Cowles, Andrew C., (1818-1892)
Autograph Letter Signed, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 26, 1871, to his wife, Maggie C. Cowles

quarto, 4 pages, with original mailing envelope, in very good clean and legible condition.

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      “My dear Wife,

          … It has rained without intermission since midnight. I have not been out to look at the dreary wet and bedraggled City but have been in my room all day reading a book … I would have gone on Friday night but for the belief that the House would act upon the universal law on Saturday and we would be called upon to consider it on Monday. In this I was disappointed by the House. They were engaged all day Saturday in discussing articles of impeachment that were offered against Judge “Jay Bird” Jones, and should they pass them the trial will work an indefinite extension of the Senate session anyway. Everything is now in a muddle and ‘nobody knows what’s next’. You will see the proceedings of Saturday in tomorrow’s Sentinel and after you read them you will be just as competent to form an idea of the day of adjournment as any politician in this city. I am forcibly reminded of the truth of the Scriptural quotation ‘Man knoweth not what the morrow bringeth forth’. This is particularly applicable to our legislation for it is by far more uncertain than the weather…”

 

          Like other southern states during Reconstruction, North Carolina was torn by violent division: “Radical” Republicans and Blacks seeking equality vs. the Ku Klux Klan. But the scene described by Cowles, a former Confederate Colonel and State Senator, seems more muddied than usual, as the Democratic dominated legislature had just impeached Republican Governor William Woods Holden, a sworn enemy of the Klan who had used ruthless tactics in attempting to suppress the organization – Holden was the first Governor in American history to be both impeached and removed from office.