Showing posts with label Abolitionism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abolitionism. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Jonathan Worth to John B. Troy, May 21, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 21, 1861

Abolitionism and Democracy, aided and instigated by the Devil, have forced everybody under the one or the other of their banners. Democracy is only simulating harmony with Union men. It was never more malignant towards its old opponents. The reluctance with which I have submitted to subjugation makes me particularly obnoxious to low, mean democrats about home.

[Rest of letter illegible.]

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 150

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 24, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 24, i860.

. . . Things along here about as I expected. We have had many visitors – ladies with children, who part with them with tears and blessings, and I remark the fact that the dullest boys have the most affectionate mothers, and the most vicious boys come recommended with all the virtues of saints. Of course I promise to be a father to them all.

We now have fifty-one and the reputation of the order, system, and discipline is already spreading and I receive daily letters asking innumerable questions. The legislature also has met and the outgoing Governor Wickcliffe has recommended us to the special attention of the legislature, and a bill is already introduced to give us $25,000 a year for two years, which is as long as the legislature can appropriate. I think from appearances this bill will pass, in which case we can erect two professors' houses this summer.

This sum of money will enable us to make a splendid place of this. In addition it is also proposed to make this an arsenal of deposit, which will increase its importance and enable me to avoid all teaching which I want to do, confining myself exclusively to the supervision and management. Thus far not a soul has breathed a syllable about abolitionism to me. One or two have asked me if I were related to the gentleman of same name whose name figures so conspicuously in Congress. I of course say he is my brother, which generally amazes them because they regard him as awful bad. . .

Professor Smith and Boyd are very clever gentlemen and so are Vallas and St. Ange but these are foreigners with their peculiarities. We have also a Dr. Sevier here, of Tennessee, a rough sort of fellow but a pretty fair sort of man. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 127-8

Saturday, November 17, 2018

William T. Sherman to Thomas Ewing Jr., December 23, 1859

Seminary near Alexandria, December 23, 1859.

Dear Tom: I received last night a Leavenworth paper addressed in your handwriting and I wish you would repeat them. I get the New Orleans papers regularly, but they never say Kansas; indeed I know not if they are admitted south, Kansas being synonimous with abolitionism.

You can readily imagine the delicate position I now hold at the head of a seminary to open January 1 next, for the instruction and training of young men to science and arms, at the same time that John Sherman's name is bandied about as the representative of all that is held here murderous and detestable. Thus far all have had the delicacy to refrain in my presence with but one casual exception, but I would not be surprised if at any time I should be officially catechised on the subject. This I would not stand of course.

I would not if I could abolish or modify slavery. I don't know that I would materially change the actual political relation of master and slave. Negroes in the great numbers that exist here must of necessity be slaves. Theoretical notions of humanity and religion cannot shake the commercial fact that their labor is of great value and cannot be dispensed with. Still of course I wish it never had existed, for it does make mischief. No power on earth can restrain opinions elsewhere, and these opinions expressed beget a vindictive feeling. The mere dread of revolt, sedition or external interference makes men ordinarily calm almost mad. I, of course, do not debate the question and, moderate as my views are, I feel that I am suspected, and if I do not actually join in the praises of slavery I may be denounced as an abolitionist.

I think it would be wise if northern people would confine their attention to the wants and necessities of their own towns and property, leaving the South to manage slavery and receive its reward or doom, let what may come.

I am fully conscious that respectable men here not only talk but think of the combinations to be made in case of a rupture. It may be that they design these military colleges as a part of some ulterior design, but in my case I do not think such to be the case. Indeed it was with great difficulty the Board of Supervisors were prevailed on by an old West Pointer to give the Seminary the military feature, and then it was only assented to because it was represented that southern gentlemen would submit rather to the showy discipline of arms than to the less ostentatious government of a faculty. Yet, I say that it may result that men are preparing for the wreck of the U.S. government and are thinking and preparing for new combinations.

