[CIVIL WAR]. DAVIS, Jefferson. Autograph letter signed ("Jefferson Davis") to Mrs. S.A. Ayres, Memphis, [TN], 19 August 1874. 5½ pages, 8vo, envelope addressed in Davis's hand, Memphis postmark, fine.
JEFFERSON DAVIS TOURS SCOTLAND AND FRANCE. In the years after the Civil War, following his release from prison at Fort Monroe, Jefferson Davis made two excursions to Europe; his extended trips included visits to England, France, Switzerland and Scotland. In 1874, two months after his return from the second voyage, Davis writes to Mrs. Ayres; "...one must have been in Scotland to know the full import of 'a Highland welcome.' Among the many pleasant memories left to me, is my ramble in the land of Burns ... The cottage in which Burns was born is neatly kept for show, and Kirk Alloway, now quite a ruin, unfit even for the witches dance, still stands to remind of Tam O'Shanters ride. The Landlady of the tavern where Tam and Soutes Johnny had their drinking bout courteously invited me to sit in the chair Tam occupied on that night made famous by Burns. The 'auld Brig' across the bonny...yet stands though severely marked by time..." Davis alludes to Robert Burns's Tam O'Shanter, in which a drunken farmer flees after insulting a band of witches dancing at the Kirk of Alloway.
Davis describes the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War: "Paris inside of the fortifications had suffered little damage by the war, and the people seemed comfortable & happy. They are nominally republican and though you might deny their rights to be so called, it probably means so much as that monarchy if reestablished will be of short duration." Davis also notes the age and simple splendor of the buildings, which remind him of the relative youth of America.