Browsing "Uncategorized"
Jul 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on A Splendid Propaganda Agency

A Splendid Propaganda Agency

The North’s “Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War” is considered a sinister “court of the star chamber” and American equivalent of the inquisition. Though the committee was highly critical of Lincoln’s actions, the latter eventually cooperated with Radical demands and to his political advantage. Neither Grant nor Sherman experienced duress from the committee, most likely due to their total war policy against the South, though others who faced their wrath faced accusations of treason and were consigned to obscurity.  The committee’s wartime propaganda regarding Fort Pillow and Andersonville resonate to this day.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Splendid Propaganda Agency

“When the Joint Committee was established on December 10, 1861, it was empowered “to enquire into the conduct of the present war.” Consisting of three members of the Senate and three representatives, it could “send for persons and papers, and sit during sessions of either House of Congress.” After 1864, it was also given power to investigate war contracts and expenditures . . .

[The] committee was co-sponsored by Radicals and conservatives, but because the chairman and leading members were Radicals, it was soon identified with the extremist branch of the Republican party and became its principal agency of pressure and propaganda.

Possibly because of their radicalism and because of their desire to function effectively, the members decided to hold their meetings in secret. In their room in the capitol basement they ceaselessly interrogated contractors, public officials and military personnel of all ranks, seeking reasons for failure and delay and ferreting out corruption and inefficiency.

I carrying out these activities, the members . . . sought to remove conservative generals from active command, especially George B. McClellan and his supporters. Lincoln was by no means indifferent to [Radical demands] . . . and decided to dismiss him.

[The] committee was a splendid propaganda agency. Its investigations of “rebel barbarities,” first at Manassas and then at Fort Pillow (to say nothing of its revelations about the treatment of Union soldiers in Southern prison camps), resulted in fiery pamphlets calculated to stir the spirit of the North. The members excelled in this work, and there is little doubt that their reports accomplished their purpose.

General Fitz-John Porter, one of McClellan’s supporters and an outspoken critic of the Radicals, was court-martialed and dismissed from the service after Second [Manassas] for alleged failure . . . and the Radicals were looking for a scapegoat . . .

After [Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s] disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg, [he testified before the committee] and fully restored their faith in the general who talked like a Radical. Interested in blaming his conservative subordinates for Burnside’s misfortunes, the committee sought to refurbish his reputation by writing a favorable report about him and generally lauding his good qualities.

The accession of Andrew Johnson seemed to give the committee one last opportunity to gain influence. Having once been a member of the group, the new President was considered favorably inclined toward [Radical] views . . . [and] who agreed that treason must be made infamous and traitors impoverished.”

(The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Hans L. Trefousse, Civil War History, The Journal of the Middle Period, Kent State University Press, March 1964, Volume 10, No. 1, excerpts, pp. 6; 8-9, 16; 18)

Apr 30, 2017 - Foreign Viewpoints, Slavery Comes to America, Slavery Worldwide, Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

The erroneous belief in today’s popular culture that the American South was the only region in North America tainted by African slavery is contradicted by Carter Woodson’s writings. He states “[In] my article on “The Slave in Canada,” printed in The Journal of Negro History for July, 1920, (Vol. V, No. 3), several instances of Negro slavery in Canada were given. The latest is mentioned in Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques for October, 1927, (Vol. XXXIII, No. 10), at p. 584. I translate it from the French the article referred to.”  Additionally, while Michigan was still a territory, complaints of Canadian slaves escaping across the border into Michigan were common.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

“Honorable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of Appeal, Ontario.

In July, 1748, Jean-Pierre Roma, Commandant for the (French) King at the island of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), on his passage to Quebec, made a singular gift to his friend, Fleury de la Gorgendiere, (the younger). He gave him a mulatto girl, five months old and named Marie.

The gift made to Mr. Fleury de la Gorgendiere is explained by the fact that the mother of the child, the slave of Roma, died in giving it birth. Roma not being able to charge himself with raising the orphan, preferred to give it to M. Fleury de la Gorgendiere.

The deed of gift was drawn up by the Notary, Jean-Claude Panet, July 15, 1748; and in it is the stipulation that in case of the death of Fleury and his wife, the mulatto will return Mdll. Roma (her grandmother). If she cannot take her it is stipulated that she will receive her freedom.

