Robert Toombs : Biography

Robert Toombs : Biography


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Robert Toombs was born in Wilkes County, Georgia on 2nd July, 1810. Toombs graduated from Union College in New York in 1828. He became a lawyer and wealthy plantation owner.

In 1837 Toombs was elected to the Georgia legislature where he became a strong defender in slavery. A member of the Democratic Party he also served in the House of Representatives (1846-1852) and the Senate (1853-61).

In 1861 Toombs led Georgia to secession. During the American Civil War President Jefferson Davis appointed Toombs as his Secretary of State but in July, 1861 he resigned to join the Confederate Army. A brigadier general, Toombs was seriously wounded at Antietam in 1862. Disappointed by not being promoted, Toombs resigned from the army but joined the Georgia militia when William Sherman was advancing on Atlanta in 1864.

After the war Toombs fled to Cuba and then moved to England. Toombs returned to Georgia in 1867 where he once again established a successful law practice. Robert Toombs, who had a serious drink problem in his later years, died on 15th December, 1885.

In 1790 we had less than 800,000 slaves. Under our mild and humane administration of the system, they have increased about 4 million. The country had expanded to meet the growing want; and Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri have received this increasing tide of African labor; before the end of this century, at precisely the same rate of increase, the Africans among us in a subordinate condition will amount to 11 million persons. What shall be done with them?

We must expand or perish. We are constrained by an inexorable necessity to accept expansion or extermination. Those who tell you that the territorial question is an abstraction, that you can never colonize another territory without the African slave trade are both death and blind to the history of the last sixty years. For twenty years the Abolition societies, by publications made by them, by the public press, through the pulpit and their own legislative halls, and every effort - by reproaches, by abuse, by vilification, by slander - to disturb our security, our tranquillity - to excite discontent between the different classes of our people, and to excite our slaves to insurrection. No nation in the world would submit to such conduct from any other nation. I will not willingly do so from this Abolition Party.

Mr. Lincoln's Republican Party all speak with one voice, and speak trumpet-tongued their fixed purpose to outlaw $4 billion of our property in the territories, and to put it under the ban of the empire in the states where it exists. They declare their purpose to war against slavery until there shall not be a slave in America, and until the African is elevated to a social and political equality with the white man. Lincoln endorses them and their principles, and in his own speeches declares the conflict irrepressible and enduring, until slavery is everywhere abolished.

My countrymen, "if you have nature in you, bear it not." Withdraw yourselves from such a confederacy; it is your right to do so - your duty to do so. I know not why the Abolitionists should object to it, unless they want to torture and plunder you. If they resist this great sovereign right, make another war of independence, for that then will be the question; fight its battles over again - reconquer liberty and independence. as for me, I will take any place in the great conflict for rights which you may assign. I will take none in the federal government during Mr. Lincoln's administration.


Researching enslaved people from the Robert Toombs House in Ga.

I am looking for any information or help researching the enslaved people owned by General Robert Toombs in Washington, Wilkes Co., Ga. I have a partial list of names and some leads. Would appreciate any guidance in this research. Goal is to have a building on the property dedicated just to the enslaved labors and their contributions and lives. A place where other people could come and learn both about history and possibly their own families.

  • Uncle Billy AKA Billy Toombs, William Toombs, William Henley, Billy Henley born about 1799 died Aug 1887 Wilkes Co., Ga
  • Aunt Betty died after 1867.
  • James R. Toombs (son of Dr. Robert Ezekiel Toombs -the general's nephew and Adeline a lady of color) born Jan 1848 died after 1910 but before 1920.
  • Adeline? not sure if she was owned by the General but she had two children by his nephew. Charlie Toombs was born 1847 have found his descendants but they don't know much about Adeline. The family lived in Mitchell Co., Ga as well as Wilkes Co., GA
  • John Wesley Gaines and his brother William Gaines - both of these men went on to be giants in their religion and did great things. I am in contact with their descendants.
  • Tom - know he was a child that the General taught to read and write, was too weak to work.
  • Bob - mentioned in letters home from war by the General that Billy and Bob were both doing well while at war with him.
  • Job - have a memoir that is part interview about Job not sure if he was here at the house or on another plantation
  • Dan- mentioned in letters
  • Alonza Fantory Toombs son of Sam Fantory Toombs and Isabelle Toombs - think he was at a different plantation but i have his memoir.
  • Garland White - was from Washington DC and ran away becoming a chaplain with the union army
  • George only mentioned in Washington Dc.
  • Amos and johanna Johnson
Re: Researching enslaved people from the Robert Toombs House in Ga.

