THE VOLUMINOUS King Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, constitute the principal source for the investigator who wishes to unearth details of the life of Thomas Butler King. Political, personal, and business letters to King, together with drafts of his speeches and reports, give a measure of his varied interests and activities. If he kept copies of his outgoing correspondence, the letter books have not been preserved; the collection contains only occasional drafts of letters written by King, except to members of his family. In those of his letters which are available, it is noticeable that he seldom dwelt on the past; rather, he gave detailed accounts of what was happening, what he was doing, or what he intended to do in the near future. He was not a reflective man, nor was he much given to humor. His speeches as well as his letters indicate that he was content to take his political philosophy from others and to adopt the prevailing economic views of a burgeoning entrepreneurial society. The family letters reveal him to have been a Victorian paterfamilias, dominating, but occasionally indulgent.
Other collections of papers in the Southern Historical Collection that supplement the King Papers include the William Page Papers, which are concerned with Retreat before King took over the management, the John McPherson Berrien Papers, the Thomas Jefferson Green Papers, and the Iverson Louis Harris Papers.
For local material, it was the writer’s good fortune to have access to the many records and maps and to the extensive knowledge of the late Mrs. Margaret Davis Cate of Sea Island, Georgia. Among her records was the photostatic copy of a domestic account book of Anna Page King. Mrs. Cate also paved the way for two interviews with Buford King (Mrs. Frank D.) Aiken of Saint Simons Island, the last surviving member of the King family who had lived at Retreat. She was able to locate paths, gardens, trees, outbuildings, and other features of the plantation house and grounds, and to relate traditional family lore.
The excellent state of preservation and the maintenance of the Glynn County records in the courthouse at Brunswick, Georgia, make it possible to follow the often complex legal transactions to which King was a party. The records of Wayne County in the courthouse at Jesup, Georgia, also supply legal data. The manuscript history of Glynn County by William Wigg Hazzard in the Library of the University of Georgia gives a contemporary view of the area by one of King’s personal friends.
For King’s political career in Georgia and nationally, aside from his own papers, U. B. Phillips’ printed collection of the letters of Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, and Alexander H. Stephens is invaluable. In addition, the John McPherson Berrien Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, besides those already mentioned in the Southern Historical Collection, furnish minor sidelights. More valuable Library of Congress holdings are the John Middleton Clayton Papers, the Thomas Corwin Papers, and the John Jordan Crittenden Papers, all of which throw light on the leadership of the Whig party and furnish direct references to King. The manuscript calendar of the papers of President Millard Fillmore gives a key to letters concerning California while King was Collector of San Francisco, and when the transcripts of these letters (kindly supplied by the Secretary of the Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, New York) are read in conjunction with letters from the Corwin Papers, they illuminate the party difficulties in early California politics.
Other manuscript records in Washington include the Confederate States of America, Miscellany, and the Confederate States of America, State Department Papers, Division of Manuscripts, Library of Congress. The National Archives contain (in Judicial Records, Admiralty, 1862) some personal papers of King which were captured when he attempted to run the blockade. This file is not complete, and some letters from it were apparently released to the Washington National Intelligencer to be printed to stimulate the Union war effort. At the National Archives also is preserved (in Judicial Records, Files of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Case of U.S. v. King) the prosecution’s record of a case that was never adjudicated. The Treasury Department Records contain the reports and letters of King and other Treasury Department officials on the West Coast, together with the corresponding orders and instructions in the letter books of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Assistant Marshals’ Returns, Seventh and Eighth Censuses, Slave Inhabitants, Georgia, Volume III (Glynn County), give precise figures on the number of slaves at Retreat in 1850 and 1860. More information on Retreat can be derived from the Assistant Marshals’ Returns, Seventh and Eighth Censuses, Agriculture, Georgia, in the Duke University Library, Durham, North Carolina.