I am willing to aid Louisiana in defending herself against her enemies so long as she remains a state in the general confederacy; but should she or any other state act disunion, I am out. Disunion and Civil War are synonimous terms. The Mississippi, source and mouth, must be controlled by one government, the southeast are cut off by the Alleghany Mountains, but Louisiana occupies the mouth of a river whose heads go far north, and does not admit of a “cut off.” Therefore a peaceable disunion which men here think possible is absurd. It would be war eternal until one or the other were conquered “subject.” In that event of course I would stand by Ohio. I always laughed when I heard disunion talked of, but I now begin to fear it may be attempted.

I have been to New Orleans, purchased all the furniture needed, and now await the coming of January 2 to begin school. We expect from sixty to seventy-five scholars at first. I will not teach, but supervise the discipline, instruction, supplies, etc.

How are your plans, political and financial, progressing? If Congress should organize I suppose we will have the same war over the admission of Kansas.

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 88-90

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 16, 1859

Seminary, Alexandria, La., Dec. 16,1859.

. . . I wrote you and Minnie from New Orleans as I told you I would. I did start back in the “Telegram” Monday evening, and Red River being up, we came along without delay, reaching here Wednesday morning. I had despatched by a former boat a good deal of freight, brought some in the same boat, and all the balance will be here in a day or so. I walked out from Pineville, which is the name of a small group of houses on this side of Red River, and sent the cart in for my trunk and for the drummer I had picked up in New Orleans. I wanted also a tailor and shoemaker, but failed to get them. On getting out I was much disappointed at receiving no letters, but was assured that all the mails had failed for a week; and last night being mail night I sent in my new drummer who brought out a good budget, among them your letters. . . So, as you seem to know, this is an out of the way place without telegraphs, railroads, and almost without mails.

It so happened that General Graham came out the very day of my return, not knowing that I was here, and he brought with him Mr. Smith, the professor of chemistry, who is one of the real Virginia F. F. V.'s, a very handsome young man of twenty-two, who will doubtless be good company. He is staying with General Graham, but will move here in a few days. General Graham seemed delighted with the progress I had made, and for the first time seemed well satisfied that we would in fact be ready by January 1.

I have not yet been to Alexandria, as I landed on this side the river and came out at once, but I shall go in on Monday and see all the supervisors, who are again to meet. I know the sentiments of some about abolitionism, and am prepared if they say a word about John. I am not an abolitionist, still I do not intend to let any of them reflect on John in my presence, as the newspapers are full of angry and bitter expressions against him. All I have met have been so courteous that I have no reason to fear such a thing, unless some one of those who came, applicants to the post I fill, with hundreds of letters, should endeavor to undermine me by assertions on the infernal question of slavery, which seems to blind men to all ideas of common sense
Your letters convey to me the first intimation I have received that the project of ——— had not long since been abandoned. . . You remember I waited as long as I decently could before answering Governor Wickliffe's letter of appointment, in hopes of receiving a word from ——— who promised Hugh to write from London.  Not hearing from him and having little faith in the scheme, I finally accepted this place as the best thing offering. Even yet I think this is my best chance unless the question of slavery and my northern birth and associations should prejudice me, and should ——— make his appearance here I should have to be very strongly assured on the subject of pay and permanency before I would even hint at leaving. Of course if I could do better, there is no impropriety in my quitting as there are many strong applicants for the post, many of whom possess qualifications equal if not superior to me. I still do not believe that ——— is to be relied on and I don't expect he has the most remote intention of coming here. . .

These southern politicians have so long cried out wolf that many believe the wolf has come and therefore they might in some moment of anger commit an act resulting in Civil War. As long as the Union is kept I will stand by it, but if we are going to split up into sections I would prefer our children should be raised in Ohio or some northern state to the alternative of a slave state, where we never can have slave property.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

I have already described this place to you — the building being of course not at all designed for families and I shall not, as long as I control, permit a woman or child to live in it. The nearest house is an open, cold house a quarter of a mile distant occupied at present by Professor Vallas, wife and five children. During my absence at New Orleans they had here bitter cold weather, the same that killed all the orange trees at New Orleans, and Mr. Vallas tells me he and his family nearly froze, for the house was designed for summer, of the “wentilating” kind.

