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BOTTS, John Minor, statesman, born in Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, 16 September 1802; died in Culpepper, Virginia, 7 January 1869. Soon after his birth his parents removed to Fredericksburg, and thence to Richmond, where they perished in the great theatre fire in 1811. Young Botts received a good education, began early to read law, and was admitted to the bar at the age of eighteen. After he had practiced for six years he retired to a farm in Henrico County, and established himself as a gentleman farmer. In 1833 he was elected as a Whig to represent his county in the legislature, where he at once became prominent, and several times reelected. In 1839 he was elected to congress, and there stood earnestly and ably by Henry Clay, zealously advocating most of the points of the great leader's program, including a national bank, a protective tariff, and the distribution among the states of the proceeds of the public lands. He was one of the few southern members that supported John Quincy Adams in his contest against the regulations of the house infringing the right of petition, adopted by the majority in order to exclude appeals from the abolitionists. After serving two terms, from 2 December 1839, till 3 March 1843, he was defeated by Mr. Seddon, but in 1847 re-elected, and sat from 6 December 1847, till 3 March 1849. In 1839 he was a delegate to the national Whig convention, which nominated Harrisen and Tyler. He had been a warm personal friend of John Tyler, elected vice-president in November 1840, and who, by the death of General Harrison, in April 1841, became president of the United States; but, soon after Mr. Tyler's accession to office, Mr. Botts, in a conversation with him, learned his intention of seceding from the party that had elected him, and he at once denounced him, and opposed him as long as he was president. In the presidential campaign of 1844 he labored earnestly for the election of Mr. Clay. In 1852 Mr. Botts resumed the practice of his profession in Richmond. He earnestly opposed the repeal of the Missouri compromise in 1854, and was in sympathy with those southern representatives who resisted the passage, in 1858, of the bill admitting Kansas as a state under the Lecompton constitution. On the disruption of the Whig party, he joined the American party, and in 1859 an attempt was made by that political organization to nominate him for the presidency, tie continued his practice, and remained in Richmond till the beginning of the civil war; but, being devoted to the union, and having used all his efforts, without avail, to prevent Virginia from seceding, he retired to his farm near Culpepper Court-House, where he remained most of the time during the war, respected by the secessionists yet subjected to a great deal of trial and incompetence. One night, in March 1862, a squad of a hundred men, under the orders of General Winder, came to his house, took him from his bed, and carried him to prison, where he was held in solitary confinement for eight weeks. His arrest was caused by the well-founded suspicion that he was writing a secret history of the war. Search was made for the manuscript, but nothing was found. After the close of the war, this missing manuscript, of which a portion had been, in 1862, confided to the Count de Mercier, French minister at Washington, formed the basis of a volume prepared by Mr. Botts, "The Great Rebellion, its Secret History, Rise, Progress, and Disastrous Failure!" (New York, 1866). After his release from prison Mr. Botts returned to his home at Culpepper, where he was continually persecuted by the enemy. His farm was repeatedly overrun by both armies, and dug over at various times for military operations. When the war had closed, Mr. Botts again took a deep interest in political matters. He labored earnestly for the early restoration of his state to the union, but without success. He was a delegate to the national convention of southern loyalists in Philadelphia in 1866, and in 1867 signed his name on the bail-bond of Jefferson Davis.*His brother, Charles T., born in Virginia in 1809; died in California in 1884, was a Californian pioneer and politician. He went to the territory as naval store-keeper at Monterey in 1848, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1849, taking part prominently in the discussions upon the right of the people of the territory to form a state without the previous sanction of congress, and in the discussion concerning the proposed boundary of the new state. Later he was a lawyer in San Francisco, then a journalist, and for some time a district judge in Sacramento, and afterward a lawyer in San Francisco until his death.
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