Dear Mrs. Morton: Re: David Wilson
You surely have taken a lot of pains concerning the answer of my query. I wonder where you found this material.
I notice that Mr. Holden does not seem to be too favorably impressed with his historical accuracy except possibly as to the “Jane McCrea”. On rereading the “Solomon Northup” book, of course I do not know about its accuracy except that the legal procedure part of it seems to be precise and is corroborated by the New York Times story of the 20th of January 1853 reporting the case in District of Columbia Court of the 18th of January. This leaves an opportunity for Wilson to build up an imagined story as to the alleged facts which did not directly come into court.
A sort of shadow seems to hang over the story, as witness the gossip of neighbors that Solomon got himself kidnapped. This, to me, seems unthinkable because of Henry B. Northup’s interest in the case and the procedure he followed to obtain Solomon’s freedom as reported in the book and corroborated by the Times of the time. But it seems, too, that neighbors hereabouts accounted for Solomon’s subsequent disappearance in the same way. I have not taken time as apparently you have to follow this matter out but it is interesting that Mr. Holden indicates that Solomon Northup at one time lived in Whitehall.
Wilson’s letter of the 60s, copy of which you sent me before, and this Northup book show me how far away even I am from fresh understanding of the horrible things slavery and the Civil War were. When I first read the copy of the Wilson letter which you sent me I thought how outstandingly bitter and vindictive he was with respect to the South but then I reflected that that probably was what the war was fought on and it made Lincoln’s spirit of appeasement at the end stand out.
L. R. Lewis