There are other houses between this and Alexandria of the same general kind, but they are from one and one-half to two and one-half miles distant, too far off for any person connected with the Seminary to live. The plan is and has been to build, but the Seminary is utterly unable to build, nor can it hope to get the money save by a gift from the legislature. General Graham thinks they will appropriate $30,000. Governor Moore, though in favor of doing so, has his doubts and was candid enough to say so. Without that it will be impossible for me to bring you south even next winter. The legislature meets in the latter part of next January and we cannot even get our pay until they appropriate, but they must appropriate $8,1001 because it belongs lawfully to the Seminary. . .

1 Interest on the Seminary land fund. - Ed.

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 84-6

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1st Lieutenant Charles Wright Wills: June 9, 1862

Rienzi, Tishomingo Co., Miss., June 9, 1862.

Saturday morning the 5th inst. the colonel and myself started for a little pleasure ride as a relaxation from the many cares and troubles people in this profession are incident to. We started for Corinth, as neither of us had yet visited the place, and plodded along through dust in air and heat — words can't tell how oppressive. We stopped at General Rosecrans about 1 p. m. and stayed and dined with him. The general was in his most pleasant mood and I thought him very engaging and winning in his manner. He told a number of amusing stories and 'twas all very pleasant, until somebody happened to mention General Fremont's name. General Granger was also at the table and the two generals commenced and each tried to outdo the other in — yes, reviling the “bumble-bee catcher.”

They changed the subject over the wine and General Rosecrans became quite enthusiastic and prophetic in his conviction in regard to the war question, settlement thereof, etc. But I couldn't see any remarkable difference between him and the rest of mankind, and the same remark will apply to all that I know of the other generals here. I remember he said that he considered “slavery a vile blot on the face of the earth,” and that unadulterated abolitionism alone was its equal; but I don't claim that the speech showed any remarkable talent. We left him swearing at his A. Q. M. and journeyed on. We luckily met an old acquaintance of the colonel's, a captain in the 1st Regular Infantry, and went with him to his quarters for the night. All the regimental officers quartered together in a very fine house that belongs to a secesh colonel. They were a jolly set of men, and the empty bottles lying around loose when we retired testified strongly thereto. I remember seeing one of them at Point Pleasant, Mo., have a couple of little fights (he commanded a two-gun battery of siege pieces) with a Rebel battery on the opposite shore.

We left Corinth early next morning for Farmington, and as we passed I saw where Major Applington fell. It was as I supposed about one-half mile from Corinth (hardly that) and what I did not know, was within 400 yards of the strongest part of the Rebel fortifications. We lunched at 10 a. m and paid an old lady the modest sum of 50 cents for a piece of cornbread and a glass of buttermilk. She complained bitterly of some of Buell's soldiers killing three of her chickens without paying for them, and just the day before her husband had been to Corinth and received meat, flour, etc., free from the aid society. She had three sons in the Southern Army. At 12 m. we drew rein 25 miles from Corinth at Iuka.

