Our Confederate Ancestors: Admiral Raphael Semmes, Memoirs of Service Afloat, Chapters 5 and 6

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

Chapters 5 and 6 of the first 6 of

Memoirs of Service Afloat
During the War Between the States
by Admiral Raphael Semmes

5. Another Brief Historical Retrospect.

6. The Question of Slavery, as It Affected Secession.

Admiral Raphael Semmes of the CSS Alabama, the picture that later became a U.S. postage stamp.
Admiral Raphael Semmes of the CSS Alabama, the picture that later became a U.S. postage stamp.
Publisher's Note from Gene Kizer, Jr.: The six chapters of Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States, by Admiral Raphael Semmes, published in this and the two previous blog posts, are the most outstanding, accurate and complete argument on the causes of the War Between the States that I have ever read in a short analysis.

Semmes covers everything and leaves nothing out. He is right about both North and South believing in States Rights until about 1830, which is only 31 years before the war.

What changed was the massive immigration into the North that made them aware of their sectional strength. By 1860, Northerners realized if they could just rally their votes, they could take over the government and have higher tariffs than ever, such as the astronomical Morrill Tariff, as well as more bounties, subsidies, monopolies and any other way they could conceive of to increase their wealth and power.

Even more than the economic issues, the hatred of Southerners used by the Republican Party to rally its votes is what caused the first seven Southern states to secede. Southerners believed in the Declaration of Independence and its statement that the just powers of the government come from the consent of the governed.

There was no consent of the governed in the South in 1860 to be ruled over by crazed, rabid people so full of hate. Sounds like the Democrat Party of today, and there are many parallels that will be written about in coming weeks.

Southerners knew they had the right to secede because New York, Rhode Island and Virginia had all reserved the right of secession, specifically, in writing, before acceding to the Constitution. The acceptance of all the other states of that reserved right of secession of New York, Rhode Island and Virginia, gave it to them as well because all the states entered the Union as equals.

Even after all that Northern hate, 61% of the country still voted against Abraham Lincoln, but that was enough for him to win the electoral college.

Southerners called conventions, which was the precedent set by the Founding Fathers with the Constitution, and they voted to secede from the Union.

They expected peace but got war when Lincoln's economy without Southern cotton and all those tariffs, bounties, subsidies and monopolies was threatened with annihilation. Lincoln knew he had four times the white population of the South and 100 times the manufacturing so he started his war and 750,000 died and over a million were wounded, but it wasn't over until the South was destroyed and had nothing else to give.

There is no stain on Southern honor. They were fighting for the republic of sovereign states that the Founding Fathers had envisioned. It was States' Rights verses a massive, centralized Federal Government (the Yankees were the Federals in the war) that was fighting for Northern control of the country, and certainly not because of a moral desire to end slavery by the same people who had brought all the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process.

Semmes's argument is EXACTLY the same argument I make in my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. It is always good to see one's historical analysis mirrored and validated by such a towering and brilliant person as Admiral Raphael Semmes.

Our Confederate ancestors are the true heroes of American history. They fought America's bloodiest war for independence and the vision of the Founding Fathers, and in the process, they wrote the book on American valor and patriotism.

For more information on Admiral Raphael Semmes, please visit the website of the Admiral Raphael Semmes Camp #11, SCV, in Mobile Alabama: https://www.scvsemmes.org/index.html. Several of the pictures from my three Semmes posts come from their outstanding website.

Admiral Raphael Semmes, 1995 U.S. postage stamp commemorating him.
Chapter V.
Another Brief Historical Retrospect.

In the previous chapters, I have given a brief outline of the history and formation of the Federal Constitution, proving, by abundant reference to the Fathers, and to the instrument itself, that it was the intention of the former to draft, and that they did draft, a federal compact of government, which compact was "ordained, and established," by the States, in their sovereign capacity, and not by the people of the United States, in the aggregate, as one nation.

It resulted from this statement of the question, that the States had the legal, and constitutional right to withdraw from the compact, at pleasure, without reference to any cause of quarrel.

Accordingly, nothing has yet been said about the causes which impelled the Southern States to a separation, except indeed incidentally, when the tariff system was alluded to, as the motive which had induced Massachusetts and the other Northern States, to change their State-Rights doctrine.

CSS Alabama, the greatest commerce raider in maritime history.
CSS Alabama, the greatest commerce raider in maritime history.

It was stated in the opening chapter, that the judgment which posterity will form, upon the great conflict between the sections, will depend, mainly, upon the answers which we may be able to give to two questions: First, Had the South the right to dissolve the compact of government, under which it had lived with the North? and secondly, Was there sufficient ground for this dissolution?

Having answered the first question---imperfectly, I fear, but yet as fully, as was consistent, with the design of these pages---I propose now to consider, very briefly, the second. I would gladly have left all this preliminary work to other, and abler pens, but I do not consider that the memoirs of any actor in the late war, who, like myself, was an officer in the old service, and who withdrew from that service, because of the breaking out of the war---or rather because of the secession of his State---would be complete without, at least, a brief reference to the reasons, which controlled his judgment.

The American Constitution died of a disease, that was inherent in it.

Capt. Raphael Semmes on the Alabama in Cape Town, S. Africa, 12 Aug. 1863.
Capt. Raphael Semmes on the Alabama in Cape Town, S. Africa, 12 Aug. 1863.

It was framed on false principles, inasmuch as the attempt was made, through its means, of blinding together, in a republican form of government, two dissimilar peoples, with widely dissimilar interests.

Monarchial governments may accomplish this, since they are founded on force, but republican governments never. Austria, and Russia, pin together, in our day, with their bayonets, many dissimilar peoples, but if a republic should make the attempt, that moment it must, of necessity, cease to be a republic, since the very foundation of such a government is the consent of the governed.

On the CSS Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.
On the CSS Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.

The secession of the Southern States was a mere corollary of the American proposition of government; and the Northern States stultified themselves, the moment they attempted to resist it. The consent of the Southern States being wanted, there should have been an end of the question.

If the Northern States were not satisfied to let them go, but entertained, on the contrary, a desire to restrain them by force, this was a proof, that those States had become tired of the republican form, and desired to change it.

But they should have been honest about it; they should have avowed their intentions from the beginning, and not have waged the war, as so many republics, endeavoring to coerce other republics, into a forced union with them.

To have been logical, they should have obliterated the State boundaries, and have declared all the States---as well the Northern States, as the Southern---so many counties of a consolidated government. But even then, they could not have made war upon any considerable number of those counties, without violating the fundamental American idea of a government---the consent of the governed.

The right of self-government was vindicated in the Declaration of Independence, in favor of three millions of the subjects of Great Britain. In the States of the Southern Confederacy, there were eight millions.

The American Republic, as has been said, was a failure, because of the antagonism of the two peoples, attempted to be bound together, in the same government. If there is to be but a single government in these States, in the future, it cannot be a republic. De Tocqueville saw this, thirty years ago. In his "Democracy in America" he described these States, as "more like hostile nations, than rival parties, under one government."

Raphael Semmes with the First National Confederate Flag, the Stars and Bars.
Raphael Semmes with the First National Confederate Flag, the Stars and Bars.

This distinguished Frenchman saw, as with the eye of intuition, the canker which lay at the heart of the federal compact. He saw looming up, in the dim distance, the ominous, and hideous form of that unbridled, and antagonistic Majority, which has since rent the country in twain---a majority based on the views, and interests of one section, arrayed against the views, and interests of the other section.

"The majority," said he, "in that country, exercises a prodigious, actual authority, and a moral influence which is scarcely less preponderant; no obstacles exist, which can impede, or so much as retard its progress, or which can induce it to heed the complaints of those whom it crushes upon its path. * * * This state of things is fatal, in itself, and dangerous for the future. * * * If the free institutions of America are ever destroyed, that event may be attributed to the unlimited authority of the majority. * * * Anarchy will then be the result, but it will have been brought about by despotism."

Precisely so; liberty is always destroyed by the multitude, in the name of liberty.

Majorities within the limits of constitutional restraints are harmless, but the moment they lose sight of these restraints, the many-headed monster becomes more tyrannical, than the tyrant with a single head; numbers harden its conscience, and embolden it, in the perpetration of crime.

And when this majority, in a free government, becomes a faction, or, in other words, represents certain classes and interests to the detriment of other classes, and interests, farewell to public liberty; the people must either become enslaved, or there must be a disruption of the government.

This result would follow, even if the people lived under a consolidated government, and were homogenous: much more, then, must it follow, when the government is federal in form, and the States are, in the words of De Tocqueville, "more like hostile nations, than rival parties, under one government." These States are, and indeed always have been rival nations.

The dissimilarity between the people of the Northern, and the people of the Southern States has always been remarked upon, by observant foreigners, and it has not escaped the attention of our own historians.

Indeed it could not be otherwise, for the origin of the two sections has been diverse. Virginia and Massachusetts were the two original germs, from which the great majority of the American populations has sprung; and no two peoples, speaking the same language, and coming from the same country, could have been more dissimilar, in education, taste, and habits, and even in natural instincts, than were the adventurers who settled these two colonies.

Those who sought a new field of adventure for themselves, and affluence for their posterity, in the more congenial climate of the Chesapeake, were the gay, and dashing cavaliers, who, as a class, afterward adhered to the fortunes of the Charleses, whilst the first settlers of Massachusetts were composed of the same materials, that formed the "Praise-God-Barebones" parliament of Cromwell.

Admiral Raphael Semmes Camp 11, SCV, plaque.
Admiral Raphael Semmes Camp 11, SCV, plaque.

These two peoples, seem to have had an instinctive repugnance, the one to the other. To use a botanical phrase, the Puritan was a seedling of the English race, which had been unknown to it before.

It had few, or none of the characteristics of the original stock. Gloomy, saturnine, and fanatical, in disposition, it seemed to repel all the more kindly, and generous impulses of our nature, and to take a pleasure in pulling down everything, that other men had built up; not so much as its subsequent history would seem to show, because the work was faulty, as because it had been done by other hands than their own.

They hated tyranny, for instance, but it was only because they were not, themselves, the tyrants; they hated religious intolerance, but it was only when not practiced by themselves.

Natural affinities attracted like unto like. The Cavalier sought refuge with  the Cavalier, and the Puritan with the Puritan, for a century, and more.

When the fortunes of the Charleses waned, the Cavaliers fled to Virginia; when the fortunes of Cromwell waned, the Puritans fled to Massachusetts.

Trade occasionally drew the two peoples together, but they were repelled at all other points. Thus these germs grew, step by step, into two distinct nations. A different civilization was naturally developed in each.

The two countries were different in climate, and physical features---the climate of the one being cold and inhospitable, and its soil rugged, and sterile, whilst the climate of the other was soft, and genial, and its soil generous, and fruitful.

As a result of these differences of climate, and soil, the pursuits of the two peoples became different, the one being driven to the ocean, and to the mechanic arts, for subsistence, and the other betaking itself to agriculture.

Another important element soon presented itself, to widen the social, and economical breach, which had taken place between the two peoples--African slavery.

All the Colonies, at first, became slaveholding, but it was soon found, that slave labor was unprofitable in the North, where the soil was so niggard in its productions, and where, besides, the white man could labor.

One, by one, the Northern States got rid of their slaves, as soon as they made this discovery.

[NOTE: The Northern states did not free their slaves. They sold them back into slavery in the South, often just before the slave was to be free, such as before his 21st birthday. There is irrefutable proof of this. It was also written about by Alexis de Tocqueville who said Northerners did not free their slaves but simply changed the slave's master from a Northern to a Southern one. See also Edgar J. McManus, Black Bondage in the North (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1973).]

In the South, the case was different. The superior fertility of the soil, and the greater geniality of the climate enabled the planter to employ the African to advantage; and thus slave labor was engrafted on our system of civilization, as one of its permanent features.

The effect was, as before remarked, a still greater divergence between the two peoples.

The wealth of the South soon began to outstrip that of the North. Education and refinement followed wealth.

Whilst the civilization of the North was coarse, and practical, that of the South was more intellectual, and refined. This is said in no spirit of disparagement of our Northern brethren; it was the natural, and inevitable result of the different situations of the two peoples.

In the North, almost every young man was under the necessity, during our colonial existence, of laboring with his own hands, for the means of subsistence. There was neither the requisite leisure, nor the requisite wealth to bring about a very refined system of civilization. The life of a Southern planter on the other hand with his large estates, and hundreds of vassals, with his profuse hospitality, and luxurious style of living, resembled more that of the feudatories of  the middle ages, than that of any modern gentleman out of the Southern States.

It is not my object to express a preference for either of these modes of civilization---each, no doubt, had its advantages, and disadvantages---but to glance at them, merely, for the purpose of showing the dissimilarity of the two peoples; their uncongeniality, and want of adaptation, socially, the one to the other with social institutions as wide asunder as the poles, and with their every material interest antagonistic, the separation of the two peoples, sooner or later, was a logical sequence.

As had been anticipated by Patrick Henry, and others, the moment the new government went into operation, parties began to be formed, on sectional interests and sectional prejudices.

The North wanted protection for her shipping, in the way of discriminating tonnage dues, and the South was opposed to such protection.

The North wanted a bank, to facilitate their commercial operations; the South was opposed to it.

The North wanted protection for their manufactures, the South was opposed to it.

Raphael Semmes.
Raphael Semmes.

There was no warrant, of course, for any of these schemes of protection in the Federal Constitution; they were, on the contrary, subversive of the original design of that instrument.

The South  has been called aggressive. She was thrown on the defensive, in the first Congress, and has remained so, from that day to this. She never had the means to be aggressive, having been always in a minority, in both branches of the Legislature.

It is not consistent with the scope of these memoirs, to enter, at large, into the political disputes which culminated in secession. They are many, and various, and would fill volumes. It will be sufficient to sketch the history of one or two of the more important of them.

The "American System," of which Mr. Clay, of Kentucky, became the champion, and to which allusion has already been made, became the chief instrument of oppression of the Southern States, through a long series of years.

I prefer to let a late distinguished Senator, from the State of Missouri, Mr. Benton, tell this tale of spoliation.

On the slavery question, Mr. Benton was with the North, he cannot, therefore, be accused of being a witness unduly favorable to the South. In a speech in the Senate, in 1828, he declared himself, as follows:

I feel for the sad changes, which have taken place in the South, during the last fifty years. Before the Revolution, it was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality. Money, and all it commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this is reversed. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth, but what is the fact? In the place of wealth, a universal pressure for money was felt---not enough for current expenses---the price of all property down---the country drooping, and languishing---towns and cities decaying---and the frugal habits of the people pushed to the verge of universal self-denial, for the preservation of their family estates. Such a result is a strange, and wonderful phenomenon. It calls upon statesmen to inquire into the cause. Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue. * * * Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourth, of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction---it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this. It does it by the simple process of eternally taking from the South, and returning nothing to it. If it returned to the South the whole, or even a good part, of what it exacted, the four States south of the Potomac might stand the action of the system, but the South must be exhausted of its money, and its property, by a course of legislation, which is forever taking away, and never returning anything. Every new tariff increases the force of this action. No tariff has ever yet included Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, except to increase the burdens imposed upon them."

This picture is not overdrawn; it is the literal truth. Before the war the Northern States, and especially the New England States, exported next to nothing, and yet they "blossomed as the rose."

The picturesque hills of New England were dotted with costly mansions, erected with money, of which the Southern planters had been despoiled, by means of the tariffs of which Mr. Benton spoke. Her harbors frowned with fortifications, constructed by the same means,. Every cove and inlet had its lighthouse, for the benefit of New England shipping, three fourths of the expense of erecting which had been paid by the South, and even the cod, and mackerel fisheries of New England were bountied, on the bald pretext, that they were nurseries for manning the navy.

The South resisted this wholesale robbery, to the best of her ability. Some few of the more generous of the Northern representatives in Congress came to her aid, but still she was overborne; and the curious reader, who will take the pains to consult the "Statutes at Large," of the American Congress, will find on an average, a tariff for every five years recorded on their pages; the cormorants increasing in rapacity, the more they devoured.

No wonder that Mr. Lincoln when asked, "why not let the South go?" replied,

Let the South go! where then shall we get our revenue?

This system of spoliation was commenced in 1816.

The doctrine of protection was not, at first, boldly avowed. A heavy debt had been contracted during the war of 1812, with Great Britain, just then terminated. It became necessary to raise revenue to pay this debt, as well as to defray the current expenses of the government, and for these laudable purposes, the tariff of 1816 was enacted.

Raphael Semmes standing by the Stars and Bars.
Raphael Semmes standing by the Stars and Bars.
The North had not yet become the overshadowing power, which it has become in our day. It was comparatively modest, and only asked, that, in adjusting the duties under the tariff, such incidental protection, as might not be inconsistent with the main object of the bill, to wit, the raising of revenue, should be given to Northern manufactures.

It was claimed that these manufactures had sprung up, sua sponte, during the war, and had materially aided the country in prosecuting the war, and that they would languish, and die, unless protected, in this incidental manner. This seemed but just and reasonable, and some of the ablest of our Southern men gave their assent to the proposition; among others, Mr. Calhoun of South Carolina, and Mr. Clay of Kentucky.

The latter, in particular, then a young member of the House of Representatives, espoused the Northern side of the controversy, and subsequently became known, as we have seen, as the father of the system. Much undeserved obloquy has been thrown upon Mr. Clay, for this supposed abandonment of his section. The most that he claimed, was that a temporary protection, of a few years' duration only, should be given to these infant manufactures, until they should become self-sustaining.

In later life, when he saw the extent to which the measure was pushed, he did, indeed recoil from it, as Mr. Calhoun, with keener intellect, had done, years before. The wedge, being thus entered, was driven home by the insatiable North.

In less than twenty years, or during the early part of General Jackson's administration, the public debt was paid off, and it became necessary to reduce the tariffs, to prevent a plethora in the public treasury; but the North, by this time, had "waxed fat," and like the ox in the scriptures, began to kick.

From incidental protection, it advanced, boldly, to the doctrine of "protection, for the sake of protection"---thus avowing the unjust doctrine, that it was right to rob one section, for the benefit of the other; the pretense being the general good---the "general welfare" clause of the Constitution as well as the expression "We, the people," in the Preamble, being invoked to cover the enormity.

Under the wholesale system of spoliation, which was now practiced, the South was becoming poorer, and poorer.

Whilst her abundant cotton crops supplied all the exchanges of the country, and put in motion, throughout the North, every species of manufacturing industry, from the cut-nail, which the planter put in the weather-boarding of his house, to the coach in which his wife, and daughters took an airing, it was found, that, from year to year, mortgages were increasing on her plantations, and that the planter was fast becoming little better, than the overseer of the Northern manufacturer, and the Northern merchant.

A statesman of England once declared, that "not so much as a hob-nail should be manufactured, in America." The colonial dependence, and vassalage meant to be proclaimed by this expression, was now strictly true, as between the North, and the South. The South was compelled to purchase her hob-nails, in the North, being excluded by the Northern tariffs, from all other markets.

South Carolina, taking the alarm at this state of things, resorted as we have seen to nullification, in 1832. The quarrel was compromised in 1833, by the passage of a more moderate tariff, but the North still growing, in strength, and wealth, disregarded the compromise, in 1842, and enacted a more oppressive tariff than ever.

From this time onward, no attempt was made to conciliate the South, by the practice of forbearance, and justice, and the latter sank, hopelessly, into the condition of a tributary province to her more powerful rival.

All this was done under a federal compact, formed by sovereign States, for their common benefit! Thus was the prophecy of Patrick Henry verified, when he said:

But I am sure, that the dangers of this system [the Federal Constitution] are real, when those who have no similar interest with the people of this country [the South] are to legislate for us---when our dearest rights are to be left, in the hands of those, whose advantage it will be to infringe them.

And thus also, was verified the declaration of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, of South Carolina: "If they [the Southern States] are to form so considerable a minority, and the regulation of trade is to be given to the general Government, they will be nothing more than overseers of the Northern States."

Chapter VI.
The Question of Slavery, as It Affected Secession.

Great pains have been taken, by the North, to make it appear to the world, that the war was a sort of moral, and religious crusade against slavery.

Such was not the fact. The people of the North were, indeed, opposed to slavery, but merely because they thought it stood in the way of their struggle for empire. I think it safe to affirm, that if the question had stood upon moral, and religious grounds alone, the institution would never have been interfered with.

The Republican Party, which finally brought on the war, took its rise, as is well known, on the question of extending slavery to the Territories---those inchoate States, which were finally to decide the vexed question of the balance of power, between the two sections.

It did not propose to disturb the institution in the States; in fact, the institution could do no harm there, for the States, in which it existed, were already in a hopeless minority.

The fat, Southern goose could not resist being plucked, as things stood, but it was feared that if slavery was permitted to go into the Territories, the goose might become strong enough to resist being plucked.

If proof were wanted of this, we have it, in the resolution passed by the Federal Congress, after the first battle of Manassas, in the first year of the war, as follows:

Resolved, That the war is not waged on our part, in any spirit of oppression, or for any purpose of conquest, or for interfering with the rights, or established institutions of these States, but to defend, and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity and rights of the several States unimpaired.

[NOTE: This comes from the War Aims Resolution, also known by the names of its sponsors, Representative John. J. Crittenden of Kentucky and Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, or just the Crittenden Resolution. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives July 22, 1861, and the Senate July 25, 1861. There were only two dissenting votes in the House and five in the Senate. This was just over three months into the war. There is much other substantial proof such as the Corwin Amendment that Lincoln supported and passed the Northern Congress and was ratified by three states until the war made it moot, that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the North did not go to war to end slavery. They went to war because they faced economic annihilation without the South, with its 100% control of King Cotton, and its massive captive manufacturing market.]

In 1820, in the admission of Missouri into the Union, the North and the South had entered into a compromise, which provided, that slavery should not be carried into any of the Territories, north of a given geographical line.

This compromise was clearly violative of the rights of the South, for the Territories were common property, which had been acquired, by the blood, and treasure, of the North and the South alike, and no discrimination could justly be made between the sections, as to emigration to those Territories; but discrimination would be made, if the Northern man could emigrate to all of them, and the Southern man to those of them only that lay South of the given line.

By the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, introduced into the House of Representatives, in 1854, by Mr. Stephen A. Douglas, this unjust compromise was repealed; the repealing clause declaring, that the Missouri Compromise

being inconsistent with the principles of non-intervention, by Congress, with slavery in the States, and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative, and void; it being the true intent, and meaning of this act, not to legislate slavery into any Territory, or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form, and regulate their domestic institutions, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

Nothing would seem more just, than the passage of this act, which removed the restriction which had been put upon a portion of the States, threw open the Territories to immigration form all the States, alike, and left the question of local government, the question of slavery included, to be decided by the inhabitants of the Territories themselves.

Marker for Semmes's house in Mobile, Alabama.
Marker for Semmes's house in Mobile, Alabama.

But this act of justice, which Mr. Douglas had had the address and ability to cause to be passed, was highly distasteful to the Northern people.

It was not consistent with their views of empire that there should be any more Southern Slave States admitted into the Union.

The Republican party, which, up to that time, had made but little headway, now suddenly sprang into importance and at the next elections in the North, swept every thing before it. The Northern Democratic members of Congress who had voted for the hated measure, were beaten by overwhelming majorities, and Republicans sent in their places; and the Republican Convention which assembled at Chicago in 1860, to nominate a candidate for the Presidency, adopted as one of the "planks of its platform"---to use a slang political phrase of the day---the principle that slavery should thereafter be excluded from the Territories; not only from the Territories North of the geographical line, of the Missouri Compromise, but from all the Territories! The gauntlet of defiance was thus boldly thrown at the feet of the Southern States,

From 1816 to 1860, these States had been plundered by tariffs, which had enriched the North, and now they were told without any circumlocution, that they should no longer have any share in the Territories.

I have said that this controversy, on the subject of slavery, did not rest, in the North, on any question of morals or religion.

The end aimed at, in restricting slavery to the States, was purely political; but this end was to be accomplished by means, and the Northern leaders had the sagacity to see, that it was all-important to mix up the controversy, as a means, with moral, and religious questions.

Hence they enlisted the clergy in their crusade against the South; the pulpit becoming a rostrum, from which to inflame the Northern mind against the un-Godly slave-holder; religious papers were established, which fulminated their weekly diatribes against the institution; magazine literature, fiction, lectures, by paid itinerants, were all employed, with powerful effect, in a community where every man sets himself up as a teacher, and considers himself responsible for the morals of his neighbor.

The contumely and insult thus heaped upon the South were, of themselves, almost past endurance, to say nothing of the wrongs, under which she suffered. The sectional animosity which was engendered by these means, in the North, soon became intense, and hurried on the catastrophe with railroad speed.

Whilst the dispute about slavery in the Territories was drawing to a focus, another, and if possible, a still more exciting question, had been occupying the public mind---the rendition of fugitive slaves to their owners.

Our ancestors, in the Convention of 1787, foreseeing the difficulty that was likely to arise on this subject, insisted that the following positive provision, for their protection, should be inserted in the Constitution: "No person held to service, or labor, in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law, or regulation therein, be discharged from such service, or labor; but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service, or labor may be due."

In 1793, a law, called the fugitive slave law, had been passed, for the purpose of carrying out this provision of the Constitution. This law was re-enacted, with some alterations, the better to secure the object in question, in 1850.

Neither of those laws was ever properly executed in the North. It soon became unsafe, indeed, for a Southern man to venture into the North, in pursuit of his fugitive slave.

Mr. Webster sought, in vain, in the latter part of his life, when he seemed to be actuated by a sense of returning justice to the South, to induce his countrymen to execute those laws, and he lost much of his popularity, in consequence.

The laws were not only positively disobeyed, but they were formally nullified by the Legislatures of fourteen of the Northern States; and penalties were annexed to any attempt to execute them. Mr. Webster, in speaking on this subject, says:

These States passed acts defeating the law of Congress, as far as it was in their power to defeat them. Those of them to whom I refer, not all, but several, nullified the law of 1793. They said in effect, 'We will not execute it. No runaway slave shall be restored.' Thus the law became a dead letter.

But here was the Constitution, and compact still binding; here was the stipulation, as solemn as words could form it, and which every member of Congress, every officer of the General Government, every officer of the State government, from governors down to constables, is sworn to support. It has been said in the States of New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, over and over again, that the law shall not be executed. That was the language in conventions, in Worcester, Massachusetts; in Syracuse, New York, and elsewhere. And for this they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. Now, gentlemen, these proceedings, I say it upon my professional reputation, are distinctly treasonable. And the act of taking Shadrick [a fugitive slave] from the public authorities, in Boston, and sending  him off, was an act of clear treason.

Great outcry was raised against South Carolina when she nullified the tariff law of 1830, passed in clear violation of the spirit of the Constitution; here we see fourteen States nullifying an act, passed to carry out an express provision of the same instrument, about which there was not, and could not be any dispute.

Let us again put Mr. Webster on the witness stand, and hear what he says, was the effect of this wholesale nullification by the Northern States of this provision of the Constitution. "I do not hesitate," says he,

to say, and repeat, that if the effect that part of the Constitution, which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, the South would be no longer bound to keep the compact. A bargain broken on one side is broken on all sides.

That was spoken like Daniel Webster, the able jurist, and just man, and not like the Daniel Webster, whom I have before quoted, in these pages, as the casuist, and the sophist. The reader cannot fail to see what a full recantation we have here, of Mr. Webster's heresy, of 1833, when he contended that the Constitution had been "ordained and established," by the people of the United States, in the aggregate, as one nation.

Mr. Webster now calls the States, the parties to the instrument, and claims that the infraction of it, by some of the States, releases the others from their obligations under it.

It is then, after all, it seems, a federal compact; and if it be such, we have the authority of Mr. Webster, himself, for saying that the States may withdraw from it, at pleasure, without waiting for an infringement of it, by their co-States.

But the Southern States did not desire to withdraw from it, without reason. They were sincerely attached to the Union and were willing to suffer, and endure much rather than that it should be destroyed.

They had stood, shoulder to shoulder, with the North in two wars against the mother country, and had freely spent their wealth, and shed their blood in defense of the common rights. They had rushed to the defense of New England, in the war of the Revolution, and had equally responded to her call in 1812, in defense of her shipping interests.

Mr. Madison relied much upon these ties, as a common bond of union. When Patrick Henry and other Southern patriots were warning their people against the new alliance, proposed to them in the Federal Constitution, he spoke the following fervid language in reply to them, in one of the numbers of the "Federalist."

Hearken not to the unnatural voice, which tells you, that the people of America, knit together, as they are, by so many natural cords of affection, can no longer live together as members of the same family; can no longer continue mutual guardians of their mutual happiness. * * * No, my countrymen, shut your ears against this unhallowed language. Shut your hearts against the poison which it conveys. The kindred blood which flows in the veins of American citizens, the mingled blood which they have shed in defense of their sacred rights, consecrate their union, and excite horror at the idea of their becoming aliens, rivals, enemies.

Much of this feeling still lingered in the bosoms of Southern men. They were slow to awaken from this dream of delusion. A rude and rough hand had been necessary to disenchant them.

But they were compelled, in spite of themselves, to realize the fact at last, that they had been deceived, and betrayed into the federal compact, that they might be made slaves.

Like an unhappy bride, upon whose brow the orange-wreath had been placed, by hands that promised tenderness, and protection, the South had been rudely scorned, and repelled, and forced in tears, and bitter lamentation, to retract the faith which she had plighted.

To carry still further our simile; like the deceived, and betrayed bride, the least show of relenting, and tenderness was sufficient to induce the South to forgive, and to endeavor to forget.

This magnificent 120 yr old statue was removed by Repub. mayor Sandy Stimpson June 5, 2020. See NOTE below.
This magnificent 120 yr old statue was removed by Repub. mayor Sandy Stimpson June 5, 2020. See NOTE below.

The history of our unhappy connection with the North is full of compromises, and apparent reconciliations---prominent among which was the compromise of 1833, growing out of the nullification of South Carolina, on the tariff question; and the compromise of 1850, in which it was promised, that Congress should not interfere with the question of slavery, either in the States, or Territories.

The South, like the too credulous bride, accepted these evidences of returning tenderness, in good faith; the North, like the coarse and brutal husband, whose selfishness was superior to his sense of justice, withdrew them, almost as soon as made. The obnoxious laws which had been modified, or repealed, under these compromises, were reenacted with additional provocations, and restrictions.

So loath was the South to abandon the Union, that she made strenuous efforts to remain in it, even after Mr. Lincoln had been elected President, in 1860.

In this election, that dreaded sectional line against which President Washington had warned his countrymen, in his Farewell Address, had at last been drawn; in it,---"the fire-bell of the night,"---which had so disturbed the last days of Jefferson, had been sounded.

There had, at last, arisen a united North, against a united South. Mr. Lincoln had been placed by the Chicago Convention on a platform so purely sectional, that no Southern State voted, or could vote for him. His election was purely geographical; it was tantamount to a denial of the co-equality of the Southern States, with the Northern States, in the Union, since it drove the former out of the common Territories.

This had not been a mere party squabble---the questions involved had been federal, and fundamental. Notwithstanding which, some of the Southern States were not without hope, that the North might be induced to revoke its verdict.

Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky, introduced into the Senate, a series of resolutions, which he hoped would have the effect of restoring harmony; the chief feature of which was, the restoration of the Missouri Compromise, giving the Southern States access to the Territories south of a geographical line.

Although this compromise was a partial abandonment of the rights of the South, many of the ablest, and most influential statesmen of that section, gave in their adhesion to it; among others, Mr. Jefferson Davis. The measure failed.

Various other resolutions, looking to pacification, were introduced into both houses of Congress; but they failed, in like manner.

The border Slave States aroused to a sense of their danger---for by this time, several of the Gulf States had seceded---called a Convention in the city of Washington, to endeavor to allay the storm. A full representation attended, composed of men, venerable for their years, and renowned for their patriotic services, but their labors ended also in failure; Congress scarcely deigned to notice them.

