I have been forced by surrounding facts to take sides, or rather front, with my section. I regard a prudent peace, even accompanied with the contemplated secession of the State, and her union with the Confederate States, as preferable to a civil war on a gigantic scale; but I have not a particle of confidence in the wisdom or the patriotism of the new rulers to whom we submit. I leave the Union and the flag of Washington because I am subjected and forced to submit to my master-democracy, detesting it with more and more intensity, as I become better acquainted with its leaders and its objects. I still believe that no respectable and stable government can ever be established in America, except on the plan of a Union, such as that we are wickedly and foolishly overthrowing. Even on the plan of a peaceful separation, North America will soon become Mexicanized. New York will next secede, the doctrine being once recognized. The great and populous North west, cut off from the Ocean, excepting by the assent of foreign states will open a road to the great highway of Nations with the sword—but if the free States act on the plan they now avow of preserving the Union by force of arms, no odds at what cost of life or treasure, the civil strife will soon beget the most diabolical purposes.
The masses, already deluded, with the notion that Slavery is the cause, when in fact, it is now only the pretext with the leaders of both sections, will proclaim freedom to the slaves and arm them against us.
I think the South is committing suicide, but my lot is cast with the South and being unable to manage the ship, I intend to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions.
These are my calm conclusions.
I have been deeply pained at the responsibilities of my position. I have become resigned from conscious impotence to do anything to impede the evils upon us, and have concluded to drift with the current, keeping a sharp lookout for some opportunity, by the aid of Divine Providence, to divert the ship of State from the gulf of ruin towards which we are bound.
What are your plans? Will you stay in Wilmington, or return to the back country and make corn till the war is over?
Soon after the Fourth of July war will begin in earnest, if not sooner; or peace will be made. The former, in my opinion, is most probable. I do not think the North is making her military preparations as a mere bravado.
In the event of war can you continue your business with any prospect of success? If an invasion of this State be made, is not Wilmington likely to be one of the first places attacked?
Have you attached yourself to any of the military organizations so as to forbid your removing from Wilmington? In times of war some must remain at home to provide food for the soldiers and protect and feed the women and children. I hope you will not allow the ardor around you or the apprehension of not being deemed brave, to make you forget that you can contribute to the defense of your country, as effectually as you could by going into the army—and at the same time take care of your wife and children.
SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 144-5