Showing posts with label Abolitionists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abolitionists. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jonathan Worth to Dr. C. W. Woolen, May 17, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 17th, 1861.

I have made special inquiry into the cost question against you and the other securities of Daniel Worth—having first taken the pains to examine the authorities.

It is decided by the Supreme Court in the case State vs. Saunders and others, 1 Hawkes, p. 355, that the securities to an appeal bond in a criminal case, where the judgment from which appeal was taken is confirmed, are liable to all the State costs in the Superior Court and the Supreme Court, excepting the prison fee. I have seen S. G. Worth this morning and learn from him that the State Solicitor has at length given up all claims beyond this. At the Spring Term he was authorized to demand all the costs in both cases, and not to receive forfeitures, but to issue execution for them, unless the whole of the costs was paid. I instructed him to disregard this instruction and throw the responsibility on me, and he accordingly received the amount of the forfeiture and the cost of the proceedings and to enforce them and with the assent of the attorneys, prosecuting for the State, he claims only what he is bound to demand according to law, to wit, the State's costs in the Supr. and Supreme Court in the case tried, excluding prison fees. No costs are now claimed on the case not tried, and none of defendant's costs are cither called for and the County has made an order directing the prison fees to be paid out of the forfeitures. The order given by your nephew is not, I understand, for a sum sufficient to pay the costs for which you are liable as security for the appeal to the Supreme Court.

 I am filled with horror at the condition of our country. According to my notions of Government, there is much that is wrong on both sides. The Abolitionists of the Free States ought not to have agitated the slavery question at all, even conceding that their feeling is right. It only tends to make the treatment of slaves more vigorous and to encourage bitterness between the two sections. When it was seized upon as a party question it was easy to see it must soon become sectional and that is purely sectional. have always regarded the dissolution of the Union as the greatest misfortune which could befall the whole nation and the whole human race. Hence I have abhorred the agitation of the slavery question as tending to this result. Acting on that conviction I have used all the efforts in my power to stay what I regarded as the madness of both sections, and in the immediate sphere of my influence have impressed my views upon others. My immediate constituents sustained me with greater unanimity than did the constituents of any other representative. I was the first public man in the State to call on the people to vote down the Convention on the 28th Feb., on the ground that the calling of it would tend to a dissolution of the Union. Everybody attributed to me a larger share of the credit or discredit of defeating the call of a Convention than to any other man in the State. I regarded the result in N. C. and Tenn. as arresting the march of madness. Union men had gained strength up to the proclamation of Lincoln. If he had withdrawn the garrison of Fort Sumter on the principle of a military necessity and in obedience in what seemed to be the will of Congress in refusing to pass the force bill, this State and Tenn. and the other slave States which had not passed the ordinance of Secession, would have stood up for the Union. In the feverish state of the popular mind, if he be a man of good sense, he knew he would crush the Union men in the Slave States by the policy he adopted. All of 118 who had stood by the Union, felt that he had abandoned us and surrendered us to the tender mercies of Democracy & the Devil. He must have known that he was letting loose on us a torrent to which we could oppose no resistance. It may be said, theoretically, that this should not have been the effect. Statesmen should have common sense. All sensible men knew it would be the effect. We are still at a loss to determine whether he is an old goose, as well as each of his advisers, thinking to preserve the Union by his course, or whether he became apprehensive that the Union men were about to gain strength enough in the South to stay Secession and he desired to drive us all into rebellion, in order to make a crusade against slavery and desolate our section. In the former case he is a fool:—in the latter—a devil. He could have adopted no policy so effectual to destroy the Union. Since the issue of that great proclamation, it is unsafe for a Union man in even N. C. to own he is for the Union. The feeling is to resist to the death. Union men feel that just as they had got so they could stand on their legs, Lincoln had heartlessly turned them over to the mercy of their enemies. We feel that his co-operation with the Secessionists left us no alternative but to take arms against our neighbors, or to defend ourself against his aggression.

I am still a Union man, but for military resistance to Lincoln, believing that Lincoln and his cabinet have acted on their mistaken impression that their policy was the best for the preservation of the Union, and that they do not intend to proclaim servile insurrection. If the latter is the design the South can be conquered only by extermination. If his purpose be, as le says, to respect property and discountenance rebellion or insurrection among our servile population, and our people become satisfied of this, many of our people will not willingly take arms.

I see no hope of any good and stable government except in the United government we are pulling down. It can not be united by war. If peace be immediately made, it will soon re-unite, with an anti-secession clause.

Write me again soon. The Quakers here will not believe your statements as to your Quakers volunteering and the floating of the Stars and Stripes over a Quaker Church. 

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 145-8

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Jonathan Worth to Gaius Winningham, May 20, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 20, '61.

Knowing that you are an ardent personal and political friend and that you cannot hear well, and that you are concerned on account of the slanders which my ignoble political opponents are industriously circulating, not to promote the good of the country by breaking me down, but to gratify personal malevolence—I desire to say to you that I have changed no political opinion I have heretofore maintained.

I still firmly believe in the wisdom and virtue of Washington and the early promoters of our government and that war. no other divided government can ever be built up so good as the United one we are pulling down—and hence I abhor the Northern Abolitionist and the Southern Secessionist, both co-operating with different objects, to break up the Union, but the whole nation has become mad. The voice of reason is silenced. Furious passion and thirst for blood consume the air. Democracy and Abolition, moved and instigated by the Devil, are the opposing factions. Nobody is allowed to retain and assert his reason. The cartridge box is preferred to the ballot box. The very women and children are for war. Every body must take sides with one or the other of these opposing factions or fall a victim to the mob or lose all power to guide the torrent when its fury shall begin to subside. It is barely possible that the leaders may pause before the carnage fairly sets in. The best chance to produce such pause and prevent war, is for us to show a united purpose to enlist besides, if we must fight, none of us can hesitate to fight for our wives-our homes-our sections. I have therefore concluded to urge our young men to volunteer. Division or hesitation among us will but invite the invasion of the black Republicans. My maxim has always been to choose among the evils around me and do the best I can. I think the annals of the world furnish no instance of so groundless a war—but as our nation will have it—if no peace can be made—let us fight like men for our own firesides.

 I write this for your own personal satisfaction—not for the public eye,—not that I desire to conceal my views, but because in the present frenzied state of the public mind it will be distorted—misrepresented, and can do no good.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 148-9

Jonathan Worth to Johnson and Farnsworth, May 22, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 22nd, 1861.

