Showing posts with label Servile Insurrection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Servile Insurrection. 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

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Jefferson Davis to the Confederate Congress, January 12, 1863

RICHMOND, January 12, 1863.


At the date of your last adjournment the preparations of the enemy for further hostilities had assumed so menacing an aspect as to excite in some minds apprehension of our ability to meet them with sufficient promptness to avoid serious reverses. These preparations were completed shortly after your departure from the seat of government, and the armies of the United States made simultaneous advance on our frontiers, on the Western rivers, and on the Atlantic Coast, in masses so great as to evince their hope of overbearing all resistance by mere weight of numbers. This hope, however, like those previously entertained by our foes, has vanished. In Virginia their fourth attempt at invasion by armies whose assured success was confidently predicted, has met with decisive repulse. Our noble defenders, under the consummate leadership of their general, have again, at Fredericksburg, inflicted on the forces under General Burnside the like disastrous overthrow as had been previously suffered by the successive invading armies commanded by Generals McDowell, McClellan, and Pope.

In the West obstinate battles have been fought with varying fortunes, marked by frightful carnage on both sides; but the enemy's hopes of decisive results have again been baffled, while at Vicksburg another formidable expedition has been repulsed with considerable loss on our side and severe damage to the assailing forces. On the Atlantic Coast the enemy has been unable to gain a footing beyond the protecting shelter of his fleets, and the city of Galveston has just been recovered by our forces, which succeeded not only in the capture of the garrison, but of one of the enemy's vessels of war, which was carried by boarding parties from merchant river steamers. Our fortified positions have everywhere been much strengthened and improved, affording assurance of our ability to meet with success the utmost efforts of our enemies, in spite of the magnitude of their preparations for attack.

A review of our history during the two years of our national existence affords ample cause for congratulation and demands the most fervent expression of our thankfulness to the Almighty Father, who has blessed our cause. We are justified in asserting, with a pride surely not unbecoming, that these Confederate States have added another to the lessons taught by history for the instruction of man; that they have afforded another example of the impossibility of subjugating a people determined to be free, and have demonstrated that no superiority of numbers or available resources can overcome the resistance offered by such valor in combat, such constancy under suffering, and such cheerful endurance of privation as have been conspicuously displayed by this people in the defense of their rights and liberties. The anticipations with which we entered into the contest have now ripened into a conviction which is not only shared with us by the common opinion of neutral nations, but is evidently forcing itself upon our enemies themselves. If we but mark the history of the present year by resolute perseverance in the path we have hitherto pursued, by vigorous effort in the development of all our resources for defense, and by the continued exhibition of the same unfaltering courage in our soldiers and able conduct in their leaders as have distinguished the past, we have every reason to expect that this will be the closing year of the war. The war, which in its inception was waged for forcing us back into the Union, having failed to accomplish that purpose, passed into a second stage, in which it was attempted to conquer and rule these States as dependent provinces. Defeated in this second design, our enemies have evidently entered upon another, which can have no other purpose than revenge and thirst for blood and plunder of private property. But however implacable they may be, they can have neither the spirit nor the resources required for a fourth year of a struggle uncheered by any hope of success, kept alive solely for the indulgence of mercenary and wicked passions, and demanding so exhaustive an expenditure of blood and money as has hitherto been imposed on their people. The advent of peace will be hailed with joy. Our desire for it has never been concealed. Our efforts to avoid the war, forced on us as it was by the lust of conquest and the insane passions of our foes, are known to mankind. But earnest as has been our wish for peace and great as have been our sacrifices and sufferings during the war, the determination of this people has with each succeeding month become more unalterably fixed to endure any sufferings and continue any sacrifices, however prolonged, until their right to self-government and the sovereignty and independence of these States shall have been triumphantly vindicated and firmly established.

In this connection the occasion seems not unsuitable for some reference to the relations between the Confederacy and the neutral powers of Europe since the separation of these States from the former Union. Four of the States now members of the Confederacy were recognized by name as independent sovereignties in a treaty of peace concluded in the year 1783 with one of the two great maritime powers of Western Europe, and had been, prior to that period, allies in war of the other. In the year 1778 they formed a Union with nine other States under Articles of Confederation. Dissatisfied with that Union, three of them, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, together with eight of the States now members of the United States, seceded from it in 1789, and these eleven seceding States formed a second Union, although by the terms of the Articles of Confederation express provision was made that the first Union should be perpetual. Their right to secede, notwithstanding this provision, was neither contested by the States from which they separated nor made the subject of discussion with any third-power. When at a later period North Carolina acceded to that second Union, and when, still later, the other sovereign States, now members of this Confederacy, became also members of the same Union, it was upon the recognized footing of equal and independent sovereignties, nor had it then entered into the minds of men that sovereign States could be compelled by force to remain members of a confederation into which they had entered of their own free will, if at a subsequent period the defense of their safety and honor should, in their judgment, justify withdrawal. The experience of the past had evinced the futility of any renunciation of such inherent rights, and accordingly the provision for perpetuity contained in the Articles of Confederation of 1778 was omitted in the Constitution of 1789. When, therefore, in 1861 eleven of the States again thought proper, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, to secede from the second Union and to form a third one under an amended constitution, they exercised a right which, being inherent, required no justification to foreign nations, and which international law did not permit them to question. The usages of intercourse between nations do, however, require that official communication be made to friendly powers of all organic changes in the constitution of States, and there was obvious propriety in giving prompt assurance of our desire to continue amicable relations with all mankind. It was under the influence of these considerations that your predecessors, the Provisional Government, took early measures for sending to Europe commissioners charged with the duty of visiting the capitals of the different powers and making arrangements for the opening of more formal diplomatic intercourse. Prior, however, to the arrival abroad of those commissioners the United States had commenced hostilities against the Confederacy by dispatching a secret expedition for the re-enforcement of Fort Sumter, after an express promise to the contrary, and with a duplicity which has been fully unveiled in a former message. They had also addressed communications to the different cabinets of Europe in which they assumed the attitude of being sovereign over this Confederacy, alleging that these independent States were in rebellion against the remaining States of the Union, and threatening Europe with manifestations of their displeasure if it should treat the Confederate States as having an independent existence. It soon became known that these pretensions were not considered abroad to be as absurd as they were known to be at home, nor had Europe yet learned what reliance was to be placed on the official statements of the Cabinet at Washington.

