In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The Last Senate Expulsion: 1862 (With Some Close Calls Since)


Shortly after the inglorious rout of Union troops at the first Battle of Bull Run, Thomas Lincoln, a Texas arms merchant, was captured by federal forces as he attempted to cross into Confederate territory. Lincoln's captors found among his possessions the following letter, dated March 1, 1861, from Jesse Bright to "His Excellency Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederation of States":

My dear Sir:

Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance my friend, Thomas B. Lincoln of Texas. He visits your capital mainly to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms. I recommend him to your favorable consideration as a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every respect.

Bright admitted that he wrote the letter, but was simply honoring gentlemanly custom by introducing his former law client Thomas B. Lincoln to his former Senate colleague Jefferson Davis, and addressing Davis by the title that he claimed for himself at the time.

Bright was expelled by a vote of 32-14.