In both houses of Congress the Northern faction, which had so recently triumphed in the election of their President, was arrayed in a solid phalanx of hostility to the South, and could not be moved an inch. The Puritan leaven had at last "leavened the whole loaf," and the descendants of those immigrants who had come over to America, in the May Flower, feeling that they had the power to crush a race of men, who had dared to differ with them in opinion, and to have interests separate and apart from them, were resolved to use that power in a way to do no discredit to their ancestry. Rebels, when in a minority, they had become tyrants, now that they were in a majority.

Nothing remained to the South, but to raise the gantlet which had been thrown at her feet. The Federal Government which had been established by our ancestors had failed of its object. Instead of binding the States together, in peace, and amity, it had, in the hands of one portion of the States, become an engine of oppression of the other portion.

It so happened, that the slavery question was the issue which finally tore them asunder, but, as the reader has seen, this question was a mere means, to an end.

The end was empire, and we were about to repeat, in this hemisphere, the drama which had so often been enacted in the other, of a more powerful nation crushing out a weaker.

The war of the American sections was but the prototype of many other wars, which had occurred among the human race. It had its origin in the unregenerated nature of man, who is only an intellectual wild beast, whose rapacity has never yet been restrained, by a sense of justice.

The American people thought, when they framed the Constitution, that they were to be an exception to mankind, in general. History had instructed them that all other peoples, who had gone before them, had torn up paper governments, when paper was the only bulwark that protected such governments, but then they were the American people, and no such fate would await them.

The events which I have recorded, and am about to record, have taught them, that they are no better---and perhaps they are no worse---than other people.

CSS Alabama plaque in Simon's Town, South Africa today.
CSS Alabama plaque in Simon's Town, South Africa today.

It is to be hoped that they will profit by their dear-bought experience, and that when they shall have come to their senses, and undertake to lay the foundation of a new government, they will, if they design to essay another republic, eliminate all discordant materials.

The experiment of trusting to human honesty having failed, they must next trust to human interests---the great regulator, as all philosophy teaches, of human nature.

They must listen rather to the philosophy of Patrick Henry, than to that of James Madison, and never attempt again to bind up on one sheaf, with a withe of straw, materials so discordant as were in the people of the North, and the people of the South.

Grave site of Admiral Raphael Semmes and his wife, Anne E. Spencer Semmes, in Mobile, AL.
Grave site of Admiral Raphael Semmes and his wife, Anne E. Spencer Semmes, in Mobile, AL.

NOTE: The magnificent statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes that was put up around June 1900 was removed June 5, 2020 by a horribly misguided Republican mayor named Sandy Stimpson. Sandy Stimpson is not good enough to polish Raphael Semmes's shoes. Stimpson said "Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city." THAT FUTURE SHOULD NOT INCLUDE ANYBODY LIKE SANDY STIMPSON. He is more aligned with the Democrat Party that hates America. SCV camps in the area should look into what some are doing in Georgia and SUE PERSONALLY public officials like Stimpson who break the law. Republicans are safe defending Southern history. President Trump does. See:

"Republicans, There Is No Downside to Defending Southern History" at

https://www.charlestonathenaeumpress.com/republicans-there-is-no-downside-to-defending-southern-history/.

Our Confederate Ancestors: Admiral Raphael Semmes, Memoirs of Service Afloat, Chapters 3 and 4

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

Chapters 3 and 4 of the first 6 of

Memoirs of Service Afloat
During the War Between the States
by Admiral Raphael Semmes

3. From the Foundation of the Federal Government Down to 1830, Both the North and the South Held the Constitution to be a Compact Between the States.

4. Was Secession Treason?

Portrait of Rear Adm. Raphael Semmes by Maliby Sykes.
Portrait of Rear Adm. Raphael Semmes by Maliby Sykes.

Publisher's Note: The six chapters of Raphael Semmes's Memoirs of Service Afloat that I am publishing, two at a time, in these three blog articles, are an OUTSTANDING short constitutional history of our country that is not short on facts or truth. It cuts right to the chase.

ALL SCV, UDC and others should read the six chapters in these three posts but especially the two in this one, Chapters 3 and 4.

With this brilliant argument from one of the greatest naval commanders of all time, who commanded the greatest commerce raider in maritime history, the CSS Alabama, Semmes obliterates the fraudulent argument that secession was treason.

He turns it right back on the ignoramuses by pointing out that the New England States' Hartford Convention in the War of 1812, while absolutely correct about their right of secession, was unquestionably treasonous because they had demanded that we help their shipping by going to war with the British, then they changed their minds and started giving aid, comfort and support to the British.

Ironically, it was the Southern boys at the Battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson that defeated the British and ended that war, thus saving the New England States from dishonoring themselves any further.

The biggest absurdity in all of history is that these same New England traitors fought the War Between the States to free the slaves that they had brought here in the first place, making huge fortunes in the process like the money grubbing Yankees they were.

As with the War of 1812, they encouraged Lincoln to start the War Between the States so that they could continue their theft of Southern money that was going straight into their pockets via the Federal Government's tariffs, bounties, subsidies, monopolies, etc., proving, incontrovertibly, that the sectionalism and "tyranny of the majority" that had so worried the Founding Fathers, would, indeed, destroy the republic they had created.

CSS Alabama chasing a clipper ship.
CSS Alabama chasing a clipper ship.

Chapter III

From the Foundation of the Federal Government Down to 1830, Both the North and the South Held the Constitution to be a Compact Between the States.

One of the great difficulties in arguing the question of the relative power of the States and of the Federal Government, consists in the fact that the present generation has grown up under the shadow of the great Federal monster, and has been blinded by its giant proportions. They see around them all the paraphernalia and power of a great government -- its splendid capital, its armies, its fleets, its Chief Magistrate, its legislature, and its judiciary -- and they find it difficult to realize the fact, that all this grandeur is not self-created, but the offspring of the States.

When our late troubles were culminating, men were heard frequently to exclaim, with plaintive energy, "What! have we no government capable of preserving itself? Is our Government a mere rope of sand, that may be destroyed at the will of the States?"

These men seemed to think that there was but one government to be preserved, and that was the Government of the United States. Less than a century had elapsed since the adoption of the Constitution, and the generation now on the theatre of events had seemingly forgotten, that the magnificent structure, which they contemplated with so much admiration, was but a creature of the States; that it had been made by them for their convenience, and necessarily held the tenure of its life at sufferance.

CSS Alabama sinks the whaler Virginia.
CSS Alabama sinks the whaler Virginia.

They lost sight of the fact that the State governments, who were the creators of the Federal Government, were the governments to be preserved, if there should be any antagonism between them and the Federal Government; and that their services, as well as their sympathies, belonged to the former in preference to the latter.

What with the teachings of Webster and Story, and a host of satellites, the dazzling splendor of the Federal Government, and the overshadowing and corrupting influences of its power, nearly a whole generation in the North had grown up in ignorance of the true nature of the institutions, under which they lived.

This change in the education of the people had taken place since about the year 1830; for, up to that time, both of the great political parties of the country, the Whigs as well as the Democrats, had been States-Rights in doctrine.

A very common error has prevailed on this subject. It has been said, that the North and the South have always been widely separated in their views of the Constitution; that the men of the North have always been consolidationists, whilst the men of the South have been secessionists.

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Whilst the North and the South, from the very commencement of the Government, have been at swords' points, on many questions of mere construction and policy,---the North claiming that more ample powers had been granted the Federal Government, than the South was willing to concede,---there never was any material difference between them down to the year 1830, as to the true nature of their Government.

They all held it to be a federal compact, and the Northern people were as jealous of the rights of their States under it, as the Southern people.

CSS Alabama in a cyclone in the Gulf Stream on 16 October 1862.
CSS Alabama in a cyclone in the Gulf Stream on 16 October 1862.

In proof of this, I have only to refer to a few of the well-known facts of our political history. Thomas Jefferson penned the famous Kentucky Resolution of '98 and '99. The first of those resolutions is in these words:

Resolved, That the several States comprising the United States of America are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to their general Government; but that by a compact, under the style and title of the Constitution of the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constitute a general Government for special purposes; and that whensoever the general Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party; that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, not the Constitution, the measure of its powers, but that, as in all cases of compact among persons having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and measure of redress.

It is unnecessary to quote the other resolution, as the above contains all that is sufficient for my purpose, which is to show that Mr. Jefferson was a secessionist, and that with this record he went before the American people as a candidate for the Presidency, with the following results: In 1800 he beat his opponent, John Adams, who represented the consolidationists of that day, by a majority of 8 votes in the Electoral College.

In 1804, being a candidate for re-election, he beat his opponent by the overwhelming majority of 162, to 14 votes. In the Northern States alone, Mr. Jefferson received 85 votes, whilst in the same States his opponent received but 9. This was a pretty considerable indorsement of secession by the Northern States.

In 1808, Mr. Madison, who penned the Virginia Resolutions of '98, similar in tenor to the Kentucky Resolutions, became a candidate for the Presidency, and beat his opponent by a vote of 122 to 47; the Northern majority, though somewhat diminished, being still 50 to 39 votes.

Mr. Madison was reelected in 1812, and in 1816, James Monroe was elected President by a vote of 183 to his opponent's 34; and more than one half of these 183 votes came from the Northern States.

In 1820, Mr. Monroe was re-elected over John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, by a majority of 231 votes to 13. Besides Monroe and Adams, Crawford and Jackson were also candidates, but these two latter received only 11 votes between them.

Lts. Armstrong and Sinclair on the Alabama in August, 1863.

This last election is especially remarkable, as showing that there was no opposition to Jefferson's doctrine of State-Rights, since all the candidates were of that creed. The opposition had been so often defeated, and routed in former elections, that they had not strength enough left to put a candidate in the field.

John Quincy Adams succeeded Mr. Monroe, and his State-Rights doctrines are well known. He expressed them as follows:

The indissoluble link of union between the people of the several States of this confederated nation, is, after all, not in the right, but in the heart. If the day should ever come (may heaven avert it) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interests shall fester into hatred, the bands of political association will not long hold together parties, no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests, and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the dis-united States to part in friendship with each other, than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents, which occurred at the formation, and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre.

General Jackson succeeded Mr. Adams in 1828, and was re-elected in 1832. It was during his administration that the heresy was first promulgated by Mr. Webster, that the Constitution was not a compact between the States, but an instrument of government, "ordained, and established," by the people of the United States, in the aggregate, as one nation.

With respect to the New England States in particular, there is other and more pointed evidence, that they agreed with Mr. Jefferson, and the South down to the year 1830, on this question of State rights, than is implied in the Presidential elections above quoted.

Massachusetts, the leader of these States in intellect, and in energy, impatient of control herself, has always sought to control others. This was, perhaps, but natural. All mankind are prone to consult their own interests. Selfishness, unfortunately, is one of the vices of our nature, which few are found capable of struggling against effectually.

The New England people were largely imbued with the Puritan element. Their religious doctrines gave them a gloomy asceticism of character, and an intolerance of other men's opinions quite remarkable. In their earlier history as colonists, there is much in the way of uncharitableness and persecution, which a liberal mind could wish to see blotted out.

True to these characteristics, which I may almost call instincts, the New England States have always been the most refractory States of the Union. As long as they were in a minority, and hopeless of the control of the Government, they stood strictly on their State rights, in resisting such measures as were unpalatable to them, even to the extremity  of threatening secession; and it was only when they saw that the tables were turned, and that it was possible for them to seize the reins of the Government, that they abandoned their State-Rights doctrines, and became consolidationists.

One of the first causes of the dissatisfaction of the New England States with the General Government was the purchase of Louisiana, by Mr. Jefferson, in 1803. It arose out of their jealousy of the balance of power between the States.

The advantages to result to the United States from the purchase of this territory were patent to every one. It completed the continuity of our territory, from the head waters of the Mississippi, to the sea, and unlocked the mouths of that great river.

But Massachusetts saw in the purchase, nothing more than the creation of additional Southern States, to contest, with her, the future control of the Government. She could see no authority for it in the Constitution, and she threatened, that if it were consummated, she would secede from the Union.

Her Legislature passed the following resolution on the subject:

Resolved, That the annexation of Louisiana to the Union, transcends the Constitutional power of the Government of the United States. It formed a new Confederacy, to which the States [not the people of the United States, in the aggregate] united by the former compact, are not bound to adhere.

This purchase of Louisiana rankled, for a long time, in the breast of New England. It was made, as we have seen, in 1803, and in 1811 the subject again came up for consideration; this time, in the shape of a bill before Congress for the admission of Louisiana as a State.

One of the most able and influential members of Congress of that day from Massachusetts was Mr. Josiah Quincy. In a speech on this bill, that gentlemen uttered the following declaration:

If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation, and as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some definitely to prepare for separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.

Time passed on, and the difficulties which led to our War of 1812, with Great Britain, began to rise above the political horizon. Great Britain began to impress seamen form New England merchant ships, and even went so far, at last, as to take some enlisted men from on board the United States ship of war Chesapeake.

Adm. Raphael Semmes, signature.
Adm. Raphael Semmes, signature.

Massachusetts was furious; she insisted that war should be declared forthwith against Great Britain.

The Southern States, which had comparatively little interest in this matter, except so far as the federal honor was concerned, came generously to the rescue of the shipping States, and war was declared.

But the first burst of her passion having spent itself, Massachusetts found that she had been indiscreet; her shipping began to suffer more than she had anticipated, and she began now to cry aloud as one in pain.

She denounced the war, and the Administration which was carrying it on; and not content with this, in connection with other New England States, she organized a Convention, at Hartford, in Connecticut, with a view to adopt some ulterior measures. We find the following among the records of that Convention:

Events may prove, that the causes of our calamities are deep, and permanent. They may be found to proceed not merely from blindness of prejudice, pride of opinion, violence of party spirit, or the confusion of the times; but they may be traced to implacable combinations, of individuals, or of States, to monopolize office, and to trample, without remorse, upon the rights and interests of the commercial sections of the Union. Whenever it shall appear, that these causes are radical, and permanent, a separation by equitable arrangement, will be preferable to an alliance, by constraint, among nominal friends but real enemies, inflamed by mutual hatred, and jealousy, and inviting, by intestine divisions, contempt and aggressions from abroad.

Having recorded this opinion of what should be the policy of the New England States, in the category mentioned, the "Journal of the Convention" goes on to declare what it considers the right of the States, in the premises.

That acts of Congress, in violation of the Constitution, are absolutely void, is an indisputable position. It does not, however, consist with the respect, from a Confederate State toward the General Government, to fly to open resistance, upon every infraction of the Constitution. The mode, and the energy of the opposition should always conform to the nature of the violation, the intention of the authors, the extent of the evil inflicted, the determination manifested to persist in it, and the danger of delay. But in case of deliberate, dangerous, and palpable infractions of the Constitution, affecting the sovereignty of the State, and liberties of the people, it is not only the right, but the duty, of each State to interpose its authority for their protection, in the manner best calculated to secure that end. When emergencies occur, which are either beyond the reach of judicial tribunals, or too pressing to admit of the delay incident to their forms, States, which have no common umpire, must be their own judges, and execute their own decisions.

These proceeding took place in January, 1815. A deputation was appointed to lay the complains of New England before the Federal Government, and there is no predicting what might have occurred, if the delegates had not found, that peace had been declared, when they arrived at Washington.

It thus appears, that from 1803-4 to 1815, New England was constantly in the habit of speaking of the dissolution of the Union---her leading men deducing this right from the nature of the compact between the States.

Aboard the Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.
Aboard the Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.

It is curious and instructive, and will well repay the perusal, to read the "Journal of the Hartford Convention," so replete is it with sound constitutional doctrine. It abounds in such expressions as these: "The constitutional compact;" "It must be the duty of the State to watch over the rights reserved, as of the United States to exercise the powers which were delegated;" the right of conscription is "not delegated to Congress by the Constitution, and the exercise of it would not be less dangerous to their liberties, than hostile to the sovereignty of the States."

The odium which has justly fallen upon the Hartford Convention, has not been because of its doctrines, for these were as sound, as we have seen,  as the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of '98 and '99, but because it was a secret conclave, gotten together, in a time of war, when the country was hard pressed by a foreign enemy; the war having, in fact, been undertaken for the benefit of the very shipping States which were threatening to dissolve the Union on account it.

Mr. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, himself, as is well known, a Massachusetts man, speaking of this dissatisfaction of the New England States with the Federal Government, says:

That their object was, and had been, for several years, a dissolution of the Union and the establishment of a separate Confederation, he knew from unequivocal evidence, although not provable in a court of law; and that in case of a civil war, the aid of Great Britain, to effect that purpose, would be assuredly resorted to, as it would be indispensably necessary to their design.

See Mr. Adams' letter of Dec. 30th, 1828, in reply to Harrison Gray Otis and others.

We have thus seen, that for forty years, or from the foundation of the Federal Government, to 1830, there was no material difference of opinion between the sections, as to the nature of the league or compact of government which they had formed.

There was this difference between the sections, however. The South, during this entire period of forty years, had substantially controlled the Government; not by force, it is true, of her own majorities, but with the aid of a few of the Northern States. She was the dominant or ruling power in the Government. During all this time, she conscientiously adhered to her convictions, and respected the rights of the minority, though she might have wielded her power, if she had been so inclined, to her own advantage.

Constitutions are made for the protection of minorities, and she scrupulously adhered to this idea. Minorities naturally cling to the guarantees and defenses provided for them in the fundamental law; it is only when they become strong, when they throw off their pupilage, and become majorities, that their principles and their virtues are really tested. It is in politics, as in religion---the weaker party is always the tolerant party.

Did the North follow this example set her by the South? No; the moment she became strong enough, she recanted all the doctrines under which she had sought shelter, tore the Constitution into fragments, scattered it to the winds; and finally, when the South threw herself on the defensive, as Massachusetts had threatened to do, in 1803 and 1815, she subjugated her.

What was the powerful motive which thus induced the North to overthrow the government which it had labored so assiduously with the South to establish, and which it had construed in common with the South, for the period of forty years?

It was the motive which generally influences human conduct; it was the same motive which Patrick Henry had so clearly foreseen, when he warned the people of Virginia against entering into the federal compact; telling them, that interested majorities never had, in the history of the world, and never would respect the right of minorities.

The great "American System," as it has been called, had in the meantime arisen, championed by no less a personage than Henry Clay of Kentucky.

In 1824, and again in 1828, oppressive tariffs had been enacted for the protection of New England manufacturers. The North was manufacturing, the South non-manufacturing.

The effect of these tariffs was to shut out all foreign competition, and compel the Southern consumer to pay two prices for all the textile fabrics he consumed, from the clothing of his negroes to his own broadcloth coats.

So oppressive, unjust, and unconstitutional were these acts considered, that South Carolina nullified them in 1830.

CSS Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.
CSS Alabama, Cape Town, South Africa, 12 August 1863.

Immediately all New England was arrayed against South Carolina. An entire and rapid change took place in the political creed of that section.

New England orators and jurists rose up to proclaim that the Constitution was not a compact between the States. Webster thundered in the Senate, and Story wrote his "Commentaries on the Constitution."

These giants had a Herculean task before them; nothing less than the falsifying of the whole political history of the country, for the previous forty years; but their barren  and inhospitable section of the country had been touched by the enchanter's wand, and its rocky hills, and sterile fields, incapable of yielding even a scanty subsistence to its numerous population, were to become glad with the music of the spindle and the shuttle; and the giants undertook the task!

How well they have accomplished it, the reader will see, in the course of these pages, when, toward the conclusion of my narrative, he will be called upon to view the fragments of the grand old Constitution, which has been shattered, and which will lie in such mournful profusion around him; the monuments at once of the folly and crimes of a people, who have broken up a government---a free government---which might else have endured for centuries.

Chapter IV.
Was Secession Treason?

A few more words, and we shall be in a condition to answer the question which stands at the head of this chapter.

Being a legal question, it will depend entirely upon the constitutional right the Southern States may have had to withdraw from the Union, without reference to considerations of expediency, or of moral right; these latter will be more appropriately considered, when we come to speak of the causes which impelled the Southern States to the step. I have combated many of the arguments presented by the other side, but a few others remain to be noticed.

It has been said, that, admitting that the Constitution was a federal compact, yet the States did in fact cede away a part of their sovereignty, and from this the inference has been deduced, that they no longer remained sovereign for the purpose of recalling the part, which had been ceded away.

This is a question which arises wholly under the laws of nations. It is admitted, that the States were independent sovereignties, before they formed the Constitution.

We have only, therefore, to consult the international code, to ascertain to what extent the granting away of a portion of their sovereignty affected the remainder.

Vattel, treating of this identical point, speaks as follows:

Several sovereign and independent States may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect State. They will, together, constitute a federal republic; their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint upon the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements.

That was just what the American States did, when they formed the Federal Constitution; they put some voluntary restraint upon their sovereignty, for the furtherance of a common object.

If they are restrained, by the Constitution, from doing certain things, the restraint was self-imposed, for it was they who ordained, and established the instrument, and not a common superior. They, each, agreed that they would forbear to do certain things, if their copartners would forbear to do the same things.

As plain as this seems, no less an authority than that of Mr. Webster has denied it; for, in his celebrated argument Mr. Calhoun, already referred to, he triumphantly exclaimed, that the States were not sovereign, because they were restrained of a portion of their liberty by the Constitution.

See how he perverts the whole tenor of the instrument, in his endeavor to build up those manufactories of which we spoke in the last chapter. He says:

However men may think this ought to be, the fact is, that the people of the United States have chosen to impose control on State sovereignty. There are those, doubtless, who wish that they had been left without restraint; but the Constitution has ordered the matter differently. To make war, for instance, is an exercise of sovereignty, but, the Constitution declares that no State shall declare war. To coin money is another act of sovereign power; but no State is at liberty to coin money. Again, the Constitution says, that no sovereign State shall be so sovereign, as to make a treaty. These prohibitions, it must be confessed, are a control on the State sovereignty of South Carolina, as well as of the other States, which does not arise from her feelings of honorable justice.

Here we see, plainly, the germ of the monstrous heresy that has riven the States asunder, in our day.

The "people of the United States," a common superior, ordained and established the Constitution, says Mr. Webster, and imposed restraints upon the States!

However some might wish they had been left without restraint, the Constitution has "ordained it differently!"

And the ostrich stomach of the North received, and digested this monstrous perversion of the plainest historical truth, in order that the spindle might whirr on, and the shuttle dance from side to side of the loom.

CSS Alabama officers.
CSS Alabama officers.

Following the idea of Mr. Webster, that the people of the United States gave constitutional law to the States, instead of receiving it from them, Northern writers frequently ask, in what part of the Constitution, is the doctrine of secession found?

In no part. It was not necessary to put it there.

The States who formed the instrument, delegated certain powers to the Federal Government, retaining all others.

Did they part, with the right of secession? Could they have parted with it, without consenting to a merger of their sovereignty?

And so far from doing this, we have seen with what jealous care they protested against even the implication of such a merger, in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

If the power was not parted with, by explicit grant, did it not remain to them, even before the 10th Amendment was adopted, and still more, if possible, after it was adopted?

To make it still more apparent, that the common understanding among the Fathers of the Constitution was, that this right of secession was reserved, it is only necessary to refer to what took place, during the transition from the old to the new government.

The thirteen original States seceded, as we have seen, from the Articles of Confederation, not unanimously, or all together, but one by one, each State acting for itself, without consulting the interests, or inclinations of the others.

One of the provisions of those Articles was as follows:

Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States, in Congress assembled, in all questions, which, by this Confederation, are submitted to them; and the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration, as any time hereafter, be made in any of them, unless such alteration be agreed to, in a Congress of the United States, and be afterward confirmed by the legislature of every State.

Now, it is a pertinent, and instructive fact, that no similar provision of perpetuity was engrafted in the new Constitution.

There must have been a motive for this -- it could not have been a mere accidental omission -- and the motive probably was, that the Convention of 1787 were ashamed to attempt, a second time, to bind sovereign States, by a rope of sand, which they, themselves, were in the act of pulling asunder.

It was in accordance with this understanding, that both New York and Virginia, in their ratification of the new Constitution, expressly reserved to themselves the right of secession; and no objection was made to such conditional ratifications.

The reservations made by these States enure, as a matter of course, to the benefit of all the States, as they were all to go into the new Union, on precisely the same footing. [NOTE: Raphael Semmes accidentally leaves out Rhode Island, which also reserved the right of secession along with New York and Virginia, before acceding to the U.S. Constitution].

In the extract from Mr. Webster's speech, which has been given above, it is alleged among other things, that the States are not sovereign, because they cannot make treaties; and this disability also has been urged as an argument against secession.

The disability, like others, was self-imposed, and, as any one may see, was intended to be binding on the States only so long as they contract which they were then forming should endure.

The Confederate States respected this obligation while they remained in the Federal Union. They scrupulously forbore from contracting with each other until they had resumed, each for itself, their original sovereignty; they were then not only free to contract with each other, but to do and perform all the other acts enumerated by Mr. Webster; the act of declaring war included, even though this was should be against their late confederates.

The truth is, the more we sift these arguments of our late enemies, the less real merit there appears in them. The facts of history are too stubborn, and refuse to be bent to conform to the new doctrines.

We see it emblazoned on every page of American history for forty years, that the Constitution was a compact between the States; that the Federal Government was created, by, and for the benefit of the States, and possessed and could possess no other power than such as was conferred upon it by the States; that the States reserved to themselves all the powers not granted, and that they took especial pains to guard their sovereignty, in terms, by an amendment to the Constitution, lest, by possibility, their intentions in the formation of the new government, should be misconstrued.

In the course of time this government is perverted from its original design. Instead of remaining the faithful and impartial agent of all the States, a faction obtains control of it, in the interests of some of them, and turns it, as an engine of oppression, against the others.

These latter, after long and patient suffering, after having exhausted all their means of defense, within the Union, withdraw from the agent the powers which they had conferred upon him, form a new Confederacy, and desire "to be let alone."

And what is the consequence? They are denounced as rebels and traitors, armies are equipped, and fleets provided, and a war of subjugation is waged against them.

What says the reader? Does he see rebellion and treason lurking in the conduct of these States? Are they, indeed, in his opinion, in face of the record which he has inspected, so bereft of their sovereignty, as to be incapable of defending themselves, except with halters around the necks of their citizens?

Let us examine this latter question of halters for a moment.

The States existed before the Federal Government; the citizens of the States owed allegiance to their respective States, and to none others. By what process was any portion of this allegiance transferred to the Federal Government, and to what extent was it transferred?

It was transferred by the States, themselves, when they entered into the federal compact, and not by the individual citizens, for these had not power to make such a transfer.

Although it be admitted, that a citizen of any one of the States may have had the right to expatriate himself entirely -- and this was not so clear a doctrine at that day -- and transfer his allegiance to another government, yet it is quite certain, that he could not, ex mero motu, divide his allegiance. His allegiance then was transferred to the Federal Government, by his State, whether he would or not.

Take the case of Patrick Henry, for example. He resisted the adoption of the Federal Constitution, by the State of Virginia, with all the energies of an ardent nature, solemnly believing that his State was committing suicide.

And yet, when Virginia did adopt that Constitution, he became, by virtue of that act, a citizen of the United States, and owed allegiance to the Federal Government.

He had been born in the hallowed old Commonwealth. In the days of his boyhood he had played on the banks of the Appomattox, and fished in its waters.

As he grew to man's estate, all his cherished hopes, and aspirations clustered around his beloved State. The bones of his ancestors were interred in her soil; his loves, his joys, his sorrows were all centered there.

In short, he felt the inspiration of patriotism, that noble sentiment which nerves men to do, and dare, unto the death, for their native soil.

Will it be said, can it be said, without revolting all the best feelings of the human heart, that if Patrick Henry had lived to see a war of subjugation waged against his native State, he would have been a traitor for striking in her defense?

Was this one of the results which our ancestors designed, when they framed the federal compact?

It would be uncharitable to accuse them of such folly, and stupidity, nay of such cruelty.

If this doctrine be true, that secession is treason, then our ancestors framed a government, which could not fail to make traitors of their descendants, in case of a conflict between the States, and that government, let them act as they would.

It was frequently argued in the "Federalist," and elsewhere, by those who were persuading the States to adopt the Federal Constitution, that the State would have a sufficient guarantee of protection, in the love, and affection of its citizens -- that the citizen would naturally cling to his State, and side with her against the Federal Government -- that, in fact, it was rather to be apprehended that the Federal Government would be too weak, and the States too strong, for this reason, instead of the converse of the proposition being true.

It was not doubted, in that day, that the primary and paramount allegiance of the citizen was due to his State, and, that, in case of a conflict between her and the Federal Government, his State would have the right to withdraw his allegiance, from that Government.

If it was she who transferred it, and if she had the right to transfer it, it followed beyond question, that she would have the right to withdraw it.

It was not a case for the voluntary action of the citizen, either way; he could not, of his own free will, either give his allegiance to the Federal Government, or take it away.

If this be true, observe in what a dilemma he has been placed, on the hypothesis that secession is treason. If he adheres to the Federal Government, after his State has withdrawn his allegiance from that Government, and takes up arms against his State, he becomes a traitor to his State.

If he adheres to his State, and takes up arms against the Federal Government, he becomes a traitor to that Government.

He is thus a traitor either way, and there is no helping himself. Is this consistent with the supposed wisdom of the political Fathers, those practical, common sense men, who formed the Federal Constitution?

The mutations of governments, like all human events, are constantly going on. No government stands still, any more than the individuals of which it is composed.

Commander Raphael Semmes, Confederate States Navy.

The only difference is, that the changes are not quite so obvious to the generation which views them.

The framers of the Constitution did not dare to hope that they had formed a government, that was to last forever. Nay, many of them had serious misgivings as to the result of the experiment they were making.

Is it possible, then, that those men so legislated, as to render it morally certain, that if their experiment should fail, their descendants must become either slaves or traitors?

If the doctrine that secession is treason be true, it matters not how grievously a State might be oppressed, by the Federal Government; she has been deprived of the power of lawful resistance, and must regain her liberty, if at all, like other enslaved States, at the hazard of war, and rebellion.

Was this the sort of experiment in government, that our forefathers supposed they were making?

Every reader of history knows that it was not.

NOTE: The text above comes, verbatim, from Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States, Chapters III and IV, by Adm. Raphael Semmes. The paragraphs were sometimes broken up to make reading online easier.

Our Confederate Ancestors: Admiral Raphael Semmes, Memoirs of Service Afloat, Chapters 1 and 2

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

Chapters 1 and 2 of the first 6 of

Memoirs of Service Afloat
During the War Between the States
by Admiral Raphael Semmes

1. A Brief Historical Retrospective
2. The Nature of the American Compact

Admiral Raphael Semmes, commander of the legendary raider CSS Alabama.
Admiral Raphael Semmes, commander of the legendary raider CSS Alabama.
Inscription by Adm. Raphael Semmes in Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States.

