×
Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0013
Autographs
Important Political Content “John Conness” Autographed Letter Signed as California’s United States Senator in 1866 and a Pallbearer at Abe Lincoln’s Funeral on April 19, 1865 Regarding Presidential Succession Per Lincoln Assassination
JOHN CONNESS (1821-1909). First-generation Irish-American "forty-niner" attracted by the Gold Rush, businessman who was the Union Democratic Candidate for Governor of California in the 1861; Served as a U.S. Senator (1863–1869) from California during the American Civil War and the early years of Reconstruction. He introduced a bill to establish Yosemite National Park and voted to Abolish Slavery.
April 3, 1866-Dated Lincoln Assassination Mourning Period, Autograph Letter Signed, “John Conness,” Choice Crisp Extremely Fine. An original and historically significant Letter is vividly Signed, “John Conness,” as Senator from California and a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, 2 pages, measuring 5” x 8”, at Washington (DC). This remarkable and historic content Letter is boldly handwritten in deep brown ink by Conness on “United States Senate Chamber. Washington” official printed stationery. Addressed To: John E. Coggeshall Esq., New Bedford, Mass., Senator Conness explains that with the death of President Abraham Lincoln, and with Andrew Johnson subsequently becoming President, that Lafayette Foster "by virtue of his office as President Pro Tempore of the Senate is Vice President of the United States" and could have been President if the Conspiracy managed to assassinate Johnson as planned the night of Abraham Lincoln's murder!

Lafayette Sabine Foster was President pro tempore of the United States Senate, in office March 7, 1865 – March 2, 1867. Foster was elected President pro tempore of the Senate at the beginning of the 39th Congress in 1865, and held that title until the end of his term in 1867. Six weeks after Foster was elected, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Two of Booth's accomplices also intended to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson as well as Secretary of State William H. Seward. Seward's assassin, Lewis Powell, struck but failed to kill, whereas Johnson's assassin, George Atzerodt, never acted. With Johnson's accession to the presidency, Foster became First in the United States presidential line of succession! Had Atzerodt followed through and successfully assassinated Johnson, Foster would have become Acting President (in accordance with Article II, section 1 of the United States Constitution). This extraordinary content Abraham Lincoln related Letter reads, in full:

“United States Senate Chamber. - Washington - April 3rd, 1866 ---

My Dear Sir -- Your note of the 26th of March came --- but engagements have not permitted an answer before this time -- Hon(orable) Lafayette S. Foster by virtue of his office as President Pro Tempore of the Senate is Vice President of the United States. He is an able and just man, and is a regretful circumstance that he is not now in the first Office. Such a change would result in his permanent peace of the republic. -- I have the honor to be your Obdt. Servant - (Signed) John Conness”
.

After losing to John G. Downey in the first instance and Leland Stanford in the second, Conness was chosen by the Legislature to fill the full term of US Senator from California for the term beginning in 1863. (Senators were still selected by state legislatures then.) The new US Senator John Conness introduced the bill to protect the land that became Yosemite National Park.

A Douglas Democrat who later became a Union Republican while serving in the Senate, Conness earned President Abraham Lincoln’s respect. The two men worked together on legislation to protect Yosemite National Park and Mariposa Grove. In addition, Conness gave support to President Lincoln's Civil War measures. Abraham Lincoln once said of Conness that he, “is habitually careful not to say what he does not know,” and described him on another occasion as “one of our United States Senators, of high standing, whom I cheerfully indorse.”

Senator John Conness was with his colleagues Senators William M. Stewart of Nevada, and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, on the night Lincoln died. "Upon hearing of the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward, the three men ran to Seward's lodgings. There they were turned away by a doctor who was attending to Seward, and they ran to the White House, where they heard the news that Lincoln had been shot. Conness declared that 'this is a conspiracy to murder the entire cabinet' and directed soldiers to go protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton." Conness had the honor of being a Pallbearer at Lincoln’s funeral on April 19, 1865.

John Conness (September 22, 1821 – January 10, 1909):

In 1836 Conness arrived in the United States at age 15 as an immigrant. For more than a decade on the East Coast in New York, Conness learned to make piano fortes and also worked as a merchant. He emigrated to California in 1849 to join the excitement and promise of the Gold Rush.

He was among the thousands of "forty-niners" attracted by the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada, and the hundreds of thousands who quickly followed. For two years, he mined Mormon Island, and the Middle Fork of the American River, and was interested in the industry for the rest of his life. Having made a stake, he settled in the new community of Georgetown and operated a store selling supplies to miners.

The state was bustling with new people. In the 1850s, the Democratic Party was the only partisan organization, and it stretched to accommodate the many interests of the new residents. Elected to the State Assembly in the 1853-54 and 1860-61 sessions, Conness was nominated as the Anti-Lecompton Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1859 and the Union Democratic Candidate for Governor in the 1861 election.

After losing to John G. Downey in the first instance and Leland Stanford in the second, Conness was chosen by the Legislature to fill the full term of US Senator from California for the term beginning in 1863. (Senators were still selected by state legislatures then.) US Senator John Conness introduced the bill to protect the land that became Yosemite National Park.

A Douglas Democrat who later became a Union Republican while serving in the Senate, Conness earned President Abraham Lincoln’s respect. The two men worked together on legislation to protect Yosemite National Park and Mariposa Grove. In addition, Conness gave support to Lincoln's war measures. Lincoln once said of Conness that he “is habitually careful not to say what he does not know,” and described him on another occasion as “one of our United States Senators, of high standing, whom I cheerfully indorse.”

Conness was with colleagues senators William M. Stewart of Nevada and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts the night Lincoln died. "Upon hearing of the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward, the three men ran to Seward's lodgings. There they were turned away by a doctor who was attending to Seward, and they ran to the White House, where they heard the news that Lincoln had been shot. Conness declared that 'this is a conspiracy to murder the entire cabinet' and directed soldiers to go protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton." Conness had the honor of being a pallbearer at Lincoln’s funeral on April 19, 1865.

At the beginning of Reconstruction, Conness alienated some of his California constituents by advocating strongly for Chinese immigration and civil rights. At a time of rising anti-Chinese feelings in California, his was an unusual and unpopular view, and he lost support of his party. He strongly believed in justice for all immigrants.

After his Senate term, in 1869 Conness relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, a center of Irish-American life. He lived there the remainder of his life, for nearly four decades. He died in an insane asylum in Jamaica Plain, now part of Boston. After his death, he was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester, Boston


Starting Bid

$1,500.00

Buyer's Premium

  • 25%

1866 JOHN CONNESS ALS Pres. LINCOLN’s Succession

Auction ended on Sat, Jun 23, 2018
|
Estimate $2,400 - $3,200
|Sell a Similar Item
Bidder
Bid
Competing Bid
$2,200.00
Competing Bid
$2,000.00
Competing Bid
$1,900.00
Competing Bid
$1,800.00
Competing Bid
$1,700.00
Competing Bid
$1,600.00
Competing Bid
$1,500.00
Starting Bid
$1,500.00
Interested in this item?Save to 'Saved Items' to access later.
P.O. Box 3507
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
United States
Ask a Question|