Porter, William A.
Autograph Letter Signed. Saugerties, New York, October 2 [1846], to William E. Robinson, Buffalo, New York

quarto, two pages, plus stampless address leaf, formerly folded, in very good, clean, and legible condition.

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“…I address you at the request of some of the prominent whigs of this village who wish you to pay them a visit some time before the coming election, during the latter part of this month; they agree with me in thinking that you could do a wonderful deal of good here, in and around Saugerties, there are several hundred Irishmen who could turn out en masse to hear you. The whigs appear determined to have Sherrill [Charles Sherrill, US Congressman 1847-1849] elected and [?] this way of maring it doubly sure, they think at all events your presence here would be a great thing for them…Russell the opposing candidate is wealthy and has a considerable number of men in his employ and no doubt expects from this source a considerable number of votes. The few who send this invitation are delighted at the prospect of seeing you here, are ready to pay your expenses and insure you a hearty reception…as short a time before election as possible…”

William Erigena Robinson was born in Ireland in 1814, immigrated to the US and settled in New York City in 1836.  After graduating from Yale and lecturing for two years at Yale Law School, he was hired by Horace Greeley to be assistant editor of his newly-established New York Tribune, eventually becoming its only Washington correspondent, writing under the name “Richelieu”. The Tribune was the leading newspaper of the Whig Party and Robinson became famous among Irish-Americans for his political columns, as well as his ardent support of the Irish Relief Bill of 1846 during the Irish Famine.  As a dedicated Whig, he stood apart among Irish-born politicians, almost all of whom were allied with the Democratic Party and New York’s Tammany Hall.

Like most Whig liberals, he switched to the Republican Party in the 1850s and during the Civil War, after recommending to the President a plan for the American “colonization” of the island of Haiti, he was appointed by President Lincoln to an Internal Revenue patronage position in New York City.  Postwar, he was elected to Congress as an independent Democrat in 1880.