Publisher's Note: Adm. Raphael Semmes, famed commander of the legendary Confederate raider, Alabama, wrote a brief, concise and brilliant history of the Articles of Confederation, the establishment of the U. S. Constitution and the right of secession, in the first six chapters of his 833 page book, Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States. The CSS Alabama took 65 prizes and is the most successful commerce raider in maritime history. Semmes, from Charles County, Maryland was in the U.S. Navy from 1826 to 1861. He fought in the Mexican War as commander of the USS Somers. He served in the Confederate States Navy from 1861 to 1865, first as commander of the raider CSS Sumter, causing 18 losses to the Union, then the CSS Alabama. Alabama was originally the newly built British steamer Enrica. After Alabama's dazzling career, she was sunk by the USS Kearsarge commanded by John Ancrum Winslow near Cherbourg, France in one of the most famous naval battles of the war, June 19, 1864. Alabama was at a disadvantage because of deteriorated gun powder and shell fuses, and a rare day of poor aim by her gunners. Semmes and survivors made their way back to America and finally Richmond where he commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia II of the James River Squadron. After Richmond fell, he became a temporary brigadier general, informally, and his sailors became an infantry unit  known as the "Naval Brigade." Most of them ended up with Johnston's army near Durham Station, North Carolina and surrendered to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman April 26, 1865. After the war, Semmes worked as a college professor at what is today LSU, a judge, a newspaper editor, and author. He died August 30, 1877 at age 67 at Mobile, Alabama and is buried there with his wife Anne E. Spencer Semmes. The town of Semmes, Alabama is named for Raphael Semmes as were several United States Navy ships. Publishing information: Baltimore: Kelly, Piat & Co., 1869. For more information on Raphael Semmes visit the website of the Admiral Raphael Semmes Camp #11, SCV, in Mobile Alabama: https://www.scvsemmes.org/index.html. Several of the pictures in this post come from their outstanding website.

CSS Alabama, the most successful commerce raider in maritime history.
CSS Alabama, the most successful commerce raider in maritime history.
Chapter I.
A Brief Historical Retrospect.

The disruption of the American Union by the war of 1861 was not an unforeseen event. Patrick Henry, and other patriots who struggled against the adoption of the Federal Constitution by the Southern States, foretold it in burning words of prophecy; and when that instrument was adopted, when the great name and great eloquence of James Madison had borne down all opposition, Henry and his compatriots seemed particularly anxious that posterity should be informed of the manly struggle which they had made.

Henry said,

The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy of the name of Americans, they will preserve, and hand down to the latest posterity, the transactions of the present times; and though I confess my explanations are not worth the hearing, they will see I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty.

The wish of these patriotic men has been gratified. The record of their noble deeds, and all but inspired eloquence, has come down to posterity, and some, at least, of their descendants, "worthy of the name of American," will accord to them the foremost rank in the long list of patriots and sages who illustrated and adorned our early annals.

But posterity, too, has a history to record and hand down. We, too, have struggled to preserve our liberties, and the liberties of those who are to come after us; and the history of that struggle must not perish. The one struggle is but the complement of the other, and history would be incomplete if either were omitted.

Events have vindicated the wisdom of Henry, and those who struggled with him against the adoption of the Federal Constitution.

Events will equally vindicate the wisdom of Jefferson Davis, and other Confederate patriots, who endeavored to preserve that Constitution, and hand it down, unimpaired, to their posterity.

The wisdom of a movement is not always to be judged by its success.

Principles are eternal, human events are transitory, and it sometimes takes more than one generation or one revolution to establish a principle.

At first sight, it may appear that there is some discordance between  Patrick Henry and Jefferson Davis, as the one struggled against the adoption of the Constitution, and the other to preserve it.

But they were, in fact, both engaged in a similar struggle; the object of both being to preserve the sovereignty of their respective States.

Henry did not object so much to the nature of the partnership, into which his State was about to enter, as to the nature of the partners with whom she was about to contract.

He saw that the two sections were dissimilar, and that they had different and antagonistic interests, and he was unwilling to trust to the bona fides of the other contracting party. "I am sure," said he,

that the dangers of this system are real, when those who have no similar interests with the people of this country are to legislate to us -- when our dearest interests are to be left in the hands of those whose advantage it will be to infringe them.

The North, even at that early day, was in a majority in both houses of Congress; it would be for the advantage of that majority to infringe the rights of the South; and Henry, with much more knowledge of human nature than most of the Southern statesmen of his era, refused to trust that majority.

This was substantially the case with Jefferson Davis and those of us who followed his lead. We had verified the distrust of Henry.

What had been prophecy with him, had become history with us. We had had experience of the fact, that our partner-States of the North, who were in a majority, had trampled upon the rights of the Southern minority, and we desired, as the only remedy, to dissolve the partnership into which Henry had objected to entering -- not so much because of any defect in the articles of copartnership, as for want of faith in our copartners.

This was the wisdom of Jefferson Davis and his compatriots, which, I say, will be vindicated by events. A final separation of these States must come, or the South will be permanently enslaved.

We endeavored to bring about the separation, and we sacrificed our fortunes, and risked our lives to accomplish it.

Like Patrick Henry, we have done our "utmost to preserve our liberties;" like him, we have failed and like him, we desire that our record shall go down to such of our posterity as may be "worthy of the name of Americans."

The following memoirs are designed to commemorate a few of the less important events of our late struggle; but before I enter upon them, I deem it appropriate to give some "reason for the faith" that was in us, of the South, who undertook the struggle.

The judgment which posterity will form upon our actions will depend, mainly, upon the answers which we may be able to give to two questions: First, Had the South the right to dissolve the compact of government under which it had lived with the North? and, secondly, Was there sufficient reason for such dissolution?

I do not speak here of the right of revolution -- this is inherent in all peoples, whatever may be their form of government. The very term "revolution" implies a forcible disruption of government, war, and all the evils that follow in the train of war.

The thirteen original Colonies, the germ from which have sprung these States, exercised the right of revolution when they withdrew their allegiance from the parent country.

Not so with the Southern States when they withdrew from their copartnership with the Northern States. They exercised a higher right.

They did not form a part of a consolidated government, as the Colonies did of the British Government.

They were sovereign, equally with the Northern States, from which they withdrew, and exercises, as they believed, a peaceful right, instead of a right of revolution.

Had, then, the Southern States the peaceful right to dissolve the compact of government under which they had lived with the North?

A volume might be written in reply to this question, but I shall merely glance at it in these memoirs, referring the student to the history of the formation of the old Confederacy, prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States; to the "Journal and debates of the Convention of 1787," that formed this latter instrument; to the debates of the several State Conventions which adopted it, to the "Madison Papers," to the "Federalists," and to the late very able work of Dr. Bledsoe, entitled "Is Davis a Traitor?"

It will be sufficient for the purpose which I have in view -- that of giving the reader a general outline of the course of reasoning, by which Southern men justify their conduct in the late war -- to state the leading features of the compact of government which was dissolved, and a few of its historical surroundings, about which there can be no dispute.

The close of the War of Independence of 1776 found the thirteen original Colonies, which had waged that war, sovereign and independent States.

They had, for the purpose of carrying on that war, formed a league, or confederation, and the articles of this league were still obligatory upon them.

Under these articles, a Federal Government had been established, charged with a few specific powers, such as conducting the foreign affairs of the Confederacy, the regulation of commerce, &c.

At the formation of this Government, it was intended that it should be perpetual, and was so declared.

It lasted, notwithstanding, only a few years, for peace was declared in 1783, and the perpetual Government ceased to exist in 1789.

How did it cease to exist? By the secession of the States.

Soon after the war, a convention of delegates met at Annapolis in Maryland, sent thither by the several States, for the purpose of devising some more perfect means of regulating commerce. This was all the duty with which they were charged.

Upon assembling, it was found that several of the States were not represented in this Convention, in consequence of which, the Convention adjourned without transacting any business, and recommended, in an address prepared by Alexander Hamilton, that a new convention should be called at Philadelphia, with enlarged powers.

"The Convention," says Hamilton,

are more naturally led to this conclusion, as in their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think, that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the great system of the Federal Government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a corresponding adjustment in other parts of the Federal system. That these are important defects in the system of the Federal Government is acknowledged by the acts of those States, which have concurred in the present meeting. That the defects, upon closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous than  even these acts imply, is at least, so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the  present state of our national affairs, foreign and domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion, in some mode which will unite the sentiments and counsels of all the States.

The reader will observe that the Government of the States, under the Articles of Confederation, is called a "Federal Government," and that the object proposed to be accomplished by the meeting of the new Convention at Philadelphia, was to amend the Constitution of that Government.

Northern writers have sought to draw a distinction between the Government formed under the Articles of Confederation, and that formed by the Constitution of the United States, calling the one a league, and the other a government.

Here we see Alexander Hamilton calling the Confederation a government -- a Federal Government.

It was, indeed, both a league and a government, as it was formed by sovereign States; just as the Government of the United States is both a league and a government, for the same reason.

The fact that the laws of the Confederation, passed in pursuance of its League, or Constitution, were to operate upon the States; and the laws of the United States were to operate upon the individual citizens of the States, without the intervention of State authority, could make no difference.

This did not make the latter more a government than the former. The difference was a mere matter of detail, a mere matter of machinery -- nothing more. It did not imply more or less absolute sovereignty in the one case, than in the other.

Whatever of sovereignty had been granted, had been granted by the States, in both instances.

The new convention met in Philadelphia, on the 14th of May, 1787, with instructions to devise and discuss "all such alterations, and further provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union."

We see, thus, that the very Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, equally called the Articles of Confederation a Constitution.

It was, then, from a Constitutional, Federal Government, that the States seceded when they adopted the present Constitution of the United States!

A Convention of the States assembled with powers only to amend the Constitution; instead of doing which, it abolished the old form of government altogether, and recommended a new one, and no one complained.

As each State formally and deliberately adopted the new government, it was formally and deliberately seceded from the old one; and yet no one heard any talk of a breach of faith, and still less of treason.

The new government was to go into operation when nine States should adopt it.

But there were thirteen States, and if nine States only acceded to the new government, the old one would be broken up, as to the other four States, whether these would or not, and they wold be left to provide for themselves.

It was by no means the voluntary breaking up of a compact, by all the parties to it.

It was broken up piece-meal, each State acting for itself, without asking the consent of the others; precisely as the Southern States acted, with a view to the formation of a new Southern Confederacy.

So far from the movement being unanimous, it was a long time before all the States came into the new government.

Rhode Island, one of the Northern States, which hounded on the war against the Southern States, retained her separate sovereignty for two years before she joined the new government, not uttering one word of complaint, during all that time, that the old government, of which she had been a member, had been unduly broken up, and that she had been left to shift for herself.

Why was this disruption of the old government regarded as a matter of course?

Simply because it was a league, or treaty, between sovereign States, from which any one of the States had the right to withdraw at any time, with out consulting the interest or advantage of the others.

But, say the Northern States, the Constitution of the United States is a very different thing from the Articles of Confederation. It was formed, not by the States, but by the people of the United States in the aggregate, and made all the States one people, one government. It is not a compact, or league between the States, but an instrument under which they have surrendered irrevocably their sovereignty. Under it, the Federal Government has become the paramount authority, and the States are subordinate to it.

We will examine this doctrine, briefly, in another chapter.

Chapter II.
The Nature of the American Compact.

The two principal expounders of the Constitution of the United States, in the North have been Daniel Webster and Joseph Story, both from Massachusetts.

Webster was, for a long time, a Senator in Congress, and Story a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The latter has written an elaborate work on the Constitution, full of sophistry, and not always very reliable as to its facts.

The great effort of both these men has been to prove, that the Constitution is not a compact between the States, but an instrument of government, formed by the people of the United States, as contra-distinguished from the States.

They both admit, that if the Constitution were a compact between the States, the States would have a right to withdraw from the compact -- all agreements between States, in their sovereign capacity, being, necessarily, of no more binding force than treaties.

These gentlemen are not always very consistent, for they frequently fall into the error of calling the Constitution a compact, when they are not arguing this particular question; in short, it is, and it is not a compact, by turns, according to the use they intend to make of the argument.

Mr. Webster's doctrine of the Constitution, chiefly relied on by Northern men, is to be found in his speech of 1833, in reply to Mr. Calhoun.

It is in that speech that he makes the admission, that if the Constitution of the United States is a compact between the States, the States have the right to withdraw from it at pleasure. He says,

If a league between sovereign powers have no limitation as to the time of duration, and contains nothing making it perpetual, it subsists only during the good pleasure of the parties, although no violation be complained of. If in the opinion of either party it be violated, such party may say he will no longer fulfill its obligations, on his part, but will consider the whole league or compact as at an end, although it might be one of its stipulations that it should be perpetual.

Capt. Raphael Semmes and 1st Lt. John Kell on CSS Alabama, 1863.
Capt. Raphael Semmes and 1st Lt. John Kell on CSS Alabama, 1863.

In his "Commentaries on the Constitution," Mr. Justice Story says,

The obvious deductions which may be, and indeed have been drawn, from considering the Constitution a compact between States, are, that it operates as a mere treaty, or convention between them, and has an obligatory force no longer than suits their pleasure, or their consent continues." The plain principles of public law, thus announced by these distinguished jurists, cannot be controverted. If sovereign States make a compact, although the object of the compact be the formation of a new government for their common benefit, they have the right to withdraw from that compact at pleasure, even though, in the words of Mr. Webster, "it might be one of its stipulations that it should be perpetual.

There might, undoubtedly, be such a thing as State merger; that is, that two States, for instance, might agree that the sovereign existence of one of them should be merged in the other. In which case, the State parting with its sovereignty could never reclaim it by peaceable means.

But when a State shows no intention of parting with its sovereignty, and, in connection with other States, all equally jealous of their sovereignty with herself, only delegates a part of it -- never so large a part, if you please -- to the common agent, for the benefit of the whole, there can have been no merger.

This was eminently the case with regard to these United States.

No one can read the "Journal and debates of the Philadelphia Convention," or those of the several State Conventions to which the Constitution was submitted for adoption, without being struck with the scrupulous care with which all the States guarded their sovereignty.

The Northern States were quite as jealous, in this respect, as the Southern States.

Next to Massachusetts, New Hampshire has been, perhaps, the most fanatical and bitter of the former States, in the prosecution of the late war against the South. That State, in her Constitution, adopted in 1792, three years after the Federal Constitution went into operation, inserted the following provision, among others, in her declaration of principles:

The people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State; and of and forever hereafter shall exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them, expressly delegated to the United States.

Although it was quite clear that the States, when they adopted the Constitution of the United States, reserved, by implication, all the sovereign power, rights, and privileges that had not been granted away -- as a power not given is necessarily withheld -- yet so jealous were they of the new government they were forming, that several of them insisted, in their acts of ratification, that the Constitution should be so amended as explicitly to declare this truth, and this put it beyond cavil in the future.

Massachusetts expressed herself as followed, in connection with her ratification of the Constitution:

As it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in said Constitution would remove the fears, and quiet the apprehensions of the good people of the Commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the Federal Government, the Convention do, therefore, recommend that the following alteration and provisions be introduced and in said Constitution: First, that it be explicitly declared, that all powers not delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised.

Webster and Story had not yet arisen in Massachusetts, to teach the new doctrine that the Constitution had been formed by the "People of the United States," in contra-distinction to the people of the States.

Massachusetts did not speak in the name of any such people, but in her own name. She was not jealous of the remaining people of the United States, as fractional parts of a whole, of which she was herself a fraction, but she was jealous of them as States; as so many foreign peoples, with whom she was contracting.

The powers not delegated were to be reserved to those delegating them, to wit: the "several States;" that is to say, to each and every one of the States.

Virginia fought long and sturdily against adopting the Constitution at all.

Henry, Mason, Tyler, and a host of other giants raised their powerful voices against it, warning their people, in thunder tones, that they were rushing upon destruction.

Tyler even went so far as to say that "British tyranny would have been more tolerable."

So distasteful to her was the foul embrace that was tendered her, that she not only recommended an amendment of the Constitution, similar to that which was recommended by Massachusetts, making explicit reservation of her sovereignty, but she annexed a condition to her ratification, to the effect that she retained the right to withdraw the powers which she had granted, "whenever the same shall be perverted to her injury or oppression."

North Carolina urged the following amendment -- the same, substantially, as that urged by Virginia and Massachusetts:

That each State in the Union shall respectively [not aggregately] retain every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this Constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the Federal Government.

Pennsylvania guarded her sovereignty by insisting upon the following amendment:

All the rights of sovereignty which are not, by the said Constitution, expressly and plainly vested in the Congress, shall be deemed to remain with, and shall be exercised by the several States in the Union.

The result of this jealousy on the part of the States was the adoption of the 10th amendment to the Constitution of the United States as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, or to the people.

It is thus clear beyond doubt, that he States not only had no intention of merging their sovereignty in the new government they were forming, but that they took special pains to notify each other, as well as their common agent, of the fact.

The language which I have quoted, as used by the States, in urging the amendments to the Constitution proposed by them, was the common language of that day.

The new government was a federal or confederate government -- in the "Federalist," it is frequently called a "Confederation" -- which had been created by the States for their common use and benefit; each State taking special pains, as we have seen, to declare that it retained all the sovereignty which it had not expressly granted away.

And yet, in face of these facts, the doctrine has been boldly declared, in our day, that the Constitution was formed by the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, and that it has a force and vitality independent of the States, which the States are incompetent to destroy!

The perversion is one not so much of doctrine as of history. It is an issue of fact which we are to try.

CSS Alabama, Cape Town, 12 August 1863.
CSS Alabama, Cape Town, 12 August 1863.

It is admitted, that if the fact be as stated by our Northern brethren, the conclusion follows: It is, indeed, quite plain, that if the States did not create the Federal Constitution, they cannot destroy it.

But it is admitted, on the other hand, by both Webster and Story, as we have seen, that if they did create it, they may destroy it; nay, that any one of them may destroy it as to herself; that is, may withdraw from the compact at pleasure, with or without reason.

It is fortunate for us of the South that the issue is so plain, as that it may be tried by the record.

Sophistry will sometimes overlie reason and blind men's judgment for generations; but sophistry, with all its ingenuity, cannot hide a fact.

The speeches of Webster and the commentaries of Story have been unable to hide the fact of which I speak; it stands emblazoned on every page of our constitutional history.

Every step that was taken toward the formation of the Constitution of the United States, from its inception to its adoption, was taken by the States, and not by the people of the United States in the aggregate.

There was no such people known as the people of the United States, in the aggregate, at the time of the formation of the Constitution.

If there is any such people now, it was formed by the Constitution.

But this is not the question. The question now is, who formed the Constitution, not what was formed by it?

If it was formed by the States, admit our adversaries, it may be broken by the States.

The delegates who met at Annapolis were sent thither by the States, and not by the people of the United States.

The Convention of 1787, which formed the Constitution, was equally composed of members sent to Philadelphia by the States.

James Madison was chosen by the people of Virginia, and not by the people of New York; Alexander Hamilton was chosen by the people of New York, and not by the people of Virginia.

Every article, section, and paragraph of the Constitution was voted for, or against, by States; the little State of Delaware, not much larger than a single county of New York, offsetting the vote of that great State.

And when the Constitution was formed, to whom was it submitted for ratification?

Was there any convention of the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, called for the purpose of considering it?

Did not each State on the contrary, call its own convention?

And did not some of the States accept it, and some of them refuse to accept it?

It was provided that when nine States should accept it, it should go into operation; and it pretended that the vote of these nine States was to bind the others?

Is it not a fact, on the contrary, that the vote of eleven States did not bind the other two?

Where was that great constituency, composed of the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, all this time?

"But," say those who are opposed to us in this argument, "look at the instrument itself, and you will see that it was framed by the people of the United States, and not by the States.

Does not its Preamble read thus: 'We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, &c., do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America'?"

Perhaps there has never been a greater literary and historical fraud practiced upon any people, than has been attempted in the use to which these words have been put.

And, perhaps, no equal number of reading and intelligent men has ever before submitted so blindly and docilely to one imposed upon by literary quackery and the legerdemain of words, as our fellow-citizens of the North have in accepting Webster's and Story's version of the preamble of the Constitution.

A brief history of the manner, in which the words, "We, the people," &c., came to be adopted by the Convention which framed the Constitution, will sufficiently expose the baldness of the cheat.

The only wonder is, that such men as Webster and Story should have risked their reputations with posterity, on a construction which may so easily be shorn to be a falsification of the facts of history.

Mr. Webster, in his celebrated speech in the Senate, in 1833, in reply to Mr. Calhoun, made this bold declaration: "The Constitution itself, in its very front, declares, that it was ordained and established by the people of the United States in the aggregate!"

From that day to this, this declaration of Mr. Webster has been the chief foundation on which all the constitutional lawyers of the North have built their arguments against the rights of the States as sovereign copartners.

If the Preamble of the Constitution stood alone, without the lights of contemporaneous history to reveal its true character, there might be some force in Mr. Webster's position; but, unfortunately for him and his followers, he has misstated a fact.

It is not true, as every reader of constitutional history must know, that the Constitution of the United States was ordained by the people of the United States in the aggregate; nor did the Preamble to the Constitution mean to assert that it was true.

The great names of Webster, and Story have been lent to a palpable falsification of history, and as a result of that falsification, a great war has ensued, which has sacrificed its hecatomb of victims, and desolated, and nearly destroyed an entire people.

The poet did not say, without reason, that "words are things."

Now let us strip off the disguises worn by these wordmongers, and see where the truth really lies.

Probably some of my readers will learn, for the first time, the reasons which induced the framers of the Constitution to adopt the phraseology, "We, the people," &c., in the formation of their Preamble to that instrument.

In the original draft of the Constitution, the States, by name, were mentioned, as had been done in the Articles of Confederation. The States had formed the old Confederation, the States were equally forming the new Confederation; hence the Convention naturally followed in their Preamble the form which had been set them in the old Constitution, or Articles.

This Preamble, purporting that the work of forming the new government was being done by the States, remained at the head of the instrument during all the deliberations of the Convention, and no one member ever objected to it.

It expressed a fact which no one thought of denying. it is thus a fact beyond question, not only that the Constitution was framed by the States, but that the Convention so proclaimed in "front of the instrument."

Having been framed by the States, was it afterward adopted, or "ordained and established," to use the words of Mr. Webster, by the people of the United States, in the aggregate, and was this the reason why the words were changed?

There were in the Convention several members in favor of submitting the instrument to the people of the United States in the aggregate, and thereby accomplishing their favorite object of establishing a consolidated government -- Alexander Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris among the number.

On the "Journal of the Convention," the following record is found: "Gouverneur Morris moved that the reference of the plan [i.e. of the Constitution] be made to one General Convention, chosen and authorized by the people, to consider, amend, and establish the same."

Thus the question, as to who should "ordain and establish" the Constitution, whether it should be the people in the aggregate, or the people of the States, was clearly presented to the Convention.

How did the Convention vote on this proposition?

The reader will perhaps be surprised to learn, that the question was not even brought to a vote, for want of a second; and yet this is the fact recorded by the Convention.

The reader who has read Mr. Madison's articles in the "Federalist," and his speeches before the Virginia Convention, in favor of the ratification of the Constitution, will perhaps be surprised to learn that he, too, made a somewhat similar motion.

He was not in favor, it is true, of referring the instrument for adoption to a General Convention of the whole people, alone, but he was in favor of referring it to such a Convention, in connection with Conventions to be called by the States, thus securing a joint or double ratification, by the people of the United States in the aggregate, and by the States; the effect of which would have been to make the new government a still more complex affair, and to muddle still further the brains of Mr. Webster and Mr. Justice Story.

But this motion failed also, and the Constitution was referred to the States for adoption.

But now a new question arose, which was, whether the Constitution was to be "ordained and established" by the legislatures of the States, or by the people of the States in Convention.

All were agreed, as we have seen, that the instrument should be referred to the States. This had been settled; but there were differences of opinion as to how the States should act upon it.

Some were in favor of permitting each of the States to choose, for itself, how it would ratify it; others were in favor of referring it to the legislatures, and others, again, to the people of the States in Convention.

It was finally decided that it should be referred to Conventions of the people, in the different States.

This being done, their work was completed, and it only remained to refer the rough draft of the instrument to the "Committee on Style," to prune and polish it a little -- to lop off a word here, and change or add a word there, the better to conform the language to the sense, and to the proprieties of grammar and rhetoric.

The Preamble, as it stood, as one presented a difficulty.

All the thirteen States were named in it as adopting the instrument, but it had been provided, in the course of its deliberations by the Convention, that the new government should go into effect if nine States adopted it.

Who could tell which these nine States would be? It was plainly impossible to enumerate all the States -- for all of them might not adopt it -- or any particular number of them, as adopting the instrument.

Further, it having been determined, as we have seen, that the Constitution should be adopted by the people of the several States, as contra-distinguished from the legislatures of the States, the phraseology of the Preamble must be made to express this idea also.

To meet these two new demands upon the phraseology of the instrument, the Committee on Style adopted the expression, "We, the people of the United States," -- meaning, as every one must see, "We, the people of the several States united by this instrument."

And this is the foundation that the Northern advocates of a consolidated government build upon, when they declare that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, adopted the Constitution, and thus gave the fundamental law to the States, instead of the States giving it to the Federal Government.

It is well known that his phrase, "We, the people," &c., became a subject of discussion in the Virginia ratifying Convention.

Patrick Henry, with the prevision of a prophet, was, as we have seen, bitterly opposed to the adoption of the Constitution.

He was its enemy a l'outrance. Not having been a member of the Convention, of 1787, that framed the instrument, and being unacquainted with the circumstances above detailed, relative to the change which had been made in the phraseology of its Preamble, he attacked the Constitution on the very ground since assumed by Webster and Story, to wit: that the instrument itself proclaimed that it had been "ordained and established" by the people of the United States in the aggregate, instead of the people of the States.

Mr. Madison replied to Henry on this occasion.

Madison had been in the Convention, knew, of course, all about the change of phraseology in question, and this was his reply:

The parties to it [the Constitution] were the people, but not the people as composing one great society, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties. If it were a consolidated government,

continued he,

the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient to establish it. But it was to be binding on the people of a State only by their separate consent.

There was, of course, nothing more to be said, and the Virginia Convention adopted the Constitution.

Madison has been called the Father of the Constitution.

Next to him, Alexander Hamilton bore the most conspicuous part in procuring it to be adopted  by the people.

Hamilton, as is well known, did not believe much in republics; and least of all did he believe in federal republics.

His great object was to establish a consolidated republic, if we must have a republic as all. He labored zealously for this purpose, but failed.

The States, without an exception, were in favor of the federal form; and no one knew better than Hamilton the kind of government which had been established.

Now let us hear what Hamilton, an unwilling, but an honest witness, says on this subject.

Of the eighty-five articles in the "Federalist," Hamilton wrote no less than fifty.

Having failed to procure the establishment of a consolidated government, his next great object was, to procure the adoption by the States of the present Constitution, and to his task, accordingly, he now address his great intellect and powerful energies.

In turning over the pages of the "Federalist," we can scarcely go amiss in quoting Hamilton, to the point that the Constitution is a compact between the States, and not an emanation from the people of the United States in the aggregate.

Let us take up the final article, for instance, the 85th. In this article we find the following expressions:

The compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States in a common bond of amity and Union, must necessarily be compromises of as many dissimilar interests and inclinations." Again: "The moment an alteration is made in the present plan, it becomes, to the purpose of adoption, a new one, and must undergo a new decision of each State. To its complete establishment throughout the Union, it will therefore, require the concurrence of thirteen States.

And again:

Every Constitution for the Untied States must, inevitably, consist of a great variety of particulars, in which thirteen Independent States are to be accommodated in their interests, or opinions of interests. * * * Hence the necessity of molding and arranging all the particulars which are to compose the whole in such a manner as to satisfy all the parties to the compact.

Thus, we do not hear Hamilton, any more than Madison, talking of a "people of the United States in the aggregate" as having anything to do with the formation of the new charter of government. He speaks only of States, and of compacts made or to be made by States.

In view of the great importance of the question, whether it was the people of the United States in the aggregate who "ordained and established" the Constitution, or the States, -- for this, indeed, is the whole gist of the controversy between the North and the South, -- I have dealt somewhat at length on the subject, and had recourse to contemporaneous history; but this was scarcely necessary.

The Constitution itself settled the whole controversy.

The 7th article of that instrument reads as follows: "The ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient  for the establishment of the Constitution between the States so ratifying the same."

How is it possible to reconcile this short, explicit, and unambiguous provision with the theory I am combating?

The Preamble, as explained by the Northern consolidationists, and this article, cannot possibly stand together. It is not possible that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, "ordained and established" the Constitution, and that the States ordained and established it at the same time: for there was but one set of Conventions called, and these Conventions were called by the States, and acted in the names of the States.

Mr. Madison did, indeed, endeavor to have the ratification made in both modes, but this motion in the Convention to his effect failed, as we have seen.

Further, how would the Constitution be biding only between the States that ratified it, if it was not ratified -- that is, not "ordained and established" -- by them at all, but by the people of the United States in the aggregate?

As remarked by Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Convention, a ratification by the people, in the sense in which this term is used by the Northern  consolidationists, would have bound all the people, and there would have been no option left the dissenting States.

But the 7th article says that they shall have an option, and that the instrument is to be binding only between such of them as ratify it.

With all due deference, then, to others who have written upon this vexed question, and who have differed from me in opinion, I must insist that the proof is conclusive that the Constitution is a compact between the States; and this being so, we have the admission of both Mr. Webster and Justice Story that any one of the States may withdraw from it at pleasure.

Marker at grave of Adm. Semmes and his wife.
Marker at grave of Adm. Semmes and his wife.

Propaganda In History by Lyon Gardiner Tyler

Propaganda In History.

by Lyon Gardiner Tyler

Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935) was the fourth son of our 10th United States president, John Tyler, who was president from 1841 to 1845 and later a member of the Confederate Congress. Lyon Gardiner Tyler had a distinguished career as an educator, genealogist and historian. He was the 17th president of the College of William and Mary and served from 1888 to 1919. Today's history department at William and Mary is named after him: The Lyon Gardiner Tyler Department of History. He founded the William and Mary Quarterly, a highly respected history journal, and is author of the books Parties and Patronage in the United States; The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River; England in America; Williamsburg, the Old Colonial Capital; Men of Mark in Virginia; Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography; History of Virginia from 1763 to 1861; and his most prominent work, The Letters and Times of the Tylers. He also wrote scores of articles, addresses and booklets including A Confederate Catechism. He was a prominent critic of Abraham Lincoln and wrote several important pieces challenging Lincoln including this one, "Propaganda in History.", which was published by the Richmond Press, Incorporated, printers, in 1920 (original from Princeton University). NOTE: The spelling and punctuation are verbatim from the original article.

DURING THE WORLD WAR we heard a great deal of propaganda, and the word was used generally in a bad sense. But there is really nothing harmful in the word itself. It signifies only a means of publicity, which, when applied properly and legitimately serves a very good purpose. The Germans applied it improperly. They sent to this country millions of dollars to buy up newspapers and newspaper men to abuse the allies and make palatable their own conduct, too often brutal in the extreme. Propaganda is a form of advertisement, and it is only when advertisements are resorted to for the purpose of spreading erroneous conceptions that they are to be condemned. Quack advertisements are at all time pernicious.

Dr. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, College of William and Mary, around 1915.
Dr. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, College of William and Mary, around 1915.

A feature especially popular in this country is propaganda applied to history. This consists in using striking characters and events of the past to give importance to present matters. As long as the truth is told much good must result, for the past contains vast archives of experience, from which valuable information may be had. The reverse happens when to give prominence to particular ends, historical matter is exploited at the expense of truth.

These thoughts are suggested by what is so often read in the newspapers and periodicals of the North and even in books which have a more serious character. By sheer dint of assertion, taken up and published as if by concerted arrangement, certain things are given a character that never did belong to them. The idea seems to be with many who are active in the matter that the real truth makes no difference provided the multitude can be got to accept a certain view. This is the very essence of German propagandism, so much feared and condemned during the World War. But this is not true of all, for there are some who appear to be swept along by a force which they are powerless to resist.

Let me cite some of the cases which have been made the subject of this kind of exploitation.

1 . There is a manifest disposition to place Plymouth before Jamestown. It is an old story and goes back a hundred and fifty years to the historian Hutchinson, who asserted in his history of Massachusetts that the Virginia colony had virtually failed and that the Pilgrim colony was the means of reviving it. How far from the truth Hutchison strayed in his statement is shown by Bradford’s contemporary narrative “The Plymouth Plantation," which proves very clearly that it was the successful establishment of the Virginia colony that induced the Puritans to leave Holland for America, in preference to some Dutch plantation like Guiana.