I am direct descendant of Charlie Toombs he is my great-grandfather on my paternal side. I don't know much about Adeline Wade. All of the information I gleaned is from a Freedman's Bank record and a slave schedule. If you have more information on how you found out Adeline had two children with Dr. Robert Ezekiel Toombs, I would love to know more.

Re: Researching enslaved people from the Robert Toombs House in Ga.

Wow so great to hear from another family member!

I have seen the freedman's bank record and I have estate settlement papers showing legacy to James Toombs when the General died. I did not know about Charlie until the freedman's records and a gentleman I found on Ancestry that has done his family research with the help of hiring someone at ancestry.  He thinks the General is Charlie's father, but from dates and locations and knowing that the nephew is father to James I think it is a better bet that the nephew is also Charlie's father.

Adeline is a mystery to me. I am looking to see if she was possibly owned by the nephew's grandmother (General's mother) Catherine Toombs.  She was widowed and lived about 6 miles from the General's house. I would think if the General was in Washington DC and the nephew was in town here in Washington Ga that he would either be staying at the Generals house alone or out with his Grandmother. I don't find the name Adeline in any letters from the General or records here, he was a great letter writer and always mentioned some of the enslaved and later freedman in his letters.  I do see a Charity that was left money in the General's will and that is the name of Adeline's daughter Charity Wade. So wondering if Charity is the same girl. She is not mentioned before 1880 here at the house so thinking this must be the sister and needing work when the Wade family moved here. I also know where Adeline and her Wade family were living while here in 1880s. 

Would love to know if Charlie was born here. If he lived at this house. I can see Adeline's husband is from the Mitchell Co. Area and the family lived there in 1870s and that Charlie moved back.  The man I spoke to said the General set Charlie up with land and schooling I think. I know he was very kind to many of the former slaves and did help set them up after freedom. I also know he sent his nephew to Stewart Co. Ga when he finished medical school and gave him a plantation there. I have a photo of Charlie and his wife.

Wish I had one of James! Did you know James went into war with the General? Please keep in contact and if ever in Washington, Ga I invite you to tour the house (for free) and look at the research I am doing. I hope to one day have a building here on the grounds dedicated to the lives of the enslaved here. I would also love to have any information you may have on Charlie and Adeline and possibly Charity. I am trying to look into the Mitchell Co., Connection. Wondering if she was sent to that area by her owner or Toombs? He did own land in a neighboring county. Also would love more about what Charlie did and where he lived. Seems odd that James would stay here and was enslaved (or was he free) here and kept on working here for 20 years after freedom and there is no mention I can find of Charlie.

Re: Researching enslaved people from the Robert Toombs House in Ga.

Thanks so much for this information! This is all fascinating! You may have spoken to my cousin Greg. I discovered Charlie Toombs and that branch of my family thanks to an Ancestry DNA test. From what I heard, Charlie Toombs was a farmer and owned quite a bit of land in Mitchell County (I found a property digest from the late 1880s). I'll certainly keep in touch. My family and I will probably be in Georgia next summer for a family reunion we would love to visit the house. I can also put you in contact with another relative who may have more information on Charlie.

Re: Researching enslaved people from the Robert Toombs House in Ga.
Lisha Penn 09.08.2019 10:56 (в ответ на Kimberly Clements)

CWT Book Review: Robert Toombs

“Restore the government to the people,” the ex-senator railed. “Let the Government perform faithfully its great mission of administering justice and protecting property and let the people alone.” A modern Tea Party rally? No, it was Robert Toombs addressing a crowd in Warrenton, Ga., in September 1875. As Mark Scroggins describes in his biography of the Georgia lawyer, senator and general, Toombs spent a lifetime being true to his convictions. Proslavery and an advocate of states’ rights, Toombs was initially against secession, but once his state committed to that course in 1861, he became a fire-breathing Rebel. Toombs’ poor grasp of military protocol led to his arrest on the eve of Second Manassas, but at Antietam the general earned commendations.

