Browne, G.[eorge] B.,
Autograph Letter Signed. Charleston, South Carolina, Nov. 16, 1856, to his son, William K. Browne, c/o D.H. Bartels, Havana, Cuba, per Steamer Isabel

quarto, three pages, plus stamp less address leaf, formerly folded, some tape repairs along folds and fold intersections, else good.

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Browne was apparently a New Yorker who had become partners in a Charleston dry goods shop which had been in business selling carpets since the 1830s but was now offering imported British and French luxury cloths – cashmere, tweed, silk - and Irish linens to the city’s elite. What he undoubtedly did not discuss with his clientele were his private political opinions, which can be deduced from this letter written a week after the presidential election.  While at the head of the letter, he has written the news “ - Buchanan Elected – “, he goes on to write his son, who was on a business trip to Cuba  - “at one time we all thought that Fremont was in, had Pennsylvania voted for him, he would have been elected by a large majority – all of the Northern and Eastern States voted for him except Penn. N.Y. gave Fremont 25000 majority and Massachusetts 50000 – Ohio 20000 etc.”


Browne would hardly have won any friends in Charleston by his scarcely veiled enthusiasm for “The Pathfinder”, first presidential candidate of the new anti-slavery Republican Party. As for the slavery issue, the letter does mention several “old servants” who asked to be remembered to young Browne, but they may have been emancipated Blacks, rather than slaves, not uncommon in Charleston. When the Civil War began, Browne himself remained in Charleston for a time, no doubt with conflicted feelings about Secession and the War. But his loyalties were never brought to the test as he died a year after the War began.