Sir Edwyn Sandys was the patron as well of the Puritan colony as of the Virginia colony. They sailed under a patent of the Virginia Company of London granted through his auspices, and when by miscalculation they landed outside of the dominion of the Virginia Company the compact adopted by them in the cabin of the Mayflower followed the terms of the original patent. It was, indeed, owing to the Jamestown Colony that landing was at all possible. Six years before, Sir Thomas Gates had sent Argall from Jamestown, who had driven the French from their settlements in Nova Scotia and on the coast of Maine, and thus prevented them from occupying the coast of Massachusetts as they were about to do.

Sir Edwin Sandys, one of the founders of the Virginia Company.
Sir Edwin Sandys, one of the founders of the Virginia Company.
Virginia Company coat of arms.
Virginia Company coat of arms.

So far from the truth was Hutchinson’s statement that in 1620 the Virginia colony had virtually failed, that even after the massacre of 1622 Virginia had over nine hundred colonists, and the Plymouth colony but one hundred and fifty, and these, according to Bradford, were in a starving condition from which they were rescued by a ship of Capt. John Huddleston, a member of the Virginia colony. In 1629 when the Plymouth colony had 300 inhabitants, the Jamestown colony had 3,000.

But recent writers do not even admit the reservation of Hutchinson of a prior though vanishing Jamestown. That ancient settlement, with all that it stands for, is actually to be snubbed out of recognition, and the claim is now boldly advanced that the Plymouth settlement was the first colony and all Americans the virtual output of that plantation. Jamestown is not to be allowed even a share in the upbuilding of America. Can anything be more astonishing, and where is the “New England conscience" that it does not revolt against this perversion of the truth?

Among the many recent instances of this historic prevarication which have fallen under my notice, reference may be made to the columns of the Saturday Evening Post for February 7, 1920, to the World's Work for November, 1919, and to Mr. James M. Beck's book, "The War and Humanity," published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in 1917. No plea of ignorance can be advanced for these writers, and, on the other hand, it is impossible to believe that they deliberately falsified. They come under the class of propaganda victims rather than propaganda sinners. They were swept on against their own better knowledge by the spirit of propagandism so deadly to the very existence of truth.

As to the first of these, the article in the Saturday Evening Post, the person who composed the editorial entitled "Sanctuary," uses the following words: "Two ships, the Mayflower and the Buford mark epochs in the history of America. The Mayflower brought the first of the builders to this country, the Buford has taken away the first destroyer."

Lyon Gardiner Tyler as a young man.
Lyon Gardiner Tyler as a young man.

We learn from the Richmond News Leader for March 1, 1920, that Mrs. Elizabeth Henry Lyons, the historian general of the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Virginia, wrote a protest against this statement and received a reply virtually admitting that the editors knew differently when they made it. Their words were that in "a strict sense" Mrs. Lyons was "historically correct," but that "they did not believe in this narrow sense of our editorial is likely to be misleading even to school boys, who are thoroughly familiar with these dates in American history." The dates referred to were 1607, when the Susan Constant and her two companion ships brought the real founders of the nation to Jamestown, and 1620, when the Mayflower brought the Puritans to Plymouth in Massachusetts.

Replica of the Susan Constant, one of the three ships to first land in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.
Replica of the Susan Constant, one of the three ships to first land in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.
Coin with the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed, Jamestown, 1607.
Coin with the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed, Jamestown, 1607.

There is a hint here that in a broad sense the article in the paper was correct, but on this point the learned editors did not enlighten Mrs. Lyons. There is no broader word than error and not narrower word than truth. It is the Good Book which says: "Enter ye by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad the way that leadeth to destruction."

The plain truth is that neither in its origin nor in the institutions established in New England did the Plymouth Colony lay the foundations of the American Commonwealth. It was antedated by Jamestown and the Jamestown Assembly. The 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact did not form a democracy but an aristocracy and only cautiously admitted any newcomers into partnership with them. After twenty years less than forty per cent. of the people at Plymouth had any share in the government (Palfrey, New England, II, 8). And as the years rolled by the range of power became more and more restricted till it resembled the system prevailing in Massachusetts, into which Plymouth and its associated towns were eventually absorbed in 1691.

And how was it in Massachusetts, which set the example not only for Plymouth, but for all the other New England colonies, even Rhode Island in the end. To say that the government there from its inception was an aristocracy is putting it mild. It was a tyranny of the sternest type whose equal in history can scarcely be found anywhere.

American institutions of today are democratic, and are tested by the law of reason and nature. On the contrary, in New England the suffrage was confined during the seventeenth century to a few favored members of the Congregational Church, and everything was tested by the stern decrees of the Old Testament. In Massachusetts the law divided the people into "the better class," "those above the ordinary degree," and "those of mean condition." Though there were annual elections the magistrates had not difficulty in retaining office for life through the law of preference, which universally prevailed, and the town meetings were little oligarchies governed by the minister and a select clique.1 So the Rev. Mr. Stone aptly described Massachusetts of the seventeenth century "as a speaking aristocracy in the face of a silent democracy."

Lyon Gardiner Tyler around 1900.
Lyon Gardiner Tyler around 1900.

Though the Charter of King William, in 1691, introduced several very important reforms in Massachusetts, and his firm hand in suppressing tyranny in all the other New England colonies was strongly felt, the essential principles of the Puritan governments remained the same. To the very end of the colonial days the distinctions in society were observed with such punctilious nicety that the students at Harvard and Yale were arranged according to the dignity of their birth and rank, and the ballot was very limited. Weeden in his Social and Economical History of New England sums up the character of the New England institutions in the words that "they were democratic in form, but aristocratic in the substance of the administration." By no stretch of the imagination," says Dr. Charles M. Andrews, Professor of History in Yale University, "can the political conditions on any of the New England colonies be called popular or democratic. Government was in the hands of a very few men." And even today some of the worst inequalities in elections prevail in the New England States.2

On the other hand, Virginia, where the first colony was planted, which afforded inspiration to all the rest, appealed from the first to the law of nature and of reason, which constitutes the very essence of the democratic principle. She had the first English institutions, as shown in the fist jury trial, the first popular elections, and the first representative body of law makers, and, before any Puritan foot had planted itself upon Plymouth Rock, courts for the administration of justice and for the recordation of deeds, mortgages and wills, were established facts. Instead of resting on church membership as in Massachusetts, the House of Burgesses, which was the great controlling body in Virginia, rested for more than a hundred years upon universal suffrage. There was, it is true, an apparent change in 1670 when the possession of a freehold was made the condition of voting, but it was not a real change, since the law did not define the extent of the freehold until as late as 1736; and even under the law of 1736, as shown by Dr. J. F. Jameson,3 many more people voted in Virginia down to the American Revolution than did in Massachusetts. There was a splendid and spectacular body of aristocrats in colonial Virginia, but they did not have anything like the political power and prestige of the New England preachers and magistrates.

That popular institutions were a dominating feature in Virginia is the evidence of Alexander Spotswood, who writing, in 1713, declared4 that the Assembly which met that year was  composed of representatives of the plain people; of Governor Robert Dinwiddie, who, in 1754, complained5 of the House of Burgesses for their "constant encroachment on the prerogatives of the Crown" and "their Republican ways of thinking;" of Rev. Andrew Burnaby, an English traveler, who, in 1759, wrote of the public or political character of the Virginians, as haughty and impatient of restraint, and "scarcely able to bear the thought of being controlled by any superior power;" of Col. Landon Carter, of "Sabine Hall, "who attributed6 his own defeat, in 1765, to his unpopularity with the common voters, who were jealous of any aristocratic pretentions; of J. F. D. Smythe, another British traveler before the American Revolution, who spoke of the haughtiness of the great middle class, who comprised half of the population; of Edmund Randolph, who referring to the same period described7 the aristocracy of Virginia as "little and feeble, and incapable of daring to assert any privilege clashing with the rights of the people at large;" of Colonel St. George Tucker, who denied8 that there was such a thing as "dependence of classes" in Virginia, and declared that the aristocracy of Virginia was as "harmless a set of men as ever existed;" and finally Thomas Jefferson, who, in 1814, writing9 to John Adams, while referring to the traditionary reverence paid to certain families in Massachusetts and Connecticut, "which had rendered the offices of those governments nearly hereditary in those families," derided the power of the aristocracy in Virginia both before and after the Revolution.

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

If, indeed, there was any doubt where popular institutions had the stronger hold, the doubt is removed when we notice what happened when the two communities for "the first time had the opportunity of directing without foreign restraint, the government of their own country. Soon after independence was secured, Virginia became the headquarters of the Democratic-Republican Party--the party of popular ideas--and New England became the headquarters of the Federalist Party--the party of aristocratic ideas. Real democracy was brought to New England for the first time in 1804, when Thomas Jefferson carried all the New England States but Connecticut. It was not fully accepted till 1816 when the Federalist Party passed finally out of existence.

In the work of making a constitution for the new government and or organizing it, Virginia, as John Fiske says, furnished "four out of the five constructive statesmen engaged"--Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Marshall. Not one of them was of Puritan stock. The fifth was Alexander Hamilton, a native of the West Indies and a New Yorker by adoption. In the matter of extending our territories it was the cavalier, George Rogers Clark, that conquered the Northwest Territory, now represented by five great States. And Louisiana, Florida, Texas, California, New Mexico and all the West were added to the Union by Virginian and Southern Presidents, thus trebling the area of the Republic and making it a continental power. Had the Puritan influence, which opposed these annexations of territory, prevailed, the United States would be confined to-day to a narrow strip along the Atlantic Coast.

As a matter of fact, the rightful name of the Republic is the historic name of Virginia (first given by the greatest of English queens and accepted by the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower compact). "United States of America," are merely words of description. They are not a name.

Now as to the writer in the World's Work. This is no less a person than William Snowden Sims, an admiral in the United States Navy. In an article, entitled "The Return of the Mayflower," he describes how Great Britain welcomed our navy at the outset of our participation in the war with a moving picture film which depicted how in 1620 a few Englishmen had landed in North America and laid the foundations of a new state, based on English conceptions of justice and liberty, how out of the disjointed colonies they had founded one of the mightiest nations of history, and how when the liberties of mankind were endangered, the descendants of the "old Mayflower pioneers" had in their turn crossed the ocean--this time going eastward to fight for the traditions of the race. Admiral Sims makes this comment: "The whole story appealed to the British masses as one of the great miracles of history--a single miserable little settlement in Massachusetts Bay expanding into the continent overflowing with resources and wealth--a shipload of men, women and children developing in three centuries into a nation of more than 100,000,000 people. And the arrival of our destroyers, pictured on the film, informed the British people that all this youth and energy had been thrown upon their side of the battle."

Not a hint of Jamestown, not a word of tribute to the men, who, in the early days before Plymouth Rock, laid down their lives by thousands that this great continent might be saved from French and Spanish dominion and Plymouth itself might exist.

Nothing more aptly describes the effect of this propagandist program than its acceptance and exploitation in England through the moving picture film described by Admiral Sims. The English managers cared nothing between Jamestown and Plymouth, but were bent from their natural regard for truth, by the wish to please the present dominant influence  in America, which they correctly located northward.

Finally, as to Mr. Beck, in his book, entitled "The War and Humanity," which Theodore Roosevelt endorsed with a "Foreword," no one can doubt that he knew better when he wrote the words which follow. They were part of an address delivered by him in 1916 at a luncheon, given to him in London by the Pilgrim Society of that city, when Viscount Brice and other eminent Englishmen were present. And yet he must not be judged too harshly. Like Admiral Sims, he was the helpless victim of propaganda. Mr. Beck said:

Never was a nation more dominated by a tradition than the United States by the tradition of its political isolation. It has its root in the very beginning of the American Commonwealth. In nine generations no political party and a few public men had ever questioned its continued efficacy. The pioneers who came in 1620 across the Atlantic to Plymouth Rock and founded the American Commonwealth desired like the intrepid Kent in King Lear 'to shape their old course in a country new,' so that the spirit of detachment from Europe was emplanted in the very souls of the pioneers who conquered the virgin forests of America.

Mark what Mr. beck said: "The pioneers who came in 1620 across the Atlantic to Plymouth Rock and founded the American Commonwealth." Not a word of the men who came in the Sarah Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery, and prepared the way at Jamestown for all future colonization of America.

2. The second myth which has been extensively circulated is that the Plymouth settlers came to America for religious freedom. As a matter of fact, they left England for Holland because they were persecuted, and they left Holland for America, not because they were persecuted by the Dutch, but, as Bradford narrates, because they were in danger of being absorbed in the body of the Dutch nation by natural causes. Charles M. Andrews, in a recent work, declares that with the single exception of giving to New England the congregational form of worship, these humble and simple settlers were "without importance in the world of thought, literature or education."

The settlers who came with John Winthrop in 1630 were the real builders of Massachusetts, which for a century and a half was the enemy of free thought. The persecuted in England turned persecutors in America, and the colonial disputes with England turned upon the religious and political tyranny which the Puritans erected in New England. Far from religious convictions being the only driving force that sent hundreds of men to New England, hardly a fifth of the people in Massachusetts were professed Christians; and yet it was this fifth that had the power and taxed and persecuted all the rest. The liberty they wanted from England was the liberty to harass the majority of the population which did not agree with them. Seen at this distance of time England showed a marvel of patience in dealing with the people of Massachusetts in the 17th century. And yet there is not an instance of severity which has not had its respectable defenders, and Charles Francis Adams, Jr., in his "Massachusetts--Its Historians and Its History," takes notice of how these apologists have in their histories "struggled" and "squirmed" and "shuffled" in the face of the record.

John Winthrop, English Puritan lawyer, led colonizers to Mass. Bay Colony in 1630.
John Winthrop, English Puritan lawyer, led colonizers to Mass. Bay Colony in 1630.

3. The third myth of which I shall take notice is one strangely endorsed by Charles Francis Adams himself in the same book. He makes the remarkable statement that the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, written by his great-grandfather, John Adams, first fixed the principles of the American written constitution, and pioneered the way to the Federal Constitution of eight years later. This assertion has been taken up and repeated by many persons since, till it is becoming rapidly accepted as a fact by the writing and reading public of the North. As in the case of Jamestown, George Mason and the Virginia Constitution of 1776 are ignored and made to suffer from a propaganda of untruth.

4. Not to mention numerous other subjects of propagandism, there is the Lincoln myth. Hardly a single paper published north of Mason and Dixon's line can be taken up without the reader seeing something about this wonderful hero of the North. We all know that the North started out with making a hero of John Brown, but abandoned him for the much more desirable character of Mr. Lincoln. His assassination gave propagandists a good starting point, and since then never has propaganda been more active. Washington is even relegated to the background, and a highly worthy and eminent historian, Dr. Albert Bushnell Hart, calls Lincoln "The First American." The ideality given him is chiefly based upon a great fabrication sedulously taught and inculcated that Lincoln fought the South for the abolition of slavery of the negroes. This was denied to the very last by Lincoln himself, but is exploited in the recently published play of Mr. Drinkwater, an Englishman, as it has been by hundreds of other writers.

The mischievousness of this Lincoln propaganda idea was exhibited recently to the full by Rev. Charles Francis Potter, pastor of the Lenox Avenue Unitarian Church, New York, in an address delivered on March 7, 1920, at Earl Hall, Columbia University, and reported in the "Sun and New York Herald." This gentleman characterizes Lincoln as the "future social Christ" of America, and prophesied the coming of an "American Church" and an "American Bible," in which people "will find in parallel columns the stories of Christ and of Lincoln."

Absurd and blasphemous as this hysterical prophecy may appear to some, it may, nevertheless, come true. What the Roman Senate achieved by decree in the case of their emperors, may in this day be more certainly accomplished by money and propaganda. When the most elemental facts in the history of the United States are snubbed and ignored, as in the case of Jamestown, it is not at all surprising that the character of Lincoln is so represented by the Northern press that the true Lincoln is no longer recognizable. Everything in any way tending to lessen his importance is studiously kept in the background.

The writer certainly has no wish to detract from Lincoln's real merits. That he was a man of ability and originality can scarcely be questioned, but his intellectuality was not of that degree to place him in the same class with Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Marshall, Madison, Calhoun, Clay and Webster. These men attracted the public attention from their early manhood, and profoundly influenced the country throughout their lives. But Lincoln was practically an unknown factor till his nomination as President in 1860, and his influence was confined to the four years of the war. There can be no doubt that his assassination was a fortunate thing for his fame.

Nor does Lincoln appear naturally as venomous as many of his party. It is doubtless true that he would have preferred mild measures instead of severe ones. But this is an much as can be said, and to accomplish success he had no compunction or scruples whatever.

Let us consider the claims of Lincoln to the ideal character in history which has been imputed to him.

It is impossible to associate idealism with coarseness, and Lincoln, judged by every test of historic evidence, was a very coarse man. There is no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy of his friend and admirer, Ward H. Lamon, who declared that "in his tendency to tell stories of the grosser sort, Lincoln was restrained by no presence and no occasion." Herndon, who was his law partner, says that "he loved a story, however extravagant or vulgar, if it had a good point," and Don Piatt declares that he managed to live through the cares and responsibilities of the war only by reason of his coarse mold. After his election Piatt saw much of Lincoln, who told stories, "no one of which will bear printing," and Hugh McCulloch tells of "the very funny stories" of Mr. Lincoln during the war, after hearing of Sheridan's victory in the Valley of Virginia--stories, he says, "which would not be listened to with pleasure by very refined ears." And General McClellan said "his stories were seldom refined."

Indeed, what kind of an ideal man is he who could open a Cabinet meeting called to discuss the Emancipation  proclamation with reading foolish things from Artemus Ward, and, when visiting the field of Sharpsburg, freshly soaked with the blood of thousands of brave men, could call for the singing of a ribald song?10

Artemus Ward, nom de plume of Charles Farrar Browne, humor writer, comedian.
Artemus Ward, nom de plume of Charles Farrar Browne, humor writer, comedian.

Certainly it would never do to put Lincoln's letter11 to Mrs. Browning on the subject of marriage in a column parallel with the stories of Christ. Its grotesque humor, its coarse suggestions and its base insinuations against the virtue of a lady to whom he had proposed and by whom he had been rejected, are shocking enough without subjecting it to such a test.

Mr. Lincoln's kindness in individual cases and professions of charity in his messages, which have been greatly exploited, by no means prove that he had any exalted sense of humanity. The recognized expression of humanity among nations is the international law, and Lincoln and his government acted repeatedly contrary to it.

How stands history in regard to the claim of humanity? Here is the testimony of the late Charles Francis Adams, a Federal Brigadier General, and President of the Massachusetts Historical Society:

Our own methods during the last stages of the war was sufficiently described by General Sheridan, when during the Franco-Prussian war, as the guest of Bismarck, he declared against humanity in warfare, contending that the correct policy was to treat a hostile population with the utmost rigor, leaving them, as he expressed it, 'Nothing but their eyes to weep with over the war.'

The doctrine that there must be no humanity in warfare proclaimed by Sheridan was also voiced by Sherman in his letter to General Grant March 9, 1864:

Until we can repopulate Georgia it is useless for us to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses and people will cripple their military resources. . . . I can make the march and make Georgia howl.

General Halleck wanted the site of Charleston, thick with the heroic memories of the Revolution, sowed with salt, and General Grant, in his letters to General David Hunter and General Sheridan, issued orders to make the beautiful Valley of Virginia "a barren waste." Nothing need be said of the ferocious spirit of the lesser tribe of Federal commanders.

And Lincoln, in spite of the fine catchy sentiment of his Gettysburg speech, gave his sanction to the same policy when he said in response to a protest against his employment of negro troops: "No human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion."

Secretary Chase, in his diary, shows that on July 21, 1862, in a Cabinet meeting the President expressed himself as "averse to arming the negroes," but shortly after, on August 3, 1862, the President said on the same question that "he was pretty well cured of any objections to any measure except want of adaptedness to putting down the Rebellion." To the spoliators Hunter, Sheridan and Sherman, he wrote his enthusiastic commendations and not a word of censure.

By an act of Congress, approved July 17, 1862, and published with an approving proclamation by Lincoln, death, imprisonment or confiscation of property were denounced on five million white people in the South and all their abettors and aiders in the North. To reduce the South into submission Lincoln instituted on his own motion a blockade, a means of war so extreme that despite its legality under the International Law, it evoked from the Germans the most savage retaliation when applied to them. He threatened with hanging as pirates Southern privateersmen and as guerillas regularly commissioned partisans. He suspended the cartel of exchange, and when the Federal prisoners necessarily fared badly for lack of food on account of the blockade and the universal devastations, he retorted their sufferings upon the Confederate prisoners--thousands of whom perished of cold and starvation in the midst of plenty. Indeed, he refused to see or hear a committee of Federal prisoners permitted by Mr. Davis to visit Washington in the interest of the suffering prisoners at Andersonville.

Lord Palmerston, the British Prime Minister, denounced in Parliament Butler's order against the women of New Orleans as "too indecent to be put in the English language," but Lincoln neither had it rescinded nor rebuked the author of it.12 And such was his idea of popular government that he gave permission to the tenth part of the people of a rebellious State to form a government for the State. Indeed, private relief which even the Germans allowed in the late war to prisoners, was not always permitted by the Northern authorities in the War for Southern Independence. A notable instance of refusal was afforded in December, 1864, when certain ladies of England asked permission to distribute $85,000 among the Confederate prisoners. Mr. Charles Francis Adams, the United States Minister, became humanely the medium of their request, but Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, made refusal in terms as insulting almost to Mr. Adams as to the charitable ladies concerned. Lincoln had a fine opportunity in this case to show that he meant what he said of "charity" in one of his messages, but he did not interfere.

Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston, Prime Mins. of UK, 1857.
Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston, Prime Mins. of UK, 1857.

Medicines were made contraband, and to justify the seizure of neutral goods at sea a great enlargement of the principle of the "ultimate destination" was introduced into the International Law. The property of non-combatants was seized everywhere without compensation, and within the area embraced by the Union lines, the oath of allegiance was required of both sexes above sixteen years of age under penalty of being driven from their homes. Houses, barns, villages and towns were destroyed in the South; and in the North, by the authority of the President, thirty-eight thousands persons are said to have been arrested and confined as prisoners without trial or formal charge. Even the act for which Lincoln has been most applauded in recent days--his emancipation proclamation--stands on no really humanitarian ground.

He declared to a committee of clergymen from Chicago that in issuing his emancipation proclamation he would look only to its effect as a war measure, independent of its "legal" or "constitutional" character or of "its moral nature in view of the possible consequences of insurrection or massacre in the Southern States." This declaration, which involved directly the admission that, if he were once convinced that emancipation would contribute to ending the war, he would proclaim it regardless of massacre, is not exactly such as would recommend him as a champion of humanity to the Southern people. Massacre of women and children is a dreadful thing.

When we come to examine Lincoln's statecraft, it appears to indicate a lack of decision utterly at variance with the inordinate estimate placed upon his abilities by modern propagandists.13 These people never tire of blaming Mr. Buchanan for not at once using force to suppress the "rebellion," and yet have not a word of censure against Lincoln for allowing a whole month to pass without taking any action. That he declared in his inaugural address that he intended to hold the forts and public property was no more than what Mr. Buchanan had also said, and this declaration was subject to developments. Even James Schouler, in his history, states that "so reticent, indeed, of his plans had been the new President, while sifting opinions through the month, that it seemed as though he had no policy, but was waiting for his Cabinet to frame one for him." Is this the kind of appearance that a President who is expected to lead in matters should assume before the nation?

After the meeting of the Cabinet on March 15, 1861, in which five of the members opposed action, Lincoln's mind more and more tended to the same conclusion. It is idle to say, as many of his panegyrists do, that Lincoln had no knowledge of Seward's assurances to Judge Campbell that the troops would be withdrawn from Fort Sumter. Mr. Schouler is an admirer, but he cannot agree with this view and asks very pertinently why if this was the case, Lincoln should have agreed to give notice of a contrary action.

It appears, indeed, that the policy of giving up Fort Sumter went to the extent of the preparation of an editorial for a New York paper to defend Lincoln,--a copy of which was furnished Gov. Francis Pickens, of South Carolina, "by one very near the most intimate counsels of the President of the United States."14 But after signing an order for withdrawing the troops, Lincoln reconsidered when the governors of seven of the Northern States, which were under control of the tariff interests, assembled in Washington about the first of April, 1861, and protested against it.

That the final determination turned on the tariff question is not surprising when one considers the obstinacy of the North in adhering to protection in 1833. Only a miracle saved the country at that time from war. On March 16, 1861, Stanton, who had been a member of Buchanan's Cabinet, wrote to the ex-President that "the Republicans are beginning to think that a monstrous blunder was made in the tariff bill (the Morrill tariff included ranges from 50 to 80 per cent.), that it will cut off the trade of New York, build up New Orleans and the Southern ports and leave the government no revenue." There was a Confederate tariff of from ten to twenty per cent., and Lincoln's fears of it were ultimately excited.

So on April 1, Seward materially changed his attitude by placing in Judge Campbell's hands a written memorandum to the effect that the President might desire to supply Fort Sumter, but would not do so without giving notice. On April 4 Lincoln had an interview with Col. John B. Baldwin, who came from the Virginia Convention, and in response to an appeal told him he had come too late, and asked "what would become of his tariff if he allowed those men at Montgomery to open Charleston as a port of entry with their ten per cent. tariff?"15 That day Lincoln drafted instructions to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter that relief would be sent, and ordered him to hold the fort. Notice was given to Gov. Pickens of South Carolina, but it reached him only as the first part of the relief squadron was leaving New York. This scarcely deserved the ascription of a reasonable or honorable notice.16

The same sort of uncertainty and vacillation hedged about Lincoln's action on Emancipation. He suppressed several measures looking to that end by his generals, and on Sept. 13, 1862, declared that Emancipation was absolutely futile and likened the policy to "the Pope's bull against the comet." He asked: "Would my word free the slaves when I cannot even enforce the Constitution in the Rebel States? Is there a single court or magistrate or individual who would be influenced by it there?"17 And yet on September 23, he decided to do what he had refused to do ten days before. The only circumstance which had happened in the interval was the battle of Sharpsburg, but this certainly did not affect the substance of the objections which he had urged on Sept. 13. No court, nor magistrate, nor individual in the South was by that battle put in better mind as to the question. In the North the effect of the proclamation, according to Lincoln himself, "looked soberly in the face is not very satisfactory." The Republicans were defeated in the elections which followed, and Mr. Rhodes, the historian, writes that "no one can doubt that it (the proclamation of emancipation) was a contributing force." It is difficult to understand what single fact places Lincoln's action on a higher plane than that of Lord Dunmore during the American Revolution.

Nevertheless, the propagandists have been successful in disseminating the idea that Lincoln was the great emancipator and that all his shuffling and equivocation was the fine evidence of consummate leadership on his part.

The propagandist has in similar manner smoothed away all exceptions affecting the relations of President Lincoln to his Cabinet. And yet such exceptions existed, if any confidence is to be placed in Charles Francis Adams, Sr., who in his "Memorial Address" on Seward represents him as practically subordinate to his Secretary of State. And while Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, repels the charge and claims that the President was the dominating mind, his narrative of the incredible liberties taken by Seward, and the President's indifference to them, till roused by others to a proper sense of his dignity, does not redound much to Lincoln's credit. Welles complains much of the assumptions of Seward, but doubtless forgot his own action in the Trent Affair, when he publicly approved the conduct of Wilkes, subsequently disavowed by Lincoln. If, indeed, Lincoln did not, on the side, give Welles permission to act as he did, which is very probable, what was this approval but officiousness on Welles' part meriting signal rebuke? And if Welles did write with Lincoln's permission, what was Lincoln's final action in apologizing to Great Britain, but a species of camouflage unworthy a President of the United States.

This deference, if not submission to his secretaries, is said by others to have been even more manifested by Lincoln with Stanton, his Secretary of War, than with Seward, his Secretary of State. John C. Ropes declares that Lincoln and Stanton constantly interfered with military plans greatly to the detriment of military success, and the history of the Virginia campaigns is a history of official blunders in the appointment by Lincoln of incompetent generals. Charles Francis Adams, Sr., declares in the same "Memorial Address" on Seward that Lincoln was "quite deficient in his acquaintance with the character and qualities of public men or their aptitude for the positions to which he assigned them. Indeed he never selected them solely by that standard." Welles, in his rejoinder, does not deny that such appointments were made, but retorts only by saying they occurred chiefly on the recommendation of Mr. Seward "who was vigilant and tenacious in dispensing the patronage of the State Department." This does not help the case. The very point against Lincoln is that he did not exert his own individuality sufficiently against a lot of impudent secretaries. It is impossible to supposed that any other man, in the whole list of Presidents, would have rested under such vassalage.

Lincoln's weakness of character is aptly illustrated by his course at other times. He never could rise above the idea that the South was fighting for slavery, and though the South resented the suggestion as an insult he more than once proposed to his Cabinet to pay the South for their slaves, if they would return to the Union. But his Cabinet, for quite different reasons, resisted the project, and Lincoln submitted. Indeed, his very last act showed how incapable he was of withstanding the influence of men of superior power like Stanton. On his visit to Richmond, after the evacuation in April, 1865, he authorized the Virginia Legislature to be called together, and yet he had hardly returned to Washington when, succumbing to the vehement protests of Stanton, as Stanton himself says, he recalled the permission, excusing himself on grounds which are plainly matter of afterthought.18

Much important detail is furnished by Dr. Clifton B. Hall towards enabling us to judge of Lincoln's character in his recent life of "Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee." The object of the appointment was the restoration of Tennessee to the Union, but Lincoln, despite his professions of "charity," instead of selecting a cool, conservative person for the position, took Andrew Johnson--a man whom Dr. Hall describes as one of the most venomous and hated men in Tennessee. He not only took him, but stood by him, and condoned all his violence, which got him into fierce quarrels with all the Federal generals at any time in Tennessee. That Andrew Johnson was in large degree a demagogue, as Dr. Hall states, is undoubtedly true, and yet he had certain qualities, which exhibited under other conditions, command our admiration and esteem. No one can tell how far Lincoln would have allowed the radicals to go after the war in their reconstruction of the South. His action referred to in regard to the Virginia Legislature is not particularly encouraging, but Johnson's conduct is a matter of history. However violent he was, while the war was going on, and for a year later, he proved himself incapable of the meanness of continuing to persecute a defenseless and conquered people; and asserting his authority as President, as any self-respecting man would have done, he turned the truculent Stanton out of office, thereby risking expulsion from his own high position at the hands of a crazy and malignant Congress.

In prosecuting the war Lincoln appealed to a great idea--the Union--which he declared was his sole idea in prosecuting the war, but the old Union was founded on consent and the Union he had in mind was one of force. His war, therefore, was contrary to the principles of self-government expressed in the Declaration of Independence and to the modern principle of self-determination, now the accepted doctrine of the world--a doctrine not only endorsed by the present President of the United States, but by both houses of Congress. In recent years, we have seen Norway and Sweden separate in peace, and much of Europe was reconstructed on new national lines.

The truth is, there never was a war more inconsistent in principle than that waged against the Southern States in 1861. Besides the great territory which it occupied the Southern Government placed in the field armies as vast as Napoleon's, and for four years waged a war on equal terms with the great and populous North, aided by recruits from Europe and enlistments from the South's own population. Indeed, we have Lincoln's own statement that without the aid of the Southern negro troops he would have had "to abandon the war in three weeks."19 As a matter of fact the old Union consisted from the first of two nations which had been brought together by British taxation, and the South's fight for independence was only in obedience to the logic of the real facts.

The present Southerners are glad to be free of slavery and are loyal citizens of the Union, but this is far from saying that they approve the violent methods by which slavery was abolished and the Union restored.

