Showing posts with label The Cause of the War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Cause of the War. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jonathan Worth to T. C. and B. G. Worth, May 13, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 13, 1861.

There are few men in so unhappy a frame of mind as myself. If I could believe there was a prominent man in the nation, urging and controlling either of the sections; of real probity and honor and fair-mind, uninfluenced by selfish ends, I could find in this conviction some consolation. If I could see beyond the conclusion of the present strife any probability of the re-establishment of a wholesome state and government, either republican or monarchical, it would give me some relief, however much blood and treasure it might cost. The petty monarchies or republics which must spring up on the establishment of the doctrine of secession and the overthrow of Washington's popular idea of a united government, must involve the European plan of preserving government by the Cartridge box, instead of the ballot box. This must bring with it incalculable woe to the masses.

This continent ought to be a united government. Popular government is proving itself a fallacy and delusion. Virtue and order are unequal to a contest with ambition and selfishness. The desire to avoid the carnage and wickedness of war makes me desire a pacification on the only basis now possible, the recognition of the Southern Republic, but I confess that, the argument carries much force to my mind that the evils growing out of the recognition of secession and the immeasurable petty governments which must spring from it, will probably overbalance the loss of life and property which the war will occasion. Will not the North West submit to self-immolation if they recognize secession? Pecuniary selfishness, if the doctrine be once acknowledged, will make N. Y. adopt it.

Another view which distresses me is this. Slavery thus far, has been only a pretext for this sectional contest. The multitude, North and South, regard it as the cause.

This makes the North regard it as the sum of all sins. If the civil war is protracted and Northern troops sent among us they will ultimately incite insurrection. The poor negroes will be killed.

I am pained that I occupy a place in the public counsels, because I am impotent to do anything which my judgment and conscious approve. I can not avert the war, consistent with the re-establishment of a government so good as that we pull down. Whilst I can not hesitate where no choice is left, only to fight for the South and home, or for the North, if I should fall in such a contest, I would find in a dying hour no comfort in the conviction that I had sacrificed my life in a just cause. It is true that I believe Lincoln had no right to call out the militia, make War and blockade the ports, when Congress, with full knowledge of the existing state of the rebellion, had just refused to pass the force bill, and conceding to him the right, if reunion was his object, he showed want of common sense in adopting the course he did. If the restoration of the Union was his object, which I believe was his object, then he is a fool. If his purpose was to drive off all the Slave states, in order to make war on them and annihilate Slavery, then he is a Devil and in the latter supposition I could fight with a hearty good will.

I hope your customers are honorable and that the war and the stay law will not engulph you. I am struggling to make corn, wheat, etc.

[P. S.] I do not expect you to reply. I have unbosomed myself because there is nobody else to whom I can do it [One line illegible] only 703 votes yesterday instead of 2,611. We are getting up volunteers, principally in the class of which armies are commonly composed.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 141-2

Jonathan Worth to D. G. Worth, May 15, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 15, 1861.

I have been forced by surrounding facts to take sides, or rather front, with my section. I regard a prudent peace, even accompanied with the contemplated secession of the State, and her union with the Confederate States, as preferable to a civil war on a gigantic scale; but I have not a particle of confidence in the wisdom or the patriotism of the new rulers to whom we submit. I leave the Union and the flag of Washington because I am subjected and forced to submit to my master-democracy, detesting it with more and more intensity, as I become better acquainted with its leaders and its objects. I still believe that no respectable and stable government can ever be established in America, except on the plan of a Union, such as that we are wickedly and foolishly overthrowing. Even on the plan of a peaceful separation, North America will soon become Mexicanized. New York will next secede, the doctrine being once recognized. The great and populous North west, cut off from the Ocean, excepting by the assent of foreign states will open a road to the great highway of Nations with the sword—but if the free States act on the plan they now avow of preserving the Union by force of arms, no odds at what cost of life or treasure, the civil strife will soon beget the most diabolical purposes.

The masses, already deluded, with the notion that Slavery is the cause, when in fact, it is now only the pretext with the leaders of both sections, will proclaim freedom to the slaves and arm them against us.

I think the South is committing suicide, but my lot is cast with the South and being unable to manage the ship, I intend to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions.

These are my calm conclusions.

I have been deeply pained at the responsibilities of my position. I have become resigned from conscious impotence to do anything to impede the evils upon us, and have concluded to drift with the current, keeping a sharp lookout for some opportunity, by the aid of Divine Providence, to divert the ship of State from the gulf of ruin towards which we are bound.

What are your plans? Will you stay in Wilmington, or return to the back country and make corn till the war is over?

Soon after the Fourth of July war will begin in earnest, if not sooner; or peace will be made. The former, in my opinion, is most probable. I do not think the North is making her military preparations as a mere bravado.

In the event of war can you continue your business with any prospect of success? If an invasion of this State be made, is not Wilmington likely to be one of the first places attacked?

Have you attached yourself to any of the military organizations so as to forbid your removing from Wilmington? In times of war some must remain at home to provide food for the soldiers and protect and feed the women and children. I hope you will not allow the ardor around you or the apprehension of not being deemed brave, to make you forget that you can contribute to the defense of your country, as effectually as you could by going into the army—and at the same time take care of your wife and children.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 144-5