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Accession Number 36084
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Henry A. Wise. Papers, 1829-1847. Accession 36084. Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond 23219.
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Henry Alexander Wise was born 3 December 1806 in Accomack County, Virginia, to Major John Wise (d. 1812) and Sallie Cropper Wise (d. 1813). Wise attended Washington College in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1825. He then studied law under Henry St. George Tucker in Winchester, Virginia. Admitted to the Virginia bar in 1828, Wise followed his future wife and family to Nashville, Tennessee. He practiced law in Nashville for two years before returning to Accomack in 1830. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1833, Wise served until 1844. He was nominated as United States Minister to Brazil on 18 January 1844. He was officially appointed by President John Tyler, 16 February 1844, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Brazil. Wise was recalled and succeeded by David Tod in August 1847. He represented the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851, and represented Princess Anne County in the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861. Wise was elected governor of Virginia in 1855 and served from 1856 to 1860, during which time he met with John Brown (1800-1859) after the latter's failed raid in Harper's Ferry, (West) Virginia. During the Civil War, Wise raised troops and was appointed a brigadier general. After the war, he practiced law in Richmond, Virginia. Wise married three times: first, to Ann Elizabeth Jennings (1808-1837) of Nashville, Tennessee, 8 October 1828; second, to Sarah Sergeant (d. 1850) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 1840; and third, to Mary Elizabeth Lyons (1817-1901) of Richmond, Virginia, 1 November 1853. He fathered fourteen children, only seven of whom reached maturity. Wise died 12 September 1876, and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
Papers, 1829-1847, of Henry A. Wise, consisting of drafts of Wise's letters to Brazilian officials, letters and documents received by Wise, and informational notes and papers relevant to United States and Brazil relations. Correspondents include James Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, John Tyler, and Abel P. Upshur. During Wise's tenure issues relating to slavery, the annexation of Texas, claims of American citizens, tariffs, and the Mexican-American War strained the friendly relationship between the countries. Wise's overzealous and indignant responses to the Brazilian government jeopardized the relationship with Brazil and culminated in Wise's recall in 1847.
This collection is arranged into the following series:Series I: Correspondence, Outgoing, 1844-1847 Series II: Correspondence, Incoming, 1844-1847 Series III: Papers relevant to U.S.-Brazilian relations, 1829-1845
This series includes copies of Wise's letters, 1844-1847, to Ernesto Ferreira Franca (1844), Antonio Paulino Limpo de Abreu (1845), and Barao de Cayru (1846), Ministers and Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, and Duarte da Ponte Ribeiro, Office of State. Topics include postage charges, taxes and tariffs, claims of American citizens, Texas annexation, military disputes, and the Mexican-American War. Included is a letter, 5 August 1844, introducing Wise to the Minister and Secretary of State of Brazil and a letter, 24 September 1844, presenting a thorough outline of United States policy towards Brazil, reflecting many of John Calhoun's ideas. Of note are several letters, January-February 1845 regarding the brig "Porpoise" and the capture of United States sailors by the Brazilian government. Also of note are letters, October-November 1846, regarding an altercation with soldiers of the brig "Columbia," and letter, 18 July 1846, announcing the United States declaration of war against Mexico. Finally included are letters, 1847 February-August, regarding the tenuous relationship and Wise's recall from Brazil.
Box 1Folder 1Correspondence, 1844.Henry A. Wise to Ernesto Ferreira Franca, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [5 August 1844; 6 September 1844 (2); 19 September 1844; 23 September 1844; 24 September 1844; 30 October 1844; 4 November 1844; 8 November 1844; 30 November 1844].
Box 1Folder 2Correspondence, 1845 January - February.Henry A. Wise to Ernesto Ferreira Franca, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [25 January 1845; 28 January 1845; 28 January 1845; 29 January 1845; 29 January 1845; 30 January 1845; 1 February 1845 (2); 2 February 1845 (3); 3 February 1845 (2); 4 February 1845; 5 February 1845 (2); 6 February 1845 (2); 7 February 1845; 8 February 1845; 27 February 1845].
Box 1Folder 3Correspondence, 1845 June - November.Henry A. Wise to Antonio Paulino Limpo de Abreu, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [15 June 1845; 28 June 1845; 2 July 1845; 6 July 1845; 8 July 1845; 26 July 1845; 2 August 1845; 4 August 1845; 5 August 1845; 6 August 1845; 8 August 1825 (2); 9 August 1845; 28 August 1845; 3 September 1845; 4 September 1845; 10 September 1845; 20 September 1845 (2); 29 September 1845; 2 October 1845; 4 October 1845; 28 October 1845; 11 November 1845; 17 November 1845].
Box 1Folder 4Correspondence, 1846 January - June.Henry A. Wise to Antonio Paulino Limpo de Abreu, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [5 January 1846; 13 January 1846].Henry A. Wise to Duarte da Ponte Ribeiro, Office of State [13 January 1846].Henry A. Wise to Antonio Paulino Limpo de Abreu, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [15 January 1846; 17 January 1846; 27 January 1846; 19 February 1846; 20 February 1846; 22 February 1846; 4 March 1846; 14 March 1846; 21 March 1846 (2); 18 April 1846].Henry A. Wise to Duarte da Ponte Ribeiro, Office of State [23 April 1846].Henry A. Wise to Barao de Cayru, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [4 May 1846; 7 May 1846].Henry A. Wise to Hollanda Cavalcanti, Minister and Secretary of State for Marine Affairs of Brazil [7 May 1846].Henry A. Wise to Barao de Cayru, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [13 June 1846].
