Archive from November, 2019
Nov 10, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Changing the Question

Changing the Question

Union men in the South encouraged Lincoln to withdraw troops from Fort Sumter, defuse the crisis and allow time for cooler heads to prevail; Gen. Winfield Scott, a Virginian, suggested Lincoln relinquish Fort Pickens as a conciliatory gesture toward the South. The problem for Lincoln was maintaining Republican party cohesion, and especially the radical element that pushed for war and the opportunity to decisively destroy the South’s political and economic power – and chose party over country.

Changing the Question

“Seward was in no way alone in urging Lincoln to give up Sumter. Five members of the cabinet expressed the same point of view on March 15; only two were for provisioning Sumter. Seward . . . strongly set forth in a memorandum to Lincoln his belief that Sumter and Pickens were different situations:

“My system is built upon this idea as a ruling one, namely we must change the question before the public from one upon slavery, or about slavery, for a question upon Union or Disunion. In other words, from what would be regarded as a party question to one of patriotism and union.

The occupation or evacuation of Fort Sumter, although not in fact a slavery, or a party question is so regarded. Witness, the temper manifested by the Republicans in the Free States, and even by Union men in the South. I would therefore terminate it as a safe means for changing the issue. I deem it fortunate that the last administration created the necessity.

For the rest, I would simultaneously defend and reinforce all the Forts in the Gulf, and have the Navy recalled from foreign stations to be prepared for a blockade. Put the Island of Key West under Martial Law. This will raise distinctly the question of Union or Disunion. I would maintain every fort and possession in the South.”

(Collected Works of A. Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, ed., New Brunswick, 1953, Vol. IV, pg 317)

Nov 8, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on No Longer the Creature of the States

No Longer the Creature of the States

After being released from prison for his role in the Confederate government, and having ample time to reflect on what the recent war against the South had accomplished politically in the United States, Stephen Mallory confided his thoughts to son Buddy. He wrote that the one hope for American liberties would be through President Andrew Johnson’s efforts to readmit Southern States to Congress as a “check on radicalism in every form” as the people of the South were naturally conservative. They would “conserve the basic rights off Americans as against all despotic tendencies of the central government.

No Longer the Creature of the States

“He confided to his son his somber estimate of the meaning and effects of the war which had just concluded. Before the recent struggle, he declared, Americans had gloried in the possession of such inalienable and indestructible rights as “individual liberty,” freedom of the press,” and the “consent of the governed.”

The war had, at least as far as the Southern States were concerned, abolished the exercise of those rights. The Southern States were being treated as conquered provinces under military law. The whole people of the South were at the uncontrolled command of the executive.

This showed “how rapidly men drift when once they grasp irresponsible power.” The character of all power in government is aggressive, he said, with a constant tendency to augment itself; the history of our government provided no exception to this rule.

During the war the federal government had violated flagrantly the basic liberties of the people of the North, and now it was suppressing with even greater violence the rights of the citizens of the South.

“It is impossible that such a course of events should not radically change the theory, the practice and the whole character of the Government, which will no longer be regarded as a Confederation of willing, sovereign States, — no longer be thought of as the creature or agent of the independent States, existing by their will, authority, and consent, but as a national, supreme government, existing by its own right, with right and power as well against the States, all or one, as against individuals or foreign nations, to maintain itself, and to enforce obedience to its authority.”

(Stephen R. Mallory: Confederate Navy Chief, Joseph T. Durkin, University of North Carolina Press, 1954, excerpts pp. 368-369)

Nov 2, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Talking For My Swearing Rights

Talking For My Swearing Rights

Master’s Mate Robert Watson enlisted in the “Key West Avengers,” Company K of the Seventh Florida Regiment in mid-June 1862, and saw infantry action in Tennessee under Bragg. He and other nautically-inclined Key Wester’s were transferred to the CSS Savannah; then to Fort Fisher in early 1865.

Talking for My Swearing Rights

“Thursday, October 29 [1863] “Several of us were drilled today for swearing. I was one of the number.

Our captain has got very pious and particular lately. I told him that when I joined the Confederate Army that I did not intend to become a Methodist preacher, and if he thought he could make me a preacher or hypocrite of me by punishment that he was mistaken for the more he punished the worse I would be for I was neither slave not school boy.

He thought it strange that nobody else said anything about it but me. I told him I was talking for my rights.”

(Southern Service on Land and Sea: The Wartime Journal of Robert Watson, CSA/CSN, R. Thomas Campbell, editor, University of Tennessee Press, 2002, page 80)

Nov 2, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Mike Hudson was an investigative journalist for the now-defunct Niagara Falls Reporter in 2014, and looked deeply into city plans to erect a monument to the largely mythological “underground railroad” of the mid-nineteenth century.

Hudson wrote in August 2014 that: “City Council approved spending $262,000 to dedicate a park and erect a statue to a woman who by all accounts never set foot in Niagara Falls, Harriet Tubman. The city’s actual role in the underground railroad movement is a speculative one. A study conducted by the city’s underground railroad commission in conjunction with Niagara University, was unable to identify a single site in the city with any indisputable connection to the underground railroad . . . Harriet Tubman’s connection to what is now the city of Niagara Falls is tenuous.”