In conclusion of this article on propaganda, I may cite a few sentences from Robert Quillen in the Saturday Evening Post for January 24, 1920, which the editors might have taken to heart when preparing their editorial about Plymouth Rock.

Since the purpose of propaganda is to present one side of a case, it is from its very inception a distortion of facts, and an avoidance of the whole truth. . . . Truth lies at the bottom of a well and we are poisoning the well. . . . Propaganda has made doubters of us all.

Was the divine Pocahontas after all correct, when in her interview with John Smith in England in 1616 she characterized the white race as hopeless liars?

The exact language of Pocahontas was: "Your countrymen will lie much."

Tyler Mem. Garden at Wm. and Mary, tribute to Lyon Gardiner Tyler, his father and grandfather.
Tyler Mem. Garden at Wm. and Mary, tribute to Lyon Gardiner Tyler, his father and grandfather.

NOTES:

1 For the working of the ballot in New England, see Baldwin in American Historical Papers, IV, p. 81.

2 Jones, The Rotten Boroughs of New England in North American Review, CXCVII, p. 486.

3 New York, Nation, April 27, 1893.

4 Letters of Alexander Spotswood, II, p.1.

5 The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, I, p. 100.

6 William and Mary Quarterly, XVI, 259.

7 Henry, Patrick Henry, I, 209.

8 William and Mary College Quarterly, XXII, 252.

9 Ibid., XXIII, 227.

10 Don Piatt in Rice, Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln, p. 486; George Edmunds (Mrs. Minor Meriwether), Facts and Falsehoods, 73-90.

11 Lamon, Life of LIncoln, 1872, p. 181. Nicolay and Hay, Letters and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln, I, 17-19.

12 This order was directed against any "gesture" of a woman expressive of contempt of a Federal soldier, but in the American Revolution the women of Boston appear to have regarded spitting at the British prisoners taken at Saratoga as patriotic. (See Lady Riedesel's Journal.)

13 Publisher's Note: Modern propagandists include everybody who is politically correct, which include most of academia, nearly all of the news media, and most of those on the political left. The politicization of history by academia since the 1960s has mostly changed history, as a serious, important discipline, from a search for truth, to just another leftist political position. Like Orwell said, whoever controls the past, controls the future; and who controls the present, controls the past.

14 Francis Pickens' Letter in William and Mary College Quarterly, XXIV, 78-84.

15 Gordon, Life of Jefferson Davis, 124.

16 See "Lincoln and Fort Sumter," in Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, II, 211-214.

17 Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, VIII, 30, 31.

18 Conner, Life of John A. Campbell, 174-198.

19 Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, X, 190.

Part 2, Conclusion, of The King Street Riot of 1876, The Most Violent Race Riot in Downtown Charleston During Reconstruction

Part 2, Conclusion, of

The King Street Riot of 18761

The Most Violent Race Riot in Downtown Charleston
During Reconstruction

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

(Continued from Part 1. It is best to read Part 1 first to
get the background. At the end of Part 1 is a link to Part 2.
Click here to go to Part 1.)

 

The King Street Riot

The next night, Wednesday, September 6, 1876, the Democratic Hampton and Tilden Colored Club of Ward 4 met at Archer's Hall, corner of King and George Streets. The meeting was conducted by black Democrat J. B. Jenkins, vice-president, with some whites present. White lawyer Joseph W. Barnwell spoke as did several blacks including Jenkins himself, Isaac B. Rivers and J. W. Sawyer. There had been a threat made that two black Republican gangs, the Live Oak and Hunkidory Clubs, planned to break up the meeting and kill the black Democrats, so when the meeting adjourned around 10:15 p.m., each black Democrat was put in the middle of six or seven whites2 and the line headed out onto King Street led by Joseph Barnwell.3

Joseph Walker Barnwell, atty, served SC House & Senate, chair SC Democr. Prty, a pres. of the SC Historical Society. Undated photo.
Joseph Walker Barnwell, atty, served SC House & Senate, chair SC Democr. Prty, a pres. of the SC Historical Society. Undated photo.

Alfred B. Williams writes:

The Hunkidories and Live Oaks, negro Radical Republican secret organizations, had gathered their forces and were massed, waiting, in King Street armed with pistols, clubs and sling shots, the last made with a pound of lead attached to a twelve inch leather strap and providing a deadly weapon at close range.4

On both sides of King Street there were jeers and taunts as the line of whites and black Democrats marched quietly up King Street toward Citadel Green (Marion Square). When they got to the German church, St. Matthews, "a mob of 150 negroes, armed with staves, clubs and pistols, came yelling after them, hurrahing for Hayes and Wheeler."5

Currier & Ives campaign poster for 1876 Republican ticket, Ohio Gov. Hayes, and VP Wheeler.
Currier & Ives campaign poster for 1876 Republican ticket, Ohio Gov. Hayes, and VP Wheeler.
St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church, the way it looked in 1876 (1883 photo).
St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church, the way it looked in 1876 (1883 photo).

The whites leading the line stopped, a black rioter ran up and "knocked the first white man he met in the head with a 'slung shot,' and the crowd immediately behind him fired a pistol into the crowd of whites, shouting that they would have the colored Democrats out even if they had to kill every man in the crowd to do it."6 Several whites shot over the heads of the mob to cover other whites who quickly took the black Democrats to the federal troops stationed at the Citadel where they were safe. All the shooting had attracted more black rioters and instantly there were 300 "yelling and shouting and breathing threats of violence."7

The 45 or so whites in the crowd "retreated backwards up King Street, facing the negroes and keeping them off as well they could by returning the fire from the pistols of the mob." Just as the whites reached John Street "the negro mob was reinforced by another multitude of blacks who swept out of John Street and cut off the retreat of the whites." These reinforcements were yelling "Blood!"8 The whites were now completely surrounded and outnumbered some 500 to 45. Things were desperate and it quickly  became a hand to hand fight with pistols going off rapidly.9

Drie 1872 map, route down King St. from George to John where 2nd black mob cut off the whites.
Drie 1872 map, route down King St. from George to John where 2nd black mob cut off the whites.

Earlier, whites had somehow gotten word to the police at Broad and Meeting and finally four or five arrived though they were "powerless to restrain the infuriated mob."10 A black policeman, Charles Green, with Justice Reed and "a white man named Plaspohl, then came up and called on a posse of citizens white and black to assist him." The rioters kept yelling "Blood!" though it appeared for a moment the mob might be quieted as curses and threats seemed to get fewer, then a "skirmish" broke out between a white man and black on the outskirts and that started it all over. Green was surrounded and pistols "were going off every moment, and amid the firing Policeman Green fell shot through the abdomen." Soon, the police "were reinforced by members from the upper and lower Guardhouses, and succeeded in separating the whites from the blacks."11

A detail left to take the wounded to the stationhouse "and the fighting immediately began again." White men "by this time numbered only about fifteen" as there were "large numbers of them (at least 30) having been knocked senseless with clubs and palings." Fifteen minutes later, the negroes "had complete mastery of the field." Policeman Green "was the only colored man up to that time who was hurt, and he was shot it is believed by one of the negro mob, who attempted to fire at a white man he was protecting." Other blacks had been knocked down and some had "bad gashes over the head" but none was seriously hurt.

There is no question the black Democrats would have been brutally beaten or murdered by the Republican mobs had it not been for the white men who risked their lives protecting them. One young white man with a wife and child at home did lose his life in the melee. The planners of this ambush must not have taken into account that the black Democrats could be turned over to federal troops there at the Citadel for protection; or maybe something went wrong with the timing of the ambush which gave the whites a single fleeting chance to get the black Democrats to safety, which they did successfully.

It is entirely possible that the timing element that went wrong for the planners of the ambush was the whites stopping to face the first mob. The ambush's planners probably figured the whites, when faced with the first angry mob of 150 armed blacks, would break and run, or their formation would fall apart, or they would at least continue up King Street. The whites, stopping, composed and determined, was probably the last thing the ambush's planners figured would happen.

It is a certainty that if the whites and black Democrats had advanced just a block further up King Street, the whites would not have been able to get the black Democrats to safety with the federal troops at the Citadel and all of them, most likely, would have been murdered.

The black Republican rioters then gathered "in crowds of forty and fifty at each corner along King Street, extending from Calhoun street to the Upper Guardhouse" (located to the north on the opposite end of King from the main police station at Broad and Meeting). At that upper guardhouse, another infuriated black mob threatened to break in and beat to death all the wounded whites who had been taken there.12

Upper police guardhouse on King near Woolfe St. See Num. 7 on map.
Upper police guardhouse on King near Woolfe St. See Num. 7 on map.

Any poor white man who happened along was beaten as reported by the News and Courier:

White men on the street were scarce, and as soon as one turned a corner or came along on his way  home, the crowd in his immediately vicinity would give a yell and go for him with brickbats, stones and pistol shots. The crowds at the corners above and below them, hearing the pistol shots, would close up, and in a few moments the unfortunate as surrounded by a pack of over two hundred negroes, who did everything but kill him. They would knock him down with brickbats, and as soon as he would get up to run they would fire pistol shots at him and over his head, while the crowd ahead would rearrest him and give him another beating.13

A reporter observed "a mob of negroes chasing a white man, who had hardly a vestige of clothing upon his person, and covered with blood from a dozen wounds." The poor man "was knocked down several times with brickbats or clubs, and several pistol shots were fired at him." A police Lt. Gouldin with two other policemen rescued the man and carried him home "in an almost lifeless condition."14

The driver of one of the railway cars, Edward Salters, was chased down King Street to his home. He barely made it but the mob chasing and firing pistols at him stayed outside and cursed and threw brickbats for a half hour. They broke out most of the windows and "almost every bannister in the piazzas." The howling mob left only after spotting another victim.15

By midnight, the riot was over though isolated violence continued all night. White men had been "compelled to stay in their homes with shivering and terror stricken families because any white man venturing on the street alone invited death uselessly."16

The wounded inside the upper police stationhouse "presented a sickening sight, men lying drenched in blood over the yard and in the hospital." The white man shot in the abdomen, Mr. J. M. Buckner, a bookbinder by trade, 26 years old with a wife and child at home, had been one of the escorts of the black Democrats. He was on a stretcher in excruciating pain, groaning, having been "shot just in the pit of the abdomen." He died the next day.

Another shooting victim, Policeman Charles Green, was also in bad shape but he survived. Two doctors worked all night on the injured, a Dr. Joe Yates and a Dr. Aldrich. Yates had taken off his own shirt and torn it to pieces to make bandages.17

A few of the others who were injured illustrate the types of injuries sustained:

. . . Policeman Lloyd, colored, was lying senseless with a huge gash in the back of his head caused by some stray brickbat or the sharp edge of a paling.

Mr. John Holmes, son of Prof. Francis Holmes, was beaten very badly in the head and body, and spit up quantities of blood.

W. S. White, white, was shot in the back with a pistol ball, but not seriously.

Mr. E. M. Reeder, a white lad of about eighteen years of age, was beaten terribly, his head and forehead being covered with contusions and his clothing being saturated with blood. He fainted twice in the Stationhouse. This young man was rescued and his life saved by Private Lee, of the police force . . . 18

There were far more white casualties than black. The white man killed, Buckner, had reportedly been shot accidentally by another white. Over 50 whites had been severely injured as opposed to a handful of blacks. Among policemen, four white and two black were injured.19

The only rifle company that had assembled the night of the riot was the Carolina Rifle Battalion, no more than 75 strong that night, commanded by Major Theodore G. Barker. They were marched to Hibernian Hall and stood in formation for an hour and a half, listening to the distant sounds of the riot and dying to get into action.

The next day Major Barker took some criticism for not going into action. He had deliberately waited because he had been told the riot was almost over, then over. He published his justification in the paper the next day and admitted they could have killed several black rioters that night, but it would have restarted the riot and brought mobs into the lower end of the city.

Like all Democrat leaders during the 1876 campaign, he knew whites killing blacks would bring the Northern press down on them which would cause President Grant to "fasten the reconstruction government on the state more strongly and cruelly than ever," so that was another reason he held back. As it turned out, with the only death being a white man and few negro arrests, the press accounts around the country were very favorable to the Democrats.20

In giving a more detailed report that Friday, September 8, the News and Courier reported that the riot had raged almost a mile along King Street between Cannon, on the upper end, and Wentworth, on the lower.21

That same day, large notices appeared in the newspaper from Charles H. Simonton, Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee. The first, dated September 7, 1876, stated that "some colored men, citizens of this County, in the exercise of an unquestionable right, have connected themselves with the Democratic party." It goes on with:

. . . Because of threats made against them that, being colored men, they are Democrats, they have asked the Democratic party to protect them, and they have received from our party promise of such protection.

During the evening of the 6th instant, after a respectable and orderly meeting, the colored men who spoke at that meeting in favor of the Democracy were attacked on their way to their homes by an armed mob of colored people and barely escaped with their lives. Such an occurrence disgraces our community. Its repetition would be a stain upon our manhood.

We call upon all citizens, whatever may be their party or race, to unite with us with every means in their power in affording to these Colored Democrats the most ample protection in the exercise of their rights and citizens to select their own party and to advocate their principles. . . .22

The second, dated September 5, 1876, orders the rifle clubs to defend black Democrats:

The Democratic Party of South Carolina having appealed to the colored citizens to unite with them in the determined effort which is being made to rescue the Government from the Republicans, who have prostituted and degraded it, and having pledged protection to all colored citizens, who, by reason of their uniting with the Democrats, may be subjected to violence or exposed to danger.

The Executive Committee of Charleston County directs that the several Democratic Clubs and organizations throughout the County do promptly organize proper and efficient means for securing to all colored citizens within their respective precincts, who shall unite with them, adequate protection from all violence or injury to which they may be exposed during the canvass and election. The several Clubs will report to this Committee the means which they adopt, and this Committee will afford them all the aid it can command in perfecting the arrangements and redeeming the pledges of protection. . . .

There was also a warning to the local Radical Republican leadership in an article entitled "The Riot and the Remedy," on the editorial page. It ends with:

. . . And now, a word of advice to the men who are at the bottom of all this turbulence and trouble in our usually quiet city. They are well known, though they do not figure at the head of any of the black gangs who have spread alarm and disorder in the community. It is known, also, how easily and absolutely they can control, whenever they choose, the poor ignorant rabble who make up "the party." It is time for them, for their own sakes, to exercise this control, in the interest of public peace and order. It will no doubt be a highly proper thing for them to deplore the consequences of another riot, after it is too late to avert them. But we warn them that this may be not enough to satisfy the citizens whose homes and families are endangered.

The day after the riot, a show of strength included a thousand white members of the Butler Guards and Charleston Light Dragoons assembled to protect black Democrats. The Charleston Light Dragoons began patrolling the streets of Charleston that night. Previously, they had told authorities they were available to assist at any time. Now, they were taking no chances on a poor or ineffective effort by authorities in any future riot. An elaborate communication network was set up and within two hours, 2,000 white men could be assembled. From then until after the election in November "the sound of the hoofs of their horses plodding the streets from nine o'clock to sunrise, in all weathers, was listened for in every part of town and carried to troubled hearts comforting assurance that all might sleep safely, watched over by tireless vigilance and faithfully guarded from danger."23

Charleston Light Dragoon, 1888 sketch by Edward Laight Wells.
Charleston Light Dragoon, 1888 sketch by Edward Laight Wells.
Charleston Light Dragoons may have been organized as early as 1706. Fought in all wars incl. WWI. Ended 1948.
Charleston Light Dragoons may have been organized as early as 1706. Fought in all wars incl. WWI. Ended 1948.

There were two other violent racial confrontations in the Charleston area during Reconstruction. The first took place at Cainhoy, 12 miles up the Wando River from Charleston during a joint meeting Monday, October 16, 1876, some five weeks after the King Street Riot, and there is strong evidence that it was a black Republican ambush of the Democrats, just like the King Street Riot. There is evidence that the speech of a black Democrat named Delany was the signal for the black Republicans to begin the massacre. The white Democrats, who had a few black Democrats with them, were taken completely by surprise. They were low on ammunition from having shot much of it pleasurably during the boat ride. They had few weapons anyway, just some pocket pistols. The black Republicans apparently had muskets and numerous other weapons hidden and when the trouble started they grabbed them and had an easy time with the whites. Around 40 whites were wounded along with three black Democrats.

One young white man was brutally beaten and had his right eye torn out but survived. Five of the wounded whites were murdered. They had been beaten, hacked, mutilated, then robbed of valuables and clothing. The only black Republican casualty at Cainhoy was an old man killed. No Republican blacks were wounded at Cainhoy.

The last violent race riot of Reconstruction was the Broad Street Riot Wednesday, November 8, 1876, the day after the election, three weeks after Cainhoy, and eight weeks after King Street. It was unplanned and happened due to the volatility of the situation. Blacks and whites were in Broad Street armed, as always, and a shot was accidentally fired causing panic, rumor and a race riot to start. Casualties on Broad Street were: one white man killed, 12 wounded; among black Republicans, none were killed, but 12 were also wounded.

It was during this riot that some black policemen joined the Republican rioters and began shooting at whites from behind the columns of the main police stationhouse at Meeting and Broad.24 One such policeman shot and killed Endicott H. Walter, son of prominent Charleston businessman George H. Walter. They had been returning to work on Adger's Wharf from dinner and apparently had no weapons that were visible.25

Adger's Wharf, 19th century.
Adger's Wharf, 19th century.
Bales of cotton on Adger's Wharf in 19th century.
Bales of cotton on Adger's Wharf in 19th century.
Main Chas. Police Station at Broad and Meeting, where the US Post Office is today. This photo after 1886 earthquake.
Main Chas. Police Station at Broad and Meeting, where the US Post Office is today. This photo after 1886 earthquake.

The Mississippi Plan and the determined efforts of white and black Democrats got former Confederate General Wade Hampton, III elected governor, though the election was challenged by Republican Chamberlain well into the next year. As part of the deal for receiving South Carolina's electoral votes, Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes removed federal troops in April, 1877, and that secured Hampton's victory and ended Reconstruction in the last, most long-suffering Southern state.26

President Rutherford B. Hayes, winner of the 1876 US presidential election.
President Rutherford B. Hayes, winner of the 1876 US presidential election.
Gov. Wade Hampton, III, winner 1876 SC gubernatorial election signifying the end of Reconstruction in SC.
Gov. Wade Hampton, III, winner 1876 SC gubernatorial election signifying the end of Reconstruction in SC.

NOTES:

1 This paper was written 22 years ago and turned in May 2, 1998 for a Victorian Charleston history course taught by Professor Robert P. Stockton at the College of Charleston when I was a middle-age student. The parallels between the violent leftists of the Democrat Party today, and the violent Republican Party during Reconstruction, are striking. Both used (and Democrats today are still using) racial hatred, division, and violence, to stay in power.

2 The accounts of the exact formation of the whites as they protected the black Democrats differ. One says a single black Democrat was put in the middle of six or seven whites, leading one to believe that there were several groups of these whites with a black in the middle, all in a line, since there were several black Democrats at this meeting. Other accounts say that all the blacks were in the middle of a single larger group of whites.

3 "A Bloody Outbreak." News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876; Alfred B. Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, South Carolina's Deliverance in 1876 (Charleston, SC: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Company, Publishers, 1935), 120-22; Melinda Meek Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction: The 1876 Riots in Charleston and Cainhoy," South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 86, No. 2 (April, 1985), 105.

4 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 121.

5 "A Bloody Outbreak.", News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Williams, Hampton and His Redshirts, 121.

9 "A Bloody Outbreak.", News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 "A Night of Excitement.", News and Courier, Friday, September 8, 1876.

16 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 122.

17 "A Bloody Outbreak.", News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876.

18 Ibid.

19 Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction," 106.

20 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 123-26.

21 "A Night of Excitement.", News and Courier, Friday, September 8, 1876.

22 "Democratic Executive Committee.", News and Courier, Friday, September 8, 1876.

23 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 126-27.

24 For an excellent photograph of this building with its six large columns facing Broad Street, see Robert P. Stockton, The Great Shock, The Effects of the 1886 Earthquake on the Build Environment of Charleston, South Carolina (Easley, SC: Southern HIstorical Press, Inc., 1986), photograph #5 in the photo section following page 22. It shows damage to the top of the building from the earthquake of 1886, but none to the six large stately doric columns. It was from behind one of these columns that a black policeman shot and killed Endicott H. Walter during the race riot of November 8, 1876.

25 John S. Reynolds, Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 (Columbia, SC: The State Company, 1905; reprint, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969), 391-92; Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction," 110-11.

26 Louis B. Wright, South Carolina, A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., and Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1976), 195.

Part 1 of The King Street Riot of 1876, The Most Violent Race Riot in Downtown Charleston During Reconstruction

Part 1 of

The King Street Riot of 18761
The Most Violent Race Riot in Downtown Charleston
During Reconstruction

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

The sidewalks along Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina were jam packed with exuberant people from Broad to Marion Square just after dark, Friday, August 25th, 1876, two weeks before a violent race riot would rage on King Street.

Bystanders this night numbered around 7,500 and they were cheering an impressive torchlight parade, part of a Democratic Party rally that had started at Broad Street "amid the clash of drums," the hissing of rockets and Roman candles, and music. As far as one could see, Meeting Street was "a perfect blaze of light with torches, transparencies, lanterns, blue lights and rockets" moving steadily toward Marion Square, called "Citadel Green" back then.2

The parade itself was over 6,000 strong led by 500 men on horseback. Every window "along the line of march was crowded with ladies and children, who waved their handkerchiefs in response to the cheers of the men."

As they passed the Meeting Street ice house "a shower of rockets" went up, and in front of the Charleston Hotel "there was a perfect fusillade of Roman candles, bombs and rockets which lit up the street from Hasel to Broad" and made it "almost as bright as day." The "handsome stores of Messrs. W. Carrington & Co. and J. R. Read & Co. were brilliantly illuminated with Chinese lanterns of variegated colors" that "provoked a yell from the torch bearers which was responded to by a shower of rockets from the occupants of the building, and a general flutter of pocket handkerchiefs from the ladies."

Passing Von Santen's, "a half dozen of his clerks were sent out with an unlimited supply of rockets, whose brilliant coruscations served to reveal the handsome and cheery faces of hundreds of the fair sex who thronged the windows of the Masonic Temple." Some of the ladies were so excited "as to hold a Roman candle."3

Charleston in 1872 by prominent map maker C. N. Drie.
Charleston in 1872 by prominent map maker C. N. Drie.

As the cheering procession turned left on Calhoun Street and poured onto Citadel Green, a battery of cannons manned by the Washington Artillery opened up rapid fire, a deafening BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, while over King Street "there was sent up as brilliant a flight of rockets as was ever seen in Charleston."4

They marched across the square to a grand stand in front of The Citadel. The platform was 10 feet high and 30 feet by 25 and around it "was a substantial balustrade 8 feet high and surrounded by fifty gas jets, which lit up the scene for yards around, the names of Tilden and Hendricks being painted on the globes." The lower part of the platform was "fringed with Centennial bunting."5

The Citadel in 1865, the year the War Between the States ended. It overlooks Citadel Green, today's Marion Square.
The Citadel in 1865, the year the War Between the States ended. It overlooks Citadel Green, today's Marion Square.

The transparencies (apparently some kind of placards) carried by those marching had on them messages that were often funny but dead serious. A triangular one "had the picture of a diminutive carpet-bagger retreating from an immense shoe in his rear."

Another had "Hampton will Wade in," and another had two crossed rifles "with bayonets, cartridges and bowie knives" labeled "Agricultural Implements."6

Many signs carried messages appealing to blacks, like "'Let the Republicans name a Democrat who has ever cheated the colored man.'"

Another featured a wagon loaded with bales of cotton and "drawn by a white and black man, and underneath was the motto, 'Together we'll redeem the State and live in peace.'"

Another, more pointed, said "'No intimidation of colored Democrats.'"

Others mimicked the Freedman's Bank scandal or proclaimed "straight-out."7

The speeches were just as uplifting as the parade. All of Charleston's leading citizens were there and included John A. Wagener, George Walton Williams, C. T. Lowndes, A. G. Magrath, E. T. Legare, C. Kerrison, Jr., Henry Buist, J. Ancrum Simons, W. C. Courtenay, James Cosgrove, W. L. Trenholm, W. W. Sale and George H. Walter.8 Mr. Walter's son, Endicott, would be shot dead in a race riot on Broad Street two and a half months later and Mr. Walter himself would be wounded.9

Col. Edward McCrady was one of the first speakers and this excerpt is typical of the others:

. . . The Republicans claim to own the 30,000 negro votes. They claim that "negro" and "Republican" mean the same thing. That all negroes are Republicans. We do not admit this. We know that very few of the negroes understand the difference between Democrats and Republicans. They are told to this day that they are still voting for Lincoln when they vote the Republican ticket, and that the Democratic party will put them back into slavery. But in this campaign we intend that they shall hear from us our true position, . . . We intend to have no Republican intimidation in the coming election. . . . (great applause).10

Lt. Col. Edward McCrady in 1876, later Gen. McCrady. In the war he served with Gregg's Regiment.
Lt. Col. Edward McCrady in 1876, later Gen. McCrady. In the war he served with Gregg's Regiment.

Major Theodore G. Barker denounced the racial hatred promoted by the Republican Union League early in Reconstruction as it sought to consolidate the black vote. He continued:

. . . If the counsels of corrupt Republican leaders, from the very highest and most cultivated to the coarsest and lowest dog in the Radical kennel, had been followed, blood and hate would have marked the history of the State for eleven years past. To the natural kindliness between the native white and the blacks which has always existed in South Carolina - to the refusal of both the former master and the former slave to suffer themselves to be arrayed in strife against each other by miserable carpet-baggers of both races - and to this alone is due the fact that to-day we are at peace . . .11

Flat Rock, NC grave of Maj. Theodore Gaillard Barker, who organized the Carolina Rifle Club in 1869.
Flat Rock, NC grave of Maj. Theodore Gaillard Barker, who organized the Carolina Rifle Club in 1869.

These two excerpts exemplify the themes of the many speakers and the frustration of whites. South Carolina Democrats had been "whipped dogs" since 1868 when Congressional Reconstruction began. They had not even called themselves "Democrats" instead hiding behind the label "conservatives." Some of this had to do with the backlash of the War Between the States which caused Lincoln's Republicans to ascend and Democrats to be discredited, but most had to do with pure hopelessness. South Carolina whites saw no end to Republican corruption which was pervasive as was public thievery and the promotion of virulent racial hate. Whites saw an entrenched carpetbag government that had at its disposal the state militia and treasury, the courts, the national Republican Party, the Northern press, the White House, and it was all backed up by federal troops. Whites knew they were a minority in a state run by outsiders whose political power base was the black majority.

Those outsiders had to maintain absolute control over black voters and the most effective way to do that was racial distrust and hate. Republican leaders told blacks, among other things, that if whites got back in power they would reestablish slavery. There were also constant threats of violence against any black too friendly with whites, or who dared not vote Republican, as well as other modes of ostracism within the black community.12

The Hamburg Riot of July 8th, seven weeks earlier, changed all that.

It gave Democrats a big surge of confidence, not because of the blood that was shed but because whites began realizing they were not impotent. They could fight back. Whites felt that the situation was no longer tolerable and the Republicans had to go even if it meant bringing a military government on themselves, which they figured would at least protect them and not rob the state blind. They did have a great fear that a military intervention would simply be put under command of the corrupt state government, but by the election of 1876, they were ready to chance it. The efforts at "fusion" with the untested reform branch of the Republican Party gave way to a "straight-out" Democratic ticket and a political fight to the finish.13

Adoption of the Mississippi Plan

Another speaker at the Charleston rally of August 25th was Gen. S. W. Ferguson, "a Carolinian born, residing in Mississippi." He told how they had gotten rid of carpetbag rule the year before in Mississippi, which had been in a similar situation as South Carolina with a large population of blacks under tight Republican control.

Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson.
Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson.

South Carolina Democrats quickly adopted the exact same strategy, which included, as a key element, face to face confrontation of Republicans at Republican meetings. This tactic became known as the "joint meeting" with "division of time."

Gen. Ferguson said that in Mississippi they went to every Republican meeting and when Republicans lied, Democrats "clinched them then and there" to their faces and "denounced the corrupt leaders" calling them "liars and thieves." Mississippi Democrats spoke to blacks "as residents of the same country with the same interests at stake" and "told them how they (blacks) had been cheated and duped by their leaders," and Democrats "promised to protect them if they wished to vote the Democratic ticket."14

Gen. Ferguson said there had been little violence but he stressed that Democrats should "be there in numbers strong enough to enforce if necessary, their demand" for equal time. He said to instill in blacks "the truth that their interest and the interest of the white man were the same." Democrats, he said, "should promise to protect them (black Democrats), and carry out their promise." Gen. Ferguson ended saying there was no need to resort to violence, that if Democrats were "prepared for violence" then "no violence would come."15

The Democratic strategy at joint meetings was simple: talk to blacks honestly, face to face, man to man, without patronizing or building them up with false promises. Democrats would simply tell the truth about Republican corruption and thievery. This, they reasoned, would gain them a manly respect. Democrats were confident that most Republican leaders were so corrupt they could not answer the Democrats face to face, and none could defend the party's record.16

Democrats were right. Republicans ran from this tactic the whole campaign falling back on their old standby of racial hatred and violence to maintain control.17

Even in the race for governor, Democrat Hampton many times challenged Republican carpetbagger Chamberlain, from Massachusetts, to debate him "on the stump," which was the custom, but Chamberlain refused. One reason for Chamberlain's refusal was that he might not have been able to face the heat. Though he ended up well thought of and he himself ended up respecting South Carolina Democrats (he admitted this years later, not during the campaign), he was still attorney general during the most corrupt days of Reconstruction and there were questions about why he didn't prosecute more of the public thieves. There was an implication that he too had personally benefited from his government office.18

Gen. Wade Hampton, III, rescued SC from corrupt Reconstruction by winning the governorship, was later a senator.
Gen. Wade Hampton, III, rescued SC from corrupt Reconstruction by winning the governorship, was later a senator.

There is also a sort of funny reason why Chamberlain would not debate Hampton. Journalist Alfred B. Williams described Hampton as a warm, good humored, confident fellow who would talk with anybody. On the campaign trail, a man came up to Hampton and said "Say, Gin'ral, they tell me you're kind of a dog man. I wisht you'd come over there an' look at somethin' I've got."

Gov. Wade Hampton, III, winner 1876 SC gubernatorial election signifying the end of Reconstruction in SC.
Gov. Wade Hampton, III, winner 1876 SC gubernatorial election signifying the end of Reconstruction in SC.

Hampton "joined him and they tramped together to where there was a litter of new hound puppies and through the next hour were in deep, confidential debate on the breeds and builds of hounds and the possibilities of rescuing a young dog wanted for 'possum purposes from the soul destroying vice of going off after rabbit trails.'"19

Chamberlain was the "diametrically opposite type, more of the student and scholar than a handler of real things." He "was forty-one years old in 1876, absolutely and conspicuously bald except for fringes of hair around his ears and the back of his head and wore a dark mustache." He was an indoor person and "His features were good" and "His manners, dress and personal habits were those of the New Englander." Chamberlain's "speeches and writings were models of style and diction, polished." On the stump, however, he:

. . . toiled diligently to build elegant addresses, admirably suited for cultivated audiences, to be delivered to people who wanted, enjoyed and understood nothing but rant, shrieks, howls, arm waving, foot stamping and funny stories about hogs and mules and hound dogs.20

 

Daniel Henry Chamberlain, carpetbag governor of SC during Reconstruction, defeated by Wade Hampton.
Daniel Henry Chamberlain, carpetbag governor of SC during Reconstruction, defeated by Wade Hampton.

