CIVIL WAR - Estick [or Estwick] EVANS (1787-1866)
Great Pacification. (To the People of the United States) ... I propose the restoration of our Union ... Peace, the hope of it, even in the midst of the most strenuous war, should not be abandoned ...
Washington, D.C. February 13, 1865. Letterpress broadside. 24 x 8 1/2 inches. Expert restoration on verso.
An unusual broadside Civil War peace proposal.
A little-known, but highly eccentric character, Evans first made a name for himself in 1818, when he walked from New Hampshire to Detroit (in the middle of winter no less), backtracked to Pittsburgh and continued his walk all the way to New Orleans, publishing a narrative of his pedestrian journey the following year. After a failed Congressional run in New Hampshire, and a failed attempt to become secretary of the Senate, he ended up practicing law in Washington. In the midst of the Civil War, Evans published a series of broadside letters, all known in but few examples and likely printed in small quantities. In one, in which excoriated the south for their role in the war, he explained that he issued his missives as broadsides since his letters had no chance of publication in the already crowded pages of the newspaper press. The present broadside by Evans suggests a 20-point proposal for peace between the North and South, including the abolition of slavery, the federal assumption of Confederate debt, universal amnesty, restoration of all confiscated property, the annexation of Mexico, the expulsion of the Russians from the Pacific Northwest, the seizing of the Hudson's Bay and Arctic fur trade from the British, inviting Canada to become part of the United States, the unification of Central America and the building of a trans-Darien canal, the nationalization of the mining industry, universal temperance, fair pay, charity from the rich and more. The broadside letter concludes: "Unhappy -- deeply unhappy am I in what I am now going to say -- tears of pity, grief and shame for the whole country, coursing down my cheeks: -- I solemnly declare, that I have no doubt, and never had, that the longer the South holds out, the nearer she will be so absolute annihilation ..." We locate only four examples extant (Boston Aethenaeum, American Antiquarian Society, Harvard and Minnesota Historical Society).