Box 1Folder 5Correspondence, 1846 July - November.Henry A. Wise to Barao de Cayru, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [1 July 1846; 9 July 1846; 13 July 1846; 14 July 1846 (2); 18 July 1846; 6 August 1846; 17 August 1846; 20 August 1846; 26 August 1846; 26 September 1846; 30 September 1846; 18 October 1846; 19 October 1846; 2 November 1846 (2); 4 November 1846 (2); 10 November 1846].
Box 1Folder 6Correspondence, 1847 February - August.Henry A. Wise to Barao de Cayru, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [1847; 1 February 1847; 15 February 1847 (2)].Henry A. Wise to Hollanda Cavalcanti, Minister and Secretary of State for Marine Affairs of Brazil [15 February 1847].Henry A. Wise to Barao de Cayru, Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil [25 February 1847; 26 February 1847; 21 April 1847; 15 May 1847; 12 June 1847; 12 August 1847].
This series includes letters, 1844-1847, received by Wise from various state officials including James Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, President John Tyler, and Abel P. Upshur. Included are circulars, 16 February 1844, announcing the appointment of Wise; 1 April 1844, announcing the appointment of John C. Calhoun as Secretary of State; and 10 March 1845 announcing the appointment of James Buchanan as Secretary of State. Included is a lengthy letter, 18 July 1844, from John C. Calhoun regarding the claim of Joseph Ray against the Brazilian government. Of note is a letter, 12 August 1844, from John C. Calhoun analyzing the annexation of Texas, African slave trade, and the relationships with France and England. The letter to Wise emphasizes the importance of Brazil and impresses on Wise the need to appease Brazil that the annexation of Texas was not to be interpreted as a threat to Mexico. Also included is a letter, 10 April 1847, from President James K. Polk to Dom Pedro II regarding the recall of Wise and a letter, 12 June 1847, from James Buchanan to Wise also in regards to his return to the United States.
Box 1Folder 7Correspondence, 1844 February - September.Abel P. Upshur to Henry A. Wise [16 February 1844].John C. Calhoun to Henry A. Wise [1 April 1844].John Tyler to Henry A. Wise [25 May 1844- Located in PP Oversize Box 13].John T. Reid to Henry A. Wise [27 May 1844].John C. Calhoun to Henry A. Wise [18 July 1844; 12 August 1844; 16 August 1844].J. Gardner to Henry A. Wise [18 September 1844].
Box 1Folder 8Correspondence, 1845 March - August.James Buchanan to Henry A. Wise [10 March 1845; 22 April 1845; 11 June 1845; 14 June 1845].J.Y. Mason to Henry A. Wise [4 August 1845].
Box 1Folder 9Correspondence, 1846 March - 1847 June.James Buchanan to Henry A. Wise [9 March 1846; 14 May 1846; 13 July 1846; 25 November 1846; 12 June 1847].James K. Polk to Dom Pedro II [10 June 1847].Expense account of Henry A. Wise [12 September 1846].
This series includes letters, 1829-1845, lists of citizens claims against Brazil, and notes concerning the historical relationship between the United States and Brazil. Most of the letters pre-date Wise's appointment as Envoy Extraordinary but were perhaps given to Wise for informational purposes. Correspondents include Mariano Roque Alonzo, Marquis de Aracaty, James Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, Pedro Jose Cardoro, Amory Edwards, William Hunter, Carlos Antonio Lopez, Joseph Ray, William Tudor, and John Tyler. Included are several letters between William Hunter, United States representative to Brazil, and Joseph Ray, detailing a claim by Ray for property confiscated by the government of Brazil. Of note are letters, 1843-1845, requesting acknowledgment by the United States for the country of Paraguay and a letter, 10 September 1844, from James Buchanan to Edward Hopkins appointing Hopkins Special Agent to Paraguay and detailing the desired relationship between the two countries. Also of note is a letter, 10 September 1844, from John Calhoun to Wilson Shannon, Minister to Mexico, regarding the annexation of Texas and the possibility war between the countries.
Also included is a list and history of specific claims of United States citizens against the government of Brazil, 1826-1842, mostly relating to the confiscation of cargo and personal property. A brief history of the relations of the United States and Brazil is also included, containing extractions of letters from William Hunter. Included is a note concerning the detention of two men by Brazilian Customhouse Officers and a history of the colonial expansion policy of France towards South America.
Box 1Folder 10Correspondence, 1829-1945.Marquis de Aracaty to William Tudor [29 October 1829].Daniel Brent to Ethan A. Brown [18 November 1830].Joseph Ray - William Hunter [18 May 1837 - 20 July 1840].Amory Edwards to Abel P. Upshur [10 November 1843].Joseph Ray to George H. Proffit [8 January 1844].Pedro Jose Cardoro to Joseph Ray [7 May 1844].John C. Calhoun to Barring Brothers & Co. [20 June 1844].John Tyler to Emperor Dom Pedro II [15 August 1844].John C. Calhoun to Wilson Shannon [10 September 1844].Amory Edwards to John C. Calhoun [1 April 1845].Certification by Charles Smith, Consul of the United States for the Province of Paia [9 April 1845].James Buchanan to Edward A. Hopkins [10 June 1845].Daniel Turner to Abel P. Upshur [22 November 1845].
Box 1Folder 11Claims of Citizens of the United States upon the Brazilian Government, 1826-1842.
Box 1Folder 12Synopsis of the Relations of the United States with Brazil, 1828-1842.
Box 1Folder 13Note concerning Detention of Two Men by Brazilian Customhouse Officers, undated.
Box 1Folder 14Note concerning the Colonial Expansion Policy of France, undated.