Chamberlain aside, there was more to the Mississippi Plan, like boycotts of Republican businesses and putting pressure on black employees of Democrats, the same tactics Republicans had been using for eight years. However, at no time did Democrats encourage black women to ostracize or refuse to live with black men who supported the whites, as the Republicans had done, nor did Democrats promise blacks free land or threaten them with whippings for not following Democratic dogma, nor did they tell blacks they would be sold back into slavery if the Republicans won. Republicans had used all these tactics of lies and hate to intimidate and trick blacks and keep them voting Republican.

The key to the success of the Mississippi Plan was the direct confrontation afforded by the joint meeting. Over and over, throughout the campaign, joint meetings proved to average blacks that Democrats were right about Republican corruption and deception. Joint meetings gained Democrats the respect of thousands of blacks and led finally to the collapse of the Republican strategy, which was to control the lower classes of blacks with racist appeals and violence, to bribe the mulattos, and to control whites with the army and machinery of the government."21

Strawberry Ferry
A Typical Joint Meeting with Division of Time

Democrats employing the Mississippi Plan got a joint meeting and division of speaking time with Republicans at Strawberry Church, located at Strawberry Ferry, a Republican stronghold dominated by Christopher Columbus Bowen, sheriff of Charleston County and corrupt Republican leader. It took place Thursday, August 31st, 1876, a week after the Marion Square rally. A boat was chartered and the 40 mile trip up the Cooper River was made by approximately 100 white men who were joined at Strawberry Church by the Hampton Mounted Social Club and the Mount Pleasant Mounted Club, together totaling over 50 riders. Another 150 white men came on their own so that whites totaled 300 and blacks had about the same number, though voters in this area were 600 to 700 black, to 25 whites. Blacks were "armed with old muskets, rifles, shot guns and swords" and "some carried bayonets stuck on the end of a stout hickory stick, and others bore scythes, reaping hooks, clubs and sabers." Most whites and blacks also carried pistols as was the custom.22

Strawberry Chapel, near the Cooper River in Berkeley County, built in 1725.
Strawberry Chapel, near the Cooper River in Berkeley County, built in 1725.

The meeting "held under the cool shade of the venerable oaks which surrounded the Strawberry Church" started and each speaker was given a half hour. A Republican spoke then a Democrat who among other things said that Gen. Hampton had spoken to blacks in Columbia and said: "We have lived together peaceable in the past, let us now go on together in the same path."23

Republican Bowen spoke and denounced Democrats as "the oppressor of the poor men of both races," among other things.

Christopher Columbus Bowen from R.I., CSA Coast Guard, Repub. 2-term US Rep., corrupt sheriff of Chas. County after 1872.
Christopher Columbus Bowen from R.I., CSA Coast Guard, Repub. 2-term US Rep., corrupt sheriff of Chas. County after 1872.

Next was Major Barker who "did not mince matters" but denounced a Republican black who "has told lies about me and my father in my absence." He went on to accuse Bowen of setting himself up as a "God" before the blacks, and he chastised them saying "Are you sunk so low that you are willing to take any living being as your God?" Barker denounced Bowen over and over in Bowen's presence then said "I charge him (Bowen) with giving George Sass the programme (sic) for carrying out the strike the other day."24

Bowen responded that he knew nothing of the strike and Barker answered, "that other god," meaning Bowen, "said to the women and children and cowardly men that they must not work for less than sixty cents a task under a penalty of fifty lashes each." Col. Barker went on "you are slaves or freemen just as your courage or cowardice makes you slaves or freeman." He ended saying "I repeat that there was a conspiracy here to inflict fifty-five lashes upon the bare back of any man, woman or child who dared to work for less than sixty cents a task - that is who dared to exercise their rights as freemen. No democratic party ever taught this doctrine."25

The next speaker was an old black fellow who said he was opposed to the Democrats "on general principles," and he "couldn't vote for a Democrat, but, if he ever got into trouble, he would want a Democratic lawyer to defend him, and a Democratic jury to try him, because then he knew that he would get justice."26

This old black gentleman's statements seem to support Democratic assertions that most of the time there were good feelings between blacks and whites until carpetbaggers arrived.

The meeting ended with Bowen giving a long, ineffective talk and being confronted time to time by Major Barker. Bowen pretended he missed his ride and would have to stay the night at Strawberry Ferry, but Major Barker and the whites knew Bowen wanted to stay to undo the good that had been promoted this day so they insisted that they would be glad to give Bowen a ride back to town, and they made sure he got on their boat with them.27

The Short Chain of Events
Leading to the King Street Riot

The Mississippi Plan showed immediate success. Republican leaders "noted with growing dismay and fury the slow but steady additions to the number of negroes enrolling in Democratic clubs, for one reason or another." Republican frustration was demonstrated by "a riotous attack" made "on the negro club at Mout Pleasant."28

Republican frustration was also obvious in the short chain of events leading to the King Street Riot. Those events began on Friday, September 1st, the day after the Strawberry Ferry meeting, and the day a detailed story came out in the newspaper with the headline:

"NO INTIMIDATION."

---------------

BOWEN CONFRONTED BY DEMOCRATS

IN ONE OF HIS STRONGHOLDS.

---------------

A Notable Meeting at Strawberry Church -
How the Freedom of the Ballot is to be
Secured to the Colored Voters of Charleston
County - The Speeches - A Lively Time.29

That night, the Democratic club of Ward 8 "met in the old carriage factory, Spring Street near Rutledge Ave." It was "invaded by a number of boisterous negroes who interrupted and demanded and were accorded division of time." They put up a speaker but it soon became apparent that their mission was to "injure Isaac Rivers, a huge black man and an effective speaker, working for the Democrats, and J. W. Sawyer, another colored speaker." Rivers and Sawyer spoke as did Major Theodore G. Barker, Joseph W. Barnwell and R. S. Tharin. While speaking and after, "Rivers and Sawyer were hustled, threatened and cursed, but escaped uninjured."30

On September 4, the News and Courier reported on the incident in an editorial entitled "An Example and a Warning." They compared the peaceful Strawberry Church meeting with the "riotous and dangerous" Ward 8 meeting and concluded that Strawberry Church had been well planned for danger, while Ward 8 had not been expecting danger therefore was unprepared. They ventured "the prediction that the meeting in Ward 8 is the last of its kind that will ever occur in Charleston" implying that from then on the Democrats would be more prepared. It continued by inviting Republicans to share speaking time on which it commented:

The trickery of the Republican leaders, the miserable falsehoods which they tell to the Democracy, the wretched characters which most of the Republican speakers themselves bear, may all be exposed with profit to Democrats and Republicans of both races.31

The editorial also suggested that nobody "under the influence of liquor" should be admitted, and that the halls should not become overcrowded. It reiterated the Democratic vow to protect black Democrats from black Republicans:

In every case a committee, and, if necessary, a 'committee of the whole' should conduct Democratic colored speakers and voters to and from their homes, if they have any fear of violence. Do the Democrats of Charleston know that, owing to a want of adequate precaution of their part, two colored speakers on the Democratic side were in danger of serious harm on Friday night?32

The editorial ends with a warning that "the campaign in this country is to be a fight against Republican knavery and ruffianism in the country and in the city" and that the two most recent meetings were clearly "an example and a warning." The Strawberry Church meeting had been a good example of a fair joint meeting with both sides accorded plenty of time to speak in a peaceful atmosphere, while the Ward 8 trouble was a clear and ominous warning of what would happen if Republican racial hatred of black Democrats got out of hand.33

The next day, September 5, another editorial had a short paragraph that started with "The Eighth Ward Bullies," in which it chastised the police for not making any arrests but admitted it was dark and the black Democrats "Rivers and Sawyer could not identify their assailants." It goes on to say that "even if they had done so, and the rascals had been arrested, they would probably have been bailed out by the men who sent them to the meeting." It ends saying "There is only one way to stop this kind of thing. The white Democrats absolutely must protect black Democrats from Republican violence and intimidation."34

Both articles, "An Example and a Warning" of September 4, and "The Eighth Ward Bullies" of September 5, point out Republican efforts to disrupt black Democratic meetings and do violence to black Democrats. Republican leaders knew that if blacks started voting Democratic, their days at the public trough were numbered. Republicans had to make blacks so terrified of voting Democratic that they would stay home or vote Republican. If Republicans could murder the leading black Democrats, that would send a chilling message to all blacks that if they vote Democratic, they and their families can not be protected and can be brutalized or murdered at will.

On the eve of the King Street Riot, black Democrat Rivers "attended and spoke at a meeting of the Democratic club of Ward 5, describing what had occurred in Ward 8." Outside, "a mob of negroes packed the street around the entrance to the meeting." They had been "encouraged by the partial success in Ward 8" four days before. To get the black Democrats to safety "white men formed a square, with Rivers and other negro Democrats in the middle, and marched into King Street through a roar of jeers and curses." The police were there and the disturbance ended.35

GO TO:

Part 2, Conclusion, of
The King Street Riot of 1876
The Most Violent Race Riot in Downtown Charleston
During Reconstruction.

 

NOTES:

1 This paper was written 22 years ago and turned in May 2, 1998 for a Victorian Charleston history course taught by Professor Robert P. Stockton at the College of Charleston when I was a middle-age student. The parallels between the violent leftists of the Democrat Party today, and the violent Republican Party during Reconstruction, are striking. Both used (and Democrats today are still using) racial hatred, division, and violence, to stay in power.

2 "To Live and Die in Dixie!", News and Courier, August 26, 1876, front page.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Melinda Meek Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction: The 1876 Riots in Charleston and Cainhoy," South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 86, No. 2 (April, 1985), 111.

9 "To Live and Die in Dixie!", News and Courier, August 26, 1876.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 David Duncan Wallace, South Carolina, A Short History, 1520 - 1948 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1951), 572.

13 Alfred B. Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, South Carolina's Deliverance in 1876 (Charleston, SC: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Company, Publishers, 1935), 37-41.

14 "To Live and Die in Dixie!", News and Courier, August 26, 1876.

15 Ibid.

16 Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era, The Revolution after Lincoln (Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, 1929), 513-14.

17 Ibid.

18 John S. Reynolds, Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 (Columbia, SC: The State Company, 1905; reprint, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969), 507-08.

19 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 91.

20 Ibid.

21 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 116-117.

22 "'No Intimidation'," News and Courier, September 1, 1876.

23 Ibid.

24 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 120.

25 "'No Intimidation'," News and Courier, September 1, 1876.

26 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 120.

27 "An Example and a Warning.", News and Courier, September 4, 1876, editorial page.

28 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 120.

29 "'No Intimidation'," News and Courier, September 1, 1876.

30 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 120.

31 "An Example and a Warning.", News and Courier, September 4, 1876, editorial page.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.

34 "The Eighth Ward Bullies," News and Courier, September 5, 1876, editorial page.

35 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 120.

The Introduction to Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument.

Around 60.1% of the electorate voted against Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The loser in the next five presidential elections got more popular votes than Lincoln.

The Introduction to
Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States,
The Irrefutable Argument.1
(enhanced with captioned photographs)

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Slavery was and is a horrible institution. There is nothing in this book, whatsoever, that defends slavery in any way, form or fashion.

The War Between the States is the central event in American history and, by far, our bloodiest war. It is important to know exactly what caused it and why.

In Part I of this book, I argue that slavery was not the cause of the War Between the States. There is absolute, irrefutable proof that the North did not go to war to free the slaves or end slavery. The North went to war to preserve the Union as Abraham Lincoln said over and over.

The reason Lincoln needed to preserve the Union was because, without it, the North faced economic annihilation, the magnitude of which easily made war preferable. Economic problems multiply geometrically. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861 there was gloom, despair and panic in the North with thousands of business failures, hundreds of thousands of people out of work, serious trouble with the stock market, threatened runs on banks, and Northern ship captains heading South because of the South's low tariff. There was no talk whatsoever of ending slavery. Just the opposite. There were guarantees galore of preserving slavery forever.

Just use common sense. If your house is on fire, you don't care about your neighbor's barking dog or anything your neighbor is doing. You have to put out the fire or lose your house. It's just that simple.

The North's economic house caught fire in the winter of 1860 to 61 when the first seven Southern States seceded. The North quickly discovered that manufacturing and shipping for the South were the sources of most of its employment, wealth and power. Cotton alone was 60% of U.S. exports in 1860. Without the South, the North was headed for bankruptcy. By the spring of 1861, the North's house was a raging inferno.

The latest death statistics for the War Between the States have raised it from 620,000, to between 650,000 and 850,000. These are the widely accepted statistics of historian J. David Hacker of Binghamton University. He splits the difference and uses 750,000.2 I believe it was on the higher end of his range so I use 800,000 in this book.

The wounded usually end up, statistically, as a multiple of deaths. For example, in WWII we lost 405,399 and had 670,846 wounded, which is 1.65.3 Sometimes the multiplier is higher, sometimes lower, and I realize that a higher percentage died of disease in the War Between the States, but the number of wounded would still be astronomical, well over a million to add to the 800,000 dead.

If the soldiers of World War II were killed at the same rate as the War Between the States, we would have lost 3,870,000 instead of 405,399; and we would have had 6,385,500 wounded instead of 670,846.

That the South, with less than 1/4th the white population of the North, did not hesitate to fight for its rights and liberty, says everything about the courage of Southerners and their desire for independence.

Especially when one considers the other huge advantages of the North such as 100-to-1 in weapon manufacturing, 19-to-0 in marine engine manufacturing, a merchant marine fleet, a standing army, a substantial navy with fleets of war ships, and a functioning government over 60 years old that had relationships with most of the countries on the earth.

The North also had access to unlimited immigration, and 25% of  Union soldiers ended up being foreign born.4

The War Between the States was a completely unnecessary war.

Historians know that the Crittenden Compromise (late 1860) would almost certainly have prevented the war. It was based on the old Missouri Compromise line that had worked well for 30 years. Slavery had been prohibited north of the line and allowed south of it.5

Sen. John Jordan Crittenden of Kentucky, 1855 portrait by Matthew Brady.
Sen. John Jordan Crittenden of Kentucky, 1855 portrait by Matthew Brady.

The Crittenden Compromise had widespread support, North and South, from good men trying to prevent war, but Abraham Lincoln shot it down. Lincoln had political allies to pay back so he would not compromise on slavery in the West. He had no problem with slavery where it existed. He just didn't want it "extended," so he supported the Corwin Amendment, which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, where slavery already existed.

The defeat of the Crittenden Compromise at the behest of the partisan Lincoln is a major tragedy of world history, and more bitterly so because slavery was not extending into the West. There were few slaves in the West after being open to slavery for 10 years. Esteemed historian David M. Potter writes that the Crittenden Compromise had widespread support from Southerners as prominent as Robert Toombs as well as strong support in the North and West, and "if these conclusions are valid, as the preponderance of evidence indicates, it means that when Lincoln moved to defeat compromise, he did not move as the champion of democracy, but as a partisan leader."6 Potter's choice of words is far too kind.

Abraham Lincoln was the first sectional president in American history.

Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the day of his Cooper Union speech. Photo by Matthew Brady.
Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the day of his Cooper Union speech. Photo by Matthew Brady.

Around 60.1% of the electorate voted against him. The loser in the next five presidential elections got more popular votes than Lincoln.

Of the total 4,682,069 votes cast in 1860, Lincoln  received 1,866,452, which is 39.9%. The eighteen states voting for him were all above the Mason-Dixon line plus California and Oregon. He received no electoral votes in fifteen of the thirty-three states. His name was not even on the ballot in ten Southern states. Lincoln's opponents together totaled 2,815,617, which was almost a million votes more than he got.

Potter makes it clear that Lincoln had absolutely no voter mandate to not compromise with the South at this critical juncture in our country's history. With a large majority of voters, excluding slavery from the territories was a non-issue. Potter writes:

[A] majority, not only of the voters as a whole, but even of the voters in states which remained loyal to the Union, regarded the exclusion of slavery from the territories as non-essential or even undesirable, and voted against the candidate who represented this policy. When Lincoln was inaugurated, the states which accepted him as President were states which had cast a majority of more than a half a million votes against him, and even when the outbreak of war caused four more states to join the Confederacy, the remaining Union still contained a population in which the majority of the electorate had opposed the Republican ticket.7

Potter notes that part of Lincoln's uncompromising position was political fear that any compromise on slavery in the territories, after campaigning on it, meant the dissolution of the Republican Party, which was made up loosely of so many diverse groups of non-related voters such as those who wanted a tariff or bounty or subsidy for their business, or free land, or were Northern racists who didn't want blacks near them in the West.

It is a tragedy of unfathomable proportion that Lincoln killed the Crittenden Compromise. The Crittenden Compromise would have prevented the war and 800,000 deaths and over a million wounded, and would have given the country time to work on ending slavery.

Most other nations on earth, as well as the Northern States, used gradual, compensated emancipation to end slavery. The Northern capital, Washington, DC, freed its slaves a year into the war with compensated emancipation, which proves slavery could have been abolished quickly and bloodlessly if the will had been there, North and South.

It is a regrettable fact, but slaves were property and governments that wanted to end slavery in their countries were glad to compensate slaveowners for the loss of their property.8

It is not just racial either. One of the largest slaveowners in South Carolina was William Ellison, the famous cotton gin maker in Sumter County, who was black. There were a lot of black slaveowners and I'm sure they would want to be compensated along with whites.

William "April" Ellison, Jr., successful African American, owned 60 slaves. He died Dec. 5, 1861.
William "April" Ellison, Jr., successful African American, owned 60 slaves. He died Dec. 5, 1861.

Gradual, compensated emancipation was Lincoln's strong belief and desire as well, as he stated in the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation with respect to the Union slave states.9 Lincoln talked and wrote about gradual compensated emancipation at many other times and places as well.

But ending slavery was not the goal of the Republican Party in 1856 and 1860. Taking over the government so they could rule the country for their own benefit and aggrandizement was their goal.

George Washington had warned that sectional political parties would destroy the country but Wendell Phillips proudly proclaimed that the Republican Party is the first sectional party in American history and is the party of the North pledged against the South.

A daguerrotype of abolitionist Republican Wendell Phillips in his 40s, by Matthew Brady.
A daguerrotype of abolitionist Republican Wendell Phillips in his 40s, by Matthew Brady.

For the entire decade of the 1850s, Republicans used the most virulent hatred against the South to rally their votes. Republicans celebrated John Brown's terrorism and murder of Southerners, and Republicans endorsed Hinton Helper's The Impending Crisis of the South as a campaign document. Helper's book

urged class agitation against slavery or, failing that, the violent overthrow of the slave system by poorer whites. Helper concluded that slaves would join with nonslaveholders because 'the negroes . . . in nine cases out of ten, would be delighted with the opportunity to cut their masters' throat.'10

Hinton Rowan Helper from North Carolina wrote, in 1857, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It.
Hinton Rowan Helper from North Carolina wrote, in 1857, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It.
Title page of Helper's The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet it.
Title page of Helper's The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet it.

William H. Seward, soon to be Lincoln's secretary of state, said "I have read the 'Impending Crisis of the South' with great attention. It seems to me a work of great merit, rich yet accurate in statistical information, and logical in analysis."

William Henry Seward was U.S. Secty of State, 1861 to 1869, and earlier governor of NY and U.S. Senator.
William Henry Seward was U.S. Secty of State, 1861 to 1869, and earlier governor of NY and U.S. Senator.

Lincoln's predecessor, President James Buchanan, in an article he wrote entitled "Republican Fanaticism as a Cause of the Civil War," said The Impending Crisis "became at once an authoritative exposition of the principles of the Republican Party. The original, as well as a compendium, were circulated by hundreds of thousands, North, South, East, and West."11

James Buchanan Jr., from Pennsylvania, served as the 15th president of the United States (1857–1861).
James Buchanan Jr., from Pennsylvania, served as the 15th president of the United States (1857–1861).

Southerners would have been crazy not to secede from a country now ruled by a party that called for their throats to be cut. Republicans were not a great political movement trying to solve the difficult slavery issue with good will. Most people in the North (95 to 98% according to historians Lee Benson and Gavin Wright) were not abolitionists.12 They did not care about freeing the slaves who would then come North and be job competition.

No Republican could be elected in the North on the platform of directly ending slavery but they could agitate on slavery in the West with good results. It was a hot political issue driven as much by rallying votes -- vote Republican: 'Vote yourself a farm,' 'Vote yourself a tariff!' -- as it was by Northern racism. Lincoln himself stated in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates that the West was to be reserved for white people from all over the earth.

The West was important in the presidential campaigns of 1856 and 1860 because the North needed the West for its surplus population, as both Horace Greeley and Lincoln stated. "Go West, young man!" said Horace Greeley.

Lincoln added that he wanted those white Northerners and immigrants to reach the West with Northern institutions in place, which meant no blacks allowed. Period. Neither slaves nor free blacks were welcome in Lincoln's West.

Horace Greeley, hypocrite extraordinaire.
Horace Greeley, hypocrite extraordinaire.

Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, believed in the right of secession and wrote passionately about it until he realized it would affect his money, then he wanted war.

Slavery in the West was a bogus issue anyway, as stated earlier. Slavery was not going beyond the Mississippi River and they all knew it.

Republican James G. Blaine said that slavery in the West was "related to an imaginary Negro in an impossible place."

James G. Blaine, Republican from Maine, Spkr of House, Senator, Secty. of State twice, a charismatic speaker.
James G. Blaine, Republican from Maine, Spkr of House, Senator, Secty. of State twice, a charismatic speaker.

Lincoln scholar Richard N. Current writes that "Lincoln and his fellow Republicans, in insisting that Congress must prohibit slavery in the West, were dealing with political phantoms."

He points out that Congress "approved the organization of territorial governments for Colorado, Nevada, and Dakota without a prohibition of slavery" because they did not think it was necessary.

In 1860, there were only two slaves in Kansas and 15 in Nebraska, and that was after being open to slavery for 10 years. As stated above, Current did not believe slavery would have lasted another generation, even in the deep South.13

Charles W. Ramsdell wrote an article entitled "The Natural Limits of Slavery Expansion" and he also concluded "that slavery had about reached its zenith by 1860 and must shortly have begun to decline, for the economic forces which had carried it into the region west of the Mississippi had about reached their maximum effectiveness. It could not go forward in any direction and was losing ground along its northern border."14

The New Mexico territory had also been open to slavery for ten years and there were only twenty-nine there in 1860, though that figure was challenged by William H. Seward. He said there were twenty-four.15

It is a great irony that Northern anti-slavery was mostly economic or racist. Paraphrasing historian David Potter, Northern anti-slavery was in no sense a pro-black movement but was anti-black and designed to get rid of blacks.

Many Northern and Western States had laws on the books forbidding free black people from even visiting, much less living there, including Lincoln's own Illinois. If a black person stayed too long in Illinois he was subject to arrest and imprisonment by the sheriff.

In 1859, Oregon, which, as stated, voted for Lincoln in 1860, became the 33rd state and this was part of its constitution:

No free negro, or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall ever come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contract, or maintain any suit therein; and the legislative assembly shall provide by penal laws for the removal by public officers of all such free negroes and mulattoes, and for their effectual exclusion from the state, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ or harbour them therein.16

In Part II of this book, I argue the right of secession. No American who believes in the Declaration of Independence -- in the just powers of the government coming from the consent of the governed -- can doubt the right of secession. Horace Greeley certainly didn't. He believed in it thoroughly until he realized it was going to affect his money.

The secession conventions of the South and the creation of the Confederate States of America are the greatest expression of democracy and self-government in the history of the world.

In state after state, in a landmass as great as Europe, Southerners rose up against what they viewed as a dangerous, economically confiscatory government now run by people who hated them and whose campaign documents called for their throats to be cut.

The Southern states called conventions to decide the one issue: Secession. A convention to decide one issue is closer to the people than even their legislatures.

That's why the Founding Fathers in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 decided that conventions of the people in each state would be used to ratify the Constitution. That's where the convention precedent started, with the Founding Fathers and the ratification of the Constitution.

Southerners followed suit with their conventions to decide secession. They debated the issue fiercely then elected delegates as Unionists and Secessionists who went into their state conventions and debated more.

Seven states voted to secede, then they formed a democratic republic that was the mirror image of the republic of the Founding Fathers of 1776 but with States' Rights strengthened and an economic system based on free trade. Southerners had always wanted free trade with the world as opposed to the heavy protectionist tariffs that had benefited the North to the detriment of the South the entire antebellum period.

Slavery was not the cause of the War Between the States. Once you understand the true cause -- the imminent economic annihilation of the North which was coming fast -- all other actions taken by Lincoln and everybody else make infinitely more sense.

Abraham Lincoln needed to start his war as quickly as he could. He needed the blockade of the South in place as fast as possible to keep Europeans and especially the English from forming trade and military alliances with the South, which the South had been aggressively pursuing.

Lincoln announced his blockade before the smoke had cleared from the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

In Part III, Charles W. Ramsdell's famous treatise, Lincoln and Fort Sumter, shows in magnificent detail how Lincoln started the war in Charleston Harbor.

I hadn't read this brilliant piece in several years but had to type in every word for this book and I am deeply pleased that every single word written by Mr. Ramsdell strongly supports the argument of this book -- that the inevitable economic annihilation of the North is the reason Abraham Lincoln had to have his war and get it started as quickly as he could.

Justin S. Morrill authored the Morrill Tariff that threatened the Northern shipping industry with annihilation.
Justin S. Morrill authored the Morrill Tariff that threatened the Northern shipping industry with annihilation.
Harper's Weekly Apr 13 1861, caption "The New Tariff on Dry Goods."
Harper's Weekly Apr 13 1861, caption "The New Tariff on Dry Goods."

Mr. Ramsdell states also that the North's gaping self-inflicted wound, the Morrill Tariff, kicked in and greatly added to the panic and call for war in the North as the Northern shipping industry faced rerouting away from the high-tariff North and into the low-tariff South where protective tariffs were unconstitutional.

 

Arguing history is very much like arguing a case in a court of law. All you can do is present your evidence in as persuasive a manner as possible and hope the jury agrees with you.

My argument is thoroughly documented and I believe it is irrefutable.

Gene Kizer, Jr.
Charleston, South Carolina
October 31, 2014

Abraham Lincoln is executed for killing 800,000 people & destroying the republic of the Founding Fathers.
Abraham Lincoln is executed for killing 800,000 people & destroying the republic of the Founding Fathers.

NOTES:

1 Gene Kizer, Jr., Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. (Charleston and James Island, SC: Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014).

2 Rachel Coker, "Historian revises estimate of Civil War dead," published September 21, 2011, Binghamton University Research News -- Insights and Innovations from Binghamton University, http://discovere.binghamton.edu/news/civilwar-3826.html, accessed July 7, 2014.

3 United States military casualties of war,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war, accessed August 1, 2014.

4 James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 606.

5 The Missouri Compromise was superseded by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which opened up the territory north of the Missouri Compromise line (latitude 36--30' north) to slavery. This made the Missouri Compromise irrelevant.

6 David M. Potter, Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1942; reprint, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 200.

7 Potter, Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis, 200.

8 As stated, ending slavery did not have to be too gradual as long as compensation to slaveowners was included. The successful Washington, DC 1862 compensation program proved it could work and be more immediate than gradual, although that is a small example. There would definitely need to be programs in place to help the new freedmen incorporate into society but that could have been done and is what serious people, as opposed to fanatics, were pushing. It was certainly Lincoln's position most of his life. Historian Richard N. Current believed slavery would not last another generation, and that seems a reasonable assessment.

9 Paragraph two of Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued September 22, 1862 "By the President of the United States of America" reads:

That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave States, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States [Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky and later West Virginia] and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment [sic] of slavery within their respective limits; and that the efforts to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued. (Emphasis added.)

10 Ronnie W. Faulkner, 2006, "The Impending Crisis of the South," NCpedia sketch on Hinton Rowan Helper's book, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It (New York: Burdick Brothers, 1857). NCpedia is the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, The University of North Carolina Press: http://ncpedia.org/print/2723, accessed July 31, 2014. The article also states that Hinton Helper was "A racist to the core, he advocated white supremacy."

11 The quotations of William H. Seward and President James Buchanan come from an article by Buchanan, "Republican Fanaticism as a Cause of the Civil War," an essay in Edwin C. Rozwenc, ed., The Causes of the American Civil War (Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1961), 62.

12 Lee Benson, "Explanations of American Civil War Causation" in Toward the Scientific Study of History (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1972), 246, 295-303, in Gavin Wright, The Political Economy of the Cotton South, Households, Markets, and Wealth in the Nineteenth Century (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1978), 136.

13 Richard N. Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1958), 95-97.

14 Charles W. Ramsdell, "The Natural Limits of Slavery Expansion" in Edwin C. Rozwenc, ed., The Causes of the American Civil War (Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1961), 150-162

15 For an excellent report on an in-depth conversation between U. S. Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell, William H. Seward, Stephen A. Douglas, John J. Crittenden and others on the extension of slavery, see Honorable John A. Campbell, "Memoranda Relative to the Secession Movement in 1860-61," in the "Papers of Honorable John A. Campbell - 1861-1865.," Southern Historical Society Papers, New Series - Number IV, Volume XLII, September, 1917, (Reprint: Broadfoot Publishing Company and Morningside Bookshop, 1991), 3-45.

16 Taliaferro P. Shaffner, The War in America: being an Historical and Political Account of the Southern and Northern States: showing the Origin and Cause of the Present Secession War (London: Hamilton, Adams, 1862), 337-38.

Our Confederate Ancestors: The Confederate Gun-Boat “Arkansas” by Capt. Isaac Newton Brown

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

. . . I received a severe contusion on the head, but this gave me no concern after I had failed to find any brains mixed with the handful of clotted blood which I drew from the wound and examined. . . .

The Confederate Gun-Boat "Arkansas."1

By Her Commander, Isaac Newton Brown, Captain, C.S.N.2

 

After the Appomattox capitulation, the observance of which, nobly maintained by General Grant, crowns him as the humane man of the age, I took to the plow, as a better implement of reconstruction than the pen; and if I take up the latter now, it is that justice may be done to the men, and the memory of the men, of the Arkansas.

On the 28th of May, 1862, I received at Vicksburg a telegraphic order from the Navy Department at Richmond to "proceed to Greenwood, Miss., and assume command of the Confederate gun-boat Arkansas, and finish and equip that vessel without regard to expenditure of men or money."

Capt. Isaac Newton Brown, C.S.N., Commander of the Confederate Ram CSS Arkansas.

I knew that such a vessel had been under construction at Memphis, but I had not heard till then of her escape from the general wreck of our Mississippi River defenses. Greenwood is at the head of the Yazoo River, 160 miles by river from Yazoo City.

It being the season of overflow, I found my new command four miles from dry land. Her condition was not encouraging. The vessel was a mere hull, without armor; the engines were apart; guns without carriages were lying about the deck; a portion of the railroad iron intended as armor was at the bottom of the river, and the other and far greater part was to be sought for in the interior of the country.

Taking a day to fish up the sunken iron, I had the Arkansas towed to Yazoo City, where the hills reach the river. Here, though we were within fifty miles of the Union fleets, there was the possibility of equipment.

Within a very short time after reaching Yazoo City we had two hundred men, chiefly from the nearest detachment of the army, at work on the deck's shield and hull, while fourteen blacksmith forges were drawn from the neighboring plantations and placed on the bank to hasten the iron-work.

Extemporized drilling-machines on the steamer Capitol worked day and night fitting the railway iron for the bolts which were to fasten it as armor. This iron was brought from many points to the nearest railroad station and thence twenty-five miles by wagons.

The building of the Confederate ironclad ram, Arkansas.
The building of the Confederate ironclad ram, Arkansas.

The trees were yet growing from which the gun-carriages had to be made--the most difficult work of all, as such vehicles had never been built in Mississippi.

I made a contract with two gentlemen of Jackson to pay each his own price for the full number of ten. The executive officer, Mr. Stevens, gave the matter his particular attention, and in time, along with the general equipment, we obtained five good carriages from each contractor.