This State is now a perfect unit as the North seems to be. No man desired or worked harder than myself to preserve the Union, but the Abolitionists North and the fire-eaters South have gradually forced everybody into the ranks of the one or the other. In N. C. the Union sentiment was largely in the ascendant and gaining strength until Lincoln prostrated us. Congress having refused to pass the force bill, we felt that the President could abandon Sumter and Pickens without any sacrifice of his principles, but in conformity with the Legislative will. He induced the whole South so to believe. The assurance of Seward to Judge Campbell seems to have been made with deliberate duplicity, and we can not doubt that Mr. Lincoln knew his policy would disarm all Union men in the Southern States. He did more than all the secessionists to break up the Union, but whether he did this, not being statesman enough to comprehend the effect of his measures; or whether his purpose was to drive all the slave States into rebellion, thinking he could bring against us men enough, with the aid of a servile insurrection, to overthrow us and abolish Slavery, we are in doubt. If the Union be restored, the War must at once cease.  Our white population and our slaves will resist to the death. I infer from all I can see that Lincoln's measures have united the North. The have certainly united North Carolina. The North must stop her warlike measures and consent to a severance of the government—or the God of Battles must long gloat over the carnage of alienated brethren. Reason has left. Rage controls both sections.

God save the Country.-

Gov. Graham, as I presume you know, is universally respected for every quality which should commend the regard of good and wise men. He was as strong for the Union as Edward Everett till Lincoln's proclamation. I enclose a late speech of his. Have it published in some of your leading papers. Let good men North and South understand each other.

BOSTON, MASS.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 50-1

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Alexander H. Stephens: The Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861

Mr. Mayor, and Gentlemen of the Committee, and Fellow-Citizens:—For this reception you will please accept my most profound and sincere thanks. The compliment is doubtless intended as much, or more, perhaps, in honor of the occasion, and my public position, in connection with the great events now crowding upon us, than to me personally and individually. It is however none the less appreciated by me on that account. We are in the midst of one of the greatest epochs in our history. The last ninety days will mark one of the most memorable eras in the history of modern civilization.

[There was a general call from the outside of the building for the speaker to go out, that there were more outside than in.]

The Mayor rose and requested silence at the doors, that Mr. Stephens' health would not permit him to speak in the open air.

Mr. STEPHENS said he would leave it to the audience whether he should proceed indoors or out. There was a general cry indoors, as the ladies, a large number of whom were present, could not hear outside.

Mr. STEPHENS said that the accommodation of the ladies would determine the question, and he would proceed where he was.

[At this point the uproar and clamor outside was greater still for the speaker to go out on the steps. This was quicted by Col. Lawton, Col. Freeman, Judge Jackson, and Mr. J. W. Owens going out and stating the facts of the case to the dense mass of men, women, and children who were outside, and entertaining them in brief speeches--Mr. Stephens all this while quietly sitting down until the furor subsided.]

Mr. STEPHENS rose and said : When perfect quiet is restored, I shall proceed. I cannot speak so long as there is any noise or confusion. I shall take my time—I feel quite prepared to spend the night with you if necessary. [Loud applause.] I very much regret that every one who desires cannot hear what I have to say. Not that I have any display to make, or any thing very entertaining to present, but such views as I have to give, I wish all, not only in this city, but in this State, and throughout our Confederate Republic, could hear, who have a desire to hear them.
I was remarking, that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood. [Applause.]

This new constitution, or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. In reference to it, I make this first general remark. It amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties. All the great principles of Magna Charta are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers under the laws of the land. The great principle of religious liberty, which was the honor and pride of the old constitution, is still maintained and secured. All the essentials of the old constitution, which have endeared it to the hearts of the American people, have been preserved and perpetuated. [Applause.] Some changes have been made. Of these I shall speak presently. Some of these I should have preferred not to have seen made; but these, perhaps, meet the cordial approbation of a majority of this audience, if not an overwhelming majority of the people of the Confederacy. Of them, therefore, I will not speak. But other important changes do meet my cordial approbation. They form great improvements upon the old constitution. So, taking the whole new constitution, I have no hesitancy in giving it as my judgment that it is decidedly better than the old. [Applause.]

Allow me briefly to allude to some of these improvements. The question of building up class interests, or fostering one branch of industry to the prejudice of another under the exercise of the revenue power, which gave us so much trouble under the old constitution, is put at rest forever under the new. We allow the imposition of no duty with a view of giving advantage to one class of persons, in any trade or business, over those of another. All, under our system, stand upon the same broad principles of perfect equality. Honest labor and enterprise are left free and unrestricted in whatever pursuit they may be engaged. This subject came well nigh causing a rupture of the old Union, under the lead of the gallant Palmetto State, which lies on our border, in 1833. This old thorn of the tariff, which was the cause of so much irritation in the old body politic, is removed forever from the new. [Applause.]

Again, the subject of internal improvements, under the power of Congress to regulate commerce, is put at rest under our system. The power claimed by construction under the old constitution, was at least a doubtful one-it rested solely upon construction. We of the South, generally apart from considerations of constitutional principles, opposed its exercise upon grounds of its inexpediency and injustice. Notwithstanding this opposition, millions of money, from the common treasury had been drawn for such purposes. Our opposition sprang from no hostility to commerce, or all necessary aids for facilitating it. With us it was simply a question, upon whom the burden should fall. In Georgia, for instance, we have done as much for the cause of internal improvements as any other portion of the country according to population and means. We have stretched out lines of railroads from the seaboard to the mountains; dug down the hills, and filled up the valleys at a cost of not less than twenty-five millions of dollars. All this was done to open an outlet for our products of the interior, and those to the west of us, to reach the marts of the world. No State was in greater need of such facilities than Georgia, but we did not ask that these works should be made by appropriations out of the common treasury. The cost of the grading, the superstructure, and equipments of our roads, was borne by those who entered on the enterprise. Nay, more-not only the cost of the iron, no small item in the aggregate cost, was borne in the same way—but we were compelled to pay into the common treasury several millions of dollars for the privilege of importing the iron, after the price was paid for it abroad. What justice was there in taking this money, which our people paid into the common treasury on the importation of our iron, and applying it to the improvement of rivers and harbors elsewhere?
The true principle is to subject the commerce of every locality, to whatever burdens may be necessary to facilitate it. If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefitted by it, bear the burden. So with the mouths of the Alabama and Mississippi river. Just as the products of the interior, our cotton, wheat, corn, and other articles, have to bear the necessary rates of freight over our railroads to reach the seas. This is again the broad principle of perfect equality and justice. [Applause.] And it is especially set forth and established in our new constitution.

Another feature to which I will allude, is that the new constitution provides that cabinet ministers and heads of departments may have the privilege of seats upon the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives—may have the right to participate in the debates and discussions upon the various subjects of administration. I should have preferred that this provision should have gone further, and required the President to select his constitutional advisers from the Senate and House of Representatives. That would have conformed entirely to the practice in the British Parliament, which, in my judgment, is one of the wisest provisions in the British constitution. It is the only feature that saves that government. It is that which gives it stability in its facility to change its administration. Ours, as it is, is a great approximation to the right principle.