Returning from postwar exile in France, Toombs blamed Confederate President Jefferson Davis for losing the war. Of Ulysses S. Grant, he wrote, “He fought for his country honorably and won I fought for mine and lost. I am ready to try it over again. Death to the Union.” Though criticized for his inflammatory words, Toombs never backed down, responding, “Why shouldn’t I say it? I feel it—I mean it—it is in my heart, and why should I deny it?”

This is an entertaining look at one of history’s greatest, and most unapologetic, curmudgeons.

Originally published in the August 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.


About the Book

Robert Toombs of Georgia stands as one of the most fiery and influential politicians of the nineteenth century. Sarcastic, charming, egotistical, and gracious, he rose quickly from state office to congressman to senator in the decades before the Civil War. Though he sought sectional reconciliation throughout the 1840s and 1850s, he eventually became one of the South’s most ardent secessionists.
This thorough biography chronicles his days as a student and young lawyer in Georgia, his boisterous political career, his appointment as the Confederacy’s first Secretary of State, his unsuccessful stint as a Confederate general, and his role as a proud, unreconstructed rebel after the war. An exploration of Toombs’ career reveals the political forces and missteps that drove him—and people like him—to want to secede from the United States.


Robert E. Lee: officer and gentleman

Robert E. Lee was the most respected and successful military leader of the Confederacy during the Civil War. He led Confederate forces to impressive victories early in the war, attempted two invasions of the North that were repelled after fierce fighting, and remained in command to the end of the war in 1865. Lee did not fight the war for political reasons. Ultimately, the decision he faced was whether to fight for his country or his state. He chose his state.

Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19, 1807, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His father, Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, was a member of a famous Virginia family and fought in the Revolutionary War as a cavalry officer. The Lee family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1811, when Lee was four. The family had lost much of its fortune because of bad investments. After attending schools in Alexandria, Lee followed in his father's footsteps and pursued a career in the military that began at West Point Military Academy in 1825. He graduated second in his class in 1829. While serving as an engineer at Fort Monroe, Virginia, from 1831 to 1834, Lee met and married Mary Ann Randolph Custis, granddaughter of the nation's initial first lady, Martha Washington (1732–1802). The Lees would have seven children.

Lee had a variety of other assignments before fighting with distinction in the Mexican-American War. After the war, he was placed in charge of the construction of Fort Carroll, in the harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. In August 1852, at the age of forty-five, Lee was named superintendent at West Point. He returned to military service as lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Cavalry in March 1855. He was in Washington, D.C., when abolitionist John Brown (1800–1859) led a small group in a raid of a nearby federal arsenal (weapons supply). Brown wanted to use the weapons to arm slaves to begin a revolt. Lee was sent to the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, where he quickly stopped the insurrection (rebellion).

As the nation grew more divided over slavery during the 1850s, Lee was not sympathetic to the movement toward secession by Southern states. Still, he debated whether his state or his country had earned his primary allegiance. He decided that if Virginia seceded, he would support his home state. Lee was summoned to Washington, D.C., in February 1861 and placed on waiting orders, likely to be promoted to a commander if war began. On March 16, 1861, he was made colonel of the 1st Cavalry of the federal army.

Meanwhile, officials in Virginia considered seceding from the union, and Lee realized he could not fight against his own state. When he was offered the field command of the U.S. Army in April 1861, Lee declined the offer. After learning that the Virginia convention voted in favor of secession, Lee resigned his military commission. He was selected, instead, to command the forces of Virginia late in April. He was a general by July and the favorite commander of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

Lee led Confederate forces to victories in early battles or helped fight off Union forces during the first two years of the Civil War. In 1863, Confederate leaders believed they could invade the North and possibly capture Washington, D.C. Lee's forces reached Gettysburg, in southern Pennsylvania, but the offensive stalled there and Confederates were forced to retreat. For the remainder of the war, Lee led a crafty defense of Virginia and forced the Union into a prolonged offensive, testing its determination.

By 1864, Union forces were making headway in Virginia and the lower Southern states. On February 6, 1865, orders were issued making Lee the general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies. By this time, however, he was consumed with a final defense of Virginia. Forced into a final retreat in early April 1865 and then blocked from retreat, Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, and the Civil War was effectively over. Lee and his Union counterpart, General Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885 see entry), negotiated an honorable surrender.