The delegation of power granted by these States to the Federal Government to represent them in foreign intercourse had led Europe into the grave error of supposing that their separate sovereignty and independence had been merged into one common sovereignty, and had ceased to have a distinct existence. Under the influence of this error, which all appeals to reason and historical fact were vainly used to dispel, our commissioners were met by the declaration that foreign governments could not assume to judge between the Conflicting representations of the two parties as to the true nature of their previous mutual relations. The Governments of Great Britain and Franco accordingly signified their determination to confine themselves to recognizing the self-evident fact of the existence of a war, and to maintaining a strict neutrality during its progress. Some of the other powers of Europe pursued the same course of policy, and it became apparent that by some understanding, express or tacit, Europe had decided to leave the initiative in all action touching the contest on this continent to the two powers just named, who were recognized to have the largest interests involved, both by reason of proximity and of the extent and intimacy of their commercial relations with the States engaged in war. It is manifest that the course of action adopted by Europe, while based on an apparent refusal to determine the question, or to side with either party, was in point of fact an actual decision against our rights and in favor of the groundless pretensions of the United States. It was a refusal to treat us as an independent government. If we were independent States the refusal to entertain with us the same international intercourse as was maintained with our enemy was unjust, and was injurious in its effects, whatever may have been the motive which prompted it. Neither was it in accordance with the high moral obligations of that international code whose chief sanction is the conscience of sovereigns and the public opinion of mankind, that those eminent powers should decline the performance of a duty peculiarly incumbent on them from any apprehension of the consequences to themselves. One immediate and necessary result of their declining the responsibility of a decision which must have been adverse to the extravagant pretensions of the United States was the prolongation of hostilities to which our enemies were thereby encouraged, and which have resulted in nothing but scenes of carnage and devastation on this continent, and of misery and suffering on the other, such as have scarcely a parallel in history. Had those powers promptly admitted our right to be treated as all other independent nations, none can doubt that the moral effect of such action would have been to dispel the delusion under which the United States have persisted in their efforts to accomplish our subjugation. To the continued hesitation of the same powers in rendering this act of simple justice toward this Confederacy is still due the continuance of the calamities which mankind suffers from the interruption of its peaceful pursuits, both in the Old and the New World.

There are other matters in which less than justice has been rendered to this people by neutral Europe, and undue advantage conferred on the aggressors in a wicked war. At the inception of hostilities the inhabitants of the Confederacy were almost exclusively agriculturists, those of the United States, to a great extent, mechanics and merchants. We had no commercial marine, while their merchant vessels covered the ocean. We were without a navy, while they had powerful fleets. The advantage which they possessed for inflicting injury on our coasts and harbors was thus counterbalanced in some measure by the exposure of their commerce to attack by private armed vessels. It was known to Europe that within a very few years past the United States had peremptorily refused to accede to proposals for abolishing privateering, on the ground, as alleged by them, that nations owning powerful fleets would thereby obtain undue advantage over those possessing inferior naval forces. Yet no sooner was war flagrant between the Confederacy and the United States than the maritime powers of Europe issued orders prohibiting either party from bringing prizes into their ports. This prohibition, directed with apparent impartiality against both belligerents, was in reality effective against the Confederate States alone, for they alone could find a hostile commerce on the ocean. Merely nominal against the United States, the prohibition operated with intense severity on the Confederacy, by depriving it of the only means of maintaining with some approach to equality its struggle on the ocean against the crushing superiority of naval force possessed by its enemies. The value and efficiency of the weapon which was thus wrested from our grasp by the combined action of neutral European powers in favor of a nation which professes openly its intention of ravaging their commerce by privateers in any future war is strikingly illustrated by the terror inspired among the commercial classes of the United States by a single cruiser of the Confederacy. One national steamer, commanded by officers and manned by a crew who are debarred, by the closure of neutral ports, from the opportunity of causing captured vessels to be condemned in their favor as prizes, has sufficed to double the rates of marine insurance in Northern ports and consign to forced inaction numbers of Northern vessels, in addition to the direct damage inflicted by captures at sea. How difficult, then, to overestimate the effects that must have been produced by the hundreds of private armed vessels that would have swept the seas in pursuit of the commerce of our enemy if the means of disposing of their prizes had not been withheld by the action of neutral Europe.

But it is especially in relation to the so-called blockade of our coast that the policy of European powers has been so shaped as to cause the greatest injury to the Confederacy and to confer signal advantages on the United States. The importance of this subject requires some development. Prior to the year 1856 the principles regulating this subject were to be gathered from the writings of eminent publicists, the decisions of admiralty courts, international treaties, and the usages of nations. The uncertainty and doubt which prevailed in reference to the true rules of maritime law in time of war, resulting from the discordant and often conflicting principles announced from such varied and independent sources, had become a grievous evil to mankind. Whether a blockade was allowable against a port not invested by land as well as by sea; whether a blockade was valid by sea if the investing fleet was merely sufficient to render ingress to the blockaded port "evidently dangerous," or whether it was further required for its legality that it should be sufficient "really to prevent access," and numerous other similar questions had remained doubtful and undecided.

Animated by the highly honorable desire to put an end “to differences of opinion between neutrals and belligerents, which may occasion serious difficulties and even conflicts” (I quote the official language), the five great powers of Europe, together with Sardinia and Turkey, adopted in 1856 the following “solemn declaration” of principles:

1. Privateering is, and remains, abolished.

2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods with the exception of contraband of war.

3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag.

4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective; that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.

Not only did this solemn declaration announce to the world the principles to which the signing powers agreed to conform in future wars, but it contained a clause to which those powers gave immediate effect, and which provided that the states not parties to the Congress of Paris should be invited to accede to the declaration. Under this invitation every independent state in Europe yielded its assent—at least, no instance is known to me of a refusal; and the United States, while declining to assent to the proposition which prohibited privateering, declared that the three remaining principles were in entire accordance with their own views of international law. No instance is known in history of the adoption of rules of public law under circumstances of like solemnity, with like unanimity, and pledging the faith of nations with a sanctity so peculiar.