All of the foregoing manuscript sources serve to flesh out the official record in printed governmental documents, such as the constitutional and legislative journals, the records of debates, and the committee reports of the States of California, Georgia, and Texas, and of the United States Congress. Whenever possible, at least one of the principal newspapers of the area where King resided was gleaned for references to his public activities.
For additional specific and general information the writer used numerous magazine articles and books, most of which are cited in the Notes. The select list which follows contains the most frequently consulted monographic studies, biographies, unpublished works, and fugitive imprints.
SELECT LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED
Adams, Ephraim Douglass. Great Britain and the American Civil War, 2 vols. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1925.
Avery, Isaac Wheeler. The History of the State of Georgia From 1850 to 1881, Embracing the Three Important Epochs: The Decade Before the War of 1861-5; The War; The Period of Reconstruction, with Portraits of the Leading Public Men of this Era. New York: Brown and Derby, 1881.
Carpenter, Jesse Thomas. The South as a Conscious Minority, 17891861: A Study in Political Thought. New York: New York University Press, 1930.
Cate, Margaret Davis. Our Todays and Yesterdays: A Story of Brunswick and the Coastal Islands. Revised edition. Brunswick: Glover Bros., 1930.
Charter of the Texas Western Railroad Company, and Extracts from the Reports of Col. A. B. Gray and Secretary of War, on the Survey of Route, From Eastern Borders of Texas to California. Nature of Country and Climate, Mineral and Agricultural Resources, etc., etc. Cincinnati: Porter, Thrall and Chapman, 1855.
Chitwood, Oliver Perry. John Tyler, Champion of the Old South. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1939.
Circular to the Stockholders of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company. New York: G. F. Nesbit and Co., 1855.
Circular to the Stockholders of the Texas Western Railroad Company. Issued by Authority of the Executive Committee, New York, June, 1856. New York: W. H. Arthur and Co., 1856.
Cole, Arthur Charles. The Whig Party in the South. Washington: American Historical Association, 1913.
Ellison, Joseph. “The Struggle for Civil Government in California, 1846-1850.” California Historical Society Quarterly, X (1931), 3-26, 129-64, 220-44.
Fortune, Porter Lee, Jr. “George M. Troup: Leading State Rights Advocate.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of North Carolina, 1949.
Goodwin, Cardinal Leonidas. The Establishment of State Government in California. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1914.
Gray, Andrew B. Texas Western Railroad. Survey of Route, Its Cost and Probable Revenue, in Connection with the Pacific Railway; Nature of Country, Climate, Mineral and Agricultural Resources, etc. Cincinnati: Porter, Thrall and Chapman, 1855.
Gray, Lewis Cecil. History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860, 2 vols. Washington: The Carnegie Institution, 1933.
Green, Fletcher Melvin. Constitutional Development in the South Atlantic States, 1776-1860. A Study in the Evolution of Democracy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1930.
Greene, Helen lone. “Politics in Georgia, 1830-1854.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1946.
Hamilton, Holman. Zachary Taylor, Soldier in the White House. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1951.
_________. Zachary Taylor, Soldier of the Republic. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1941.
Hammond, Matthew Brown. The Cotton Industry: An Essay in American Economic History: Part I, The Cotton Culture and the Cotton Trade. Ithaca: [n.p.], 1897.
Haney, Lewis Henry. A Congressional History of Railways in the United States to 1850. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1908.
_________. A Congressional History of Railways in the United States, 1850-1887. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1910.
Heath, Milton Sidney. Constructive Liberalism: The Role of the State in Economic Development in Georgia to 1860. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954.
Kemble, John Haskell. The Panama Route, 1848-1869. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943.
King, Thomas Butler. Address to the People of the First Congressional District, May, 1859. Savannah: [n.p.], 1859.
_________. Address to the People of the First Congressional District of Georgia. [July 23, 1863] [No facts of publication].