What Hudson’s research revealed is how city and State governments often willfully engage in what is best-termed historical fraud for the purpose of attracting federal grant monies, and tourists. This will not bode well for the latter misled by the inaccurate displays masquerading as “history.”

Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Tubman Myth Central to DeSantis’ Plan for Future:

In one media account last week, it was reported that [city planner] Tom DeSantis would “love to have” a sculpture of Harriet Tubman standing outside the city’s new train station and Underground Railroad Interpretive Center, the latter being a monument to a “history” you can’t find in any history book. Why Harriet Tubman?

DeSantis didn’t say. But it doesn’t seem to be a big stretch to honor a history that never took place with a largely mythological figure who made her living telling tall tales about herself to gullible audiences predisposed to believe anything she said. [There] is but one reference anywhere to something allegedly happening in what is now the city of Niagara Falls.

And that one reference comes from “Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman,” a brief narrative written by grade school teacher Sarah H. Bradford that is often referred to as Tubman’s “autobiography.”

According to one paragraph in “Scenes of the Life of Harriet Tubman” by children’s book author Sarah Hopkins Bradford, Tubman accompanied a relative on a train that crossed the Suspension Bridge, near where the Whirlpool Bridge stands.

[The] Niagara Falls Reporter, discovered that of the 19 former slaves Tubman may actually have assisted, there is no proof whatsoever that a single one of them went over the old bridge at what is now the site of the Whirlpool Bridge.

Tubman, of course, could not write an autobiography. An illiterate, she couldn’t even write her own name. Bradford, the author of several children’s books, found Tubman virtually homeless in 1868, took pity, and wrote the book to raise money for Tubman’s care and feeding.

When it came out in 1869, “Scene’s in the Life of Harriet Tubman” was a bestseller. The book contains numerous verifiable whoppers, including an assertion that Jefferson Davis was dead, when he was very much alive, and that Tubman had led 300 former slaves to freedom. In fact, the highest number attributed to her by modern researchers is 70 and more sober estimates are 19, mostly relatives.

[Tubman] would be largely forgotten in Niagara Falls today were it not for the efforts of a man named Kevin Cottrell. Cottrell was a State Parks employee who also owned a business called “Motherland Connextions,” that promoted fairytale, sugar-coated stories of the underground railroad here for gullible tourists. He was employed on the condition that he would not sell his tours while being paid by the city to promote underground railroad “history.”

Cottrell repeatedly told daily newspaper and television reporters that Tubman led 300 escaped slaves across the Whirlpool Bridge to freedom in Canada. The reporters didn’t bother to check his tall tale out.”

(Tubman Myth Central to DeSantis’ Plans for the Future, Mike Hudson, Niagara Falls Reporter, August 2014, excerpts)

Nov 1, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Let the People Save the Union

Let the People Save the Union

Matthew Fontaine Maury made earnest efforts to avert war, maintain peace and insure to the South her equal rights in the Union. He addressed pathetic appeals to the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware “to stand in the breach and stop this fratricidal strife.” Governor William F. Packer of Pennsylvania believed a national convention of the States be called to settle the sectional difficulties peacefully.

The February 1861 Washington Peace Conference led by ex-President John Tyler attempted to find compromise, but failed due to hardline Republican opposition. Robert H. Hatton, a Tennessee Unionist in early 1861, summed up the Conference’s work: “We are getting along badly with our work of compromise – badly. We will break, I apprehend, without anything being done. God will hold some men to a fearful responsibility. My heart is sick.”

Governor Packer’s term ended on January 15, 1861; he was succeeded by Republican Governor Andrew G. Curtin who chose party above country.

Let the People Save the Union

To Governor Packer, Maury wrote: Observatory, Washington, January 3, 1861

“Dear Sir: When the affairs of a nation are disturbed, quiet people, however humble their station, may be justified in stepping a little out of their usual way. You recollect that, in the nullification times of South Carolina, Virginia stepped forward as mediator and sent her commissioners to that State with the happiest results.

But we are now in the midst of a crisis more alarming to the peace and integrity of the Union than those memorable times. We have the people in no less than seven of those States assembling, or preparing to assemble, in their sovereign capacity to decide, in the most solemn manner known to them, whether they will remain in the Union or no.

It does appear to me that in and out of Congress we are all at sea with the troubles that are upon us; that the people, and the people alone, are capable of extricating us. You, my dear sir, and your State – not Congress – have it in your power to bring the people into the “fair way” of doing this.

This brings me to the point of my letter: Then why will not the great State of Pennsylvania step forth as a mediator between the sections? Authorize your commissioner to pledge the faith of his State that their ultimatum shall not only be laid before the people of the Keystone State, assembled likewise in their sovereign capacity, but that she will recommend it to her sister States of the North for like action on their part, and so let the people, and not the politicians, decide whether this Union is to be broken up.

I am sanguine enough to believe that the great body of the Southern people entertain opinions, sentiments and feelings in conformity with my own in this matter.

With distinguished consideration, I have the honour to be, Respectfully, etc., M.F. Maury”

(From “Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury,” by his daughter, Mrs. Diana Corbin, Confederate Veteran, February 1924, excerpts pg. 48)