Lee was most concerned following the war with national reunification and rebuilding the war-ravaged South. He remained in Richmond and was treated with respect by federal officials. In September 1865, he became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. He wanted to help bring stability and new opportunities for development for younger people, and, as always, led by example. He obeyed the law and counseled all Southerners to do the same. Lee was indicted for treason for his wartime activities. Though he was never brought to trial, neither was he offered a pardon. He died on October 12, 1870, in Lexington. Just over a century later, President Gerald Ford (1913– served 1974–77) restored Lee's citizenship.


The English and Their History review – ‘a book of resounding importance to contemporary debates’

The English and Their History, by the Professor of French history at Cambridge, Robert Tombs, is a work of supreme intelligence. Intelligence cuts its way through orthodoxy, dogmas, traditions and shibboleths rather as engineers hack their way through forests and mountains, slice open outcrops of nature and forge exciting new routes to old destinations. In this vigorous, subtle and penetrating book, Tombs defies the proprieties of our politically motivated national history curriculum to rethink and revise notions of national identity.

Tombs has done nothing less than narrate with rare freshness and confidence 2,000 years of English history. Distant historic events are used to give perspective to current affairs and looming crises. There is nothing blimpish about his approach – nor anything apologetic. “By the standards of humanity as a whole, England over the centuries has been among the richest, safest and best governed places on earth, as periodical influxes of people testify,” he writes. “Its living standards in the 14th century were higher than much of the world in the 20th… We who have lived in England since 1945 have been among the luckiest people in the existence of Homo sapiens, rich, peaceful and healthy.”

Tombs confutes his fellow historians who insist that England should in the 21st century be denied a distinctive history of its own, but instead be subsumed into “British history”. England has been a sovereign kingdom for most of its history, and its relations with Scandinavia in early centuries, with France since the middle ages, with Spain and the Netherlands in the early modern period, and later with Germany and the United States, have been more important to English history than those with Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It is politically suppressive and historical cheating to devalue the study of distinctive English history, Tombs argues. No one would dare impose such cultural censorship on Ireland, Scotland and France.

Tombs traces the history of England as a kingdom, as an international power, as a nationality and as a cultural force. As well as the rulers, institutions, alliances and conquests, he examines the ideas, emotions, words and images that constitute national memory. He begins with the Roman invasion of Britain, recounts the early history of multiple petty kingdoms on the archipelago, and describes the complex aftermath of the 11th-century Norman Conquest. He pursues some fascinating byways (notably his account of the 16th-century emergence of Latinised English, of invigorated vernacular English and of Tyndale’s English-language Bible), but inevitably many readers will fasten on to the topicality of his analysis of the past 450 years.

In Tombs’s depiction, the succession of King James VI of Scotland as England’s monarch after Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603 proved “disastrous” for the English, for in the House of Stuart “the country acquired Europe’s most hapless dynasty”. The single monarchy did not even protect England from Scottish invasions, which until 1745 proved more frequent and disruptive than ever. After the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, there was long-standing English resentment at the growing influence of Scots in English political and cultural life, while Scotland kept its own legal and educational systems.

For Tombs, perhaps the most decisive reign was that of William III, the Dutchman who in 1688 succeeded in a tricky invasion of England, dethroned his Catholic father-in-law James II and took control of the country almost without bloodshed. Although religious tensions continued to influence English political and social life for 250 years after William’s Glorious Revolution, they seldom aroused violence. There was aggression in public life, but also an explicit rejection of extremism – often called “enthusiasm” or “fanaticism”. The English prided themselves on both plain speech and moderation.

William III was also crucial in changing the country’s international status. He invaded England in order to bring it into his alliance to stop France from dominating Europe. In doing so he launched his conquered country as a great power. From 1688 until Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the London government fought the nine years war (1688-97), the war of the Spanish succession (1701-13), the seven years war (1756-63), and those against revolutionary and Napoleonic France (1792-1802, 1803-15). It won and (in the case of the costly American war of independence of 1775-83) lost immense territories.