_________. California: The Wonder of the Age. A Book for Everyone Going to or Having an Interest in that Golden Region; Being the Report of Thomas Butler King, United States Government Agent in and for California. New York: W. Gowans, 1850.
_________. Correspondence on the Subject of Appraisements, &e, Between T. Butler King, Collector, and J. Vincent Browne, Appraiser, Custom House, San Francisco, California. With the Opinion Thereon of one of the General Appraisers, and the Secretary of the Treasury. Washington: [n.p.], 1852.
_________. A Letter to the Right Hon. Lord John Russell. London: [n.p.], 1861.
_________. Lettre à son Excellence, M. le Ministre du Commerce. Paris: Dubuisson et Cie., 1861.
_________. Speech of the Hon. T. Butler King, Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives, at Milledgeville, Ga., November 10, 1863. Milledgeville: Boughton, Nisbet, Barnes and Moore, 1863.
_________. Speech on the Memorial of the Society of Friends. [No facts of publication.]
_________. _Speech on the Resolution of Mr. Clay. Washington: [n.p.], 1834.
Kirwan, Albert Dennis. John J. Crittenden: The Struggle for the Union. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962.
McGrane, Reginald Charles. The Panic of 1837: Some Financial Problems of the Jacksonian Era. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1924.
Meyer, Balthasar Henry, ed. History of Transportation in the United States before 1860. Washington: The Carnegie Institution, 1917.
Montgomery, Horace. Cracker Parties. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1950.
Muir, Andrew F. “The Thirty-Second Parallel Pacific Railroad in Texas to 1872.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas, 1949.
Murray, Paul. The Whig Party in Georgia, 1825-1853. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1948.
Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union, 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947.
New Policy of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. [April 12, 1859.] [No facts of publication.]
Nichols, Roy Franklin. The Disruption of American Democracy. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1948.
Owsley, Frank Lawrence. King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America. 2nd edition, revised by Harriet Chappell Owsley. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959.
Papers Relative to the Mission of the Hon. T. Butler King, to Europe. Milledgeville: Confederate Union Power Press, 1863.
Peebles, Cornelius Glen. Exposé of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company. (Extraordinary Developments). New York: [n.p.], 1854.
Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell, ed. The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb. (Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1911, Volume II.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913.
Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell. Georgia and State Rights: A Study of the Political History of Georgia from the Revolution to the Civil War, with Particular Regard to Federal Relations. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.
_________. A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860. New York: Columbia University Press, 1908.
_________. Life and Labor in the Old South. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1929.
_________. The Life of Robert Toombs. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1913.
Poage, George Rawlings. Henry Clay and the Whig Party. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1936.
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed. The Diary of James K. Polk During His Presidency, 1845-1849, 4 vols. Chicago: A. C. McClurg 8c Co., 1910.
Russel, Robert Royal. Economic Aspects of Southern Sectionalism, 1840-1861. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1924.
_________. Improvement of Communication with the Pacific Coast as an Issue in American Politics, 1783-1864. Cedar Rapids: Torch Press, 1948.
Shenton, James P. Robert John Walker: A Politician from Jackson to Lincoln. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.
Shryock, Richard Harrison. Georgia and the Union in 1850. Durham: Duke University Press, 1926.
Taylor, George Rogers. The Transportation Revolution, 1815-1860. New York: Rinehart and Co., 1951.
Van Deusen, Glyndon Garlock. The Life of Henry Clay. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1937.
_________. Thurlow Weed, Wizard of the Lobby. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1947.
Wheeler, Henry G. History of Congress, Biographical and Political: Comprising Memoirs of Members of the Congress of the United States, Drawn from Authentic Sources; Embracing the Prominent Events of Their Lives, and Their Connection with the Political History of the Times, 2 vols. New York: Harper and Bros., 1848.
White, Leonard D. The Jacksonians: A Study in Administrative History, 1829-1861. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1954.
Wiltse, Charles Maurice. John C. Calhoun, 3 vols. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., c. 1944-1951.