There are a couple of splendid springs in Iuka. One chalybeate, and the other sulphur water, and the town is the neatest I have seen in the country. Snuff-dipping is an universal custom here, and there are only two women in all Iuka that do not practice it. At tea parties, after they have supped, the sticks and snuff are passed round and the dipping commences. Sometimes girls ask their beaux to take a dip with them during a spark. I asked one if it didn't interfere with the old-fashioned habit of kissing. She assured me that it did not in the least, and I marveled. There was only one regiment at Iuka, and they were expecting an attack from the hordes of guerrillas that infest the country all along our front from Memphis to Florence. I stayed at the hotel in town and had just retired (about 11) when crack, crack, two guns went, only about 60 rods from the house. There was a general shaking of the whole building, caused by the sleepers rising en masse and bouncing out on the floors. I thought if there was no fight I wouldn't be fooled, and if there was I couldn't do any good, so I kept cool. 'Twas only a little bushwhacking. A soldier policeman having been shot at from the brush, and he returned the favor by guess. This infantry always thinks the enemy is just out of gunshot of them, and they are three-fourths scared to death all the time. At noon of Monday we left Iuka, rode to Burnsville, a place that I have spoken of in my letters before, as we scouted through it while lying before Corinth. None of our soldiers have camped there yet, and we were the only ones there while we stayed. The colonel took a nap to recover from the heat and fatigue of riding, and I strolled down town to look up some acquaintances I made while scouting. They treated me pretty well, and made me a letter carrier, as many of them had letters to send to their friends who are prisoners. At dark we started for Jacinto, ten miles south, but for so many hills had a splendid ride. 'Twas through the woods, all the way, and over real young mountains. We got to Jacinto at 10 p. m. and concluded to stay all night. I laid down an hour or two, but the fleas were so bad that I got up and stayed up the rest of the night. I walked around the town and stopped at headquarters of the guard and talked with the boys. (They were of Jeff C. Davis's division, of Pea Ridge, Ark., and Siegel.) They all think that Siegel is the only man and hate Davis like the devil. I waked the colonel at 4 p. m. and we started for home. The road from Jacinto, home, was lined with infantry, the whole left wing of our corps being on it. They had no tents but seemed to be preparing the ground for a camp. We got home in time for a little nap before breakfast, both of which I enjoyed very much. We found the garrison much excited about an attack that was expected every hour. The 2d Brigade of Cavalry had been about eight miles in front doing outpost duty, and having been alarmed by rumors had abandoned their camp and retreated to this place. Their sutler gave up his goods to the boys, preferring they should have them free, rather than the enemy. The next day (yesterday morning) a scout was sent out and found their camp just as they had left it. All of which was considered quite a joke on the 2d Brigade. The enemy may come up here and may whip us out, we are scattered so much, but they will have a riotous time of it. All told we had a very pleasant ride, but if we are gobbled up some of these times when riding around without an escort you must not be surprised. I don't think it just the straight way of doing such business, but Charles can go where the colonel dares to, and my preference is for riding as far from a column as possible on several accounts. The colonel is a very interesting companion on such a trip, full of talk, and he has had six years experience on the frontier. I induced a very young lady with a well cracked piano to favor me with some music at Iuka. She sang "The Bonny Blue Flag That Bears a Single Star." It was as near the music we used to hear in the old Presbyterian church at home as you could think, and that's all that kept me from laughing in her face. We celebrated the capture of Richmond on the 4th, but are now trying to forget that we made such fools of ourselves. Damn the telegraphs. We have awful news from Richmond to-day. It would make me sick to write it. I would rather have the army whipped than McClellan.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 98-101

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 24, 1863

Gen. Longstreet is now in command of Gen. Smith's late department, besides his own corps. Richmond is safe.

Our papers contain a most astonishing speech purporting to have been delivered by Mr. Conway, in the United States Congress. Mr. C. is from Kansas, that hot-bed of Abolitionism. He is an avowed Abolitionist; and yet he advocates an immediate suspension of hostilities, or at least that the Federal armies and fleets be ordered to act on the defensive; that the independence of the Confederate States be recognized, upon the basis of a similar tariff; free-trade between the North and South; free navigation of the Mississippi, and co-operation in the maintenance of the Monroe doctrine. I like the indications apparent in this speech. Let us have a suspension of hostilities, and then we can have leisure to think of the rest. No doubt the peace party is growing rapidly in the United States; and it may be possible that the Republicans mean to beat the Democrats in the race, by going beyond them on the Southern question. The Democrats are for peace and Union; the Republicans may resolve to advocate not only peace, but secession.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 263-4

Saturday, October 8, 2016

John Stuart Mill to John L. Motley, October 31, 1862

Saint-Virain, Avignon,
October 31, 1862.