Such sales of the creatures of God may seem curious – they were, however, according to the customs of the time and were made almost in every country.”

(Journal of Negro History, Carter G. Woodson, editor, Vol. XIII, No. 2, April, 1928, page 207)

Confederate Monument Entrusted to Public Servants

The following is a news account of the unveiling of the Confederate Monument in Lumberton, North Carolina in 1907, a scene replicated across the South in similar ceremonies which honored the service and sacrifice of Southern men who left their homes and families to defend their State and country.  It is important to note that these monuments were left to the custody of public authorities who were expected to provide perpetual care and faithfully honor the men who gave their lives for political freedom and liberty.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Robeson County Confederate Monument Unveiling, Friday, 10 May, 1907

(Transcribed from The Robesonian of 13 May, 1907.)

“The most notable day in the history of Robeson county was the unveiling of the Confederate monument on Friday, the Tenth of May. This occasion had long been looked forward to, and by daybreak people were gathering from every direction. Carriages, buggies, wagons, carts, automobiles, wheels and every kind of vehicle was put in use on that day to bring the people interested.

By ten ‘clock it was with difficulty that one could make his way along the streets. Never before has such an immense crowd been assembled in Robeson county. No drinking, no misbehavior of any kind was witnessed that day. A matter of much comment was the splendid appearance of those present. Robeson well has a right to feel proud of her citizenship.

The streets and public buildings of the town were elaborately and beautifully decorated in national colors, and suspended across Main Street, banners were hung with the word “Welcome” on them in letters to catch the eye of every passerby. On the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, a booth was beautifully decorated, and here the badges of the day were bestowed upon the Veterans.

Governor [Robert B.] Glenn was met at the train at 10 o’clock, and driven in a carriage to the handsome home of Col. N. A. McLean. The Red Springs Daughters of the Confederacy were met at the station and taken to the home of Mr. & Mrs. McIntyre, where a splendid reception was tendered them.

The parade started at 11 o’clock at the Waverly hotel, in charge of Capt. A. J. McKinnon, chief marshal. First came the marshals, numbering about 75, on prancing horses with sashes of national colors flying in the breeze, making as fine an appearance of any body of horsemen could desire; following in succession came the Lumberton and Maxton brass bands, making every pulse [quicken] as they steadily marched and played stirring martial music; [then] the Maxton Guards, Lumber Bridge Infantry, Camps Ryan Hoke and Rowland [of the] United Confederate Veterans, numbering about five hundred, led by Capt. [James] I. Metts of Wilmington . . . the old Confederate flag of the Fifty-first [North Carolina] Regiment was borne by Gen. S. J. Cobb, marching to the time of the music and wearing with pride their badges of honor.

The sight of these veterans, the men who faced death long ago for their country and future generations [inspired] the hearts of all, and too, it was a scene of pathos. Some who received lifelong injuries, and others who faced the guns and death so fearlessly in the 60’s are bowed with age, but from the eyes of these worn veterans, flashed the fires of old time courage and vigor. As they marched along cheer after cheer arose from the vast throng and the enthusiasm was great.

Last in the parade came the floats of Maxton, Red Springs, Fairmont, Lumberton, and several others, all beautifully and tastefully decorated in national colors. The individuality of the different floats was striking; not one in arrangement bore any resemblance to another, yet all were beautifully planned and decorated.

In the Maxton float was Miss Bonnie Dixie McBryde, and sponsors. After marching around the town, the parade proceeded to the court house square, where they halted and Governor Glenn, Miss McBryde and others who were to take part in the program, were assembled on the improvised rostrum beside the monument, in the midst of the gaze of thousands of curious, interested eyes.

The seats arranged on the grounds of the court house square, were soon filled with veterans, and th4 masses were gathered as closely around the platform as possible, in order that they might hear each word that fe4ll from the lips of their beloved and honored governor.

Mr. Stephen McIntyre was master of ceremonies, fittingly welcomed the visitors and expressed [the] regret of the committee that the monument was not complete; the statue having failed to arrive in time for erection.

He spoke of the energy and determination and devotion of those who had caused the monument to be erected, [and] in glowing terms of commendation, making mention of our worthy county Treasurer, M.G. McKenzie, who for the past ten years had labored toward the end which is at last attained.