Victory in 1815 over France left the London government ruling “the first global hegemon in history” – a role that only one other power, the US, has ever occupied, with limited success since 1989. Nineteenth-century religious revivalism created a campaigning fervour for virtue, justice and self-improvement. The role of public opinion, parliamentary initiatives and the Royal Navy in suppressing the slave trade across much of the Earth – an uplifting history which is neglected in the rush to apologise for colonial excesses – is recounted by Tombs.

Compared with other European nations, England was pre-eminent in politics and economics, although not in the arts or the good life. The two-chamber parliament in London, the accountability of ministers to parliament, parliamentary control over government spending, constitutional monarchy, collective cabinet responsibility, and an independent judiciary were emulated across Europe during the next hundred years. The machinery, infrastructure and institutions of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and other cities were copied too.

Tombs gives an even-handed, open-eyed defence of the British empire from the attacks of anti-capitalist historians and anti-colonial nationalists. Although he is a historian of the grand sweep, his book is full of arresting details, quirky sidelights, telling quotes and delightful laconic humour. The text is crisscrossed with thematic linkages and thoughtful contrasts across the centuries, as when he notes that under the Blair government, England acquired its first underworld of murderous religious plotters since the 17th century.

The final sections of The English and Their History are intensely topical, although discomfiting. Tombs appraises the transformation of public structures and priorities, as well as of personal ambitions and conduct, under the Thatcherite and New Labour governments. He puts the blurred class distinctions, intensified economic inequality, revived sectarian hatreds and performance of the welfare state in both their English and European historical contexts. Bringing us to the present day, Tombs notes the oddity that Eurosceptics, whose complaints focus on sovereignty and the law, are most numerous in England, which is not a sovereign nation. His commentary on the European Union, immigration, “target culture”, erosions of traditional English privileges of privacy and liberty will unsettle conventional wisdom.

Robert Tombs’s book is a triumph. In a literal sense it is definitive, for there is never a flash of ambiguity in any sentence. It is rare to find a book of such lucidity and authority that does not hector its readers. The English and Their History is transformative: it will be deplorable if its challenges are shirked, or its evidence is pooh-poohed. No history published this year has been of such resounding importance to contemporary debates. Tombs, who is both fearless and non-partisan, deserves to be rewarded with a life peerage for this book. There can be no steadier, calmer and more informed adviser during the constitutional crises looming in the next two or three years.


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--> Toombs, Robert Augustus, 1810-1885

Robert Toombs (1810-1885), lawyer, U.S. Senator (1844-1861), Confederate General, married Julia Ann DuBois, resided in Wilkes County, Georgia.

From the description of Robert Toombs papers, 1837-1880 (bulk 1850-1866). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38477000

Robert Toombs (1810-1885) lawyer, U.S. Senator (1844-1861), Confederate General, married Julia Ann DuBois, resided in Wilkes County, Georgia.

From the description of Letters to Julia Ann DuBois Toombs, 1850-1867. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38477227

Robert Augustus Toombs (1810-1885), U.S. Senator and Congressman, Confederate Secretary of State, and Confederate General.

From the description of Letter to John C. Breckinridge, 1867 Apr. 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38476606

Congressman and senator from Georgia, Confederate secretary of state.

From the description of ALS : Washington, Georgia, to John Pettit, Lafayette, Ind., 1858 Sept. 2. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122633617

Robert Augustus Toombs served as Secretary of State (1861) of the Confederate States of America, and as a C.S.A. general during the Civil War.

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs letter, 1857 Jan. 3. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 269035979

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs letter, 1848. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 269037511

Robert Toombs (1810-1885), lawyer and politician, born in Wilkes County, Georgia.

From the description of Letter to General Gustavus W. Smith, 1865 Mar. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38476952

"Robert Toombs, one of the most ardent secessionists in the U.S. Senate, helped to lead Georgia out of the Union on the eve of the Civil War. This was surprising although Toombs was a slaveholding planter, he had dedicated the majority of his political career to preserving the Union. Spanning almost four decades, his career in Georgia politics began in the state legislature, and he later ventured into national affairs as a U.S. congressman and senator. During the early months of the Civil War he became secretary of state for the Confederacy. He concluded his political leadership as one of the major architects of the state Constitution of 1877." - "Robert Toombs." New Georgia Encyclopedia. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved September 4, 2008)

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs autograph, 1881. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 441886934

From the description of Robert Toombs letter, 1870 April 30. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 374014490

U.S. senator and representative from Georgia and Confederate secretary of state and army officer.

