Sawyer, William
Autograph Letter Signed as U.S. Congressman from Ohio, Washington January 13, 1846, to Alfred Peck Edgerton, Ohio State Senator and future U.S. Congressman

quarto, two pages, formerly folded, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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After discussing removing the Mercer County seat to his own district, Sawyer writes:

       “… We are yet Hammering at Oregon we will not be done with it for two weeks yet – on the whole I am very well pleased with your proceedings on the 8th, there are some little things that I would rather see different – for instance, the Resolution at the Supper “the Democracy of Ohio sends greeting to the Democracy of New York”, I think I understand that Resolve and if I do – I enter mu solem protest – I shal move to strike out “New York” and insert Michigan that convention resolve against the Black tariff of 42 – yet Resolve in favor of Silas Wright who voted for it. The resolve in favor of Oregon and the whole of it and in favor of Wright who voted in Senate to ratify the Webster Treaty to give to Great Britain and great portion of the State of Maine – I oppose- and shal continue to do so … I also oppose a Resolution puffing J. C. Calhoun, for I consider him the last man to be toasted by the Democracy – he is trying at this moment to give Oregon to England, and may be the means of defeating the notice. Dam such a Democrat as Calhoun is …” [sic]


       A leading Democratic expansionist of the “Manifest Destiny” era, a few weeks after he wrote this letter, Sawyer implored Congress to evict Britain from the entire American Continent, stressing that the United States would soon require “every foot of territory” on the continent for its rapidly growing population. This was the height of the “54-40 or fight” movement which called for US annexation of the entire northwest up to the southern limit of Russian Alaska. But the outbreak of the Mexican-American War three months later nixed the possibility of simultaneous hostilities with England and forced a diplomatic compromise – opposed by militant hardliners like Sawyer – to settle the US-Canadian border at the 49th parallel.