Publisher: Washington, D.C.: [various printers], 1859-1860.
Condition: Covers well rubbed, but sound; occasional interior foxing & browning, marginal tears, inkspots, marginal dampstains, dog-ears, etc., with a few pencilled marginal markings and newsprint bookmarks.
Book ID: 21569
DescriptionThick 4to, 147 individually printed pamphlets bound in contemporary quarter calf, marbled paper boards, gilt lettering, with the title on the spine “SPEECHES / HOUSE” and at the foot of the spine is the name “J. B. CLARK.” The total number of page exceeds 1800.
Comments¶ An extraordinary assemblage of almost 150 speeches made in the House of Representatives during the last few weeks of 1859 and the first five months of 1860 which dramatically documents the contentious sectional debates that would soon explode into the American Civil War. The individual speeches were compiled by, and bound for, a man who himself embodied the turbulence of the times. John Bullock Clark (1802-1885) was an attorney in Fayette, Missouri, who had served in the Black Hawk War in 1832, as a major general in the Missouri militia in 1848, and in the State House of Representatives in 1850 & 1851. He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1857 as a Democrat and was twice re-elected. On July 13, 1861, he was formally expelled from the House of Representatives (the first of five such expulsions in its history) for taking up arms against the United States, as he was then serving as a brigadier general in the pro-Southern Missouri State Guard. He commanded its Third Division at Carthage on July 5, 1861, and at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861. He was disabled during the latter battle and while recovering was elected to the Confederate Provisional Congress in October, 1861. In 1862 he was appointed to the Confederate Senate and served until 1864. He was later elected to the Second Confederate Congress and served there until its dissolution. After the War he returned to his law practice in Fayette. This assemblage of Congressional speeches reflects the influences and arguments that led to Clark's defection from the Union. The great majority of the speeches concern the bitter dissension between friends and foes of the South, of slavery, and of possible secession. Particular subjects include the protracted dispute over the Speakership of the new Congress, slavery in the Territories, Harper's Ferry, and the economic importance of slavery. There are remarkable displays of stem-winding oratory and numerous records of angry debates that occasionally verged on violence. Clark is himself represented by a speech he delivered in December, 1859, defending slavery and calling for a non-abolitionist Speaker. Other subjects addressed in this volume include tariffs and trade protection; Indian depredations in Texas, New Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest; relations with Mexico; and public lands in the Territories. There are at least six speeches on the evils of Mormon polygamy. Clark had headed the forces that drove the Mormons out of Missouri, and there are several bookmarks tucked by these addresses. Most of the individual speeches appear as pamphlets of eight to 16 pages, although there is one 30-page discourse and a 48-page speech that took three days to deliver. The collection serves as a unique and voluminous gathering of specimens of partisan eloquence delivered amid the gathering storm.