This finishing, armoring, arming, and equipment of the Arkansas within five weeks' working -time under the hot summer sun, from which we were unsheltered, and under the depressing thought that there was a deep channel, of but six hours' steaming between us and the Federal fleet, whose guns were within hearing, was perhaps not inferior under all the circumstances to the renowned effort of Oliver Hazard Perry in cutting a fine ship from the forest in ninety days.

CSS Arkansas, 165 ft long, 35 ft wide, ram at bow, 10 guns, 232 men.
CSS Arkansas, 165 ft long, 35 ft wide, ram at bow, 10 guns, 232 men.

We were not a day too soon, for the now rapid fall of the river rendered it necessary for us to assume the offensive without waiting for the apparatus to bend the railway iron to the curve of our quarter and stern, and to the angles of the pilot-house.

Though there was little thought of showing the former, the weakest part, to the enemy, we tacked boilerplate iron over it for appearance' sake, and very imperfectly covered the pilot-house shield with a double thickness of one-inch bar iron.

Our engines' twin screws, one under each quarter, worked up to eight miles an hour in still water, which promised about half that speed when turned against the current of the main river.

We had at first some trust in these, not having discovered the way they soon showed of stopping on the center at wrong times and places; and as they never both stopped of themselves at the same time, the effect was, when one did so, to turn the vessel round, despite the rudder. Once, in the presence of the enemy, we made a circle, while trying to make the automatic stopper keep time with its sister-screw.

The Arkansas now appeared as if a small seagoing vessel had been cut down to the water's edge at both ends, leaving a box for guns amidships. The straight sides of the box, a foot in thickness, had over them one layer of railway iron; the ends closed by timber one foot square, planked across by six-inch strips of oak, were then covered by one course of railway iron laid up and down at an angle of thirty-five degrees.

CSS Arkansas drawing by crew member S. Milliken.
CSS Arkansas drawing by crew member S. Milliken.

These ends deflected overhead all missiles striking at short range, but would have been of little security under a plunging fire. This shield, flat on top, covered with plank and half-inch iron, was pierced for 10 guns -- 3 in each broadside and 2 forward and aft.

The large smoke-stack came through the top of the shield, and the pilot-house was raised about one foot above the shield level. Through the latter led a small tin tube by which to convey orders to the pilot.3

The battery was respectable for that period of the war: 2 8-inch 64-pounders at the bows; 2 rifled 32s (old smooth-bores banded and rifled) astern; and 2 100-pounder Columbiads and a 6-inch naval gun in each broadside,--10 guns in all, which, under officers formerly of the United States service, could be relied on for good work, if we could find the men to load and fire.

We obtained over 100 good men from the naval vessels lately on the Mississippi, and about 60 Missourians from the command of General Jeff Thompson. These had never served at great guns, but on trial they exhibited in their new service the cool courage natural to them on land.

They were worthily commanded, under the orders of our first lieutenant, by Captain Harris. Our officers were Lieutenants Stevens, Grimball, Gift, Barbot, Wharton, and Read, all of the old service, and Chief Engineer City, Acting Masters Milliken and Phillips, of the Volunteer Navy, and Midshipmen Scales,4 R. H. Bacot, Tyler, and H. Cenas.

The only trouble they ever gave me was to keep them from running the Arkansas into the Union fleet before we were ready for battle.

On the 12th of July we sent our mechanics ashore, took our Missourians on board, and dropped below Satartia Bar, within five hours of the Mississippi. I now gave the executive officer a day to organize and exercise his men.

The idea exists that we made "a run," or "a raid," or in some way an "attack by surprise" upon the Union fleet. I have reason to think that we were expected some hours before we came.5

On Monday A.M., July 14, 1862, we started from Satartia.

Fifteen miles below, at the mouth of Sunflower River, we found that the steam from our imperfect engines and boiler had penetrated our forward magazine and wet our powder so as to render it unfit for use.

We were just opposite the site of an old saw-mill, where the opening in the forest, dense everywhere else, admitted the sun's rays. The day was clear and very hot; we made fast to the bank, head down-steam, landed our wet powder (expecting the enemy to heave in sight every moment), spread tarpaulins over the old saw-dust and our powder over these.

By constant shaking and turning we got it back to the point of ignition before the sun sank below the trees, when, gathering it up, we crowded all that we could of it into the after magazine and resumed our way, guns cast loose and men at quarters, expecting every moment to meet the enemy.

I had some idea of their strength, General Van Dorn, commanding our forces at Vicksburg, having written to me two days before that there were then, I think he said, thirty-seven men-of-war in sight and more up the river.

Near dark we narrowly escaped the destruction of our smoke-stack from an immense overhanging tree. From this disaster we were saved by young Grimball, who sprang from the shield to another standing tree, with rope's-end in hand, and made it fast.

John Grimball, lieutenant on the CSS Arkansas in 1862, later of the Shenandoah. This photo circa 1864.
John Grimball, lieutenant on the CSS Arkansas in 1862, later of the Shenandoah. This photo circa 1864.

We anchored near Haynes's Bluff at midnight and rested till 3 A.M., when we got up anchor for the fleet, hoping to be with it at sunrise, but before it was light we ran ashore and lost an hour in getting again afloat.

At sunrise we gained Old River---a lake caused by a "cut-off" from the Mississippi; the Yazoo enters this at the north curve, and, mingling its deep waters with the wider expanse of the lake, after a union of ten miles, breaks through a narrow strip of land, to lose itself finally in the Mississippi twelve miles above Vicksburg.

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1863, one yr. after the daring exploits of the CSS Arkansas.
Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1863, one yr. after the daring exploits of the CSS Arkansas.

We were soon to find the fleet midway between these points, but hid from both by the curved and wooded eastern shore. As the sun rose clear and fiery out of the lake on our left, we saw a few miles ahead, under full steam, three Federal vessels in line approaching. These, we afterward discovered, were the iron-clad Carondelet, Captain Henry Walke, the wooden gun-boat Tyler, Lieutenant William Gwin, and a ram, the Queen of the West, Lieutenant James M. Hunter.

Directing our pilot to stand for the iron-clad, the center vessel of the three, I gave the order not to fire our bow guns, lest by doing so we should diminish our speed, relying for the moment upon our broadside guns to keep the ram and the Tyler from gaining our quarter, which they seemed eager to do.

I had determined, despite our want of speed, to try the ram or iron prow upon the foe, who were gallantly approaching; but when less than half a mile separated us, the Carondelet fired a wildly aimed bow gun, back round, and went from the Arkansas at a speed which at once perceptibly increased the space between us.

The Tyler and ram followed this movement of the iron-clad, and the stern guns of the Carondelet and the Tyler were briskly served on us.

Grimball and Gift, with their splendid sixty-fours, were now busy at their work, while Barbot and Wharton watched for a chance shot abeam. Read chafed in silence at his rifles.

The whole crew was under the immediate direction of the first lieutenant, Henry Stevens, a religious soldier, of the Stonewall Jackson type, who felt equally safe at all times and places.

I was on the shield directly over our bow guns, and could see their shot on the way to the Carondelet, and with my glasses I thought that I could see the white wood under her armor. This was satisfactory, for I knew that no vessel afloat could long stand rapid raking by 8-inch shot at such short range.

We soon began to gain on the chase, yet from time to time I had to steer first to starboard, then to port, to keep the inquisitive consorts of the Carondelet from inspecting my boiler-plate armor.

This gave the nearer antagonist an advantage, but before he could improve it he would be again brought ahead.

While our shot seemed always to hit his stern and disappear, his missiles, striking our inclined shield, were deflected over my head and lost in air.

I received a severe contusion on the head, but this gave me no concern after I had failed to find any brains mixed with the handful of clotted blood which I drew from the wound and examined.

A moment later a shot from the Tyler struck at my feet, penetrated the pilot-house, and, cutting off a section of the wheel, mortally hurt Chief Pilot Hodges and disabled our Yazoo River pilot, Shacklett, who was at the moment much needed, our Mississsippi pilots knowing nothing of Old River.

James Brady, a Missourian of nerve and equal to the duty, took the wheel, and I ordered him to "keep the iron-clad ahead."

All was going well, with a near prospect of carrying out my first intention of using the ram, this time at a great advantage, for the stern of the Carondelet was now the objective point, and she seemed to be going slow and unsteady.

Unfortunately the Tyler also slowed, so as to keep near his friend, and this brought us within easy range of his small-arms.

I saw with some concern, as I was the only visible target outside our shield, that they were firing by volleys.

I ought to have told Stevens to hold off Grimball and Gift from the inon-clad till they could finish the Tyler, but neither in nor out of battle does one always do the right thing.

I was near the hatchway at the moment when a minie-ball, striking over my left temple, tumbled me down among the guns.

I awoke as if from sleep, to find kind hands helping me to a place among the killed and wounded.

I soon regained my place on the shield. I found the Carondelet still ahead, but much nearer, and both vessels entering the willows, which grew out on the bar at the inner curve of the lake. To have run into the mud, we drawing 13 feet (the Carondelet only 6), would have ended the matter with the Arkansas.

CSS Arkansas gets the best of the USS Carondelet, July 15, 1862.
CSS Arkansas gets the best of the USS Carondelet, July 15, 1862.

The Carondelet position could only be accounted for by supposing her steering apparatus destroyed.6 The deep water was on our starboard bow, where at some distance I saw the Tyler and the ram, as if awaiting our further entanglement.

I gave the order "hard a-port and depress port guns." So near were we to the chase that this action of the helm brought us alongside, and our port broadside caused her to heel to port and then roll back so deeply as to take the water over her deck forward of the shield.

Our crew, thinking her sinking, gave three hearty cheers.

In swinging off we exposed our stern to the Carondelet's broadside, and Read at the same time got a chance with this rifles. The Carondelet did not return this fire of our broadside and stern guns. Had she fired into our stern when we were so near, it would have destroyed or at least have disabled us.

Though I stood within easy piston-shot, in uniform, uncovered, and evidently the commander of the Arkansas, no more notice was taken of me by the Carondelet than had been taken of my ship when, to escape running into the mud, I had exposed the Arkansas to being raked.

Their ports were closed, no flag was flying, not a man or officer was in view, not a sound or shot was heard. She was apparently "disabled."

We neither saw nor felt the Carondelet again, but turned toward the spiteful Tyler and the wary ram. As these were no longer a match for the Arkansas, they very properly took advantage of a speed double our own to gain the shelter of their fleet, the Tyler making good practice at us while in range with her pivot gun, and getting some attention in the same way from our bows.

Under the ordinary circumstances of war we had just got through with a fair hour's work; but knowing what was ahead of us, we had to regard it in the same light as our Missouri militia did, as "a pretty smart skirmish."

On gaining the Mississippi, we saw no vessels but the two we had driven before us. While following these in the direction of Vicksburg I had the opportunity of inspecting engine and fire rooms, where I found engineers and firemen had been suffering under a temperature of 120 degrees to 130 degrees.

The executive officer, while attending to every other duty during the recent firing, had organized a relief party from the men at the guns, who went down into the fire-room every fifteen minutes, the others coming up or being, in many instances, hauled up, exhausted in that time; in this way, by great care, steam was kept to service gauge, but in the conflict below the fire department broke down.

The connection between furnaces and smoke-stack (technically called the breechings) were in this second conflict shot away, destroying the draught and letting the flames come out into the shield, raising the temperature there to 120 degrees, while it had already risen to 130 degrees in the fire-room.

It has been asked why the Arkansas was not used as a ram. The want of speed and of confidence in the engines answers the question. We went into action in Old River with 120 pounds of steam, and though every effort was made to keep it up, we came out with but 20 pounds, hardly enough to turn the engines.

Aided by the current of the Mississippi, we soon approached the Federal fleet---a forest of masts and smoke-stacks---ships, rams, iron-clads, and other gun-boats on the left side, and ordinary river steamers and bomb-vessels along the right. To any one having a real ram at command the genius of havoc could not have offered a finer view, the panoramic effect of which was intensified by the city of men spread out with innumerable tents opposite on the right bank.

We were not yet in sight of Vicksburg, but in every direction, except astern, our eyes rested on enemies.

I had long know the most of these as valued friends, and if I now had any doubts of the success of the Arkansas they were inspired by this general knowledge rather than from any awe of a particular name.

It seemed at a glance as if a whole navy had come to keep me away from the heroic city,--- six or seven rams, four or five iron-clads, without including one accounted for an hour ago, and the fleet of Farragut generally, behind or inside of this fleet.

The rams seemed to have been held in reserve, to come out between the intervals. Seeing this, as we neared the head of the line I said to our pilot, "Brady, shave that line of men-of-war as close as you can, so that the rams will not have room to gather head-way in coming out to strike us."

In this way we ran so near to the wooden ships that each may have expected the blow which, if I could avoid it, I did not intend to deliver to any, and probably the rams running out at slow speed across the line of our advance received in the smoke and fury of the fight more damage from the guns of their own men-of-war than from those of the Arkansas.

CSS Arkansas takes on most of the Federal fleet in the Mississippi, July 15, 1862.
CSS Arkansas takes on most of the Federal fleet in the Mississippi, July 15, 1862.

As we neared the head of the line our bow guns, trained on the Hartford, began this second fight of the morning (we were yet to have a third one before the day closed), and within a few minutes, as the enemy was brought in range, every gun of the Arkansas was at its work.

It was calm, and the smoke settling over the combatants, our men at times directed their guns at the flashes of those of their opponents.

As we advanced, the line of fire seemed to grow into a circle constantly closing. The shock of missiles striking our sides was literally continuous, and as we were now surrounded, without room for anything but pushing ahead, and shrapnel shot were coming on our shield deck, twelve pounds at a time, I went below to see how our Missouri backwoodsmen were handling their 100-pounder Columbiads.

CSS Arkansas singlehandedly fighting the Federal fleet in the Missisippi, July 15, 1862.
CSS Arkansas singlehandedly fighting the Federal fleet in the Missisippi, July 15, 1862.

At this moment I had the most lively realization of having steamed into a real volcano, the Arkansas from its center firing rapidly to every point of the circumference, without the fear of hitting a friend or missing an enemy.

I got below in time to see Read and Scales with their rifled guns blow off the feeble attack of a ram on our stern. Another ram was across our way ahead.

As I gave the order, "Go through him, Brady!" his steam went into the air, and his crew into the river. A shot from one of our bow guns had gone through his boiler and saved the collision.

We passed by and through the brave fellows struggling in the water under a shower of missiles intended for us.

CSS Arkansas singlehandedly fighting the Yankee fleet in the Mississippi above Vicksburg, July 15, 1862.
CSS Arkansas singlehandedly fighting the Yankee fleet in the Mississippi above Vicksburg, July 15, 1862.

It was a little hot this morning all around; the enemy's shot frequently found weak places in our armor, and their shrapnel and minie-balls also came through our port-holes.

Still, under a temperature of 120 degrees, our people kept to their work, and as each one, acting under the steady eye of Stevens, seemed to think the result depended on himself, I sought a cooler atmosphere on the shield, to find, close ahead and across our way, a large iron-clad displaying the square flag of an admiral.

Though we had but little head-way, his beam was exposed, and I ordered the pilot to strike him amidships. He avoided this by steaming ahead, and, passing under his stern, nearly touching, we gave him our starboard broadside, which probably went through him from rudder to prow. This was our last shot, and we received none in return.

We were now at the end of what had seemed the interminable line, and also past the outer rim of the volcano.

I now called the officers up to take a look at what we had just come through and to get the fresh air; and as the little group of heroes closed around me with their friendly words of congratulations, a heavy rifle-shot passed close over our heads; it was the parting salutation, and if aimed two feet lower would have been to us the most injurious of the battle.

We were not yet in sight of Vicksburg, but if any of the fleet followed us farther on our way I did not perceive it.

The Arkansas continue toward Vicksburg without further trouble. When within sight of the city, we saw another fleet preparing to receive us or recede from us, below: one vessel of the fleet was aground and in flames.

With our firemen exhausted, our smoke-stack cut to pieces, and a section of our plating torn from the side, we were not in condition just then to begin a third battle; moreover humanity required the landing of our wounded---terribly torn by cannon-shot---and of our dead.

We were received at Vicksburg with enthusiastic cheers. Immediate measures were taken to repair damages and recruit our crew, diminished to one-half their original number by casualties, and by the expiration of service of those who had volunteered only for the trip to Vicksburg.

We had left the Yazoo River with a short supply of fuel, and after our first landing opposite the city-hall we soon dropped down to the coal depot, where we began coaling and repairing, under the fire of the lower fleet, to which, under the circumstances, we could make no reply.

Most of the enemy's shot fell short, but Renshaw, in the Westfield, made very fine practice with his 100-pounder rifle gun, occasionally throwing the spray from his shot over our working party, but with the benefit of sprinkling down the coal dust.

Getting in our coal, we moved out of range of such sharp practice, where, under less excitement, we hastened such temporary repairs as would enable us to continue the offensive.

We had intended trying the lower fleet that evening, but before our repairs could be completed and our crew reenforced by suitable selections from the army, the hours of night were approaching, under the shadows of which (however favorable for running batteries) no brave man cares from choice to fight.

About sunset of the same day, a number of our antagonists of the morning, including the flag-ship Hartford and the equally formidable Richmond, were seen under full steam coming down the river.

Before they came within range of the Arkansas, we had the gratification of witnessing the beautiful reply of our upper shore-batteries to their gallant attack.

Confederate 18-pounder at Vicksburg nicknamed "Whistling Dick" for the sound made by its projectiles.
Confederate 18-pounder at Vicksburg nicknamed "Whistling Dick" for the sound made by its projectiles.

Unfit as we were for the offensive, I told Stevens to get under way and run out into the midst of the coming fleet. Before this order could be executed one vessel of the fleet sent a 160-pound wrought-iron bolt through our armor and engine-room, disabling the engine and killing, among others, Pilot Gilmore, and knocking overboard the heroic Brady, who had steered the Arkansas through our morning's work.

William Gilmore, pilot on the CSS Arkansas, killed July 15, 1862.
William Gilmore, pilot on the CSS Arkansas, killed July 15, 1862.

This single shot caused also a very serious leak, destroyed all the contents of the dispensary (fortunately our surgeon, Dr. Washington, was just then away from his medicines), and, passing through the opposite bulwarks, lodged between the wood-work and the armor.

Stevens promptly detailed a party to aid the carpenter in stopping the leak, while our bow and port-broadside guns were rapidly served on the passing vessels. So close were these to our guns that we could hear our shot crashing through their sides, and the groans of their wounded; and, incredible as it now seems, these sounds were heard with a fierce delight by the Arkansas's people.

Why no attempt was made to ram our vessel, I do not know. Our position invited it, and our rapid firing made that position conspicuous; but as by this time it was growing dark, and the Arkansas close inshore, they may have mistaken us for a water-battery.

We had greatly the advantage in pointing our guns, the enemy passing in line ahead, and being distinctly visible as each one for the time shut out our view of the horizon.

And now this busy day, the 15th of July, 1862, was closed with the sad duty of sending ashore a second party of killed and wounded, and the rest which our exhaustion rendered necessary was taken for the night under a dropping fire of the enemy's 13-inch shells.

Actual picture of the CSS Arkansas after fighting Yankees all day on the Mississippi by Vicksburg.
Actual picture of the CSS Arkansas after fighting Yankees all day on the Mississippi by Vicksburg.

During the following week we were exposed day and night to these falling bombs, which did not hit the Arkansas, but frequently exploded under water near by.

One shell, which fell nearly under our bows, threw up a number of fish. As these floated by with the current, one of our men said: "Just look at that, will you? Why the upper fleet is killing fish for the lower fleet's dinner!"

In time we became accustomed to this shelling, but not to the idea that it was without danger; and I know of no more effective way of curing a man of the weakness of thinking that he is without the feeling of fear than for him, on a dark night, to watch two or three of these double-fused descending shells, all near each other, and seeming as thought they would strike him between the eyes.

In three days we were again in condition to move and to menace at our will either fleet, thus compelling the enemy's entire force, in the terrible July heat, to keep up steam day and night.

An officer of the fleet writing at this time, said: "Another council of war was held on board the admiral's [flag-ship] last night, in which it was resolved that the Arkansas must be destroyed at all hazards, a thing, I suspect, much easier said than done; but I wish that she was destroyed, for she gives us no rest by day nor sleep by night."

We constantly threatened the offensive, and our raising steam, which they could perceive by our smokestack, was the signal for either fleet to fire up.

As the temperature at the season was from 90 degrees to 100 degrees in the shade, it was clear that unless the Arkansas could be "destroyed" the siege, if for sanitary reasons alone, must soon be raised.

The result of our first real attempt to resume the offensive was that before we could get within range of the mortar fleet, our engine completely broke down, and it was with difficulty that we regained our usual position in front of the city.

The timely coming of the iron-clad Essex, fresh from the docks, and with a new crew, enabled the Union commander to attack us without risk to his regular or original blockading force.

They could not have taken us at a more unprepared moment.

Some of our officers and all but twenty-eight of our crew were in hospitals ashore, and we lay helplessly at anchor, with a disabled engine.

I made known to the general commanding at Vicksburg the condition of our vessel, and with great earnestness personally urged him to give me, without delay, enough men to fight my guns, telling  him that I expected an attack every hour.

I was promised that the men (needed at the moment) should be sent to me the next day.

The following morning at sunrise the Essex, Commodore William D. Porter, with the Queen of the West, no doubt the best ram of the Ellet flock (though as far as my experience went they were all ordinary sheep and equally harmless), ran down under full steam, regardless of the fire of our upper shore-batteries, and made the expected attack.

We were at anchor and with only enough men to fight two of our guns; but by the zeal of our officers, who mixed in with these men as part of the guns' crews, we were able to train at the right moment and fire all the guns which could be brought to bear upon our cautiously coming assailants.

With a view perhaps to avoid our bow guns, the Essex made the mistake, so far as her success was concerned, of running into us across the current instead of coming head-on with its force. At the moment of collision, when our guns were muzzle to muzzle, the Arkansas's broadside was exchanged for the bow guns of the assailant; a shot from one of the latter struck the Arkansas's plating a foot forward of the forward broadside port, breaking off the ends of the railroad bars and driving them in among our people; the solid shot followed, crossed  diagonally our gun-deck, and split on the breech of our starboard after-broadside gun.

This shot killed eight and wounded six of our men, but left us still half our crew.

What damage the Essex received I did not ascertain, but that vessel drifted clear of the Arkansas without again firing, and after receiving the fire of our stern rifles steamed in the face and under the fire of the Vicksburg batteries to the fleet below.

Had Porter at the moment of the collision thrown fifty men on our upper deck, he might have made fast to us with a hawser, and with little additional loss might have taken the Arkansas and her twenty men and officers.

We were given time by the approaching ram to reload our guns, and this second assailant, coming also across instead of with the current, "butted" us so gently that we hardly felt the shock. The force of this blow was tempered to us no doubt by the effect of our three broadsides guns, which were fired into him when he was less than fifty feet distant.

Apparently blinded by such a blow in the face, he drifted astern and ran ashore under the muzzles of Read's rifles, the bolts from which were probably lost in the immense quantity of hay in bales which seemed stowed over and around him.

Getting clear of the bank, the ram wore round without again attempting to strike the Arkansas, and steamed at great speed up the river, receiving in passing a second broadside from our port battery, and in the excitement of getting away neglecting the caution of his advance, he brought himself within the range of our deadly bow guns, from which Grimball and Gift sent solid shot that seemed to pass through him from stem to stern.

As he ran out of range he was taken in tow and was run up into the Davis fleet.

Thus closed the fourth and final battle of the Arkansas, leaving the daring Confederate vessel, though reduced in crew to twenty men all told for duty, still defiant in the presence of a hostile force perhaps exceeding in real strength that which fought under Nelson at Trafalgar.

The conduct of our men and officers was on this occasion, as on every former trial, worthy of the American name.

Moving quickly in a squad, from gun to gun, reloading, and running out each one separately, and then dividing into parties sufficient to train and fire, they were as determined and cheerful as they cold have been with a full crew on board.

The closeness of this contest with the Essex may be inferred from the circumstance that several of our surviving men had their faces blackened and were painfully hurt by the unburnt powder which came through our port-holes from the assailant's guns.

It was perhaps as much a matter of coal as of cannon, of health as of hostility, that the Union commanders had now to decide upon.

If the Arkansas could not be destroyed, the siege must be raised, for fifty ships, more or less, could not keep perpetual steam to confine one little 10-gun vessel within her conceded control of six miles of the Mississippi River.

It was, indeed, a dilemma, and doubtless the less difficult horn of it was chosen.

Soon after our contribution to the Essex's laurels, and between sunset and sunrise, the lower fleet started for the recuperative atmosphere of salt-water, and about the same time the upper fleet---rams, bombs, and iron-clads---steamed for the North.

Thus was dissipated for the season the greatest naval force hitherto assembled at one time in the New World.

Vicksburg was now without the suspicion of any immediate enemy.

I had taken, with my brave associates, for the last sixty days, my share of labor and watchfulness, and I now left them for four days, only, as I supposed to sustain without me the lassitude of inaction.

Important repairs were yet necessary to the engines, and much of the iron plating had to be refastened to her shattered sides.

This being fairly underway, I called, Thursday P.M., upon General Van Dorn, commanding the forces, and told him that, having obtained telegraphic permission from the Navy Department to turn over the command of the vessel temporarily to the officer next in rank, First Lieutenant Stevens, I would go to Grenada, Miss., and that I would return on the following Tuesday A.M., by which time the Arkansas, I hoped, would be ready once more to resume the offensive.

Almost immediately on reaching Grenada I was taken violently ill, and while in bed, unable, as I supposed, to rise, I received a dispatch from Lieutenant Stevens saying that Van Dorn required him to steam at once down to Baton Rouge to aid in a land attack of our forces upon the Union garrison holding that place.

I replied to his with a positive order to remain at Vicksburg until I  could join him; and without delay caused myself to be taken to the railroad station, where I threw myself on the mail-bags of the first passing train, unable to sit up, and did not change my position until reaching Jackson, 130 miles distant.

On applying there for a special train to take me to Vicksburg, I learned that the Arkansas had been gone from that place four hours.7

Van Dorn had been persistent beyond all reason in his demand, and Stevens, undecided, had referred the question to a senior officer of the Confederate navy, who was at Jackson, Miss., with horses and carriages, furnished by Government in place of a flag-ship, thus commanding in chief for the Confederacy on the Mississippi, sixty miles from its nearest waters.

This officer, whose war record was yet in abeyance, had attained scientific celebrity by dabbling in the waters of the Dead Sea, at a time when I was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz and in the general operations of the Mexican war.

Ignorant or regardless of the condition of the Arkansas, fresh from Richmond on his mission of bother, not communicating with or informing me on the subject, he ordered Stevens to obey Van Dorn without any regard to my orders to the contrary.

Under the double orders of two commander-in-chief to be at Baton Rouge at a certain date and hour, Stevens could not use that tender care which his engines required, and before they completed their desperate run of three hundred miles against time, the starboard one suddenly broke down, throwing the vessel inextricably ashore.

This misfortune, for which there was no present remedy, happend when the vessel was within sight of Baton Rouge.

Very soon after, the Essex was seen approaching under full steam.

CSS Arkansas, engines ruined, is evacuated and destroyed by acting cmdr Lt. Stevens as the USS Essex approaches.
CSS Arkansas, engines ruined, is evacuated and destroyed by acting cmdr Lt. Stevens as the USS Essex approaches.

Stevens, as humane as he was true and brave, finding that he could not bring a single gun to bear upon the coming foe, sent all his people over the bows ashore, remaining alone to set fire to his vessel; this he did so effectually that he had to jump from the stern into the river and save himself by swimming; and with colors flying the gallant Arkansas, whose decks had never been pressed by the foot of an enemy, was blown into the air.

CSS Arkansas explodes August 6, 1862, but not before achieving immortality.
CSS Arkansas explodes August 6, 1862, but not before achieving immortality.

NOTES:

1 Isaac N. Brown, C.S.N., Commander, CSS Arkansas, “The Confederate Gun-Boat ‘Arkansas’,” in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Grant-Lee Edition, Being for The Most Part Contributions by Union and Confederate Officers. Based Upon “The Century War Series.” Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, of the Editorial Staff of “The Century Magazine”, 4 vols. (New York: The Century Co., 1884-1888), Vol. III, Part II, 572-580; Facsimile Reprint Edition from The Century Edition of 1887-1888 by The Archive Society, 1991.

2 Isaac Newton Brown (May 27, 1817 - September 1, 1889) was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky and was a naval officer in both the US and CS Navy. He served as a lieutenant in the US Navy in the Mexican War and later commanded the famous Confederate ironclad ram, the CSS Arkansas, in the War Between the States. As a result of his bold action on the Arkansas, he was promoted to commander and, for the rest of the war - 1863 to 1865 - served as captain of the CSS Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. After the war he farmed in Mississippi then moved to Texas. He died at Corsicana and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery. The Sons of Confederate Veterans awarded him the Confederate Medal of Honor around 1977 when that program started.

3 In this action 68 shot-holes were made in the stack, and 4 minie-balls passed through the tin tube.--I.N.B.

4 Dabney M. Scales was from the Naval Academy at Annapolis; he distinguished himself afterward in the Shenandoah, and is now a prominent lawyer of Memphis.---I.N.B. [This was written circa 1888.]

5 A Federal letter relating to the Arkansas, and evidently press correspondence, was captured by Confederates at Greenville, Miss. It began by saying, "Last night at 10 o'clock [it seems to have been written on the day of the combat] two deserters from Grandpre's sharp-shooters at the Yazoo, who had stolen a skiff, came alongside the admiral's ship, the Hartford, and reported that the Arkansas had cut the raft and would be down at daylight to attack the fleet. Upon this a council of war was immediately [that night] called on board the Hartford," etc., etc. The same letter, bearing every internal evidence of truth and sincerity, went on to say, "At daylight [following the night council] the little tug which [Admiral] Davis had sent up the Yazoo as a lookout came down like a streak of lightning, screaming, 'The Arkansas is coming! The Arkansas is coming!'' and then follows the account of excitement and preparation. Now all this may have been only in the imagination of the correspondent, but there was a detachment of our sharp-shooters under Captain Grandpre at the raft, and we did cut and pass through it as stated. [See also p. 556.]---I.N.B.

6 Such was the fact.---Editors.

7 I was entirely cured by this intelligence, and immediately hurried to Pontchatoula, the nearest approach by rail to Baton Rouge, and thence arrived nearly in time to see the explosion of the Arkansas.---I.N.B.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE:

https://css-arkansas.com/

Republicans, There Is No Downside to Defending Southern History

Republicans, There Is No Downside
to Defending Southern History

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

The Republican Party has committed a major unforced error by backing Elizabeth Warren's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which changes the names of United States Army bases in the South named for Confederate officers.

Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia, entrance.
Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia, entrance.

That mistake could cost Republicans the election, which promises to be close.

Republicans may now lose the electoral votes of some or all of the following states because changing Confederate named bases in the South right before the election, which is just 95 days away as of July 30, will put a horribly bad taste in the mouths of millions of Republican voters, and Democrats are sure to make that taste as close to raw sewage as they can get with constant hate and agitation on the issue:

1) Texas, where two bases are located: Fort Hood near Killeen, and Camp Maxey, near Paris.

2) Virginia, a purple state with four bases: Fort A. P. Hill, near Bowling Green; Fort Lee, in Prince George County; Camp Pendleton, in Virginia Beach; and Fort Pickett, near Blackstone.

3) North Carolina, a purple state where Fort Bragg is located, near Fayetteville.

4) Georgia, where two forts are located: Fort Benning, near Columbus; and Fort Gordon, near Grovetown.

5) Louisiana, where two bases are located: Camp Beauregard, near Pineville; and Fort Polk, near Leesville.