My Dear Sir: Allow me to thank you most warmly for your long and interesting letter, which, if it had been twice as long as it was, would only have pleased me more. There are few persons that I have only seen once with whom I so much desire to keep up a communication as with you; and the importance of what I learn from you respecting matters so full of momentous consequences to the world would make such communication most valuable to me, even if I did not wish for it on personal grounds. The state of affairs in America has materially improved since you wrote by the defeat of the enemy in Maryland and their expulsion from it, and still more by Mr. Lincoln's antislavery proclamation, which no American, I think, can have received with more exultation than I did. It is of the highest importance, and more so because the manifest reluctance with which the President made up his mind to that decided step indicates that the progress of opinion in the country had reached the point of seeing its necessity for the effectual prosecution of the war. The adhesion of so many governors of States, some of them originally Democrats, is a very favorable sign; and thus far the measure does not seem to have very materially weakened your hold upon the border slave States. The natural tendency will be, if the war goes on successfully, to reconcile those States to emancipating their own slaves, availing themselves of the pecuniary offers made by the Federal government. I still feel some anxiety as to the reception to be given to the measure by Congress when it meets, and I should much like to know what are your expectations on that point.

In England the proclamation has only increased the venom of those who, after taunting you so long with caring nothing for abolition, now reproach you for your abolitionism as the worst of your crimes. But you will find that whenever any name is attached to the wretched effusions, it is always that of some deeply dyed Tory — generally the kind of Tory to whom slavery is rather agreeable than not, or who so hate your democratic institutions that they would be sure to inveigh against you whatever you did, and are enraged at being no longer able to taunt you with being false to your own principles. It is from these also that we are now beginning to hear, what disgusts me more than all the rest, the base doctrine that it is for the interest of England that the American Republic should be broken up. Think of us as ill as you may (and we have given you abundant cause), but do not, I entreat you, think that the general English public is so base as this. Our national faults are not now of that kind, and I firmly believe that the feeling of almost all English Liberals, even those whose language is most objectionable, is one of sincere regret for the disruption which they think inevitable. As long as there is a Tory party in England, it will rejoice at anything which injures or discredits American institutions; but the Liberal party — who are now, and are likely to remain, much the strongest — are naturally your friends and allies, and will return to that position when once they see that you are not engaged in a hopeless, and therefore, as they think, an irrational and unjustifiable, contest. There are writers enough here to keep up the fight and meet the malevolent comments on all your proceedings by right ones. Besides Cairnes and Dicey and Harriet Martineau and Ludlow and Hughes, besides the “Daily News” and “Macmillan” and the “Star,” there are now the “Westminster” and the “London Review,” to which several of the best writers have now gone over; there is Ellison of Liverpool, the author of “Slavery and Secession,” and editor of a monthly economical journal, the “Exchange”; and there are other writers, less known, who, if events go on favorably, will rapidly multiply.

Here in France the state of opinion on the subject is most gratifying. All liberal Frenchmen seem to have been with you from the first. They did not know more about the subject than the English, but their instincts were truer. By the way, what did you think of the narrative of the campaign on the Potomac in the “Revue des Deux Mondes” of October 15, by the Comte de Paris? It looks veracious, and is certainly intelligent, and in general effect likely, I should think, to be very useful to the cause. I still think you take too severe a view of the conduct of our government. I grant that the extra-official dicta of some of the ministers have been very unfortunate. But as a government, I do not see that their conduct is objectionable. The port of Nassau may be all that you say it is, but the United States also have the power, and have used it largely, of supplying themselves with munitions of war from our ports. If the principle of neutrality is once accepted, our markets must be open to both sides alike, and the general opinion in England is (I do not say whether rightly or wrongly) that if the course adopted is favorable to either side, it is to the United States, since the Confederates, owing to the blockade of their ports, have so much less power to take advantage of the facilities extended equally to both. Then, again, if the Tuscarora was ordered away, the Sumter was so, too. What you mention about a seizure of arms by our government must, I feel confident, have taken place during the Trent difficulty, at which time alone, neither before nor after, has the export of arms to America been interdicted. It is very possible that too much may have been made of Butler's proclamation, and that he has more wrong in phraseology than substance. But with regard to the watchword said to have been given by Pakenham at New Orleans, I have always hitherto taken it for a mere legend, like the exactly parallel ones which grew up under our eyes in Paris, in 1848, respecting the socialist insurrection of June. What authority there may be for it I do not know; but if it is true, nothing can mark more strongly the change which has taken place in the European standard of belligerent rights since the wars of the beginning of the century, for if any English commander at the present time were to do the like, he could never show his face in English society (even if he escaped being broken by a court martial); and I think we are entitled to blame in others what none of us, of the present generation at least, would be capable of perpetrating.