Under the old constitution, a secretary of the treasury for instance, had no opportunity, save by his annual reports, of presenting any scheme or plan of finance or other matter. He had no opportunity of explaining, expounding, inforcing, or defending his views of policy; his only resort was through the medium of an organ. In the British parliament, the premier brings in his budget and stands before the nation responsible for its every item. If it is indefensible, he falls before the attacks upon it, as he ought to. This will now be the case to a limited extent under our system. In the new constitution, provision has been made by which our heads of departments can speak for themselves and the administration, in behalf of its entire policy, without resorting to the indirect and highly objectionable medium of a newspaper. It is to be greatly hoped that under our system we shall never have what is known as a government organ. [Rapturous applause.]

[A noise again arose from the clamor of the crowd outside, who wished to hear Mr. Stephens, and for some moments interrupted him. The mayor rose and called on the police to preserve order. Quiet being restored, Mr. S. proceeded.]

Another change in the constitution relates to the length of the tenure of the presidential office. In the new constitution it is six years instead of four, and the President rendered ineligible for a re-election. This is certainly a decidedly conservative change. It will remove from the incumbent all temptation to use his office or exert the powers confided to him for any objects of personal ambition. The only incentive to that higher ambition which should move and actuate one holding such high trusts in his hands, will be the good of the people, the advancement, prosperity, happiness, safety, honor, and true glory of the confederacy. [Applause.).

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other—though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution-African slavery as it exists amongst us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery-subordination to the superior race-is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.]

This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind—from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just-but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfuly against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted ; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo—it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material—the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know, that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For his own purposes, he has made one race to differ from another, as he has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.

The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to his laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner”—the real “corner-stone”—in our new edifice. [Applause.]

I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. [Immense applause.]

Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that “in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread,” [applause,] and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

But to pass on: Some have propounded the inquiry whether it is practicable for us to go on with the confederacy without further accessions? Have we the means and ability to maintain nationality among the powers of the earth ? On this point I would barely say, that as anxiously as we all have been, and are, for the border States, with institutions similar to ours, to join us, still we are abundantly able to maintain our position, even if they should ultimately make up their minds not to cast their destiny with us. That they ultimately will join us—be compelled to do it—is my confident belief; but we can get on very well without them, even if they should not.

We have all the essential elements of a high national career. The idea has been given out at the North, and even in the border States, that we are too small and too weak to maintain a separate nationality. This is a great mistake. In extent of territory we embrace five hundred and sixty-four thousand square miles and upward. This is upward of two hundred thousand square miles more than was included within the limits of the original thirteen States. It is an area of country more than double the territory of France or the Austrian empire. France, in round numbers, has but two hundred and twelve thousand square miles. Austria, in round numbers, has two hundred and forty-eight thousand square miles. Ours is greater than both combined. It is greater than all France, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain, including England, Ireland, and Scotland, together. In population we have upward of five millions, according to the census of 1860; this includes white and black. The entire population, including white and black, of the original thirteen States, was less than four millions in 1790, and still less in '76, when the independence of our fathers was achieved. If they, with a less population, dared maintain their independence against the greatest power on earth, shall we have any apprehension of maintaining ours now?

In point of material wealth and resources, we are greatly in advance of them. The taxable property of the Confederate States cannot be less than thirty-two hundred millions of dollars! This, I think I venture but little in saying, may be considered as five times more than the colonies possessed at the time they achieved their independence. Georgia, alone, possessed last year, according to the report of our comptroller-general, six hundred and seventy-two millions of taxable property. The debts of the seven confederate States sum up in the aggregate less than eighteen millions, while the existing debts of the other of the late United States sum up in the aggregate the enormous amount of one hundred and seventy-four millions of dollars. This is without taking into the account the heavy city debts, corporation debts, and railroad debts, which press, and will continue to press, as a heavy incubus upon the resources of those States. These debts, added to others, make a sum total not much under five hundred millions of dollars. With such an area of territory as we have—with such an amount of population—with a climate and soil unsurpassed by any on the face of the earth-with such resources already at our command—with productions which control the commerce of the world—who can entertain any apprehensions as to our ability to succeed, whether others join us or not?

It is true, I believe I state but the common sentiment, when I declare my earnest desire that the border States should join us. The differences of opinion that existed among us anterior to secession, related more to the policy in securing that result by co-operation than from any difference upon the ultimate security we all looked to in common.

These differences of opinion were more in reference to policy than principle, and as Mr. Jefferson said in his inaugural, in 1801, after the heated contest preceding his election, there might be differences of opinion without differences on principle, and that all, to some extent, had been federalists and all republicans; so it may now be said of us, that whatever differences of opinion as to the best policy in having a co-operation with our border sister slave States, if the worst came to the worst, that as we were all co-operationists, we are now all for independence, whether they come or not. [Continued applause.]

In this connection I take this occasion to state, that I was not without grave and serious apprehensions, that if the worst came to the worst, and cutting loose from the old government should be the only remedy for our safety and security, it would be attended with much more serious ills than it has been as yet. Thus far we have seen none of those incidents which usually attend revolutions. No such material as such convulsions usually throw up has been seen. Wisdom, prudence, and patriotism, have marked every step of our progress thus far. This augurs well for the future, and it is a matter of sincere gratification to me, that I am enabled to make the declaration. Of the men I met in the Congress at Montgomery, I may be pardoned for saying this, an abler, wiser, a more conservative, deliberate, determined, resolute, and patriotic body of men, I never met in my life. [Great applause.] Their works speak for them; the provisional government speaks for them; the constitution of the permanent government will be a lasting monument of their worth, merit, and statesmanship. [Applause.]

But to return to the question of the future. What is to be the result of this revolution?

Will every thing, commenced so well, continue as it has begun? In reply to this anxious inquiry, I can only say it all depends upon ourselves. A young man starting out in life on his majority, with health, talent, and ability, under a favoring Providence, may be said to be the architect of his own fortunes. His destinies are in his own hands. He may make for himself a name, of honor or dishonor, according to his own acts. If he plants himself upon truth, integrity, honor and uprightness, with industry, patience and energy, he cannot fail of success. So it is with us. We are a young republic, just entering upon the arena of nations; we will be the architects of our own fortunes. Our destiny, under Providence, is in our own hands. With wisdom, prudence, and statesmanship on the part of our public men, and intelligence, virtue and patriotism on the part of the people, success, to the full measures of our most sanguine hopes, may be looked for. But if unwise counsels prevail—if we become divided—if schisms arise—if dissensions spring up—if factions are engendered if party spirit, nourished by unholy personal ambition shall rear its hydra head, I have no good to prophesy for you. Without intelligence, virtue, integrity, and patriotism on the part of the people, no republic or representative government can be durable or stable. We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers become Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government. Organized upon principles of perfect justice and right-seeking amity and friendship with all other powers—I see no obstacle in the way of our upward and onward progress. Our growth, by accessions from other States, will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which neighboring States belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our constitution for the admission of other States; it is more guarded, and wisely so, I think, than the old constitution on the same subject, but not too guarded to receive them as fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future, and, perhaps, not very far distant either, it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the north-west will gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.