The choir sang in ringing voices, the old but ever new song, the “Old North State,” after which Miss Bonnie McBryde, the accomplished and attractive young daughter of Capt. Thomas A. McBryde, pulled the cord that caused the white veil to fall, revealing the monument, standing there in solemn grandeur, to the eager gaze of thousands. A wild, joyous cheer rose from the throats of all, mingling with a dozen factory whistles and the military salute, three volley being fired.

Miss Katie Lee McKinnon then beautifully recited “The Conquered Banner.” Miss McKinnon is a reciter of exceptional ability, and her very successful effort was warmly appreciated and brought tears to the eyes of many, as she spoke in thrilling tones.

Governor Glenn was presented by Mr. S. McIntyre, who said that no introduction of Governor R.B. Glenn was needed, for his name throughout the State was synonymous with progress and advancement, intellectual and moral. He welcomed him to the county of Robeson in most admirable and suitable words.

Governor Glenn arose and addressed the people . . . his kind benevolent countenance won the hearts of the spectators from the beginning [and a] hush fell on that vast throng and all listened with bated breath to one of the most masterly efforts ever produced in Robeson. He assured his hearers in the beginning that the purpose of the gathering was not only to unveil the monument erected to those who had met death in a noble cause, but to give a hearty handshake to those who still linger, and to instill noble aspirations and loyalty in the hearts of the coming generations. He paid a most splendid and touching tribute to the veterans who sat facing him, that the world has never seen braver or more worthy soldiers than those who followed Lee and Jackson from 1861 to 1865; that none were more deserving than those who went from North Carolina, the Tar Heel State, the grandest commonwealth south of the Mason and Dixon line.

In glowing terms that inspired his hearers, he spoke of the glorious deeds done in the 60s by the gallant sons of the Old North State. His recitals of the deeds done by the North Carolina sons at Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg [and] Appomattox was thrilling and carried the thoughts of listening veterans back, – back, to the cruel hardships of war. North Carolina, he said, entered the great struggle unwillingly, but once started, there was no turning back. Always in the midst of the battle, with a never-faltering courage, they deserved the highest tribute which could be paid them.

While Governor Glenn said the men of the South were brave and noble, he said the women were even more so. Without the courage and never failing sympathy of the good women of the South, they could never have held out [against the enemy] as they did.

In his closing remarks he besought the veterans to live lives of honor and such as would entitle them to enter and belong to the Great Army and serve under the banner of the Great Captain. He urged the young people that they live such lives as will make them worthy of the responsibilities of the future, [and] that they might worthily take the places of the older ones when they should pass away and be able to finish the task committed to their care with honor.

When Governor Glenn took his seat, there arose cheer after cheer [and] the people were most enthusiastic in their enjoyment and appreciation of his powerful address.

Crosses of Honor were presented to 15 Veterans when the address closed. After which, the monument was formally turned over to the custody and care of the commissioners of Robeson county, and Rev. C.H. Durham dismissed the audience.

An elaborate dinner was spread on tables in the court house yard where the veterans and military were served dinner. At 4:50PM the Daughters of the Confederacy visited the graves of Confederate soldiers which they covered with many beautiful flowers. The occasion was one which will live long in the memories of all who attended. It was the biggest day Lumberton has ever known. The crowd was estimated at seven thousand people.”

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

 

With Lincoln’s revolutionary actions in April 1861 — assuming the power to raise armies, suspect habeas corpus at will and arrest Supreme Court justices who defied him — the presidency changed from one of conciliation and compromise to near dictatorship. He and his liberal Northern power base concentrated all power in Washington, and thus ended the formerly decentralized federation of republics. The office of president became an end in itself with powers remaining impaired today, and never-ending crusades.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

“Since the beginning of this century, American liberalism has made little measurable progress toward two of its most important goals: a more equitable distribution of income and an improved level of public services. Confronted by the realities of corporate power and the conservatism of Congress, the reforming zeal of the liberal state has been easily frustrated.

This is mirrored in the stymied hopes of the New Freedom by 1916, the stalemate of the New Deal by 1938, and the dissolution of the Great Society by 1966. What is left by these aborted crusades is not the hard substance of reform but rather the major instrument of change – the powerful central state.

The demands of a strong central government and an aggressive foreign policy were ideologically reinforcing. The liberal search for national unity and an expanding domestic economy could not be separated from the vision of an internationalist order which was “safe from war and revolution and open to the commercial and moral expansion of American liberalism. This was a vision shared by Woodrow Wilson and Cordell Hull.