You are perhaps hardly aware how little the English of the present day feel of solidarité with past generations. We do not feel ourselves at all concerned to justify our predecessors. Foreigners reproved us with having been the great enemies of neutral rights so long as we were belligerents, and for turning round and stickling for them now when we are neutrals; but the real fact is, we are convinced, and have no hesitation in saying (what our Liberal party said even at the time), that our policy in that matter in the great Continental war was totally wrong. But while I am anxious that liberal and friendly Americans should not think worse of us than we really deserve, I am deeply conscious and profoundly grieved and mortified that we deserve so ill, and are making in consequence so pitiful a figure before the world, with which if we are not daily and insultingly taxed by all Europe, it is only because our enemies are glad to see us doing exactly what they expected, justifying their opinion of us and acting in a way which they think perfectly natural, because they think it perfectly selfish.

If you kindly favor me with another letter here, it is desirable that it should arrive before the end of November. After that time my address will be Blackheath Park, Kent.

I am, my dear sir,
Very truly yours,
J. S. Mill.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 286

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Diary of William Howard Russell: May 28, 1861

On dropping in at the Consulate to-day, I found the skippers of several English vessels who are anxious to clear out, lest they be detained by the Federal cruisers. The United States steam frigates Brooklyn and Niagara have been for some days past blockading Pass á l’outre. One citizen made a remarkable proposition to Mr. Mure. He came in to borrow an ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron for the purpose, he said, of hoisting it on board his yacht, and running down to have a look at the Yankee ships. Mr. Mure had no flag to lend; whereupon he asked for a description by which he could get one made. On being applied to, I asked “whether the gentleman was a member of the Squadron?” “Oh, no,” said he, “but my yacht was built in England, and I wrote over some time ago to say I would join the squadron.” I ventured to tell him that it by no means followed he was a member, and that if he went out with the flag and could not show by his papers he had a right to carry it, the yacht would be seized. However, he was quite satisfied that he had an English yacht, and a right to hoist an English flag, and went off to an outfitter's to order a facsimile of the squadron ensign, and subsequently cruised among the blockading vessels.

We hear Mr. Ewell was attacked by an Union mob in Tennessee, his luggage was broken open and plundered, and he narrowly escaped personal injury. Per contra, “charges of abolitionism,” continue to multiply here, and are almost as numerous as the coroner's inquests, not to speak of the difficulties which sometimes attain the magnitude of murder.

I dined with a large party at the Lake, who had invited me as their guest, among whom were Mr. Slidell, Governor Hebert, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Norton, Mr. Fellows, and others. I observed in New York that every man had his own solution of the cause of the present difficulty, and contradicted plumply his neighbor the moment he attempted to propound his own theory. Here I found every one agreed as to the righteousness of the quarrel, but all differed as to the best mode of action for the South to pursue. Nor was there any approach to unanimity as the evening waxed older. Incidentally we had wild tales of Southern life, some good songs curiously intermingled with political discussions, and what the Northerners call hyphileutin talk.

