was head of Springfield's Land Office and had a reputation for violin playing, swearing and story-telling ... Mills was an anti-slavery state representative and 'brilliant lawyer,' according to the 'Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois.' They were running for the congressional seat vacated by Joseph Duncan when he was elected governor; that district ran from Springfield to the Wisconsin border" [Illinois State Journal Register article, 4 Feb. 2017].
"Both men were Democrats, both were lawyers, both were supporters of Jackson, and both had traveled around the district together, campaigning more or less amiably until one of Mills' supporters published a letter in the Sangamo Journal which raised some unsavory questions about May's past. Chief among them was the rumor that May had been indicted by a grand jury for breaking into a house some years back" [Illinois Times article by Erica Holst, 6 November 2014].
The mutual invectives were remarkable even for those times, with charges of burglary, illicit sexual intercourse, cowardice during the Black Hawk War, and breach of promise litigation. This broadside is Mills's full-bore attack on May, challenging his conduct during the Black Hawk War of 1832. May allegedly took credit for killing a "Dead Indian." Additionally, "Agricola," "Winchester," and "Morgan" weigh in. "Refers to the 'seduction' affair and May's conduct in the Black Hawk War. This first appeared in a regular issue of the ILLINOIS PATRIOT, July 26, 1834. Type was rearranged but not re-set for this printing" [Byrd].
May won the election and served from 1834 to 1839. Sangamon County Poll Records show that Lincoln, who was one of the election Clerks, voted for May [Papers of Abraham Lincoln Digital Library], as did most of that County's voters. After he ended his Congressional career, May practiced law in Peoria, was elected Mayor of Springfield, and then moved to California to seek his fortune in the Gold Rush. He died in Sacramento in 1849.
Byrd 188 [2- Chi. Hist. Soc., IL Hist. Soc.]. American Imprints 27116 [1- IL Hist. Soc ]. OCLC 14438632 [1- Lincoln Pres. Lib.] as of September 2022. Not at AAS. Item #38822

Price: $850.00

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