When, therefore, this Confederacy was formed, and when neutral powers, while deferring action on its demand for admission into the family of nations, recognized it as a belligerent power, Great Britain and France made informal proposals about the same time that their own rights as neutrals should be guaranteed by our acceding as belligerents, to the declaration of principles made by the Congress of Paris. The request was addressed to our sense of justice, and therefore met immediate favorable response in the resolutions of the Provisional Congress of the 13th August, 1861, by which all the principles announced by the Congress of Paris were adopted as the guide of our conduct during the war, with the sole exception of that relative to privateering. As the right to make use of privateers was one in which neutral nations had, as to the present war, no interest; as it was a right which the United States had refused to abandon, and which they remained at liberty to employ against us; as it was a right of which we were already in actual enjoyment, and which we could not be expected to renounce flagrante bello against an adversary possessing an overwhelming superiority of naval forces, it was reserved with entire confidence that neutral nations could not fail to perceive that just reason existed for the reservation. Nor was this confidence misplaced, for the official documents published by the British Government, usually called “Blue Books,” contained the expression of the satisfaction of that Government with the conduct of the officials who conducted successfully the delicate business confided to their charge.

These solemn declarations of principle—this implied agreement between the Confederacy and the two powers just named—have been suffered to remain inoperative against the menaces and outrages on neutral rights committed by the United States with unceasing and progressive arrogance during the whole period of the war. Neutral Europe remained passive when the United States, with a naval force insufficient to blockade effectively the coast of a single State, proclaimed a paper blockade of thousands of miles of coast, extending from the capes of the Chesapeake to those of Florida, and encircling the Gulf of Mexico from Key West to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Compared with this monstrous pretension of the United States, the blockades known in history under the names of the Berlin and Milan decrees and the British orders in council, in the years 1806 and 1807, sink into insignificance. Yet those blockades were justified by the powers that declared them on the sole ground that they were retaliatory; yet those blockades have since been condemned by the publicists of those very powers as violations of international law; yet those blockades evoked angry remonstrances from neutral powers, among which the United States were the most conspicuous; yet those blockades became the chief cause of the war between Great Britain and the United States in 1812; yet those blockades were one of the principal motives that led to the declaration of the Congress of Paris, in 1856, in the fond hope of imposing an enduring check on the very abuse of maritime power which is now renewed by the United States in 1861 and 1862, under circumstances and with features of aggravated wrong without precedent in history.

The records of our State Department contain the evidence of the repeated and formal remonstrances made by this Government to neutral powers against the recognition of this blockade. It has been shown by evidence not capable of contradiction, and which has been furnished in part by the officials of neutral nations, that the few ports of this Confederacy, before which any naval forces at all have been stationed, have been invested so inefficiently that hundreds of entries have been effected into them since the declaration of the blockade; that our enemies have themselves admitted the inefficiency of their blockade in the most forcible manner by repeated official complaints of the sale to us of goods contraband of war, a sale which could not possibly affect their interests if their pretended blockade was sufficient "really to prevent access to our coast;" that they have gone farther and have alleged their inability to render their paper blockade effective as the excuse for the odious barbarity of destroying the entrance to one of our harbors by sinking vessels loaded with stone in the channel; that our commerce with foreign nations has been intercepted, not by effective investment of our ports, nor by the seizure of ships in the attempt to enter them, but by the capture on the high seas of neutral vessels by the cruisers of our enemies whenever supposed to be bound to any point on our extensive coast, without inquiry whether a single blockading vessel was to be found at such point; that blockading vessels have left the ports at which they were stationed for distant expeditions, have been absent for many days, and have returned without notice either of the cessation or renewal of the blockade; in a word, that every prescription of maritime law and every right of neutral nations to trade with a belligerent, under the sanction of principles heretofore universally respected, have been systematically and persistently violated by the United States. Neutral Europe has received our remonstrances and has submitted in almost unbroken silence to all the wrongs that the United States have chosen to inflict on its commerce. The Cabinet of Great Britain, however, has not confined itself to such implied acquiescence in these breaches of international law as results from simple inaction, but has, in a published dispatch of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, assumed to make a change in the principle enunciated by the Congress of Paris, to which the faith of the British Government was considered to be pledged; a change too important and too prejudicial to the interests of the Confederacy to be overlooked, and against which I have directed solemn protest to be made, after a vain attempt to obtain satisfactory explanations from the British Government. In a published dispatch from Her Majesty's Foreign Office to her minister at Washington under the date of 11th February, 1862, occurs the following passage:

Her Majesty's Government, however, are of opinion that, assuming that the blockade was duly notified, and also that a number of ships are stationed and remain at the entrance of a port sufficient really to prevent access to it, or to create an evident danger of entering it or leaving it, and that these ships do not voluntarily permit ingress or egress, the fact that various ships may have successfully escaped through it (as in the particular instance here referred to) will not of itself prevent the blockade from being an effectual one by international law.

The words which I have italicized are an addition made by the British Government of its own authority to a principle the exact terms of which were settled with deliberation by the common consent of civilized nations and by implied convention with this Government, as already explained, and their effect is clearly to reopen to the prejudice of the Confederacy one of the very disputed questions on the law of blockade which the Congress of Paris professed to settle. The importance of this change is readily illustrated by taking one of our ports as an example. There is "evident danger" in entering the port of Wilmington from the presence of a blockading force, and by this test the blockade is effective. "Access is not really prevented" by the blockading fleet to the same port, for steamers are continually arriving and departing, so that tried by this test the blockade is ineffective and invalid. The justice of our complaint on this point is so manifest as to leave little room for doubt that further reflection will induce the British Government to give us such assurances as will efface the painful impressions that would result from its language if left unexplained.

From the foregoing remarks you will perceive that during nearly two years of struggle, in which every energy of our country has been evoked for maintaining its very existence, the neutral nations of Europe have pursued a policy which, nominally impartial, has been practically most favorable to our enemies and most detrimental to us. The exercise of the neutral right of refusing entry into their ports to prizes taken by both belligerents was eminently hurtful to the Confederacy. It was sternly asserted and maintained. The exercise of the neutral right of commerce with a belligerent whose ports are not blockaded by fleets sufficient really to prevent access to them would have been eminently hurtful to the United States. It was complacently abandoned. The duty of neutral states to receive with cordiality and recognize with respect any new confederation that independent states may think proper to form was too clear to admit of denial, but its postponement was eminently beneficial to the United States and detrimental to the Confederacy. It was postponed.

In this review of our relations with the neutral nations of Europe it has been my purpose to point out distinctly that this Government has no complaint to make that those nations declared their neutrality. It could neither expect nor desire more. The complaint is that the neutrality has been rather nominal than real, and that recognized neutral rights have been alternately asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us, and to confer signal advantages on our enemy.