6) Alabama, where Fort Rucker is located, in Dale County.

Fort Hood, near Killeen, Texas.
Fort Hood, near Killeen, Texas.

President Trump does not want the base names changed, and there may still be a way.

Trump tweeted July 24th that he had spoken to Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!)."1

Still, stupid Senate Republicans have put themselves in a bad position. Inhofe shepherded the NDAA through the Senate with Elizabeth Warren's name change required within three years.

A committee of negotiators from the House and Senate has to reconcile the House and Senate versions. The House calls for the base names to change in one year.

Because the name change is in the bill the Senate passed, they can't just disregard it but Inhofe says "We're going to see to it that provision doesn't survive the bill. I'm not going to say how at this point."2

This is all hands on deck for Southerners who are FED UP with the Democrat Party/news media war on Southern history.

Call and write every senator in the United States Senate and every House member too. Get your camps and chapters organized and pump out some letters and calls.

Use the documented historical information in this article and on my blog as well as on the Abbeville Institute website at https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/, and historian Phil Leigh's website at https://civilwarchat.wordpress.com/.

Tell them those bases are in some cases 100 years old. As President Trump said, we won two World Wars out of those bases.

Even people like Gen. Jack Keane, a New Yorker who has no affinity for Confederates, does not want the base names changed.

I am sure there is broad support among the electorate for leaving the base names as they are. Millions of our veterans have gone through those bases at one time or another.

If we could get a victory on this, it could be a turning point in this Democrat propaganda war against Southern history.

President Trump is with us all the way.

He respects Southern history and the Founding Fathers from the South such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

President Trump supported Gen. Robert E. Lee's monument in Charlottesville and has been falsely smeared and lied about by the media ever since.

Trump stated that the Confederate battle flag is a proud symbol of the South: "When people had their Confederate flags they're not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South."3

He has blasted NASCAR for putting the wishes of one selfish driver, Bubba Wallace, who is black, over the wishes of thousands of NASCAR fans for whom the flag is an important tradition.

Bubba Wallace complained about the flag, so bigoted NASCAR banned it at NASCAR events, though the SCV and private citizens have been flying small planes around NASCAR events trailing a huge banner with the battle flag and different messages on it.

Defund NASCAR banner behind a plane at a NASCAR event.
Defund NASCAR banner behind a plane at a NASCAR event.
SCV.org banner behind a plane at another NASCAR event.
SCV.org banner behind a plane at another NASCAR event.

Of course, NASCAR is OK with Bubba Wallace putting Black Lives Matter all over his car though they are a violent, radical organization that believes the family is bad and should not be emulated in the black community, contrary to the beliefs of accomplished black intellectuals such as Robert Woodson, Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and many others.

Bubba Wallace's Black Lives Matter car.
Bubba Wallace's Black Lives Matter car.

The lack of black fathers in black homes has been acknowledged for decades as a major problem in the black community.

President Trump has supported Confederate monuments repeatedly, along with the monuments to our Founding Fathers and others such as Christopher Columbus.

Republicans just do not know their history.

If they did, they would be able to defend us easily. There is no downside to defending truthful Southern history.

Republicans think Southern history is what their Democrat colleagues portray to them and what they hear in the fake news media, which is overwhelmingly Democrat and politicized.

It is not history Republicans are hearing. It is political propaganda.

The Democrat interpretation of the past is political propaganda designed to promote unjustified hate against the South so they can keep blacks on the Democrat Party plantation, though thanks to organizations like BLEXIT,4 which is the opposite of Black Lives Matter, there is pushback by blacks against Democrats.

BLEXIT is an upbeat organization promoting the empowerment of black individuals, and they are making a different. They are not out there rioting and looting. They are working hard, making money, accomplishing things and living successful happy lives.

Eugene D. Genovese,5 one of America's greatest historians before his death in 2012, explains how Democrats with their 100% politicized history, and the news media, give a fraudulent interpretation of Southern history. He wrote this is 1994:

Rarely, these days, even on Southern campuses, is it possible to acknowledge the achievements of the white people of the South. The history of the Old South is now often taught at leading universities, when it is taught at all, as a prolonged guilt-trip, not to say a prologue to the history of Nazi Germany. . . . To speak positively about any part of this Southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity.6

Dr. Genovese goes on to say that this cultural and political atrocity is being forced on us by "the media and an academic elite.7

There is no truth to the portrayal of Southern history today that Democrats are pushing. It is 100% political propaganda.

Democrats are also pushing The New York Times' 1619 Project despite major historians like James M. McPherson labeling it, basically, fake history.

It has the American Revolution being fought by white supremacist colonists so they could keep slavery, though the 1619 Project does not offer a single iota of proof of that . . . because there is none.

Not a single statement by a single person, no letter, no document, not a shred of evidence supports the false premise of the 1619 Project, that the American Revolution was fought so white supremacist colonists could keep their slaves.

The Democrat Party thinks their political narrative of hatred of America and our founding will help them with their racist identity politics.

We live in a twisted world when The New York Times, the most biased newspaper in America, full of fake news, is now the arbiter of American history.

There is significant pushback on this. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has a bill that would deny federal funds to schools that teach the hate-America, fake history 1619 Project.

Even the 1619 Project founders have now admitted that it is not history, but "journalism" though fake journalism at that. Best to call it what it is: leftist political propaganda.

For Republicans and fair minded Democrats, there is no downside to defending Southern history. No Confederate memorial of any type, anywhere, should be removed, ever. Any that have been removed or destroyed should be replaced forthwith.

Here's your cover enabling you to defend Southern history, and it is impenetrable. Take a lesson from Ike.

Eisenhower speaks with some of the 101st Airborne Division June 5, 1944, the day before the D-Day invasion.
Eisenhower speaks with some of the 101st Airborne Division June 5, 1944, the day before the D-Day invasion.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1st Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in World War II, later president of the United States for eight years, had a picture of Gen. Robert E. Lee on his wall in the White House his entire time there. Like President John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower had great respect for Gen. Lee and his cause, and he appreciated Lee's efforts to bind up the nation's wounds after our bloodiest war.

On August 1, 1960, a New York dentist, Dr. Leon W. Scott, wrote an angry letter to President Eisenhower excoriating him for having that picture of Lee in his White House office. Scott wrote: "I do not understand  how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of America should do so is certainly beyond me. / The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did, was to devote his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our Government is worthy of being held as one of our heroes."8

President Eisenhower wrote back on the 9th:

Dear Dr. Scott:

Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War between the States the issue of secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.

From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee's caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation's wounds once the bitter struggle was over, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.

Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.

Sincerely,
Dwight D. Eisenhower9

The official White House portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower by James Anthony Wills.
The official White House portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower by James Anthony Wills.

Republican senators in states that aren't in the South like Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who might be tempted to vote for base name changes, better think about the entire party.

United States electoral map showing clearly that the South is where Republican Party power is. It is time to stand up for Southern history. Have no fear. Democrats can't hurt you at all but you can hurt them when you are united with your Southern base.
United States electoral map showing clearly that the South is where Republican Party power is. It is time to stand up for Southern history. Have no fear. Democrats can't hurt you at all but you can hurt them when you are united with your Southern base.

Without the South, where Republican red state strength is located, other Republicans are dead because they will be a powerless minority party.

All the judges President Trump has been appointing, and the sure Supreme Court picks that will occur over the next four years will now go to the Democrats.

Our country is not in a good mood.

We have had to endure months of COVID-19 as well as three straight months of non-stop violent riots plus the constant hate and false charge of racism in the media against people who are not racist in the least.

There is a feeling that the country is coming apart.

Over 200 monuments have been destroyed, vandalized or removed since May with most being to Confederate dead here in the South, the ancestors of today's Republican voters.

The military valor of the South is unsurpassed in the history of the world, and that's why Confederate named bases need to stay Confederate. That is what President Trump knows.

The death statistics in the War Between the States are now between 650,000 and 850,000. These are the widely accepted statistics of historian J. David Hacker of Binghamton University.10

Drew Gilpin Faust in her excellent book, This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War, uses the earlier statistics of 620,000 total deaths compiled by William F. Fox, and she writes that those deaths were "approximately equal to the total American fatalities in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War combined."11

If you use Hacker's statistics, you'd have to add Vietnam, both Gulf Wars, Afghanistan and the war on terror; in other words, deaths in the War Between the States were higher than all other American wars combined with plenty of room to spare.

Faust says the rate of death "in comparison with the size of the American population, was six times that of World War II. A similar rate, about 2 percent, in the United States today would mean six million fatalities."12

Confederate soldiers "died at a rate three times that of their Yankee counterparts; one in five white Southern men of military age did not survive the Civil War."13

Faust quotes James McPherson who writes that "the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and that of all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II."14

To personalize some of those statistics, Confederate Col. George E. Purvis was quoted in Confederate Veteran magazine, March, 1897, from an article he had written about Union Gen. Henry Van Ness Boynton and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Gen. Boynton, with great respect for the courage of the Confederates he faced, wanted to make it a sacred memorial, not just to Union valor, but American valor.

Col. Purvis writes that Gen. Boynton and a friend had visited the Chickamauga battlefield on a quiet Sunday morning in the summer of 1888 and heard singing in a church nearby. The general's thoughts went from those sweet sounds to the hellish and "fearful horrors of that other Sunday, when the very demons of hell seemed abroad, armed and equipped for the annihilation of mankind" almost a quarter of a century earlier:15

They saw again the charging squadrons, like great waves of the sea, dashed and broken in pieces against lines and positions that would not yield to their assaults. They saw again Baird's, Johnson's, Palmer's, and Reynolds's immovable lines around the Kelley farm, and Wood on the spurs of Snodgrass Hill; Brannan, Grosvenor, Steedman, and Granger on the now famous Horseshoe; once more was brought back to their minds' eye, "the unequaled fighting of that thin and contracted line of heroes and the magnificent Confederate assaults," which swept in again and again ceaselessly as that stormy service of all the gods of battle was prolonged through those other Sunday hours.

Their eyes traveled over the ground again where Forrest's and Walker's men had dashed into the smoke of the Union musketry and the very flame of the Federal batteries, and saw their ranks melt as snowflakes dissolve and disappear in the heat of conflagration.

They stood on Baird's line, where Helms's Brigade went to pieces, but not until three men out of four - mark that, ye coming heroes! - not until three men out of every four were either wounded or dead, eclipsing the historic charge at Balaklava and the bloody losses in the great battles of modern times.

They saw Longstreet's men sweep over the difficult and almost inaccessible slopes of the Horseshoe, "dash wildly, and break there, like angry waves, and recede, only to sweep on again and again with almost the regularity of ocean surges, ever marking a higher tide."

They looked down again on those slopes, slippery with blood and strewn thick as leaves with all the horrible wreck of battle, over which and in spite of repeated failures these assaulting Confederate columns still formed and reformed, charging again and again with undaunted and undying courage.

We need to stand with President Trump and win this battle over Confederate named bases in the South.

We need a full court press, all hands on deck, everybody call and write everybody in the United States House of Representatives and especially every senator in the Senate and tell them you do not want Confederate named bases to change, that those bases are significant in American history exactly as they are, and they are named for generals but represent the common soldier of the South who was often hungry and barefoot but fought with a ferocity and willingness to die like the bravest in world history.

The soil of the South is soaked with the blood of these patriots, and Republican voters in the South are their progeny.

They are Americans. We were the Confederate States of America.

They were as gallant and honorable as the Union soldiers they faced on the battlefield, most of whom had great admiration for their Southern counterparts.

This is a victory we can win because we have the president of the United States of America on our side.

Let's make this the turning point in the war on Southern history, whereupon we start regaining the ground lost in the past 60 years.

Our country will be a much better place for it.

 

NOTES

1 "President Trump, GOP ally vow Confederate base names won't change", July 24, 2020, https://fox6now.com/2020/07/24/president-trump-gop-ally-vow-confederate-base-names-wont-change, accessed 7-29-20.

2 Ibid.

3 "Trump says Confederate flag proud symbol of U.S. South" by Doina Chiacu, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-confederate/trump-says-confederate-flag-proud-symbol-of-us-south-idUSKCN24K0I0, accessed 7-29-20.

4 Here's the founders' statement on the BLEXIT website: "Founders Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum came together because of their shared desire to build a better future for America. Candace and Brandon seek to educate minorities across America about the history of our great country by highlighting the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the importance of self-reliance. The two believe it is time to take criminal justice reform seriously to stop the over-incarceration of minorities, to build strong families in the minority communities, and to value the life and the sanctity of every individual." https://blexitfoundation.org/, accessed 7-29-20.

5 Genovese was a brilliant historian as the following paragraph illustrates. It is the opening paragraph of an essay in The Journal of Southern History, Volume LXXX, No. 2, May, 2014 entitled "Eugene Genovese's Old South: A Review Essay" by J. William Harris: "The death of Eugene D. Genovese in September 2012 brought to a close a remarkable career. In the decades following his first published essay on Southern history, Genovese produced an outstanding body of scholarship, based on a rare combination of deep research in primary sources; a mastery of the historical literature, not only in Southern history but also in many complementary fields; a sophisticated command of methodological issues; and often sparkling prose. And Genovese's reputation reached far beyond specialists in Southern history, and even beyond the academy. In 2005 a reviewer in one magazine for a general readership called Genovese the 'Country's greatest living historian' and his Roll, Jordan, Roll 'the most lasting work of American historical scholarship since the Second World War.'"

6 Eugene D. Genovese, The Southern Tradition, The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), Preface, xi-xii.

7 Ibid.

8 Dwight D. Eisenhower in Defense of Robert E. Lee, August 10, 2014, Mathew W. Lively, https://www.civilwarprofiles.com/dwight-d-eisenhower-in-defense-of-robert-e-lee/, accessed 5-3-20.

9 Dwight D. Eisenhower letter, August 9, 1960, to Leon W. Scott, in "Dwight D. Eisenhower in Defense of Robert E. Lee," August 10, 2014, Mathew W. Lively, https://www.civilwarprofiles.com/dwight-d-eisenhower-in-defense-of-robert-e-lee/, accessed 5-3-20.

10 See Rachel Coker, "Historian revises estimate of Civil War dead," published September 21, 2011, Binghamton University Research News - Insights and Innovations from Binghamton University, http://discovere.binghamton.edu/news/civilwar-3826.html, accessed July 7, 2014. Hacker's range is 650,000 to 850,000. He uses 750,000.

11 Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), xi.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Faust, This Republic of Suffering, xii.

15 "American Valor at Chickamauga", Confederate Veteran, Vol. V, No. 3, March, 1897.

The Associated Press Is a Racist and Ignorant of History

The Associated Press Is a Racist
and Ignorant of History

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

The Associated Press, one of the most leftist institutions in America, is now also racist.

In fact, it has skipped racist and gone straight to Nazi.

The associated press now capitalizes the word "black" when talking about black people, but does not capitalize the word "white" when talking about white people.1

As a result of the associated press's obsession with race and bigotry against white people, I can no longer capitalize the words "associated press" or its "stylebook" or any other words or initials associated with the a p.

In fact, I will use the abbreviation "ass. press" for the associated press, from now on.

The ass. press started capitalizing black June 19, but did not make a decision on capitalizing white at the time. They wanted to think about it. 2

But in the past few days they have made the deliberate decision not to capitalize white.

Their racist instructions are published in the ass. press's famous stylebook, which has enormous influence in the world of writing and publishing.3

Capitalizing the adjective black, but not white, looks weird in sentences and seems very unliterary and unprofessional, like something Louis Farrakhan would do in his mosque newsletter.

Here are a couple examples from an ass. press story in the Charleston Post and Courier, July 6, 2020:4

That includes white people from other parts of the country, Black families returning generations after the Great Migration north . . . . Harrison noted that even younger native Southerners, Black and white, are less wed to hard-partisan identities . . . .

Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were native Southerners who, with whiter, less urban electorates, attracted white moderates and Black voters.

The bias of the ass. press is nothing new. Its reporters are required to have a copy of the Democrat Party Stylebook on their desk next to their copy of Das Kapital, Rules for Radicals, The Communist Manifesto, and their pictures of George Soros, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, so they can portray, what is to them, an "unbiased" perspective.

The concept of unbiased journalism and knowing American history before writing about it, is foreign to the ass. press because that's not how they do it in New York.

In New York, they do it like The New York Times' 1619 Project whose founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, called the white race "the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world. . . . Christopher Columbus and those like him were no different than Hitler."5

She still won a Pulitzer Prize from another bunch of PC northeast liberals for her fake history that asserts that America is so bad, even the Revolutionary War was fought so white supremacist colonists could keep their slaves, even though there is not a shred of evidence of that.

I mean, there is not even a molecule of evidence. There is no writing, no document, no nothing, by a single person.

In other words, it is unsourced fake history, like much of the unsourced fake news in The New York Times.

The intelligence of people in New York is already suspect after twice electing Bill de Blasio mayor.

Unfortunately for Hannah-Jones and The New York Times, a Southerner named Thomas Jefferson wrote this little thing called the Declaration of Independence outlining exactly what the colonists were fighting for and why, and nowhere does it state that they were concerned about the British ending slavery in the American colonies. Not a single word even implies such an absurdity.

The Declaration of Independence says things like:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

That was the most widely quoted phrase of Southerners in the secession debate in the South in the year prior to their seceding.

The 1619 Project, while bringing up some good points such as Abraham Lincoln's racism and desire to ship black people back to Africa or somewhere away from America where they'd have a chance to survive, has been heavily criticized by historians and is not credible.

It is highly regrettable that it is in hundreds of schools. That must come to an end without major historical corrections to the 1619 Project, which Hannah-Jones is unlikely to make, especially now that she has Oprah Winfrey and all her money and movie making behind her.

Also, in fairness to Abraham Lincoln, he was a man of his time. There was nothing out of the ordinary about his way of thinking about race.

By the 19th century, the white civilization of Europe that started with the Greeks and Romans, was well established here, based on capitalism, science, technology, freedom and opportunity.

It was just too different from the tribal civilizations of Africa. It would take a while for all Americans to look upon each other as equals. That's just human nature.

Despite slavery, race relations were still better in the South than anywhere in America. Alexis de Tocqueville said, in Democracy in America, that race relations were bad in places where slavery had been abolished, and the worst in places that had never had slavery.

Despite the odds, some free black people did well during the time of slavery and many more did well afterward. William Ellison, the famous black cotton gin maker from Sumter County, South Carolina was well respected and owned over 60 slaves before the war.

Of course opportunity for blacks, with all the turmoil of Reconstruction, was severely limited for a long time, but the promise of the Declaration of Independence was there and today opportunity is unlimited for everybody in America, which is why people from all over the world will risk everything to get here.

I know that doesn't fit with the left's victimology politics but those who reject the false narrative of systemic racism, which Dr. Thomas Sowell said does not exist and is like the propaganda tactics of Hitler and Goebbels,6 can succeed wildly in America.

The only thing holding anybody down is their own mind. As Henry Ford said, whether you think you can do a thing, or not, you are right.

American history has been politicized since the 1960s and Southern history is the worst.

The ass. press is despicable on Southern history. Like the great historian, Eugene Genovese, said, the fake history pushed by the ass. press and other liberals is a "cultural and political atrocity" that has been forced on the public by an academic and media elite.7

The ass. press is not concerned with truth. It is concerned with leftist politics.

Many of the articles on the recent riots are fake news. They portray the demonstrators as peaceful while buildings burn in the background. Much of this mayhem is caused by anarchists who hate America and want it to crumble.

If it really did crumble, they would regret it because at some point, the public is not going to put up with it any more.

Thank God we have a Second Amendment, though the left and Democrat Party hate it and have done everything they can to weaken or destroy it so that the public will be at the mercy of violent Democrat Party mobs.

To the dumb ass. press, everybody who lived before today is a white supremacist even though they were regular people living in their times, working, raising families, fighting in the nation's wars.

Real historians know that you can't use today's standards to judge the people of the past. To the people of the past, it was their present. You have to judge people of the past within the context of their own times.

Anything else is not history but filthy politics.

The woke crowd is at total war with the past. There are unlimited opportunities for the left to dig up instances of hate and abuse from centuries ago and use it to promote hate and abuse today for some political advantage.

Anybody the ass. press wants to slander, they slander, with the most sweeping generalizations you can imagine. The ass. press promotes hate for the political advantage of Democrats.

In an article entitled "Historical figures under attack following death of George Floyd" on June 12, 2020, the ass. press wrote:

Protests and, in some cases, acts of vandalism have taken place in such cities as Boston; New York; Paris; Brussels; and Oxford, England, in an intense re-examination of racial injustices over the centuries. Scholars are divided over whether the campaign amounts to erasing history or updating it.8

An "intense re-examination of racial injustices over the centuries"?

What the hell is the mob examining?

Nobody alive today did anything two centuries ago that the mob needs to avenge today.

Nobody alive today did anything to hold black people down. Nobody alive today operated a slave ship. Most people are appalled at slavery.

Many of us just want the truth told. The South gets blamed for slavery but New England Yankees brought all the slaves here with help from the British before them.

Boston's Peter Faneuil, of Faneuil Hall, the Cradle of Liberty, was a major slave trader helping the economy of Boston enormously in its early days. One of his slave ships was the Jolly Batchelor but it wasn't too jolly for the poor Africans he forced into the horrendous Middle Passage and a life of slavery.

And New York City, together with the aforementioned Boston, loved slavery and slave trading so much that they were the largest ports for the slave trade on the planet in 1862, a year into the War Between the States, and 54 years after the slave trade had been outlawed by the United States Constitution.9 They continued slave trading until the last country, Brazil, abolished slavery in 1888.

Six slave states fought for the North the entire war: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia, which came into the Union as a slave state during the war. They were among the last to end slavery, and two had slaves until the 13th Amendment finally freed them in December, 1865, months after the war.

Four of the Southern states that seceded - Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee - in which 52.4% of white Southerners lived, seceded over nothing to do with slavery. They did not secede until Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South, then Virginia seceded immediately, followed in weeks by the other three.

Doesn't matter anyway.

The South had the right to secede and they did so properly. No historian will deny the right of secession so every accusation you hear that Confederates were traitors is a fraud. Real historians know this. President Eisenhower knew it which is why he had a picture of General Robert E. Lee in his office the whole eight years he was president. Gen. Lee's honor and courage no doubt inspired Gen. Eisenhower to win World War II, as he said.

We are not having an "intense re-examination of racial injustices over the centuries." That is absurd. All we are having is criminal activity that weak Democrat mayors tolerate and encourage, then excuse, by saying it is an "intense re-examination of racial injustices" therefore you better give me what I want politically. All of the cities with riots are liberal cities with liberal Democrat mayors. That's what's in store for the rest of America if Democrats ever rule again.

The ass. press is ignorant of Southern history in most cases, and deliberately tells lies in others. In that same article quoted above, they wrote:

The Davis monument and many others across the South were erected decades after the Civil War during the Jim Crow era, when states imposed tough new segregation laws, and during the Lost Cause movement, in which historians and others sought to recast the South's rebellion as a noble undertaking, fought to defend not slavery but states' rights.

That is a popular technique of the propagandists in the news media and especially the ass. press. They falsely equate monument construction with Jim Crow, which is a fraud.

Over 750,000 people died in the War Between the States and over 1,000,000 were maimed out of a total national population of only 32 million (23 million in the North, nine million in the South, of which 4 million were slaves, so, what you really had was five million Southerners in an agricultural society against 23 million Northerners with unlimited immigration in an industrial society that had an overwhelming advantage in weapon manufacturing, railroads, an army, navy, solid financial system, etc.). Southerners had to start everything from scratch.

Contrast that with World War II when we had a national population of around 150 million, yet only 400,000 were killed, and 650,000 wounded.

That's 750,000 killed out of a population of 32 million verses 400,000 killed out of a population of 150 million.

The South was almost entirely destroyed. It took 75 years for the South to recover, and 94.3% of white Southerners did not own slaves. Would 94.3% of Southerners sacrifice all that so 5.7% could keep their slaves?

Hell no.

Every Confederate monument went up for the most noble reason, to honor war dead after a devastating war. Not a one went up to proclaim the ass. press's fantasy of white supremacy.

What's happened today with Confederate monuments is the most disgraceful period of American history, led by the ass. press and rest of the liberal media. I hope history judges them harshly.

Read any of the 40 years of the original Confederate Veteran magazine and you will see that every single penny that was raised came from school children, raffles, bake sales and such, in an impoverished region. That is how the monuments went up, and both whites and blacks loved them.

Today's hatred is a construct of the hate-monger leftist media led by the ass. press and the Democrat Party.

If slavery was the true cause of the war, it would have ended in a few months because nobody would sacrifice that much death and destruction so 5.7% could own slaves, but all of them would fight to the death for independence just as the colonists were willing to do.

Besides, Southerners could have negotiated an end to the war and kept their slaves anytime within the first two years of the war (and probably after that) if they had wanted to. Lincoln was fine with that.

Southerners were fighting for independence and all that meant, and Northerners were fighting for Union as Abraham Lincoln said over and over. The reason Northerners were fighting for Union was because all their enormous wealth and power was tied to the Union.

They would rather take what they wanted than have to compete against the South with 100% control of the most demanded commodity on the planet, cotton, and strengthened greatly by military and trade alliances with Great Britain and the rest of Europe.

In such a scenario, the North could not have beaten the South, and Lincoln knew it. That's why he started his war as quickly as he could, then set up a naval blockade.

In two bald-faced lies in one paragraph, the ass. press wrote in an article "Confederate battle flag losing prominence 155 years after Civil War" on July 1, 2020:

Georgia - which added the battle emblem to its state flag in 1956 in response to U.S. Supreme Court decisions to desegregate public schools - adopted a flag without a rebel banner in 2003.10

In the first lie, the adding of the Confederate battle flag to the Georgia state flag in 1956 did not have one iota to do with school desegregation. I had some correspondence with the man responsible, Judge John Salmons Bell, who changed the flag because the old Confederate veterans were dying out and he had attended Confederate veteran reunions when he was a boy. He was proud of his family that fought for the South.

Also, the centennial of the War Between the States was coming up and President Eisenhower had directed the states to prepare their commemorations. This was on the minds of people back then.

Those like the ass. press who say the flag was changed in Georgia in defiance to integration can provide no proof of that, and if it was true, there would be a ton of proof because people in those days had no problems making racist statements when they felt like it.

In the second lie, the Georgia state flag adopted in 2003, is not, as the ass. press says, "without a rebel banner" but is almost exactly a rebel banner, the Stars and Bars, the first Confederate national flag. (See pictures of both flags at the bottom of this article, below the endnotes).

The liars in the ass. press and other media have said South Carolina also raised the Confederate battle flag above its State House in the early 1960s in defiance to integration.

It wasn't true. The man responsible for flying the battle flag over the South Carolina State House was John Amasa May, a legislator from Aiken County and a World War II hero, a Bronze Star winner, lawyer, historian, and head of the Confederate War Centennial Commission in South Carolina.

The battle flag went up over the South Carolina State House to honor the 40,000 out of 60,000 South Carolina Confederate soldiers who were killed or wounded in the war. Around 20,000 were killed.

Again, the ass. press is a filthy liar as are most in the media when it comes to Southern history. Just like Genovese said, a media and academic elite have turned the history of the South into a "cultural and political atrocity."

The ass. press is a racist.

They know by capitalizing black, and not capitalizing white, they are building up black people who vote Democrat as they do, and they are demeaning whites, which is revenge for what Northern slave traders, and slaveholders in the North and South did 150 years ago, but nobody who has lived in the past century has done.

In a June 30, 2020 article "Many newsrooms are now capitalizing the B in black. Here are some of the people who made that happen", Aly Colon is quoted from 2003 saying:

To me, it's an issue of respect, fairness, equality, and parity. When we use a lowercase letter it makes the word less visible, less prominent, and maybe less important. It's the diminutive form. My name is written with an upper case 'A' and 'C' for "Aly Colon." I consider that a sign of respect.11

Only a virulent, vile racist would divide our country over a racial issue like this at a time when we are already so divided.

The ass. press doesn't care. They think it helps the Democrat Party politically and that's enough.

Capitalizing black is fine as long as white and brown are also capitalized so it shows proper respect for all Americans.

You saw earlier in the two examples from the newspaper how stupid it looks to have black capitalized and white in lower case in the same sentence. It is improper English to capitalize adjectives like that but if everybody is treated the same, then fine.

However, capitalizing black and deliberately not capitalizing white is a racist statement, which makes the ass. press a racist as well as an historically ignorant purveyor of fake news.

When you see black capitalized in an article, and white not capitalized, you know that article is written by virtue signaling racists and that is the viewpoint it is written from.

Newspapers don't have to follow the ass. press's lead.

Fox News will capitalize both black and white.

Others like me will continue to use proper English and not capitalize either.

If I do decide to capitalize something in the future, all will be capitalized, black, white and brown, because I believe all Americans are equal, and we should come together as a great nation whenever we can.

All decent people should encourage that, and not do like the ass. press and promote racial hate and division.

 


1 "ap changes writing style to capitalize "b" in Black", June 19, 2020, https://apnews.com/71386b46dbff8190e71493a763e8f45a, accessed 7-14-20; "The decision to capitalize Black" by john daniszewski, vice president for standards, June 19, 2020, https://blog.ap.org/announcements/the-decision-to-capitalize-black, accessed 7-20-20; "Why we will lowercase white" by john daniszewski, vice president for standards, https://blog.ap.org/announcements/why-we-will-lowercase-white, accessed 7-22-20; "The associated press announced it will not capitalize W in white" by Eliana Miller, July 20, 2020, https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2020/the-associated-press-announced-it-will-not-capitalize-w-in-white, accessed 7-20-20.

2 "The decision to capitalize Black" by john daniszewski, vice president for standards, June 19, 2020, https://blog.ap.org/announcements/the-decision-to-capitalize-black, accessed 7-20-20.

3 ap stylebook, 55th edition, https://store.stylebooks.com/2020-ap-stylebook-print-edition.html, accessed 7-22-20.

4 "Democrats, Biden look to accelerate Southern political shift", associated press story by Bill Barrow in the Charleston Post and Courier, July 6, 2020.

5 "In Racist Screed, NYT's 1619 Project Founder Calls 'White Race' 'Barbaric Devils,' 'Bloodsuckers,' Columbia 'No Different Than Hitler'", June 25, 2020 by Jordan Davidson, https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/25/in-racist-screed-nyts-1619-project-founder-calls-white-race-barbaric-devils-bloodsuckers-no-different-than-hitler, accessed 7-8-20.

6 Fox News, Life, Liberty and Levin, July 12, 2020, "Thomas Sowell on 'utter madness' of defund the police push, wonders whether US is reaching point of no return" https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/thomas-sowell-on-utter-madness-of-defund-the-police-push-wonders-whether-us-is-reaching-point-of-no-return, accessed July 14, 2020.

7 Eugene D. Genovese, The Southern Tradition, The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), Preface, xi-xii.

8 "Historical figures under attack following death of George Floyd", June 12, 2020, ass. press story in the Charleston, SC Post and Courier.

9 W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America 1638-1870 (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896), 179.

10 "Confederate battle flag losing prominence 155 years after Civil War", July 1, 2020, ass. press article in the Charleston, SC Post and Courier.

11 June 30, 2020 article "Many newsrooms are now capitalizing the B in black. Here are some of the people who made that happen" by Kristen Hare, June 30, 2020, https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2020/many-newsrooms-are-now-capitalizing-the-b-in-black-here-are-some-of-the-people-who-made-that-happen/, accessed 7-22-20.

The Confederate First National Flag also known as the Stars and Bars.
The Confederate First National Flag also known as the Stars and Bars.
The current Georgia state flag since 2003, exactly like the Confederate First National Flag, the Stars and Bars.
The current Georgia state flag since 2003, exactly like the Confederate First National Flag, the Stars and Bars.