To Hull and Wilson, and later Dean Rusk, peace required the structuring of diplomacy through an elaborate network of collective security arrangements; prosperity demanded the removal of national trade barriers.

Such a vision . . . could not contain within it the forces of either revolution or reaction and led almost inevitably to a foreign policy marked by conflict and crisis. Each new foreign policy crisis in turn strengthened the state apparatus and made the “National Idea” seem even more appropriate – a development which liberals, especially of the New Deal vintage, could only see as benign.

Peace and prosperity, political themes of the Eisenhower years, were considered indulgences by Kennedy liberals . . . Eisenhower’s cautious leadership was considered without national purpose. To those liberals the American mission could be no less than “the survival and success of liberty.”

The “National Idea,” glorified by such transcendent goals, became a Universal Mission, viz., Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s assessment, “The United States has an active and vital interest in the destiny of every nation on the planet.” President’s felt mandated not to complete a mere domestic program but rather, to quote the Kennedy inaugural, “to create a new world of freedom.”

Nevertheless, such missionary rhetoric was eminently compatible with the liberal vision of governmental problem solving and reform emanating from the top. For those who gloried in the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the president was the incarnation of the “National Idea,” or in Richard Neustadt’s phrase, “the sole crown-like symbol of the Union.”

After a generation of such fawning rhetoric, it is little wonder that the modern president’s conception of himself bears closer resemblance to the fascist notion of the state leader than even to a Burkean concept of democratic leadership. As President Nixon described his role, “He (the president) must articulate the nation’s values, define it goals and marshal its will.

Republican presidents replaced Democratic presidents without affecting the slightest diminution of executive power. At the propitious moment of international crisis the Congress is circumvented, the public, then most vulnerable to demagoguery and deception, is confronted with a fireside chat, a special address, or a televised press conference.

The result, as conservative James Burnham has pointed out, is Caesarism – the culmination of the executive state: “The mass of people and the individual Caesar, with the insulation of the intermediary institutions removed, become like two electric poles . . . the vote is reduced to a primitive Yes-No . . . and the assemblies become a sounding board for amplifying Caesar’s voice.”

(The Ideology of the Executive State, Robert J. Bressler; Watershed of Empire, Essays on New Deal Foreign Policy, L. Liggio and J. Martin, editors, excerpts, pp. 2-7)

Aug 21, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Forrest Claimed Guilty of Treason

Forrest Claimed Guilty of Treason

The United States Constitution’s definition of treason (Article III, Section III) states that it “shall consist of levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Note that levying war is against “them” – the individual States, not the entire federation of States that comprise the “United States” nor its government. Public and military officers of the United States swear an oath to defend the Constitution, not the government — Forrest was defending his own country’s Constitution.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Forrest Claimed Guilty of Treason

“But perhaps the most sincere tribute to the effectiveness of [Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s] operations came from the other side, when the grand jury of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of West Tennessee, meeting in Memphis for the September 1864 term, returned an indictment against Nathan B. Forrest for treason.

Reciting the existence of “an open and public rebellion, insurrection and war with force of arms . . . against the government and laws of the United States of America by divers persons . . . styling themselves “the Confederate States of America,” one of the persons being Nathan B. Forrest, “late of said District aforesaid, “the grand jurors declared that he, on the twenty-first day of August, 1864, “and on divers other days and times as well as before that day . . . not weighing the duty of his said allegiance but wickedly devising the and intending the peace and tranquility of the said the United States of America to disturb, and to stir, move, excite, aid and assist in said Rebellion, insurrection and war . . . with force and arms unlawfully, falsely, maliciously and traitorously did raise and levy war . . . with a great multitude of persons whose names to the grand jurors aforesaid are unknown . . . armed and arrayed in a warlike manner . . . with guns, swords, pistols, and other warlike weapons as well offensive as defensive . . . did . . . in a hostile and warlike manner array and dispose themselves against the United States of America . . . most wickedly and maliciously and traitorously did ordain, prepare and levy war against the said the United States of America, contrary to the duty of the allegiance and fidelity of the said Nathan B. Forrest . . . ” and so on and on.

To all of which the Marshall of the United States Court, in whose hands there was placed the capias for the arrest of “the said Nathan B. Forrest,” made return with unintentional humor – “Defendant not to be found in my district.”