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs papers, 1834-1862. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980633

Robert Augustus Toombs (1810-1885), lawyer and politician, born in Wilkes County, Georgia.

From the description of Letter to Capt. A.J. Mays, 1871 Mar. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38478052

Robert Toombs, one of the most ardent secessionists in the U.S. Senate, helped to lead Georgia out of the Union on the eve of the Civil War. This was surprising although Toombs was a slaveholding planter, he had dedicated the majority of his political career to preserving the Union. Spanning almost four decades, his career in Georgia politics began in the state legislature, and he later ventured into national affairs as a U.S. congressman and senator. During the early months of the Civil War he became secretary of state for the Confederacy. He concluded his political leadership as one of the major architects of the state Constitution of 1877. Toombs's statesmanship, personality, and unyielding convictions made him one of Georgia's most influential politicians of the nineteenth century. Toombs County, in southeast Georgia, is named in his honor. Robert Toombs (1810-1885) - New Georgia Encyclopedia http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved March 24, 2009).

From the description of Robert Toombs letters, 1855-1872. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 373897807

Lawyer, U.S. congressman, 1845-1853, U.S. senator, 1853-1861, and member of the first Confederate Congress of Wilkes County, Ga.

From the description of Correspondence, 1846-1881. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20400303

Lawyer, of Wilkes County, Ga. Secretary of State, Confederate States of America delegate, of Georgia Constitutional Convention, 1877 member of U.S. Senate, 1853-1861 member of U.S. House, 1845-1853 member of Georgia House, 1837-1843 Brig. Gen., Confederate States Army Adjutant and Inspector-Genreral of Georgia Militia, 1864 graduate of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., 1828.

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs papers, 1861. (University of South Carolina). WorldCat record id: 42576031

Robert Augustus Toombs (1810-1885) was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, the son of a Revolutionary War major. He studied at the University of Georgia, but completed his degree at the University of Schenectady, New York. He received his law degree from the University of Georgia and was admitted to the bar in 1830. That same year, Toombs married Julia DuBose. He was elected to the Georgia legislature in 1837 and to Congress in 1844. He served as Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America in 1861 he accepted a military commission and commanded a Georgia brigade. A bullet shattered his left hand while his troops were defending a bridge at the battle of Antietam.

From the description of Robert Augustus Toombs letters, petitions, and writs, 1834-1871. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 144570319

"Robert Toombs, one of the most ardent secessionists in the U.S. Senate, helped to lead Georgia out of the Union on the eve of the Civil War. This was surprising although Toombs was a slaveholding planter, he had dedicated the majority of his political career to preserving the Union. Spanning almost four decades, his career in Georgia politics began in the state legislature, and he later ventured into national affairs as a U.S. congressman and senator. During the early months of the Civil War he became secretary of state for the Confederacy. He concluded his political leadership as one of the major architects of the state Constitution of 1877." - "Robert Toombs." New Georgia Encyclopedia. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved September 4, 2008)

"Known as the "Macaulay of the South," Charles C. Jones Jr. was the foremost Georgia historian of the nineteenth century. Also a noted autograph and manuscript collector and an accomplished amateur archaeologist, Jones in later years became a prominent memorialist of the Lost Cause and critic of the New South." - "Charles C. Jones Jr." New Georgia Encyclopedia. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved August 21, 2008)

From the description of Robert Toombs letter, 1869 December 1. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 432661051


Robert Toombs (1775 - 1815)

Robert Toombs was born in 1775 in Virginia. Robert received a land grant in 1783 of 3,000 acres in Wilkes County, Georgia. for his service in the Revolutionary War. His first marriage was to a Miss Sanders from Columbia County, Georgia. No children were born from this marriage. Robert apparently returned to his home in Virginia briefly, [1] and married second Sally Catlett on September 17, 1798 while he was there. [2] They had one son together, Lawrence Catlett Toombs. His third marriage was to Catherine Huling. They had 5 children together. Their son, Robert Augustus Toombs, was a founding father of the Confederacy, and served as its first Secretary of State. [3]

