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Sumner, Charles (1811-1874) to [Edward W.] Kinsley

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02095.18 Author/Creator: Sumner, Charles (1811-1874) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 March 1874 Pagination: 1 p. ; 20.5 x 12.8 cm.

Criticizes Buenaventura Baez, President of the Dominican Republic. Kinsley apparently informed Sumner of a dinner for Baez. He states in full, "A Dinner to Baez! Why not invite the murderer of the Virginius crew? At least please read an authentic account of him. Doubtless he is one of the worst men of our time." Marked Senate Chamber.

Sumner references the 1873 Virginius affair, which almost led to war between the U.S. and Spain. The Virginius, a filibustering ship fraudulently flying the American flag, was carrying arms to the Cubans. It was captured by the Spanish, who then executed the captain and 52 crew and passengers. This letter was likely written to Edward W. Kinsley, a Boston businessman and abolitionist. In 1870, President Grant strongly urged annexation of the Dominican Republic. Sumner opposed the project on many grounds, including that it was not the wish of the "black republic" and that the negotiation had been irregularly conducted with Baez.

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