Satire by "Kleber,"--"Kleber's" identity is unknown.Back

on February 20, 1821--Illinois Intelligencer, Feb. 20, 1821. Back

He was by all accounts pro-slavery--Clarence Alvord, Governor Edward Coles, Illinois Historical Society Library, 1920, p. 49; John Reynolds, My Own Times, Chicago, 1879, p. 158; Theodore Pease, The Frontier State, Springfield, Illinois, 1918, p. 74; and William H. Brown, An Historical Sketch of the Early Movement in Illinois for the Legalization of Slavery, Chicago, 1876, p. 10. Back

October 30, 1821--Edwardsville Spectator, Oct. 30, 1821. Back

March 26, 1822--Ibid., March 26, 1822. Back

at no point did anyone consider him a contender--Alvord, p. 49; Reynolds, p. 158; Brown, p. 15. Back

There has been and is a great fuss--Thomas Reynolds, Jr. to Ninian Edwards, Feb. 6, 1822, in Ninian Edwards, The Edwards Papers, ed. E. B. Washburne, Chicago, 1884, p. 190. Back

In November 1821--Edwardsville Spectator, Nov. 27, 1821. Back

In the next issue of the Spectator--Ibid., Dec. 4, 1821. Back

The connection with Crawford--Ironically, Crawford was thought to be the leader of a conspiracy to make the former northwest territories slave states in order to increase his chances of being elected president. See Max Gordon, The Slavery Conflict on the Illinois Frontier, M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, 1961, pp. 77-78.

Warren's continued identification of Coles as Crawford's tool--Warren later retracted his view of Coles as a lackey of Crawford. On August 31, 1822, bemoaning Coles' victory in the gubernatorial election, he writes in the Spectator, we do believe that the circumstance of [Coles'] election is degrading to the character of the state. The President can no longer hesitate, when he may wish to get rid of a useless lackey, to appoint him to a fat office in Illinois. Mr. Crawford, too, no doubt, will console himself for the abortion of his interference in our congressional election, in the success of Mr. Coles, which will enable him more effectually to intrigue for his own promotion. But in the next issue of the Spectator, Sept. 7, 1822, he says that in his latest remarks on Coles he was influenced by the conviction, reached because of some unspecified events which transpired a day or two previous to the Fourth of July celebration of 1819, that Coles was a warm partisan of Crawford. He has since been told by a person he trusts that Coles disapproved most strongly of Crawford's offer of the position of bank examiner to Thomas, and of Thomas' acceptance of it. Had he known of this earlier, Warren writes, his remarks on Coles would not have been what they were.

On the same day, Sept. 7, 1822, the Intelligencer carried an editorial which attempts to put the Crawford issue to rest.
. . . we do not believe, the editors write, that Mr. Coles has the least disposition to promote the views of Mr. Crawford in relation to the Presidency. Admitting that he is friendly to that gentleman, we have too much confidence in his respect for the opinion of his constituents (the people) to believe that he would lend the influence of a station to which they have called him, to support a man, to whose pretensions they are, and unquestionably will continue to be, opposed. The result of the last Congressional election, has settled the question as to Mr. Crawford, in this State. It is well known, that much of the opposition to Mr. Cook, resulted from a desire to elect a Representative to Congress who would vote for Mr. Crawford, as President, in the event of a failure of choice by the people. Yet it is well known too that Mr. Coles was decidedly in favor of Mr. Cook's election. And Mr. Warren may rest assured that Mr. Crawford is not likely to find in Mr. Coles any "effectual" means "to intrigue to his own promotion." Should we be disappointed, it will be unexpected--equally so, because we think better of Mr. Coles as well as on account of the nature of his support. Who were the friends of Mr. Crawford in the Congressional elections--we mean his active and leading friends--were they friends of Mr. Coles? The editor of the Spectator knows well to the contrary.

Of course, the political contradiction stated here--that Coles' friends were enemies of the man Coles supported for the Presidency, and his friends were Coles' enemies--does much to explain why Coles' political career in Illinois went into eclipse once the issue of slavery was settled. Back

In this day's paper--Illinois Gazette, April 6, 1822. Back

which of you are for--Edwardsville Spectator, April 2, 1822. Back

half a dozen FREE negroes--Warren reasoned that once Coles' slaves crossed into the free state of Pennsylvania, they were free. Thus Coles emancipated a few free negroes, keeping "legal" title to others who actually no longer belonged to him. Back

In a brief and dignified letter--Illinois Intelligencer, June 29, 1822. Reprinted in Alvord, pp. 261-263. The letter has already been quoted from extensively in Chapter 17. Back

In the spring of 1822--Free West, May 10, 1855. In Alvord, pp. 344-351. Back

particularly abusive account of Coles--We have no other sources of information by which to make Mr. Coles better known, Warren writes, than such as have been furnished by himself. These are confined to court anecdotes, and incidents necessarily connected with them, which occurred in Mr. Madison's family during his administration; and before Mr. Coles became a candidate, they were his constant theme, by day and by night. If he happened to speak on any other subject, it was a digression. He would frequently, at Wiggins', keep a bar-room audience in profound silence, from seven o'clock in the evening until two in the morning . . . Back

May 11, 1822--Illinois Intelligencer, May 11, 1822. Back

he was certainly not in the picture--We know that he was not in the picture as late as February 6, 1822, when Thomas Reynolds, Jr. wrote to Edwards (see note above). So Warren's explanation of his conduct is clearly inaccurate. Back

Washburne claims--Alvord, p. 49. Back

Pease, a later historian, claims--Pease, p. 76. Back

Last year when I returned from Congress--Ninian Edwards to Nathaniel Pope, Sept. 17, 1822, in Edwards, p. 192. Back

The election results--Illinois Gazette, Sept. 21, 1822. Back

Washburne adds--Alvord, p. 51. Washburne, like many another historian, gets carried away enough by his theories to distort his data. It will have been seen, therefore, he writes, that Mr. Coles was elected Governor by a large minority of the whole vote cast, and through a division of the pro-slavery men. At this same election, and where there was no such division, the pro-slavery men elected their candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Adophus Hubbard, by a decided majority . . . Yet in fact Hubbard won by fewer votes than Coles (72), and gained office through a division of a majority anti-slavery vote. In his 1863 autobiography Coles erroneously states that there were only two candidates for the office of Lieutenant Governor. Back

despairing of his election--Edwardsville Spectator, August 17, 1822. Back

Coles left Illinois seriously ill--Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, April 22, 1823, in Alvord, pp. 120-123. Reprinted in the William and Mary Quarterly, 1927, p. 100. Back

in a bitter letter to John--Edward Coles to John Coles III, August 22, 1823, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

Isaac writes from Paris, Kentucky--Isaac Coles to John Coles III, Oct. 2, 1822, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

Edward says that--Edward Coles to John Coles III, April 5, 1823, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

Edward says John claims--Edward Coles to John Coles III, August 22, 1823, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

on September 23, 1822--William B. Coles, ed., The Coles Family of Virginia, New York, 1931, p. 125. Back

On October 17--Almanac Dates, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

then traveled on to Washington--Edward Coles to James Madison, Oct. 30, 1822, Chicago Historical Society. Back

arriving in Edwardsville on November 22--Edwardsville Spectator, Nov. 30, 1822. Back

As you are about to assume--James Madison to Edward Coles, Oct. 19, 1822, Princeton University Library. Back

Edward Coles

Chapter 19