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Wallace, William A., (1827-1896)
Collection of Incoming Correspondence 1870-1877

40 letters, 57 pages, octavo and quarto, some damp-staining and wear, letters written in both pencil and ink, generally in very good legible condition.

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The letters discuss legal matters, political affairs, especially the "nuts and bolts" of 19th century politics, partisanship, patronage, and influence. The letters are notable for their early articulation of the antagonistic relationship of Philadelphia and western Pennsylvania, and the resentment felt by the rest of the state towards its largest city: a conflict which resonates to this day.

William Andrew Wallace was a lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Clearfield, Pennsylvania. He served in the Pennsylvania State Senate and was its speaker in 1871. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1875-1881. After his U.S. Senate service Wallace returned to the state senate. In later years he was interested in the development of local coal resources and headed the Beech Creek Railroad. Wallace died while he was in New York City on business in 1896.

October 3, 1871, Mauch Chunk, Pa., Office of Lehigh Valley Rail Road Company [partial letter]

"Hon W. A. Wallace,

You was [sic] advised last Evening by Telegraph and letter of the withdrawal of Jas. A. Harvey as a candidate for Associate Judge on the Workingmens Ticket which I think will have the Effect of quieting us all down in Carbon and electing our entire ticket & not only this but will insure a full turnout next Tuesday and a full vote for the State ticket. The people all over the County have been aroused and are making full and ample arrangements..."

October 4, 1871, Headquarters Democratic County Committee, Lock Haven, Pa.

"Hon W. A. Wallace,

Dr. Sir, From Estimates made to us the State ticket will have seven hundred majority in our county. It is perhaps safe to deduct 50 from this in consequence of our inability to get out the full vote..."

May 22, 1872, from P. Gray Meek, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

"Hon. W. A. Wallace,

What I write you about may be none of my business, but I know you will overlook it even if you think so.

I understand there will be an effort made at Reading to have the delegates to the National Convention instructed as the N.Y. delegates are, to all intents and purposes for Greeley. If such a course is pursued I honestly believe we will de defeated in this state 30,000 votes. We cannot poll the Democratic vote for Greeley, nor can we fix up the dissatisfaction and division his endorsement would create sufficient to get one half our party to the polls in October. You know the trouble the 9 th resolution gave us last fall it was but a drop compared to the tub ful of radicalism that is proffered in Greeley.

We will lose Democratic counties - we will lose Democratic representatives - we will lose Democratic tickets every where, by losing Democratic faith in our leaders and Democratic earnestness in the fight.

You can do much to prevent such a movement - in fact you can prevent it! Will you do it and save the Democracy of the State?      

I do not write simply because I feel this way but because I believe it to be the general sentiment of the Democracy in this section.

For one I am very free to say that I will neither vote for nor ask any one else to vote for Greeley, and in case the trickery of a few men about Washington, who expect to get cabinet positions or Foreign appointments succeed in securing his endorsement at Baltimore I shall advocate and work for the immediate calling of an other convention to nominate a Democratic candidate.

Let the reading Convention say nothing about him one way or the other. Let us have a Democratic platform with any body on it but Cass for Governor (Noyes I believe is the strongest) and not fettered or fighting on account of combinations with Cincinnati, and we will win beyond a doubt...."

Nov. 1874, James P. Barr, editor The Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"With very little fight in me, and a strong repugnance to entering actively in campaigns - I only ask for information as I am unconscious whether the move is in the interest of candidates or one simply looking to the success of the party - if the former then I don't see who is to get any advantage if the latter, all right perhaps the she shorter the campaign, the fewer mistakes will be made - I am sick and tired of Phila rule, and all her politicians, she has dominated the state already too long and there is growing up in the rest of the state, particularly in the west a feeling of resentment, which if not always just, is honest. The character of her delegates in our convention and their conduct in the succeeding election has chilled the ardor of the Democratic masses in the interior, and it will be so this campaign most assuredly if the charge of the organization is entrusted to that city."

September 1, 1874, from William M'Clelland, Pittsburgh

"... Your circular received. I send you what little information I have at present. I think it would be a good idea to have the names of the candidates for minor offices, as they frequently work, while the others do nothing. Mr. Irvin of this Co. is the chairman.

Beaver Co. will nominate next Monday. It is probable John M. Buchanan of Beaver will be chairman of the Co. Com. if so, there is no better in the state in that capacity. The Reps held their primaries there yesterday we can certainly elect one member of the Legislature there, the South side having been entirely ignored. In a certain contingency we may elect one in Lawrence. We should elect two in Crawford, one each in Erie, Warren, Butler and Mercer. We will certainly elect Kerr and Barnett in Washington, and possibly Birch also. I mean all this can be done with proper effort.

As to this county I will say nothing. I never saw such dissatisfaction. It remains for our people to take advantage of it. Irvin is a good worker in a ward, but can scarcely grasp a whole county, while Bailey's professional duties will not be slighted for any party. ..."

Sept., 28, 1875, from Hendrick B. Wright, Democratic State Committee, Philadelphia

"... Please inform me whether you accomplished much, in conducting campaigns, by the publication of matter, in pamphlet form, and distribution? I have been lead to believe that with our daily press, disseminating information so rapidly, that the pamphlet mode does not accomplish what is claimed for it. Your experience has been large and you must necessarily know much more than I do. ..."

March 27, 1876, from R. E. Monaghan, West Chester, Pennsylvania

" Yours of the 24th inst is received I was sorry that we did not remain in Lancaster long enough to see more of each other. At the end of the Convention I felt much like going to my hotel and to my bed: and I gratified that desire....

I return you my sincere thanks for your congratulations. The honor of being the Presiding officer of the convention came to me through the kind friendship and work of you and others in that body, without a single act, word or suggestion of my own. The honor was a real one and handsomely conferred and I deeply felt and highly appreciate it. ... and that they were seconded and supported so handsomely by you and the whole convention, outside of the rough element from the city. I think the step was an advanced one which should be followed up - it was a lesson of good, which will yield its rich fruits. It will arouse the Democracy of Philada  to a realization of the position they occupy in the state and it will foreshadow to them the change necessary to be made in order to have a proper influence and standing in Democratic Conventions.

I will do as you suggest in relation to the resolutions and details of Convention. Let me ask you, having much to do with the resolutions, to send me a correct copy of them, and any other matter in relation to the convention. Is it the intention to make the proceedings of the Convention in pamphlet form? If so who will have the work in hand? Let me hear from you...

The only copies of the Congressional Record I have received you kindly sent me: for which receive thanks. The member of Congress from this Dist. Confines his favors very much to his political friends. He is a very clever gentleman, but a very narrow partizan."

Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. VI, p.,335

Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1927

Washington, GPO, 1928, p., 1661

Who Was Who in America, Historical volume, p., 558