I have hitherto refrained from calling to your attention this condition of our relations with foreign powers for various reasons. The chief of these was the fear that a statement of our just grounds of complaint against a course of policy so injurious to our interests might be misconstrued into an appeal for aid. Unequal as we were in mere numbers and available resources to our enemies, we were conscious of powers of resistance, in relation to which Europe was incredulous, and our remonstrances were therefore peculiarly liable to be misunderstood. Proudly self-reliant, the Confederacy knowing full well the character of the contest into which it was forced, with full trust in the superior qualities of its population, the superior valor of its soldiers, the superior skill of its generals, and above all in the justice of its cause, felt no need to appeal for the maintenance of its rights to other earthly aids, and it began and has continued this struggle with the calm confidence ever inspired in those who, with consciousness of right, can invoke the Divine blessing on their cause. This confidence has been so assured that we have never yielded to despondency under defeat, nor do we feel undue elation at the present brighter prospect of successful issue to our contest. It is, therefore, because our just grounds of complaint can no longer be misinterpreted that I lay them clearly before you. It seems to me now proper to give you the information, and, although no immediate results may be attained, it is well that truth should be preserved and recorded. It is well that those who are to follow us should understand the full nature and character of the tremendous conflict in which the blood of our people has been poured out like water, and in which they have resisted, unaided, the shock of hosts which would have sufficed to overthrow many of the powers which, by their hesitation in according our rights as an independent nation, imply doubt of our ability to maintain our national existence. It may be, too, that if in future times unfriendly discussions not now anticipated shall unfortunately arise between this Confederacy and some European power, the recollection of our forbearance under the grievances which I have enumerated may be evoked with happy influence in preventing any serious disturbance of peaceful relations.

It would not be proper to close my remarks on the subject of our foreign relations without adverting to the fact that the correspondence between the Cabinets of France, Great Britain, and Russia, recently published, indicate a gratifying advance in the appreciation by those Governments of the true interests of mankind as involved in the war on this continent. It is to the enlightened ruler of the French nation that the public feeling of Europe is indebted for the first official exhibition of its sympathy for the sufferings endured by this people with so much heroism, of its horror at the awful carnage with which the progress of the war has been marked, and of its desire for a speedy peace. The clear and direct intimation contained in the language of the French note, that our ability to maintain our independence has been fully established, was not controverted by the answer of either of the Cabinets to which it was addressed. It is indeed difficult to conceive a just ground for a longer delay on this subject after reading the following statement of facts contained in the letter emanating from the minister of His Imperial Majesty:

There has been established, from the very beginning of this war, an equilibrium of forces between the belligerents, which has since been almost constantly maintained, and after the spilling of so much blood they are to-day in this respect in a situation which has not sensibly changed. Nothing authorizes the prevision that more decisive military operations will shortly occur. According to the last advices received in Europe, the two armies were, on the contrary, in a condition which permitted neither to hope within a short delay advantages sufficiently marked to turn the balance definitely and to accelerate the conclusion of peace.

As this Government has never professed the intention of conquering the United States, but has simply asserted its ability to defend itself against being conquered by that power, we may safely conclude that the claims of this Confederacy to its just place in the family of nations cannot long be withheld, after so frank and formal an admission of its capacity to cope on equal terms with its aggressive foes, and to maintain itself against their attempts to obtain decisive results by arms.

It is my painful duty again to inform you of the renewed examples of every conceivable atrocity committed by the armed forces of the United States at different points within the Confederacy, and which must stamp indelible infamy not only on the perpetrators but on their superiors, who, having the power to check these outrages on humanity, numerous and well authenticated as they have been, have not yet in a single instance of which I am aware inflicted punishment on the wrong-doers. Since my last communication to you one General McNeil murdered seven prisoners of war in cold blood, and the demand for his punishment has remained unsatisfied. The Government of the United States, after promising examination and explanation in relation to the charges made against General Benjamin F. Butler, has by its subsequent silence, after repeated efforts on my part to obtain some answer on the subject, not only admitted his guilt but sanctioned it by acquiescence, and I have accordingly branded this criminal as an outlaw, and directed his execution in expiation of his crimes if he should fall into the hands of any of our forces. Recently I have received apparently authentic intelligence of another general by the name of Milroy, who has issued orders in Western Virginia for the payment of money to him by the inhabitants, accompanied by the most savage threats of shooting every recusant, besides burning his house, and threatening similar atrocities against any of our citizens who shall fail to betray their country by giving him prompt notice of the approach of any of our forces, and this subject has also been submitted to the superior military authorities of the United States with but faint hope that they will evince any disapprobation of the act. Humanity shudders at the appalling atrocities which are being daily multiplied under the sanction of those who have obtained temporary possession of power in the United States, and who are fast making its once fair name a byword of reproach among civilized men. Not even the natural indignation inspired by this conduct should make us, however, so unjust as to attribute to the whole mass of the people who are subjected to the despotism that now reigns with unbridled license in the city of Washington a willing acquiescence in its conduct of the war. There must necessarily exist among our enemies very many, perhaps a majority, whose humanity recoils from all participation in such atrocities, but who cannot be held wholly guiltless while permitting their continuance without an effort at repression.

The public journals of the North have been received, containing a proclamation, dated on the 1st day of the present month, signed by the President of the United States, in which he orders and declares all slaves within ten of the States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found within certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy. We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation “to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense.” Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall, unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient, deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these crimes, and shall direct their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual parole.

In its political aspect this measure possesses great significance, and to it in this light I invite your attention. It affords to our whole people the complete and crowning proof of the true nature of the designs of the party which elevated to power the present occupant of the Presidential chair at Washington and which sought to conceal its purposes by every variety of artful device and by the perfidious use of the most solemn and repeated pledges on every possible occasion. I extract in this connection as a single example the following declaration, made by President Lincoln under the solemnity of his oath as Chief Magistrate of the United States, on the 4th of March, 1861:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehensions. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and have never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance and as a law to themselves and to me the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

"Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest crimes."

Nor was this declaration of the want of power or disposition to interfere with our social system confined to a state of peace. Both before and after the actual commencement of hostilities the President of the United States repeated in formal official communication to the Cabinets of Great Britain and France that he was utterly without constitutional power to do the act which he has just committed, and that in no possible event, whether the secession of these States resulted in the establishment of a separate Confederacy or in the restoration of the Union, was there any authority by virtue of which he could either restore a disaffected State to the Union by force of arms or make any change in any of its institutions. I refer especially for verification of this assertion to the dispatches addressed by the Secretary of State of the United States, under direction of the President, to the ministers of the United States at London and Paris, under date of 10th and 22d of April, 1861.