(“First With the Most,” Forrest, Robert Selph Henry, Mallard Press, 1991, pp. 343-344)

Henry Clay Prophesies the Success of Abolition

Henry Clay, an officer of the American Colonization Society, predicted the collision which would follow total emancipation in the American South. Others of that time saw this logical result as well; Jefferson Davis of Mississippi saw the dilemma that if African slavery were extinguished, what would become of its carcass? Could people unfamiliar with Anglo-Saxon law, traditions and customs and without European heritage become full participants in American government?

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Henry Clay Prophesies the Success of Abolition

“In the slave States the alternative is, that white men must govern the black, or the black the white. In several of these States the number of slaves is greater than that of the white population. An immediate abolition of slavery in them, as these ultra-abolitionists propose, would be followed by a desperate struggle for immediate ascendancy of the black race over the white race, or rather it would be followed by instantaneous collision between the two races, which would break out into a civil war that would end in the extermination or subjugation of the one race or the other.”

(Freedom’s Ferment, Alice Felt Tyler, University of Minnesota Press, 1944, page 479)

 

 

 

Jan 4, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Convicts and Indentured Servants to America

The need for labor in its American colony stimulated not only the indentured servitude detailed below, but also slave trading by England’s Royal African Company. This was formed in 1662 with the king’s brother, the Duke of York, as president. It would have an outright monopoly on bringing enslaved Africans to the New World until 1697, when the British Crown permitted private traders to carry slaves to British colonies and paying a 10 percent duty.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Convicts and Indentured Servants to America

“A principal source of labor for the [American] plantations during the seventeenth century were the white indentured servants brought from England. In the mother country the farm hands and laboring classes received miserably low wages . . . [and] found it almost impossible to save [6 pounds], the average cost of passage to America. The only method by which they could transfer their labor from a cheap market in England to a dear market in America was the indenture system, really a credit, or installment system to pay the passage money of crossing the Atlantic. The servant signed a contract by which he sold his labor to a master for a period usually of four or five years.

Immigration into the colonies was vastly stimulated by the profitable business of securing servants for the American market. John Harrower, an indentured servant in Virginia, described in his diary which he kept from 1773-1776, a class of merchants called Soul Drivers, who met immigrant and convict ships at the docks to buy servants, whom they would drive through the colonies “like a parcel of Sheep” to sell to the highest bidder. Such servants were sold for prices ranging from [20 pounds] for the highest type, Scottish soldiers captured after the Jacobite revolt, to [4 pounds] for Irish vagrants.

Most of the indentured servants were young men and women under twenty-five years of age. Under some masters the indentured servitude approximated the conditions of slavery. The master had the right to punish his white servant by whipping, and the servant could not leave the plantation without permission. If a servant married without consent or if a maidservant had an illegitimate baby, the term of service was extended for one year. If a servant ran away and was arrested, he or she was punished by extending the term of service two days extra in Virginia and ten days in Maryland for every day of absence.

The labor shortage in America was so great that it led to the dark crime of kidnapping. There were professional agents in England known a “spirits” who kidnapped “drunks” in taverns and young persons on the streets to ship them to America for sale as servants. The British government used the Southern colonies as well as the islands of Jamaica and Barbados as a dumping ground for convicts.

(A History of the Old South, The Emergence of a Reluctant Nation, Clement Eaton, MacMillan Publishing, 1975, pp. 23-31)

Nov 18, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Democracy Comes to the Philippines

Democracy and equal opportunity were unknown in America’s new conquest, and in 1912 William Howard Taft warned his countrymen “that only 3 percent of the Filipinos voted and only 5 percent read the public press; to confer democracy on such a society was to subject the great mass to the dominance of an oligarchical and exploiting minority.”

Bernhard Thuersam, Circ1865

 

Democracy Comes to the Philippines

“On July 4, 1901, William Howard Taft took the oath of office as the first Governor-General of the Philippines, and control of the islands passed from the military arm of the government. Not all the problems [of converting the islands] had been solved.

Philippine society remained ill suited to the concept of representative democratic government, primarily because it is not one culture, but several. An election in Zamboanga was decided by which Filipino shot the other candidates first.