Will of Robert Toombs. Wilkes Co., GA, WB 1818-1819, pp. 108-112, written 1 Aug 1815, proved 7 Jan 1816, recorded 19 May 1818. Digital image at Ancestry.com - https://tinyurl.com/uv84jd7g

my eldest son Lawrence Catlett Toombs (under age)
my children
my wife
Exr: friend Thomas W Cobb, wife Catharine Toombs, friend John Spearman
Wit: Sarah Hillhouse, Sarah Abbott, Joel Abbott


Robert M. T. Hunter

Robert M. T. Hunter was born on April 21, 1809, at “Mount Pleasant,” Essex County, Virginia. Educated at home, he attended the University of Virginia External , graduating in 1828. Hunter was admitted to the bar in 1830 and set up a legal practice in his native county, which later became his political base.

In the U.S. Congress he emerged as a major spokesman of the Democratic party’s states rights faction. Although his erudition and conservatism gave an appearance of moderation to his position, Hunter remained uncompromisingly pro-slavery and pro-Southern.

R. M. T. Hunter… [Senator from Virginia]. Mathew Brady’s studio, [between 1844 and 1860]. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division

First elected to public office in 1834 as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Hunter was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1837, serving from 1837-43 and again from 1845-47. While in the House, he was elected speaker in the 26th Congress, the youngest member ever to serve in this office. Congressman Hunter worked successfully to return Alexandria County (later known as Arlington County) to Virginia from the District of Columbia.

Hunter supported John C. Calhoun for president, writing a campaign biography of Calhoun in 1843 titled the Life of John C. Calhoun (New-York, Harper & brothers, 1843), which presented a condensed history of political events from 1811 to 1843. Elected to the Senate in 1846, Hunter was reelected in 1852 and 1858, resigning his seat in March 1861 prior to the secession of Virginia.

The United States Senate, A.D. 1850/drawn by P.F. Rothermel engraved by R. Whitechurch. Philadelphia, Pa: John M. Butler & Alfred Long, c1855. Popular Graphic Arts. Prints & Photographs Division

A strong proponent of state rights, Hunter was a member of the “Southern Triumvirate” with Jefferson Davis and Robert Toombs. In 1861 he was elected to the Confederate Provincial Congress and served for two years as the Confederate secretary of state, prior to serving in the Confederate Senate as senator from Virginia from 1862 to 1865.

In 1865 Hunter, alongside Alexander Stephens and John A. Campbell, was appointed a peace commissioner charged with negotiating a settlement with the Union. Hunter, Stephens, and Campbell met with President Lincoln and U.S. Secretary of War William H. Seward on February 3, 1865, on the Federal steamship River Queen, which they boarded at Fort Monroe, Virginia. This letter from Thomas Eckert to the commissioners provides safe passage through Union lines to meet with the president.

Gentlemen.
I am instructed by the President of the United States to place this paper in your hands with the information that if you pass through the U. S. Military lines it will be understood that you do so for the purpose of an informal conference, on the basis of the letter, a copy of which is on the reverse side of this sheet, and that if you choose to pass on such understanding, and so notify me in writing, I will procure the Commanding General to pass you through the lines, and to Fortress Monroe, under such military precautions as he may deem prudent and, at which place you will be met in due time by some person or persons for the purpose of such informal conference. And further that you shall have protection, safe-conduct, and safe return, in all events.
Thos T. Eckert.

Thomas T. Eckert to John A. Campbell, Alexander H. Stephens and Robert M. T. Hunter, February 1, 1865 (Hampton Roads Conference with copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Jan. 18, 1865 letter to Francis P. Blair Sr. on verso. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Manuscript Division

Two weeks later, the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered the city to the Union Army. One month later, General Lee evacuated Richmond and surrendered to General Grant at the village of Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.

As with many members of the Confederate Congress, Hunter was imprisoned at Fort Pulaski, Georgia, before returning to Virginia. He was active on the Underwood Convention of 1867 and 1868 that drafted the new Virginia state constitution. Hunter held the office of state treasurer from 1875 to 1880 and was appointed by President Grover Cleveland to the post of collector for the port of Tappahannock. Robert Hunter died on July 18, 1887, at his estate “Fonthill.”

Fonthill, State Route 631 vicinity, Champlain, Essex County, VA. Documentation compiled after 1933. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey. Prints & Photographs Division


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