The people of this Confederacy, then, cannot fail to receive this proclamation as the fullest vindication of their own sagacity in foreseeing the uses to which the dominant party in the United States intended from the beginning to apply their power, nor can they cease to remember with devout thankfulness that it is to their own vigilance in resisting the first stealthy progress of approaching despotism that they owe their escape from consequences now apparent to the most skeptical. This proclamation will have another salutary effect in calming the fears of those who have constantly evinced the apprehension that this war might end by some reconstruction of the old Union or some renewal of close political relations with the United States. These fears have never been shared by me, nor have I ever been able to perceive on what basis they could rest. But the proclamation affords the fullest guarantee of the impossibility of such a result; it has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three possible consequences—the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population from the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States.

This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the South by force of arms, and as such must be accepted by neutral nations, which can no longer find any justification in withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also in effect an intimation to the people of the North that they must prepare to submit to a separation, now become inevitable, for that people are too acute not to understand that a restoration of the Union has been rendered forever impossible by the adoption of a measure which from its very nature neither admits of retraction nor can coexist with union.

Among the subjects to which your attention will be specially devoted during the present session you will no doubt deem the adoption of some comprehensive system of finance as being of paramount importance. The increasing public debt, the great augmentation in the volume of the currency, with its necessary concomitant of extravagant prices for all articles of consumption, the want of revenue from a taxation adequate to support the public credit, all unite in admonishing us that energetic and wise legislation alone can prevent serious embarrassment in our monetary affairs. It is my conviction that the people of the Confederacy will freely meet taxation on a scale adequate to the maintenance of the public credit and the support of their Government. When each family is sending forth its most precious ones to meet exposure in camp and death in battle, what ground can there be to doubt the disposition to devote a tithe of its income, and more, if more be necessary, to provide the Government with means for insuring the comfort of its defenders? If our enemies submit to an excise on every commodity they produce and to the daily presence of the tax-gatherer, with no higher motive than the hope of success in their wicked designs against us, the suggestion of an unwillingness on the part of this people to submit to the taxation necessary for the success of their defense is an imputation on their patriotism that few will be disposed to make and that none can justify.

The legislation of your last session, intended to hasten the funding of outstanding Treasury notes, has proved beneficial, as shown by the returns annexed to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. But it was neither sufficiently prompt nor far-reaching to meet the full extent of the evil. The passage of some enactment carrying still further the policy of that law by fixing a limitation not later than the 1st of July next to the delay allowed for funding the notes issued prior to the 1st of December, 1862, will, in the opinion of the Secretary, have the effect to withdraw from circulation nearly the entire sum issued previous to the last-named date. If to this be added a revenue from adequate taxation, and a negotiation of bonds guaranteed proportionately by the several States, as has already been generously proposed by some of them in enactments spontaneously adopted, there is little doubt that we shall see our finances restored to a sound and satisfactory condition, our circulation relieved of the redundancy now productive of so many mischiefs, and our credit placed on such a basis as to relieve us from further anxiety relative to our resources for the prosecution of the war.

It is true that at its close our debt will be large; but it will be due to our own people, and neither the interest nor the capital will be exported to distant countries, impoverishing ours for their benefit. On the return of peace the untold wealth which will spring from our soil will render the burden of taxation far less onerous than is now supposed, especially if we take into consideration that we shall then be free from the large and steady drain of our substance to which we were subjected in the late Union through the instrumentality of sectional legislation and protective tariffs.

I recommend to your earnest attention the whole report* of the Secretary of the Treasury on this important subject, and trust that your legislation on it will be delayed no longer than may be required to enable your wisdom to devise the proper measures for insuring the accomplishment of the objects proposed.

The operations of the War Department have been in the main satisfactory. In the report of the Secretary, herewith submitted, will be found a summary of many memorable successes. They are with justice ascribed in large measure to the reorganization and re-enforcement of our armies under the operation of the enactments for conscription. The wisdom and efficacy of these acts have been approved by results, and the like spirit of unity, endurance, and self-devotion in the people, which has hitherto sustained their action, must be relied on to assure their enforcement under the continuing necessities of our situation. The recommendations of the Secretary to this effect are tempered by suggestions for their amelioration, and the subject deserves the consideration of Congress. For the perfection of our military organization no appropriate means should be rejected, and on this subject the opinions of the Secretary merit early attention. It is gratifying to perceive that under all the efforts and sacrifices of war the power, means, and resources of the Confederacy for its successful prosecution are increasing. Dependence on foreign supplies is to be deplored, and should, as far as practicable, be obviated by the development and employment of internal resources. The peculiar circumstances of the country, however, render this difficult and require extraordinary encouragements and facilities to be granted by the Government. The embarrassments resulting from the limited capacity of the railroads to afford transportation and the impossibility of otherwise commanding and distributing the necessary supplies for the armies render the control of the roads under some general supervision and resort to the power of impressment military exigencies. While such powers have to be exercised, they should be guarded by judicious provisions against perversion or abuse and be, as recommended by the Secretary, under due regulation of law.

I specially recommend in this connection some revision of the exemption law of last session. Serious complaints have reached me of the inequality of its operation from eminent and patriotic citizens, whose opinions merit great consideration, and I trust that some means will be devised for leaving at home a sufficient local police without making discriminations, always to be deprecated, between different classes of our citizens.

Our relations with the Indians generally continue to be friendly. A portion of the Cherokee people have assumed an attitude hostile to the Confederate Government, but it is gratifying to be able to state that the mass of intelligence and worth in that nation have remained true and loyal to their treaty engagements. With this exception there have been no important instances of disaffection among any of the friendly nations and tribes. Dissatisfaction recently manifested itself among certain portions of them, but this resulted from a misapprehension of the intentions of the Government in their behalf. This has been removed and no further difficulty is anticipated.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy, herewith transmitted, exhibits the progress made in this branch of the public service since your adjournment as well as its present condition. The details embraced in it are of such a nature as to render it, in my opinion, incompatible with the public interests that they should be published with this message. I therefore confine myself to inviting your attention to the information therein contained.

