Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bedford Brown Envelope

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Envelope Addressed to Bedford Brown (1795-1870)

Honorable Bedford Brown
Locust Hill P.O.
Caswell County
North Carolina

Bedford Brown (1795-1870): Not one North Carolinian in a thousand, perhaps, can identify Bedford Brown, though he was one of the most widely known Southern politicians of his day. It remained for Caswell County's Dr. H. G. Jones, North Carolina Archivist, to rescue Brown from oblivion through a thorough monograph of the "state's rights unionist." Brown, a well-to-do planter, was twelve times elected to the legislature, twice to the U. S. Senate, and served in other public posts. He was a friend of the Democratic leaders of his day, including Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

The distinctive feature of his life, however, was his strenuous and unsuccessful efforts to preserve both states' rights and the union. Of the influential men of his time, he was one of the few who risked his political future by advising a course so repugnant to partisans in the ante-bellum crises. There was little room left for a man like Brown in those days, and his greatness lies not in what he accomplished, but in a philosophy that time may yet prove pointed to the only way out.

Those interested in an account of this neglected Tar Heel are directed to Jones, Houston G. Bedford Brown: State Rights Unionist. Carrollton, Georgia: West Georgia College, 1955.

Source: A New Geography of North Carolina, Volume IV, Bill Sharpe (1965).

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