The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty if we pursue the right course. We are now the nucleus of a growing power which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, this process will be upon no such principles of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. [Loud applause.] Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them.

But at first we must necessarily meet with the inconveniences and difficulties and embarrassments incident to all changes of government. These will be felt in our postal affairs and changes in the channel of trade. These inconveniences, it is to be hoped, will be but temporary, and must be borne with patience and forbearance.

As to whether we shall have war with our late confederates, or whether all matters of differences between us shall be amicably settled, I can only say that the prospect for a peaceful adjustment is better, so far as I am informed, than it has been.

The prospect of war is, at least, not so threatening as it has been. The idea of coercion, shadowed forth in President Lincoln's inaugural, seems not to be followed up thus far so vigorousiy as was expected. Fort Sumter, it is believed, will soon be evacuated. What course will be pursued toward Fort Pickens, and the other forts on the gulf, is not so well understood. It is to be greatly desired that all of them should be surrendered. Our object is peace, not only with the North, but with the world. All matters relating to the public property, public liabilities of the Union when we were members of it, we are ready and willing to adjust and settle upon the principles of right, equity, and good faith. War can be of no more benefit to the North than to us. Whether the intention of evacuating Fort Sumter is to be received as an evidence of a desire for a peaceful solution of our difficulties with the United States, or the result of necessity, I will not undertake to say. I would fain hope the former. Rumors are afloat, however, that it is the result of necessity. All I can say to you, therefore, on that point is, keep your armor bright and your powder dry. [Enthusiastic cheering.]

The surest way to secure peace, is to show your ability to maintain your rights. The principles and position of the present administration of the United States the republican party—present some puzzling questions. While it is a fixed principle with them never to allow the increase of a foot of slave territory, they seem to be equally determined not to part with an inch “of the accursed soil.” Notwithstanding their clamor against the institution, they seemed to be equally opposed to getting more, or letting go what they have got. They were ready to fight on the accession of Texas, and are equally ready to fight now on her secession. Why is this? How can this strange paradox be accounted for? There seems to be but one rational solution and that is, notwithstanding their professions of humanity, they are disinclined to give up the benefits they derive from slave labor. Their philanthropy yields to their interest. The idea of enforcing the laws, has but one object, and that is a collection of the taxes, raised by slave labor to swell the fund, necessary to meet their heavy appropriations. The spoils is what they are after—though they come from the labor of the slave. [Continued applause.]

Mr. Stephens reviewed at some length, the extravagance and profligacy of appropriations by the Congress of the United States for several years past, and in this connection took occasion to allude to another one of the great improvements in our new constitution, which is a clause prohibiting Congress from appropriating any money from the treasury, except by a two-third vote, unless it be for some object which the executive may say is necessary to carry on the government.

When it is thus asked for, and estimated for, he continued, the majority may appropriate. This was a new feature.

Our fathers had guarded the assessment of taxes by insisting that representation and taxation should go together. This was inherited from the mother country, England. It was one of the principles upon which the revolution had been fought. Our fathers also provided in the old constitution, that all appropriation bills should originate in the representative branch of Congress, but our new constitution went a step further, and guarded not only the pockets of the people, but also the public money, after it was taken from their pockets. · He alluded to the difficulties and embarrassments which seemed to surround the question of a peaceful solution of the controversy with the old government. How can it be done? is perplexing many minds. The President seems to think that he cannot recognize our independence, nor can he, with and by the advice of the Senate, do so. The constitution makes no such provision, A general convention of all the States has been suggested by some.

Without proposing to solve the difficulty, he barely made the following suggestion:

“That as the admission of States by Congress under the constitution was an act of legislation, and in the nature of a contract or compact between the States admitted and the others admitting, why should not this contract or compact be regarded as of like character with all other civil contracts liable to be rescinded by mutual agreement of both parties? The seceding States have rescinded it on their part, they have resumed their sovereignty. Why cannot the whole question be settled, if the north desire peace, simply by the Congress, in both branches, with the concurrence of the President, giving their consent to the separation, and a recognition of our independence?” This he merely offered as a suggestion, as one of the ways in which it might be done with much less violence by constructions to the constitution than many other acts of that government. [Applause.] The difficulty has to be solved in some way or other—this may be regarded as a fixed fact.

Several other points were alluded to by Mr. Stephens, particularly as to the policy of the new government toward foreign nations, and our commercial relations with them. Free trade, as far as practicable, would be the policy of this government. No higher duties would be imposed on foreign importations than would be necessary to support the government upon the strictest economy.

In olden times the olive branch was considered the emblem of peace; we will send to the nations of the earth another and far more potential emblem of the same, the cotton plant. The present duties were levied with a view of meeting the present necessities and exigencies, in preparation for war, if need be; but if we have peace, and he hoped we might, and trade should resume its proper course, a duty of ten per cent. upon foreign importations it was thought might be sufficient to meet the expenditures of the government. If some articles should be left on the free list, as they now are, such as breadstuffs, etc., then, of course, duties upon others would have to be higher—but in no event to an extent to embarrass trade and commerce. He concluded in an earnest appeal for union and harmony, on part of all the people in support of the common cause, in which we were all enlisted, and upon the issues of which such great consequences depend.

If, said he, we are true to ourselves, true to our cause, true to our destiny, true to our high mission, in presenting to the world the highest type of civilization ever exhibited by man--there will be found in our lexicon no such word as fail.

Mr. Stephens took his seat, amid a burst of enthusiasm and applause, such as the Athenæum has never had displayed within its walls, within “the recollection of the oldest inhabitant.”

[REPORTER'S NOTE.—Your reporter begs to state that the above is not a perfect report, but only such a sketch of the address of Mr. Stephens as embraces, in his judgment, the most important points presented by the orator.—G.]