The report of the Postmaster-General shows that during the first postal year under our Government, terminating on the 30th of June last, our revenues were in excess of those received by the former Government in its last postal year, while the expenses were greatly decreased. There is still, however, a considerable deficit in the revenues of the Department as compared with its expenses, and although the grants already made from the general Treasury will suffice to cover all liabilities to the close of the fiscal year ending on the 30th of June next, I recommend some legislation, if any can be constitutionally devised, for aiding the revenues of that Department during the ensuing fiscal year, in order to avoid too great a reduction of postal facilities. Your attention is also invited to numerous other improvements in the service recommended in the report, and for which legislation is required.

I recommend to the Congress to devise a proper mode of relief to those of our citizens whose property has been destroyed by order of the Government, in pursuance of a policy adopted as a means of national defense. It is true that full indemnity cannot now be made, but some measure of relief is due to those patriotic citizens who have borne private loss for the public good, whose property in effect has been taken for public use, though not directly appropriated.

Our Government, born of the spirit of freedom and of the equality and independence of the States, could not have survived a selfish or jealous disposition, making each only careful of its own interest or safety. The fate of the Confederacy, under the blessing of Divine Providence, depends upon the harmony, energy, and unity of the States. It especially devolves on you, their representatives, as far as practicable, to reform abuses, to correct errors, to cultivate fraternity, and to sustain in the people a just confidence in the Government of their choice. To that confidence and to the unity and self-sacrificing patriotism hitherto displayed is due the success which has marked the unequal contest, and has brought our country into a condition at the present time such as the most sanguine would not have ventured to predict at the commencement of our struggle. Our armies are larger, better disciplined, and more thoroughly armed and equipped than at any previous period of the war. The energies of a whole nation devoted to the single object of success in this war have accomplished marvels, and many of our trials have, by a beneficent Providence, been converted into blessings. The magnitude of the perils which we encountered have developed the true qualities and illustrated the heroic character of our people, thus gaining for the Confederacy from its birth a just appreciation from the other nations of the earth. The injuries resulting from the interruption of foreign commerce have received compensation by the development of our internal resources. Cannon crown our fortresses that were cast from the products of mines opened and furnaces built during the war. Our mountain caves yield much of the niter for the manufacture of powder, and promise increase of product. From our own foundries and laboratories, from our own armories and workshops, we derive in a great measure the warlike material, the ordnance and ordnance stores which are expended so profusely in the numerous and desperate engagements that rapidly succeed each other. Cotton and woolen fabrics, shoes and harness, wagons and gun carriages are produced in daily increasing quantities by the factories springing into existence. Our fields, no longer whitened by cotton that cannot be exported, are devoted to the production of cereals and the growth of stock formerly purchased with the proceeds of cotton. In the homes of our noble and devoted women, without whose sublime sacrifices our success would have been impossible, the noise of the loom and of the spinning wheel may be heard throughout the land. With hearts swelling with gratitude let us, then, join in returning thanks to God, and in beseeching the continuance of His protecting care over our cause and the restoration of peace with its manifold blessings to our beloved country.


* See January 10, p. 309
See January 3, p. 279

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series IV, Volume 2 (Serial No. 129), p. 336-50

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

John Brown’s Last Speech, November 2, 1859

I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say.

In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, — the design on my part to free the slaves. I intended certainly to have made a clean thing of that matter, as I did last winter, when I went into Missouri and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moved them through the country, and finally left them in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again, on a larger scale.1 That was all I intended. I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.

I have another objection: and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), — had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, — either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, — and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.” I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say, I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done — as I have always freely admitted I have done — in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, — I submit; so let it be done!

Let me say one word further.

I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial. Considering all the circumstances, it has been more generous than I expected. But I feel no consciousness of guilt. I have stated from the first what was my intention, and what was not. I never had any design against the life of any person, nor any disposition to commit treason, or excite slaves to rebel, or make any general insurrection. I never encouraged any man to do so, but always discouraged any idea of that kind.

Let me say, also, a word in regard to the statements made by some of those connected with me. I hear it has been stated by some of them that I have induced them to join me. But the contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them, but as regretting their weakness. There is not one of them but joined me of his own accord, and the greater part of them at their own expense. A number of them I never saw, and never had a word of conversation with, till the day they came to me; and that was for the purpose I have stated.

Now I have done.

1 In explanation of this passage, Brown three weeks afterward handed to Mr. Hunter this letter:

SOURCES: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 584-5

Friday, February 23, 2018

Gerrit Smith, August 27, 1859

It is, perhaps, too late to bring slavery to an end by peaceable means, — too late to vote it down. For many years I have feared, and published my fears, that it must go out in blood. These fears have grown into belief. So debanched are the white people by slavery that there is not virtue enough left in them to put it down. If I do not misinterpret the words and looks of the most intelligent and noble of the black men who fall in my way, they have come to despair of the accomplishment of this work by the white people. The feeling among the blacks that they must deliver themselves gains strength with fearful rapidity. No wonder, then, is it that intelligent black men in the States and in Canada should see no hope for their race in the practice and policy of white men. . . . Whoever he may be that foretells the horrible end of American slavery is held both at the North and the South to be a lying prophet, — another Cassandra. The South would not respect her own Jefferson's prediction of servile insurrection; how then can it be hoped that she will respect another's? . . . And is it entirely certain that these insurrections will be put down promptly, and before they can have spread far? Will telegraphs and railroads be too swift for even the swiftest insurrections? Remember that telegraphs and railroads can be rendered useless in an hour. Remember too that many who would be glad to face the insurgents would be busy in transporting their wives and daughters to places where they would be safe from that worst fate which husbands and fathers can imagine for their wives and daughters. I admit that but for this embarrassment Southern men would laugh at the idea of an insurrection, and would quickly dispose of one. But trembling as they would for beloved ones, I know of no part of the world where, so much as in the South, men would be like, in a formidable insurrection, to lose the most important time, and be distracted and panic-stricken.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 544

Saturday, January 20, 2018

John H. Hill to William Still, January 5, 1857

Hamilton, Jan. 5th, 1857.

Mr. STILL:— Our Pappers contains long details of insurrectionary movements among the slaves at the South and one paper adds that a great Nomber of Generals, Captains with other officers had being arrested. At this day four years ago I left Petersburg for Richmond to meet the man whom called himself my master, but he wanted money worser that day than I do this day, he took me to sell me, he could not have done a better thing for me for I intended to leave any how by the first convaiance. I hard some good Prayers put up for the suffers on last Sunday evening in the Baptist Church. New friend still I beleve that Prayers affects great good, but I beleve that the fire and sword would affect more good in this case. Perhaps this is not your thoughts, but I must acknowledge this to be my Polacy. The world are being turned upside down, and I think we might as well take an active part in it as not. We must have something to do as other people, and I hope this moment among the Slaves are the beginning. I wants to see something go on while I live.

