Bright, Jesse David
Jesse David Bright (December 18, 1812 – May 20, 1875) was the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and U.S. Senator from Indiana who served as President pro tempore of the Senate on three separate occasions. He was the only senator from a Northern state to be expelled for being a Confederate sympathizer. Autograph Slip Writing Signed, n.d. 3 x 1 mounted written in blk ink overall fine condition.
"Jesse David Bright (December 18, 1812 - May 20, 1875) was the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and U.S. Senator from Indiana who served as President pro tempore of the Senate on three separate occasions. He was the only senator from a Northern state to be expelled for being a Confederate sympathizer. Also, Judge Bright was a promenant businessman and a slaveholder.
Jesse David Bright was a United States Senator from Indiana from 1845 to 1862 and the domineering leader of Indiana's Democratic Party for most of that time. A state-rights Democrat and a slaveholder with a Kentucky farm, Bright opposed the Civil War, arguing that coercion should not be used to effect reunion. In March 1861, Bright wrote a letter of introduction to Jefferson Davis for a friend who wanted "to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms." The letter prompted an accusation of disloyalty that led to Bright's expulsion from the United States Senate on February 5, 1862.
Bright supported the Crittenden Compromise, which proposed concessions to the South to preserve slavery, and in a July 1861 speech, he characterized himself as one who was "not willing to vote either men or money to invade States that have formally declared themselves out of the Union, until every effort to secure peace and an honorable adjustment has been exhausted."
The discovery of Bright's March 1861 letter to the president of the seceding Southern states provoked calls for his expulsion from the United States Senate:
Washington, March 1, 1861"
"MY DEAR SIR: Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance my friend Thomas B. Lincoln, of Texas. He visits your capital mainly to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms. I recommend him to your favorable consideration as a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every respect.
Very truly, yours, JESSE D. BRIGHt
To His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederation of States.
On December 16, 1861, Minnesota Senator Morton S. Wilkinson introduced a resolution calling for Bright's expulsion, declaring that the letter was "evidence of disloyalty" and was "calculated to give aid and comfort to the public enemy."
Bright briefly hoped that he would be returned to the U.S. Senate the next year, but he did not have sufficient support. He moved to Carrollton, Kentucky, and served from 1866 to 1871 as a Kentucky state representative for Trimble and Carroll Counties. In 1874, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he died May 20, 1875.