When I was in the Consulate to-day, a tall and well-dressed, but not very prepossessing-looking man, entered to speak to Mr. Mure on business, and was introduced to me at his own request. His name was mentioned incidentally to-night, and I heard a passage in his life not of an agreeable character, to say the least of it. A good many years ago there was a ball at New Orleans, at which this gentleman was present; he paid particular attention to a lady, who, however, preferred the society of one of the company, and in the course of the evening an altercation occurred respecting an engagement to dance, in which violent language was exchanged, and a push or blow given by the favored partner to his rival, who left the room, and, as it is stated, proceeded to a cutler's shop, where he procured a powerful dagger-knife. Armed with this, he returned, and sent in a message to the gentleman with whom he had quarrelled. Suspecting nothing, the latter came into the antechamber, the assassin rushed upon him, stabbed him to the heart, and left him weltering in his blood. Another version of the story was, that he waited for his victim till he came into the cloak-room, and struck him as he was in the act of putting on his overcoat. After a long delay, the criminal was tried. The defence put forward on his behalf was that he had seized a knife in the heat of the moment when the quarrel took place, and had slain his adversary in a moment of passion; but evidence, as I understand, went strongly to prove that a considerable interval elapsed between the time of the dispute and the commission of the murder. The prisoner had the assistance of able and ingenious counsel; he was acquitted. His acquittal was mainly due to the judicious disposition of a large sum of money; each juror; when he retired to dinner previous to consulting over the verdict, was enabled to find the sum of 1000 dollars under his plate; nor was it clear that the judge and sheriff had not participated in the bounty; in fact, I heard a dispute as to the exact amount which it is supposed the murderer had to pay. He now occupies, under the Confederate Government, the post at New Orleans which he lately held as representative of the Government of the United States.

After dinner I went in company of some of my hosts to the Boston Club, which has, I need not say, no connection with the city of that name. More fires, the tocsin sounding, and so to bed.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 240-2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Diary of William Howard Russell: May 27, 1861

I visited several of the local companies, their drill-grounds and parades; but few of the men were present, as nearly all are under orders to proceed to the camp at Tangipao or to march to Richmond. Privates and officers are busy in the sweltering streets purchasing necessaries for their journey. As one looks at the resolute, quick, angry faces around him, and hears but the single theme, he must feel the South will never yield to the North, unless as a nation which is beaten beneath the feet of a victorious enemy.

In every State there is only one voice audible. Hereafter, indeed, state jealousies may work their own way; but if words means anything, all the Southern people are determined to resist Mr. Lincoln's invasion as long as they have a man or a dollar. Still, there are certain hard facts which militate against the truth of their own assertions, “that they are united to a man, and prepared to fight to a man.” Only 15,000 are under arms out of the 50,000 men in the State of Louisiana liable to military service.

“Charges of abolitionism” appear in the reports of police cases in the papers every morning; and persons found guilty, not of expressing opinions against slavery, but of stating their belief that the Northerners will be successful, are sent to prison for six months. The accused are generally foreigners, or belong to the lower orders, who have got no interest in the support of slavery. The moral suasion of the lasso, of taring and feathering, head-shaving, ducking, and horseponds, deportation on rails, and similar ethical processes are highly in favor. As yet the North have not arrived at such an elevated view of the necessities of their position.

The New Orleans papers are facetious over their new mode of securing unanimity, and highly laud what they call “the course of instruction in the humane institution for the amelioration of the condition of Northern barbarians and abolition fanatics, presided over by Professor Henry Mitchell,” who, in other words, is the jailer of the work-house reformatory.

I dined at the Lake with Mr. Mure, General Lewis, Major Ranney, Mr. Duncan Kenner, a Mississippi planter, Mr. Claiborne, &c., and visited the club in the evening. Every night since I have been in New Orleans there have been one or two fires; to-night there were three — one a tremendous conflagration. When I inquired to what they were attributable, a gentleman who sat near me, bent over, and looking me straight in the face, said, in a low voice, “The slaves.” The flues, perhaps, and the system of stoves, may also bear some of the blame. There is great enthusiasm among the townspeople in consequence of the Washington artillery, a crack corps, furnished by the first people in New Orleans, being ordered off for Virginia.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 239-40