Yours truly,
John H. Hill.

SOURCES: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 200

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 11, 1863

After all the applications of the railroad companies when Gen. Lee was in Pennsylvania, and the enemy had withdrawn from this side of the Potomac, it appears that the fine iron on the road from Fredericksburg to Aquia Creek was not removed! Mr. Seddon's subordinates must answer for this. The iron was wanted more than anything else but men. The want of men cannot be alleged for not securing it, because the railroad companies would have procured negroes enough for its removal.

Well, the first of August has passed, and the grand scheme of the War Office at Washington of a general servile insurrection did not take place. On the contrary, a large army of slaves might be organized to fight for their masters.

To-day, it must be confessed, I saw some of the booty (if, indeed, it was not fairly bought) of the recent invasion of the North. A number of boxes of fine stationery, brought from Carlisle, Chambersburg, etc., were opened at the War Department.

There is a controversy between the Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary, and Attorney-General on one side, and the Commissary-General, Col. L, B. Northrop, on the other. It appears that one of the assistant commissaries exchanged sugar for flour and rice in Alabama with a merchant or speculator, and then, after the lapse of a month or so, impressed the sugar. The party got the Attorney-General's opinion in his behalf, which was approved by the Assistant Secretary of War, and the Secretary issued an order for the release of the sugar. In response to this, Col. N. rebuts the arguments of the whole three (lawyers) by saying it is not good sense to exempt anything, under any circumstances, from impressment, when needed to carry on the war; and that the way to success is to do justice to the whole country — and not to please the people. A palpable hit at the politicians. He says if the Secretary insists on the sugar being released, it will be done against his (N.'s) judgment.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 10

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Joint Resolutions Adopted By the Confederate Congress on the Subject of Retaliation, April 30-May 1, 1863.

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America in response to message of the President transmitted to Congress at the commencement of the present session, That in the opinion of Congress the commissioned officers of the enemy ought not to be delivered to the authorities of the respective States as suggested in the said message, but all captives taken by the Confederate forces ought to be dealt with and disposed of by the Confederate Government.

2. That in the judgment of Congress the proclamations of the President of the United States dated respectively September 22, 1862, and January 1, 1863, and the other measures of the Government of the United States and of its authorities, commanders and forces designed or tending to emancipate slaves in the Confederate States or to abduct such slaves or to incite them to insurrection, or to employ negroes in war against the Confederate States or to overthrow the institution of African slavery and bring on a servile war in these States would if successful produce atrocious consequences, and they are inconsistent with the spirit of those usages which in modern warfare prevail among civilized nations; they may therefore be properly and lawfully repressed by retaliation.

3. That in every case wherein during the present war any violation of the laws or usages of war among civilized nations shall be or has been done and perpetrated by those acting under the authority of the Government of the United States on the persons or property of citizens of the Confederate States or of those under the protection or in the land or naval service of the Confederate States or of any State of the Confederacy the President of the Confederate States is hereby authorized to cause full and ample retaliation to be made for every such violation, in such manner and to such extent as he may think proper.

4. That every white person being a commissioned officer or acting as such who during the present war shall command negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate States or who shall arm, train, organize or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate States or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise, attack or conflict in such service shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection, and shall if captured be put to death or be otherwise punished at the discretion of the court.

5. Every person being a commissioned officer or acting as such in the service of the enemy who shall during the present war excite or attempt to excite or cause to be excited a servile insurrection or who shall incite or cause to be incited a slave to rebel shall if captured be put to death or be otherwise punished at the discretion of the court.

6. Every person charged with an offense punishable under the preceding resolution shall during the present war be tried before the military court attached to the army or corps by the troops of which he shall have been captured or by such other military court as the President may direct and in such manner and under such regulations as the President shall prescribe; and after conviction the President may commute the punishment in such manner and on such terms as he may deem proper.

7. All negroes and mulattoes who shall be engaged in war or be taken in arms against the Confederate States or shall give aid or comfort to the enemies of the Confederate States shall when captured in the Confederate States be delivered to the authorities of the State or States in which they shall be captured to be dealt with according to the present or future law of such State or States.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate.

Approved May 1, 1863.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series II, Volume 5 (Serial No. 118), p. 940-1; Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, Volume 6, 486-7.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 9, 1863

There is rumor that the President has received bad news from the West. This may be without foundation; but it is a little strange that we are not in receipt of authentic accounts of transactions there. Time, however, will reveal all things.

Lee is “marching on,” Northward, utterly regardless of the demonstrations of Hooker on the Lower Rappahannock. This is a good omen; for no doubt the demonstrations are designed merely to arrest his advance. Lee has, perhaps, 70,000 fighting men with him — leaving some 15,000 behind to defend Richmond.

The people in the “Northern Neck” have been much harassed by the incursions of the invaders. I clip the following account from the Whig of this date:

“Nearly every house was visited, and by deceptive artifices, such as disguising themselves in Confederate gray clothes, stolen, or otherwise surreptitiously obtained, they imposed themselves upon our credulous and unsuspecting people; excited their sympathies by pretending to be wounded Confederate soldiers — won their confidence, and offered to hide their horses and take care of them for them, to prevent the Yankees from taking them, who, they said, were coming on. They thus succeeded in making many of our people an easy prey to their rapacity and cunning. In this foray, they abducted about 1000 negroes, captured from 500 to 700 horses and mules, a large number of oxen, carriages, buggies and wagons — stole meat, destroyed grain, and robbed gentlemen, in the public road, of gold watches and other property. There are some instances related of personal indignity and violence. They returned with their spoils to camp, after a week devoted by them in the Northern Neck, among our unhappy people, to the highly civilized, brave, and chivalrous exploits of theft, robbery, and almost every species of felony committed upon a defenseless, unarmed, and helpless population — chiefly consisting of women and children! It was an easy achievement — a proud conquest — the more glorious to the noble and heroic Yankee, because stained with crime and won without danger to his beastly carcass.”

This is but a fair specimen of their conduct whenever they have been permitted to devastate the country with impunity.

A few days ago I addressed a letter to the Secretary of War, suggesting that the department encourage voluntary organizations of non-conscripts for local defense, and that they be armed with every superfluous musket that the government may possess. If this be done, the army will not be so much embarrassed by vehement calls to protect the people from raids everywhere; and in the event of serious disaster, the people would still make resistance. But an unarmed people would have no alternative but submission. This plan would also effectually prevent servile insurrections, etc.

