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Wilmot, David (1814-1868) lawyer, politician, Congressman, Wilmot proviso author
Autograph Note Signed, as U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1862, to H. L. Scott

Quarto, one page, formerly folded, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Wilmot, an Anti-Slavery Senator writes to H. L. Scott:


“Send me as soon as possible a letter of recommendation signed by some of our business men. I do not know that it is necessary but I think it best.”


Written during the last months of his Senatorial term, when Wilmot “requested and received” President Lincoln’s appointment to a federal judgeship. Lincoln had known him well since both had been young congressmen during the Mexican-American War, when Wilmot wrote the famous “Proviso” to prohibit slavery in any lands acquired from Mexico. Though defeated in the Senate, that amendment helped redraw the American political landscape, uniting northern “Free Soil” Democrats like Wilmot with anti-slavery Whigs like Lincoln, a coalition which later led to the birth of the new Republican Party.


David Wilmot, born in Bethany, Pennsylvania, 1814, lawyer, politician, Congressman, Democrat from Pennsylvania, 1845-51; U.S. senator, Republican, 1861-63. A leader among the Free-Soilers post 1848 and a founder of the Republican party, he served as president judge, 13th judicial district of Pennsylvania, 1851-61. He is principally famous for his addition of the “Wilmot Proviso” in the bill which appropriated funds for making peace with Mexico, 1846. Passed by the House but defeated in the Senate, the Proviso was intended to impede the growth of Southern power by prohibiting slavery in any territory which might be acquired with the money thus appropriated.


Dictionary of American Biography, vol. X, section 2, p. 317; American National Biography, vol. 23, 553-554, which notes “no Wilmot papers have survived.”