SOURCES: Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens, In Public and Private, p. 717-29; Frank Moore, Editor, The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, Volume 1, p. 44-9

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Samuel Clark Pomeroy

Pomeroy, Samuel Clark, pioneer and United States senator, was born at Southampton, Mass., Jan. 3, 1816; was educated at Amherst College, and in 1840 became an enthusiastic opponent of slavery. He was present when President Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and remarked to the president: “Your victory is but an adjournment of the question from the halls of legislation at Washington to the prairies of the freedom-loving West, and there, sir, we shall beat you.” To assist in carrying out his prophecy he left Boston in Aug., 1854, with 200 people bound for Kansas, and upon arriving in the territory located at Atchison. He canvassed the Eastern states in the interest of the free-state cause; was one of a party arrested by Col. Cooke on the Nebraska river in Oct., 1856, but was released by Gov. Geary upon his arrival at Topeka; was a member of the Osawatomie convention in May, 1859, that organized the Republican party in Kansas, and served on the first state executive committee of that party. In connection with his management of the aid committee for the relief of the people of Kansas in the great drought of 1860 he was charged with irregular conduct, but was exonerated in March, 1861, by a committee composed of W. W. Guthrie, F. P. Baker and C. B. Lines. On April 4, 1861, he was elected one of the first United States senators from Kansas, and was reëlected in 1867. During the troubles over the Cherokee Neutral Lands many of the people of the state lost confidence in Mr. Pomeroy, and in 1873 he was defeated for reëlection to the senate by John J. Ingalls. It was in connection with this [s]enatorial election that State Senator A. N. York of Montgomery county made his sensational charges of bribery against Senator Pomeroy. The charges were investigated by a committee of the United States senate and also by a joint committee of the Kansas legislature. On March 3, 1873, a majority of the former committee reported that “the whole transaction, whatever view be taken of it, is the result of a concerted plot to defeat Mr. Pomeroy.” Three days later the committee of the state legislature reported Mr. Pomeroy "guilty of the crime of bribery, and attempting to corrupt, by offers of money, members of the legislature.” He was arraigned for trial before Judge Morton at Topeka on June 8, 1874, but a change of venue was taken to Osage county. After several delays and continuances the case was dismissed on March 12, 1875. On Oct. 11, 1873, while the political opposition to Mr. Pomeroy was at its height he was shot by Martin F. Conway in Washington, the bullet entering the right breast, inflicting a painful but not serious wound. Conway claimed that Pomeroy had ruined himself and his family. After the bribery case against him was dismissed Mr. Pomeroy returned to the East and died at Whitinsville, Mass., Aug. 27, 1891.

SOURCE: Frank W. Blackmar, Editor, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Volume 2, p. 485-6

Friday, May 15, 2020

Clement C. Clay Jr. to Judah P. Benjamin, August 11, 1864

SAINT CATHERINES, CANADA WEST,            
August 11, 1864.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of State Confed. States of America, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I deem it due to Mr. Holcombe and myself to address you in explanation of the circumstances leading to and attending our correspondence with Hon. Horace Greeley,* which has been the subject of so much misrepresentation in the United States, and, if they are correctly copied, of at least two papers in the Confederate States.

We addressed a joint and informal note to the President on this subject, but as it was sent by a messenger under peculiar embarrassments it was couched in very guarded terms and was not so full or explicit as we originally intended or desired to make it. I hope he has already delivered it and has explained its purpose and supplied what was wanting to do us full justice.

Soon after the arrival of Mr. Holcombe, Mr. Thompson, and myself in Canada West it was known in the United States and was the subject of much speculation there as to the object of our visit. Some politicians of more or less fame and representing all parties in the United States came to see Mr. Holcombe and myself—Mr. Thompson being at Toronto and less accessible than we were at the Falls—either through curiosity or some better or worse motive.

They found that our conversation was mainly directed to the mutual injury we were inflicting on each other by war, the necessity for peace in order to preserve whatever was valuable to both sections, and probability of foreign intervention when we were thoroughly exhausted and unable to injure others, and the dictation of a peace less advantageous to both belligerents than they might now make if there was an armistice of sufficient duration to allow passion to subside and reason to resume its sway.

In the meantime Mr. George N. Sanders, who had preceded us to the Falls, was addressing, directly or indirectly, his ancient and intimate party friends and others in the United States supposed to be favorably inclined, assuring them that a peace mutually advantageous to the North and the South might be made, and inviting them to visit us that we might consider and discuss the subject. He informed us that Mr. Greeley would visit us if we would be pleased to see him. Believing from his antecedents that he was a sincere friend of peace, even with separation if necessary, we authorized Mr. Sanders to say that we would be glad to receive him. Mr. Greeley replied, as we were told, through Mr. Jewett, who had been an active and useful agent for communicating with citizens of the United States, that he would prefer to accompany us to Washington City to talk of peace, and would do so if we would go. We did not then believe that Mr. Greeley had authorized this proposal in his name, for neither we nor Mr. Sanders had seen it in any telegram or letter from Mr. Greeley, but had it only from the lips of Mr. Jewett, who is reported to be a man of fervid and fruitful imagination and very credulous of what he wishes to be true. Notwithstanding, after calm deliberation and consultation we thought that we could not in duty to the Confederate States decline the invitation, and directed Mr. Sanders to say that we would go to Washington if complete and unqualified protection was given us.

We did not feel authorized to speak for Mr. Thompson, who was absent, and we moreover deemed it necessary that he or I should remain here to promote the objects that the Secretary of War had given us and another in charge.

Mr. Sanders responded in his own peculiar style, as you have seen, or will see by the inclosed copy of the correspondence, which was published under my supervision. We did not expect to hear from Mr. Greeley again upon the subject, and were greatly surprised by his note from the U.S. side of the Falls, addressed to us as “duly accredited from Richmond as the bearers of propositions looking to the establishment of peace.”

How or by whom that character was imputed to us we do not know. We suspect, however, that we are indebted for the attribution of the high and responsible office to Mr. Jewett, or to that yet more credulous and inventive personage, Dame Rumor. Certainly we are not justly chargeable with having assumed or affected that character, or with having given any one sufficient grounds to infer that we came clothed with any such powers. We never sought or desired a safe-conduct to Washington, or an interview with Mr. Lincoln. We never proposed, suggested, or intimated any terms of peace to any person that did not embrace the independence of the Confederate States. We have been as jealous of the rights, interest, and power of our Government as any of its citizens can be, and have never wittingly compromised them by act, word, or sign. We have not felt it our duty to declare to all who have approached us upon the subject that reunion was impossible under any change of the Constitution or abridgment of the powers of the Federal Government. We have not dispelled the fond delusion of most of those with whom we have conversed—that some kind of common government might at some time hereafter be re-established. But we have not induced or encouraged this idea. On the contrary, when obliged to answer the question—“Will the Southern States consent to reunion?”—I have answered:

Not now. You have shed so much of their best blood, have desolated so many homes, inflicted so much injury, caused so much physical and mental agony, and have threatened and attempted such irreparable wrongs, without justification or excuse, as their believe, that they would now prefer extermination to your embraces as friends and fellow-citizens of the same government. You must wait till the blood of our slaughtered people has exhaled from the soil, till the homes which you have destroyed have been rebuilt, till our badges of mourning have been laid aside, and the memorials of our wrongs are no longer visible on every hand, before you propose to rebuild a joint and common government. But I think the South Will agree to an armistice of six or more months and to a treaty of amity and commerce, securing peculiar and exclusive privileges to both sections, and possibly to an alliance defensive, or even, for some purposes, both defensive and offensive.

