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Michael Brown

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Office of the State Grand Council, Philadelphia, September 20th, 1864. To the Officers and Members of Council No.

Quarto, 4 pages, printed on pale gray paper stock, formerly folded, in very god, very clean condition. “The questions to be decided at the approaching elections are of graver import than any which have ever heretofore been submitted to a popular decision. They involve not only the welfare, the prosperity and character of the people of the United States, but also, the personal interest of each individual citizen. If the nominee of the Chicago convention [Democrat George McClellan] should be successful, no sane man can doubt that along with the base surrender of our national integrity to the traitors now in arms against the Union, there would come public and private calamity in the worst forms in which they can be manifested. Our great industrial establishments would be closed for want of occupation; the produce of our farms would waste in our granaries for want of consumers; labor would be suspended for want of demand; all values would diminish; and among the working classes pinching poverty would replace the present comfort and abundance. Besides the deep humiliation and disgrace which every American would feel at the sacrifice of the national honor; every man who owns or tills an acres of land; every man who is employed in mines, or manufactories or workshops would suffer direct and inevitable damage. To avert these and similar evils, to maintain the government intact, to uphold the supremacy of the law; to protect the national flag from insult and outrage, to secure to all classes the possession of their rights and liberties, and especially to secure to the toiling masses a continuance of the blessings they now enjoy, is the urgent duty of the Union League of America, To the performance of that duty, all its members are solemnly pledged and the State Council, through its officers, now calls upon you to see that, so far as you are concerned, the pledge is amply fulfilled. The Pennsylvania election in October will probably settle the Presidential election. If the good cause triumphs then, its triumph in November will be assured beyond peradventure.we appeal to you to see that all available means are employed to enlighten the voters in your vicinity as to the real nature of the issues to be determined; and to see further, that every loyal voter is present at the polls. In this way while our victorious fleets and armies are everywhere crushing that military power of the rebellion, we shall aid their glorious achievements by crushing the miserable demagogues and traitors who, for the sake of party rule and party plunder, would betray their country.” A year before he was elected Mayor of Philadelphia, McMichael, nationally prominent as The North American periodical, was also President of the Union League, a private organization of semi-secretive patriotic men’s clubs first established in Philadelphia early in the Civil War, then spreading throughout the northern states, to support the Union military effort and the Administration of President Lincoln. While nominally anti-slavery, and increasingly so as the War neared its end, McMichael had been at first lukewarm about Emancipation of the slaves, and this letter – which mentions neither slavery nor Lincoln - reflects his emphasis on a social and economic reasons for Union victory. This imprint appears to be quite rare, possibly the only known copy. It is not listed – at least not under McMichael’s name – in WorldCat and it was apparently unknown to historian Robert Bloom, who did not cite it in his 1953 biographic essay, Morton McMichael’s North American.