To-day I received the reply, saying it would be done. But will the arms be distributed among them?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 343-4

Friday, July 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 30, 1863

The newspapers have a dispatch, to-day, from Jackson, Miss., which says the enemy have fallen back from the position lately occupied by them in front of Vicksburg. It adds, that they will be forced to retire to the Big Black River, for want of water. Gen. G. A. Smith, who is here, and who resigned because he was not made lieutenant-general instead of Pemberton, says he “don't know how to read this dispatch.” Nevertheless, it is generally believed, and affords much relief to those who appreciate the importance of Vicksburg.

Mr. Botts was offered $500 in Confederate States notes, the other day, for a horse. He said he would sell him for $250 in gold, but would not receive Confederate notes, as the South would certainly be conquered, and it was merely a question of time. This information was communicated to the Secretary of War to-day, but he will attach no importance to it.

Among the papers sent in by the President, to-day, was a communication from Gov. Vance, of North Carolina, inclosing a letter from Augustus S. Montgomery, of Washington City, to Major Gen. Foster, Newbern, N. C., found in a steamer, captured the other day by our forces, in Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, It informed Gen. F. that a plan of servile insurrection had been adopted, and urged his co-operation. All the Yankee generals in the South would co-operate: they were to send smart negroes from the camps among the slaves, with instructions to rise simultaneously at night of the 1st August. They were to seize and destroy all railroad bridges, cut the telegraph wires, etc., and then retire into the swamps, concealing themselves until relieved by Federal troops. It is said they were to be ordered to shed no blood, except in self-defense, and they were not to destroy more private g property than should be unavoidable. The writer said the corn would be in the roasting-ear, and the hogs would be running at large, so that the slaves could easily find subsistence.

The President thanked Gov. Vance for this information, and said our generals would be made acquainted with this scheme; and he commended the matter to the special attention of the Secretary of War, who sent it to Gen. Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 336-7

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 14, 1863

We have been beaten in an engagement near Jackson, Miss., 4000 retiring before 10,000. This is a dark cloud over the hopes of patriots, for Vicksburg is seriously endangered. Its fall would be the worst blow we have yet received.

Papers from New York and Philadelphia assert most positively, and with circumstantiality, that Hooker recrossed the Rappahannock since the battle, and is driving Lee toward Richmond, with which his communications have been interrupted. But this is not all: they say Gen. Keyes marched a column up the Peninsula, and took Richmond itself, over the Capitol of which the Union flag “is now flying.” These groundless statements will go out to Europe, and may possibly delay our recognition. If so, what may be the consequences when the falsehood is exposed? I doubt the policy of any species of dishonesty.

Gov. Shorter, of Alabama, demands the officers of Forrest's captives for State trial, as they incited the slaves to insurrection.

Mr. S. D. Allen writes from Alexandria, La., that the people despair of defending the Mississippi Valley with such men as Pemberton and other hybrid Yankees in command. He denounces the action also of quartermasters and commissaries in the Southwest.

A letter from Hon. W. Porcher Miles to the Secretary of War gives an extract from a communication written him by Gen. Beauregard, to the effect that Charleston must at last fall into the hands of the enemy, if an order which has been sent there, for nearly all his troops to proceed to Vicksburg, be not revoked. There are to be left for the defense of Charleston only 1500 exclusive of the garrisons!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 324

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: March 22, 1863

It was thawing all night, and there is a heavy fog this morning. The snow will disappear in a few days.

A very large number of slaves, said to be nearly 40,000, have been collected by the enemy on the Peninsula and at adjacent points, for the purpose, it is supposed, of co-operating with Hooker's army in the next attempt to capture Richmond.

The snow has laid an embargo on the usual slight supplies brought to market, and all who had made no provision for such a contingency are subsisting on very short-commons. Corn-meal is selling at from $6 to $8 per bushel. Chickens $5 each. Turkeys $20. Turnip greens $8 per bushel. Bad bacon $1.50 per pound. Bread 20 cts. per loaf. Flour $38 per barrel,—and other things in proportion. There are some pale faces seen in the streets from deficiency of food; but no beggars, no complaints. We are all in rags, especially our underclothes. This for liberty!

The Northern journals say we have negro regiments on the Rappahannock and in the West. This is utterly untrue. We have no armed slaves to fight for us, nor do we fear a servile insurrection. We are at no loss, however, to interpret the meaning of such demoniac misrepresentations. It is to be seen of what value the negro regiments employed against us will be to the invader.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 278

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Governor John A. Andrew to Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler, April 25, 1861

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Council Chamber,
BosToN, Apr. 25, '61

GENERAL: I have received through Major Ames a despatch transmitted from Perryville, detailing the proceedings at Annapolis from the time of your arrival off that port until the hour when Major Ames left you to return to Philadelphia. I wish to repeat the assurance of my entire satisfaction with the action you have taken with a single exception. If I rightly understood the telegraphic despatch, I think that your action in tendering to Governor Hicks the assistance of our Massachusetts troops to suppress a threatened servile insurrection among the hostile people of Maryland was unnecessary. I hope that the fuller despatches, which are on their way from you, may show the reasons why I should modify my opinion concerning that particular instance; but in general I think that the matter of servile insurrection among the community in arms against the Federal Union is no longer to be regarded by our troops in a political, but solely in a military point of view, and is to be contemplated as one of the inherent weaknesses of the enemy, from the disastrous operations of which we are under no obligation of a military character to guard them, in order that they may be enabled to improve the security which our arms would afford, so as to prosecute with more energy their traitorous attacks upon a federal government and capitol. The mode in which such outbreaks are to be considered should depend entirely upon the loyalty or disloyalty of the community in which they occur; and, in the vicinity of Annapolis, I can on this occasion perceive no reason of military policy why a force summoned to the defence of the federal government, at this moment of all others, should be offered to be diverted from its immediate duty to help rebels who stand with arms in their hands, obstructing its progress toward the city of Washington. I entertain no doubt that whenever we shall have an opportunity to interchange our views personally on this subject we shall arrive at entire concordance of opinion.

Yours faithfully,
John A. ANDREw

SOURCE: Jessie Ames Marshall, Editor, Private and Official Correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler During the Period of the Civil War, Volume 1: April 1860 – June 1862, p. 37-8