If we can credit the asseverations of both peace and war Democrats, uttered to us in person or through the presses of the United States, our correspondence with Mr. Greeley has been promotive of our wishes. It has impressed all but fanatical Abolitionists with the opinion that there can be no peace while Mr. Lincoln presides at the head of the Government of the United States. All concede that we will not accept his terms, and scarcely any Democrat and not all the Republicans will insist on them. They are not willing to pay the price his terms exact of the North. They see that he can reach peace only through subjugation of the South, which but few think practicable; through universal bankruptcy of the North; through seas of their own blood as well as ours; through the utter demoralization of their people, and destruction of their Republican Government; through anarchy and moral chaos—all of which is more repulsive and intolerable than even the separation and independence of the South.

All the Democrat presses denounce Mr. Lincoln's manifesto in strong terms, and many Republican presses (and among them the New York Tribune) admit it was a blunder. Mr. Greeley was chagrined and incensed by it, as his articles clearly show. I am told by those who profess to have heard his private expressions of opinion and feeling, that he curses all fools in high places and regards himself as deceived and maltreated by the Administration. From all that I can see or hear, I am satisfied that the correspondence has tended strongly toward consolidating the Democracy and dividing the Republicans and encouraging the desire for peace. Many prominent politicians of the United States assure us that it is the most opportune and efficient moral instrumentality for stopping the war that could have been conceived or exerted, and beg us to refrain from any vindication of our course or explanation of our purposes.

At all events, we have developed what we desired to in the eyes of our people—that war, with-all its horrors, is less terrible and hateful than the alternative offered by Mr. Lincoln. We hope that none will hereafter be found in North Carolina, or in any other part of the Confederate States, so base as to insist that we shall make any more advances to him in behalf of peace, but that all of our citizens will gird themselves with renewed and redoubled energy and resolution to battle against our foes until our utter extermination, rather than halt to ponder the terms which he haughtily proclaims as his ultimatum. If such be the effect of our correspondence, we shall be amply indemnified for all the misrepresentations which we have incurred or ever can incur.

Mr. Greeley's purpose may have been merely to find out our conditions of peace, but we give him credit for seeking higher objects. While we contemplated and desired something more, yet it was part of our purpose to ascertain Mr. Lincoln's condition of peace. We have achieved our purpose in part; Mr. Greeley has failed altogether. He correctly reports us as having proposed no terms. We never intended to propose any until instructed by our Government. We have suffered ourselves to be falsely reported as proposing certain terms—among them reunion—for reasons that our judgment approved, hoping that we would in due time be fully vindicated at home.

If there is no more wisdom in our country than is displayed in the malignant articles of the Richmond Examiner and Petersburg Register, approving of the ukase of Mr. Lincoln, the war must continue until neutral nations interfere and command the peace. Such articles are copied into all the Republican presses of the United States, and help them more in encouraging the prosecution of the war than anything they can themselves utter.

If I am not deceived, the elements of convulsion and revolution existing in the North have been greatly agitated by the pronunciamento of the autocrat of the White House. Not only Democrats, but Republicans are protesting against a draft to swell an army to fight to free negroes, and are declaring more boldly for State rights and the Union as it was. Many say the draft cannot and shall not be enforced. The Democracy are beginning to learn that they must endure persecution, outrage, and tyranny at the hands of the Republicans, just as soon as they can bring back their armed legions from the South. They read their own fate in that of the people of Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland. They are beginning to lean more on the side of our people as their natural allies and as the champions of State rights and of popular liberty. Many of them would gladly lock arms with our soldiers in crushing their common enemy, the Abolitionists. Many of them would fall into our lines if our armies occupied any States north of the Ohio for a month, or even a week. Many of them are looking to the time when they must flee their country, or fight for their inalienable rights. They are preparing for the latter alternative.

The instructions of the Secretary of War to us and the officer detailed for special service have not been neglected. We have been arranging for the indispensable co-operation. It is promised, and we hope will soon be furnished. Then we will act. We have been disappointed and delayed by causes which I cannot now explain.

I fondly trust that our efforts will not be defeated or hindered by unwise and intemperate declarations of public opinion, by newspaper editors or others who are regarded as its exponents.
We have a difficult role to play, and must be judged with charity until heard in our own defense.
I am much indebted to Mr. Holcombe, Mr. Sanders, and Mr. Tucker for the earnest and active aid they have given me in promoting the objects of Mr. Thompson's and my mission.

Mr. Thompson is at Toronto and Mr. Holcombe is at the Falls. If here, or if I could delay the transmission of this communication, I should submit it to them for some expression of their opinions.

As I expect this to reach the Confederate States by a safe hand, I do not take the time and labor necessary to put it in cipher—if, indeed, there is anything worth concealing from our enemies.

I have the honor to be, &c.,
C. C. CLAY, JR.
_______________

* See Series III, Vol. IV.
† Not found.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series IV, Volume 3 (Serial No. 129), p. 584-7

Monday, April 27, 2020

General P. G. T. Beauregard to General William E. Martin, August 3, 1862

BLADEN, ALABAMA, Aug. 3, 1862.

MY DEAR GENERAL:—I regret much to hear of ——— being wounded. I hope he will soon be able to face the Abolitionists. In this contest we must triumph or perish; and the sooner we make up our minds to it the better. We now understand the hypocritical cry of “Union and the Constitution,” which means, and always did mean, “spoliation and murder.”

We will yet have to come to proclaiming this war “a war to the knife,” when no quarter will be asked or granted. I believe it is the only thing which can prevent recruiting at the North. As to ourselves, I think that very few will not admit that death is preferable to dishonour and ruin.

Our great misfortune is, that we have always relied on foreign intervention “and peace in sixty days.” No nation will ever intervene until it is seen that we can maintain alone our independence; that is, until we can no longer require assistance. England is afraid to admit that she cannot do without our cotton, for then she would virtually be in our power. France is unwilling to interfere, for fear of the treachery of the latter. She always remembers her as “la perfide Albion.”

But if France concludes to take Mexico, she will require the alliance of the Southern Confederacy to protect her from Northern aggression. Nations as well as individuals always consult their own interests in any alliance they may form. Hence, our best reliance must be in our “stout hearts and strong arms.”

I have been very unwell for several months, but could not rest until now. I hope shortly to return to duty, with renewed health and vigour. I know not yet to what point I shall be ordered. I hope to do something shortly by taking the offensive with a well-organized army. However, “l’homme propose et Dieu dispose;” hence, I shall go with alacrity wherever I am ordered.

