Lot #206
Lot #208

Lot 207: "1861"Light Cannon, “John Potter” Marked Carriage, and Limber

Historic “1861” Marked Light Cannon with “John F. Potter” Carriage and “Let It Demonstrate” Limber

Auction Date: December 9, 2022

Lot 207: "1861"Light Cannon, “John Potter” Marked Carriage, and Limber

Historic “1861” Marked Light Cannon with “John F. Potter” Carriage and “Let It Demonstrate” Limber

Auction Date: December 9, 2022

Estimated Price: $20,000 - $30,000

Historic “1861” Marked Light Cannon with “John F. Potter” Carriage and “Let It Demonstrate” Limber

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge: 3 inch
Barrel:
Finish:
Grip:
Stock:
Item Views: 1045
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 176
Class: Other
Description:

This cannon has an approximately 2 1/2 inch bore and measures 42 inches in length. The carriage has 36 inch wheels. The tub has "1861" on each side, and the carriage has "JOHN F. POTTER" along the sides. The limber chest has "LET IT/DEMONSTRATE" on the back panel along with patriotic shields and scroll decoration. The cannon's history is not clear, but it seems to be a ode to Republican John Fox Potter (1817-1899), aka "Bowie Knife" Potter, a lawyer and politician in Wisconsin. He was a Whig and Free Soiler and thus naturally joined the Republican Party. In 1861, he was representing Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1860, he was challenged to a duel by Virginia Congressman Roger Pryor after the two quarreled in Congress in relation to a fiery anti-slavery speech by Illinois Congressman Owen Lovejoy, Pryror's demands over where Lovejoy was permitted to speak, and remarks of Potter's recorded in the Congressional Globe. There had been frequent disputes during Lovejoy's speech and threats of challenges to duels and of hanging Lovejoy among them. When arguing over Potter's remarks in support of Lovejoy, Pryror stated, "I understand him then to give me the liberty of construing his remark as I please. I will put what construction upon it I please and whether of not he stands by it the sequel will demonstrate." As his fellow Republicans laughed at Pryror, Potter famously responded, "Let it demonstrate." A challenge followed, and Potter chose Bowie knives as the weapons. The duel was prevented, some newspapers claimed Pryor chickened out, but Potter's comments and choice of weapons earned him popularity among the Republicans as it demonstrated his willingness to engage in a bloody fight over the issue of slavery. The incident and violent rhetoric that surrounded it was a demonstration of the increasing divides in the nation that erupted into Civil War in 1861.

Rating Definition:

Fine, untouched overall with moderate, distinct painted markings and designs, attractive overall appearance.



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