Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 85,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World through the end of the twentieth century.

Suttle, Charles F. (fl. 1857) to James Buchanan

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09028.05 Author/Creator: Suttle, Charles F. (fl. 1857) Place Written: Alexandria, Virginia Type: Manuscript letter Date: 14 March 1857 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 25 x 19 cm. Order a Copy

Written to President Buchanan to show Southern support for U.S. Marshal Watson Freeman and Massachusetts District Attorney Benjamin F. Hallett. Signed by Suttle, former owner of Anthony Burns, Henry C. Ward, President of the Democratic Association of Alexandria, R. M. Smith, Editor of the Alexandria Sentinel, William D. Massey, Mayor of Alexandria, George P. Wise, Ex Mayor, and D. Funsten. The Southern supporters first apologize for interfering and then ask that the Freeman and Hallett are kept in office. They reference the two men's professional conduct during the Anthony Burns case. "...it was a case of national importance, & its issues did very much towards establishing the hopes of Southern men that justice could yet be obtained in the Union. - But for the energetic conduct of the District Attorney & Marshal, the result and the moral would have been wholly different. The South loves the men of the north, who in the face of prejudice do her justice..." They describe Buchanan "a tower of strength." Marked as a copy.

Freeman was the U.S. Marshal of Massachusetts charged with enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act. Anthony Burns was the property of Charles Suttle of Alexandria, Virginia. Burns escaped slavery and fled to Boston. Suttle tried to reclaim Burns and Freeman, as U.S. Marshal, arrested Burns, enraging abolitionists. A mob descended on the courthouse where Burns was being held and attempted to free him. In the melee, a deputy was killed. Burns was convicted on 2 June 1854 and sent back into slavery. A few months later, a black Boston church raised the money to purchase his freedom.

Suttle, Charles F., fl. 1857
Massey, William Duncan, fl. 1857-1860
Wise, George P., fl. 1854-1857
Ward, Henry C., fl. 1857
Smith, R. M., fl. 1857
Funsten, D., fl. 1857
Freeman, Watson, fl. 1827-1857
Burns, Anthony, 1834-1862
Hallett, Benjamin F., 1797-1862

Citation Guidelines for Online Resources