With kind regards, etc., I remain, yours sincerely,

P. G. T. BEAUREGARD.
Gen. WM. E. MARTIN, Pocotaligo, S. C.

SOURCE: Edward Alfred Pollard, Lee and His Lieutenants, p. 255-6

Saturday, February 1, 2020

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, February 12, 1863

(Private and Confidential)
New Orleans, February 12th, 1863.

Dear Sir: Enclosed is General Orders No. 14—in part concerning Plantation supplies, etc.

Also, copy of contract between T. P. May, an intelligent and progressive planter, and white laborers to be employed by him in raising cotton and sugar. It is a great experiment and Mr. May is the man to succeed in it. He is a young man—at heart an Abolitionist, and his plantation is one of the finest in Louisiana.

My late announcement of the commencement of military movements was premature. Everything moves very slowly here. The movement has not actually commenced however.

A force under Weitzel will advance up the Teche. Another force will advance westwardly from Plaquemine on the River. The two forces will meet at New Iberia or St. Martinsville.

Bute la Rose is a lake or wide bayou between Plaquemine and St. Martinsville, and at this point is a rebel battery and fortifications. This will be reduced by the Plaquemine force aided by gunboats.

After the junction of the two forces at or near St. Martinsville a force of 3,000 or 4,000 will be detached and accompany the gunboats up the Atchafalaya bayou to Red River near its mouth.

The Gunboats to be used are those built by Gen. Butler— of very light draft and iron-clad.

You will understand the above statement by reference to the Rebel map I sent you.

Affairs here are not in a prosperous condition. Great dissatisfaction exists in at least some portions of the army. Even Gen. Banks new troops to some extent—and Butler's old troops to a man, would hail Butler's return with enthusiasm. Banks' policy seems to be conciliatory and hesitating. He seems afraid of responsibilities. General Butler is utterly fearless. Several desertions have occurred, by soldiers who wish to be taken and paroled, but this is kept secret here.

It is my opinion that Government has made exchanges too easy. It would be better to allow no exchange of prisoners. Then we should not hear of disgraceful surrenders—or of desertions by men sick of the service. In this and other respects the war should be made sharper and more earnest. The greater advantage of exchanges as now permitted, is in favor of the Rebels, and the disadvantage is our own. Our men will not so easily surrender and rarely desert, if they know they must endure, for the rest of the war, the privations and discomforts of the Confederacy. Now they have every inducement to do both.

Gen. Banks seems to me to be no judge of men. He selects honest subordinates for the most part—but his staff are, generally, green, inexperienced—of little ability—and one or two of them are fit objects of ridicule. Conciliation, inefficiency, inexperience and hesitation characterize all proceedings. There is no use in such criticism, however, when the President himself sends here as his private correspondent a vulgar little scoundrel like Dr. Zachary—who takes bribes and whose only object is to make money.

Personally I like Gen. Banks exceedingly, but a Northern man needs six months experience here in order to be efficient in this peculiar country and .among its peculiar people. Gen. Butler has that experience, and his return would at once change everything for the better.

The nine months men are dissatisfied and demoralized. I think Butler could not only remove such feeling, but make most of them re-enlist. Whatever Butler did, pleased and satisfied the Army, because they had confidence in, and admired him. This is not at all true of Gen. Banks.

The sooner Gen. Butler comes back the better it will be.

In one respect there is a very disagreeable condition of things here. A host of speculators, Jews and camp-followers, came hither in the track of Banks' expedition. They have continued to arrive and every steamer brings an addition to the number. Each expects to be a millionaire in six months. They have few scruples about the means of satisfying their cupidity.

I regard them as natural enemies, and in our constant war, they are generally worsted. The whole crowd, and Dr. Zachary among them, with eager expectancy like wolves about to seize their prey, await the advent of the new collector, who is a good natured man, and supposed to be easily imposed upon.

I think that spies, intriguers, dishonest speculators, and liars are more abundant here now than any where else in America. It seems as if everything must be accomplished by intrigue and management. It was not so three months ago.

In troublous times like these each man of merit has opinions—proclaims them—defends and sustains them, else he is, politically speaking, a "trimmer."

I told Gen. Banks so the other day.

I am not familiar with Banks' political history. Was he ever a Trimmer?

Perhaps he is a conservative! To a friend of mine Gen. Banks the other day declared himself to be neither a proslavery nor anti-slavery man.

What is he then?

I do not know, Mr. Chase, anything about your feelings toward Gen. Banks or any one else, but write always my own opinions without reference to those of others.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 358-60

John M. Forbes to Edward Bates, October 23, 1863

Rosecrans's removal is all right. Poor fellow, his health broke down, and he came near swamping us at Chattanooga. The military situation is all right. People must go on changing their investments into 5-20's until these go above par; so the financial situation is all right.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

A John Brown abolitionist is the United States recruiting officer for Tennessee! so you see the world does move.1
_______________

1 Major George L. Stearns, of Massachusetts. — Ed.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 2, p. 63

Monday, August 12, 2019

Nathaniel Peabody Rogers: The New Hampshire Courier, November 10, 1838

The New Hampshire Courier has a correspondent, “Homo,” out in defence of colonization and against anti-slavery. "Homo" is a man every inch of him, for coming out in black and white. Welcome, good Homo. And thanks to brother Courier (if niggers may be allowed the expression) for giving “Homo” place in his columns. It will take a Homo to maintain the ground — not against us, but against his own readers. But courage, good Homo! — on with your numbers. We have glanced over No. 1, and seen the face of No. 2. Courage! we say. You have no great of a task — not much of a stint—nothing more to encounter than humanity and divinity — and heaven and earth. Cheer, man, the odds are with you.

Welcome, Homo, to the tented field. Abolitionists are tired of fighting intangible enemies. They glory to see one visible and tangible take the plain, and stretch his lines. They rejoice at the unfurling of flags and the glitter of the drawn blade. We will diligently and respectfully peruse “Homo,” and if, by and by, we shall copy any thing unhomogeneous in his appeals to his countrymen, we will give it such essay as our people may. We rejoice that the great rights of humanity are at length being esteemed of sufficient dignity to be argued down.