The Filipinos in the northern islands were Tagalog Christians, those in the south were Moro’s (meaning “Mohammedan”) who had long resisted Tagalog encroachment. A tribal people, they were fiercely jealous of their semi-savage freedom. Wisely, the Spaniards had left them to their own devices; but the Americans wanted to clean up and educate everybody.

So the [American] army established a garrison at Balangiga, on Samar, in he south where Magellan had sighted the Philippines and where he was to die at the hands of natives. On September 1, 1901, the natives from the surrounding hills of Balangiga fell on the American garrison, and in a devastating surprise littered the street with the heads, brains and intestines of the soldiery.

This was the beginning of a religious war with the Moros, one that took longer to settle than the war against Aguinaldo’s insurrectos. The fight became a struggle to win the minds and hearts of the villagers, who supplied the guerrilla bands and offered them bases and sanctuaries.

What was called for [to control the Moros], Pershing decided, was to disarm the entire Moro Province, to confiscate or buy every rifle, pistol, campilan, bolo and krise on the islands. It was not an original idea.

General Leonard Wood, who left the Philippines in 1910 to become Chief of Staff advised Perching: “You cannot disarm the people. It means they will bury their best arms and turn in a few poor ones, especially some who want to make a show of obedience.”

Moros who surrendered their arms were victimized by those who had not . . . it is as hard to disarm a people as it is to make them give up a religious belief.

In a letter to Avery D. Andrews, (General) Pershing put succinctly the apostolic creed to which he himself subscribed:

“It has been urged by some people at home that the Filipinos should be given their independence. Such a thing would result in anarchy. To whom should we over the government? Tagalog, Viscayan, Igorrote, Macabebe or Moro? No one can answer that any of these tribes represents the people in any sense, any more than the Sioux represents all the Indians in America. There is no national spirit, and except for the few agitators, these people do not want to try independence. They will have to be educated up to it and to self government as we understand it, and their education will take some time and patience. It is a grand work cut out for us from which there should be no shirking.”

The Americans stayed on, Pershing said, because “the American people being obsessed with the idea of maintaining their new position as a world power, insisted on keeping the flag flying over a territory once it was in our possession.

In the long run, the only advantage the United States or the Philippines realized from the occupation was the military mission. The archipelago was never destined to become a great way station to exploit trade with the Orient. America and the world economy were finding uses for Philippine products, especially hemp, sugar, timber and minerals. But as the world was discovering these products, the Filipinos were discovering corruption.

By 1920, Wall Street learned that the directors of the [Wall Street-capitalized Philippine National] bank had dealt out so many unsecured loans that $24 million had simply evaporated. The bank’s reserves, which should have been retained in New York, had also vanished in alarming fashion. Similarly, American rail industries had capitalized the Manila Railroad Company, which piled up astronomical losses in only eight years.

By 1921, the islands were insolvent.

“The idea that public office is a public trust,” Taft said, “has not been planted in the Filipino mind by experience and the conception that an officer who fails in his duty by embezzlement and otherwise is violating an obligation is difficult to grasp.”

(Pipe Clay and Drill; John J. Pershing, Richard Goldhurst, Readers Digest Press, 1977, excerpts, pp 100-153)

 

Nov 8, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Agitators Driving the South to Madness

Author Howard R. Floan noted the “tendency, stubbornly persistent even in our own time, to mistake the planter aristocracy for the entire South, to envision the Southerner simply as the slaveholder.”  His study of the New England abolitionist aristocracy shows a radical, idealistic clique of utopians divorced from reality who had little, if any understanding of the slavery inherited from the English colonists.  Doing nothing to help find a practical and peaceful end to African slavery, abolitionists hands were stained with the blood of a million Americans who perished in the war they did much to ignite.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Agitators Driving the South to Madness

“In the job of molding public opinion, [William Lloyd] Garrison needed help.  The need of a platform personality to carry the cause directly to the people was answered, unsolicited, by Wendell Phillips.  At a meeting in 1837, young Phillips rose from the audience, denounced the murderers of Elijah Lovejoy, the antislavery editor, of Alton, Illinois . . . A Bostonian once reported that during a Phillips speech he had heard a man in the audience applauding, stamping his feet, and exclaiming enthusiastically, “The damned old liar! The damned old liar!

Phillips strove to foster a public opinion hostile to slaveholding . . . Phillips battleground was the Northern mind. His eye was on the North, though his shots appeared to be aimed at the South. To arouse Northern awareness of danger, Phillips emphasized the political threat of the South by pointing to its wealth and its continued success in Washington.