SOURCE: Collection from the Miscellaneous Writings of Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, Second Edition, p. 47 which states it was published in the Herald of Freedom of November 10, 1838.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Diary of William Howard Russell: July 18, 1861

After breakfast. Leaving head-quarters, I went across to General Mansfield's, and was going up-stairs, when the General* himself, a white-headed, gray-bearded, and rather soldierly-looking man, dashed out of his room in some excitement, and exclaimed, “Mr. Russell, I fear there is bad news from the front.” “Are they fighting, General?” “Yes, sir. That fellow Tyler has been engaged, and we are whipped.” Again I went off to the horse-dealer; but this time the price of the steed had been raised to £220; “for,” says he, “I don't want my animals to be ripped up by them cannon and them musketry, and those who wish to be guilty of such cruelty must pay for it.” At the War-Office, at the Department of State, at the Senate, and at the White House, messengers and orderlies running in and out, military aides, and civilians with anxious faces, betokened the activity and perturbation which reigned within. I met Senator Sumner radiant with joy. “We have obtained a great success; the rebels are falling back in all directions. General Scott says we ought to be in Richmond by Saturday night.” Soon afterwards a United States officer, who had visited me in company with General Meigs, riding rapidly past, called out, “You have heard we are whipped; these confounded volunteers have run away.” I drove to the Capitol, where people said one could actually see the smoke of the cannon; but, on arriving there, it was evident that the fire from some burning houses, and from wood cut down for cooking purposes, had been mistaken for tokens of the fight.

It was strange to stand outside the walls of the Senate whilst legislators were debating inside respecting the best means of punishing the rebels and traitors; and to think that, amidst the dim horizon of woods which bounded the west towards the plains of Manassas, the army of the United States was then contending, at least with doubtful fortune, against the forces of the desperate and hopeless outlaws whose fate these United States senators pretended to hold in the hollow of their hands. Nor was it unworthy of note that many of the tradespeople along Pennsylvania Avenue, and the ladies whom one saw sauntering in the streets, were exchanging significant nods and smiles, and rubbing their hands with satisfaction. I entered one shop, where the proprietor and his wife ran forward to meet me. . . “Have you heard the news? Beauregard has knocked them into a cooked hat.” “Believe me,” said the good lady, “it is the finger of the Almighty is in it. Didn't he curse the niggers, and why should he take their part now with these Yankee Abolitionists, against true white men?” “But how do you know this?” said I. “Why, it's all true enough, depend upon it, no matter how we know it. We've got our underground railway as well as the Abolitionists.”

On my way to dinner at the Legation I met the President crossing Pennsylvania Avenue, striding like a crane in a bulrush swamp among the great blocks of marble, dressed in an oddly cut suit of gray, with a felt hat on the back of his head, wiping his face with a red pocket-handkerchief. He was evidently in a hurry, on his way to the White House, where I believe a telegraph has been established in communication with McDowell's head-quarters. I may mention, by the by in illustration of the extreme ignorance and arrogance which characterize the low Yankee, that a man in the uniform of a colonel said to me to-day, as I was leaving the War Department, “They have just got a telegraph from McDowell. Would it not astonish you Britishers to hear that, as our General moves on towards the enemy, he trails a telegraph wire behind him, just to let them know in Washington which foot he is putting first?” I was imprudent enough to say, “I assure you the use of the telegraph is not such a novelty in Europe or even in India. When Lord Clyde made his campaign, the telegraph was laid in his track as fast as he advanced.” “Oh, well, come now,” quoth the Colonel, “that's pretty good, that is; I believe you'll say next, your General Clyde and our Benjamin Franklin discovered lightning simultaneously.”

The calm of a Legation contrasts wonderfully in troubled times with the excitement and storm of the world outside. M. Mercier perhaps is moved to a vivacious interest in events. M. Stoeckl becomes more animated as the time approaches when he sees the fulfilment of his prophecies at hand. M. Tassara cannot be indifferent to occurrences which bear so directly on the future of Spain in Western seas; but all these diplomatists can discuss the most engrossing and portentous incidents of political and military life, with a sense of calm and indifference which was felt by the gentleman who resented being called out of his sleep to get up out of a burning house because he was only a lodger.

There is no Minister of the European Powers in Washington who watches with so much interest the march of events as Lord Lyons, or who feels as much sympathy perhaps in the Federal Government as the constituted Executive of the country to which he is accredited; but in virtue of his position he knows little or nothing officially of what passes around him, and may be regarded as a medium for the communication of despatches to Mr. Seward, and for the discharge of a great deal of most causeless and unmeaning vituperation from the conductors of the New York press against England.

On my return to Captain Johnson's lodgings I received a note from the head-quarters of the Federals, stating that the serious action between the two armies would probably be postponed for some days. McDowell's original idea was to avoid forcing the enemy's position directly in front, which was defended by movable batteries commanding the fords over a stream called “Bull's Run.” He therefore proposed to make a demonstration on some point near the centre of their line, and at the same time throw the mass of his force below their extreme right, so as to turn it and get possession of the Manassas Railway in their rear; a movement which would separate him, by the by, from his own communications, and enable any General worth his salt to make a magnificent counter by marching on Washington, only 27 miles away, which he could take with the greatest ease, and leave the enemy in the rear to march 120 miles to Richmond, if they dared, or to make a hasty retreat upon the higher Potomac, and to cross into the hostile country of Maryland.

McDowell, however, has found the country on his left densely wooded and difficult. It is as new to him as it was to Braddock, when he cut his wreary way through forest and swamp in this very district to reach, hundreds of miles away, the scene of his fatal repulse at Fort Du Quesne. And so, having moved his whole army, McDowell finds himself obliged to form a new plan of attack, and, prudently fearful of pushing his underdone and over-praised levies into a river in face of an enemy, is endeavoring to ascertain with what chance of success he can attack and turn their left.

Whilst he was engaged in a reconnoissance to-day, General Tyler did one of those things which must be expected from ambitious officers, without any fear of punishment, in countries where military discipline is scarcely known. Ordered to reconnoitre the position of the enemy on the left front, when the army moved from Fairfax to Centreville this morning, General Tyler thrust forward some 3000 or 4000 men of his division down to the very banks of “Bull's Run,” which was said to be thickly wooded, and there brought up his men under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, from which they retired in confusion.

The papers from New York to-night are more than usually impudent and amusing. The retreat of the Confederate outposts from Fairfax Court House is represented as a most extraordinary success; at best it was an affair of outposts; but one would really think that it was a victory of no small magnitude. I learn that the Federal troops behaved in a most ruffianly and lawless manner at Fairfax Court House. It is but a bad beginning of a campaign for the restoration of the Union, to rob, burn, and destroy the property and houses of the people in the State of Virginia. The enemy are described as running in all directions, but it is evident they did not intend to defend the advanced works, which were merely constructed to prevent surprise or cavalry inroads.

I went to Willard's, where the news of the battle, as it was called, was eagerly discussed. One little man in front of the cigar-stand declared it was all an affair of cavalry. “But how could that be among the piney woods and with a river in front, major?” “Our boys, sir, left their horses, crossed the water at a run, and went right away through them with their swords and six-shooters.” “I tell you what it is, Mr. Russell,” said a man who followed me out of the crowd and placed his hand on my shoulder, “they were whipped like curs, and they ran like curs, and I know it.” “How?” “Well, I’d rather be excused telling you.”
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* Since killed in action.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, Vol. 1, p. 427-31