For all practical purposes, Phillips said, the slave power was the South; there could be no other South until the North created one. The image of the South which Phillips labored to evoke in the Northern mind embodied deformities that were designed to call up repugnance, anger and fear. It violated the cherished ideals of the North. He conjured up a land of whipping posts and auction blocks, a feudal society in which newspapermen, politicians, and clergymen were vassals.  “The South is the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.”

Phillips . . . often spoke of the possibility of armed rebellion in the South. “I can imagine the scenes of blood through which a rebellious slave-population must march to their rights.”

The agitator must continually intensify his attack if he is to maintain the appearance of vitality. With the years, Phillips grew more vitriolic.  In 1853, surveying the achievements of the abolition movement, he said: “To startle the South to madness, so that every step she takes in her blindness, is one more step toward ruin, is much. This we have done.”

Nothing shows more clearly that Phillips had become a victim of his own program. By this time he could summarize his view of the South in one image: the South was “one great brothel where half a million women are flogged to prostitution, or, worse still, are degraded to believe it honorable.”

By the time of the [John Brown] Harpers Ferry incident, Phillips was able to say that Brown had more right to hang [Virginia] Governor Wise than the Governor had to hang Brown.  As Phillips grew more outspoken, some of his listeners became indignant, and the abolitionists were forced to form bodyguards.”

(The South in Northern Eyes, 1831 to 1861, Howard R. Floan, McGraw-Hill, 1958, pp. 11-14)

Nov 8, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Abolition Attempts in the South

The American South was in the forefront of emanicipation efforts following the Revolution and the momentum was in evidence toward dismantling the slave-labor system established by the  the British.  New England slavers had populated the South with millions of slaves while the North gradually sold off its slaves to Southern plantations raising cotton for New England mills, a highly profitable enterprise enabled by Massachusetts inventor Eli Whitney.

Bernhard Thuersam Circa1865

 

Abolition Attempts in the South

“The American Revolution swelled the ranks of the tiny Southern free black population. In the years following the Revolution, the number of free Negroes increased manyfold, so that by the end of the first decade of the nineteenth centruy there were over 100,000 free Negroes in the Southern States . . . The free Negro caste had grown from a fragment of the colonial population to a sizable minority throughout the South.

[In] the North, abolition met stiff opposition. In Rhode Island and Connecticut, which had the largest proportion of Negroes in New England, antislavery forces could enact only gradual-emancipation laws. Pennsylvania enacted a gradual-emanicipation act in 1780, but, despite of its many Quakers, never legislated immediate abolition.

Lawmakers in New York and New Jersey, where the ratio of blacks to whites was three times that of Pennsylvania, repeatedly rebuffed antislavery forces and refused to enact even gradual emancipation for another twenty years. Significantly, emancipation laws in both New York and New Jersey compensated slaveholders for their property. Only after property rights were satisfied were human rights secured.

In 1782, Virginia repealed its fifty-nine year-old prohibition on private acts of manumission. Slaveholders were now free to manumit any adult slave under forty-five by deed or will. North Carolina slaveholders could free their slaves . . . for meritorious service and with the permission of the county court. Liberalized provisions for manumissions were extended to the new States and territories of the South.

Kentucky adopted the Virginia law in 1792, and the Missouri Territory accepted a similar rule in 1804. Almost immediately slaveholders took advantage of the greatly liberalized laws. Throughout the South, but especially in the upper South, hundreds of masters freed their slaves. Although manumission at times had nothing to do with anti-slavery principles, equalitarian ideals motivated most manumitters in the years following the Revolution.

Beginning in 1792, the revolt on Saint-Domingue sent thousands of refugees fleeing toward American shores. Most were white, but among them were many light-skinned free people of color who had been caught on the wrong side of the ever-changing lines of battle . . . [though Southerners] feared the influx of brown emigres. The States of the lower South, ever edgy about slave rebellions, quickly barred West Indian free people of color from entering their boundaries, and other States later followed their lead. A mass meeting in Charleston urged the expulsion of “the French Negroes” . . . [and] In Savannah, nervous official barred any ship that had touched Saint-Domingue from entering the harbor.”

(Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South, Ira Berlin, The New Press, 1974, excerpts pp. 15-36)

 

Pages:12»