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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)

Oct 30, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Example of a Brave, Skillful, Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

An Example of a Brave, Skillful, Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

The following account of the presentation of the bust of Gen. R. E. Lee to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, England, was contributed [to the Confederate Veteran] by Mrs. L.R. Schuyler, who represented the United Daughters of the Confederacy on the occasion . . .

An Example of a Brave, Skillful Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

Mrs. Schuyler writes:

“We were met at the station by Lieutenant-Colonel Lickman, acting as an escort from the College. At Sandhurst, we were received by Major-General Corkran, Commandant, and Mrs. Corkran; Col. J.E. Turner, Assistant Commandant, and Mrs. Turner; and the other officers and their wives . . .

It is often easier to describe than to convey to the mind of another the sensations one experiences on an occasion of this kind, but I am sure that those who were present will never forget the thrill which each must have felt when I drew aside the Confederate flag which veiled the bust of General Lee (this flag the gift of Miss Jessica Randolph Smith, of North Carolina, daughter of the designer).

Instantly the officers drew to attention, saluted, and stood at attention, as did the entire audience, during the presentation of the bust. So intense was the stillness that suddenly I seemed to have been left alone with the “spirit of Lee,” and, when the applause broke forth, it was a rude awakening which brought me back from a communion with that great soul.

General Corkran said that on behalf of the college he gratefully accepted that memorial of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and he did so for the same reasons which he believed had prompted its donors to offer it. It was to preserve the name and keep before them the example of a brave, skillful, hard-fighting soldier and gentleman.

General Corkran was deeply interested to learn that the colors of our organization were the same as those of Sandhurst . . . As at the presentation of the bust of General Lee to Saint Cyr Military School, in France (which was a gift of our Chapter), it was my privilege to toast to our respective rulers and the College.

Mr. Sterling, Councillor of the American Embassy, representing Ambassador Kellogg (whose absence in Scotland prevented his attendance), made a short address after which, escorted by General Corkran, I placed red, white and blue flowers on the altar of the memorial chapel in the name of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.”

The following inscription appears on the base:

Robert Edward Lee 1807-1870

General Commanding the Armies of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865

Presented by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1914

(UDC Gift to England, Confederate Veteran, November 1924, excerpts pg. 412)

Oct 29, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Confessing Fears for Republicanism

Confessing Fears for Republicanism

Floridian Stephen R. Mallory served as the brilliant naval chief of the Confederacy, and developed the open-sea raider and ironclad solutions to his country’s grand deficit in naval power. A profound thinker, after the war he reflected upon the demise of the Founders’ republic, seeing that “times of high political excitement formed by sectional jealousies, local schemes for power, combinations and demagogues, becomes the most tyrannical form in which the power of man can be exercised.”

Confessing Fears for Republicanism

“This was his sober comment on the state if the Union as 1866 began: “When I calmly survey the condition of public sentiment and the condition and increase of the country now with their condition in 1826, just forty years ago, and the wonderful innovations made in that time upon what were held to be the rights of the States and the true principles of our government, I confess my fears for republicanism.

With a Union composed of a few compact States, and a limited population, it was easy to preserve the sovereignty of the States and to repress the tendency of the Central government, the agent of the States, to encroach upon their rights and powers.

But the difficulty of doing so increases with the growth of the country, the increase of area, population, Federal patronage, which places in the Executive hands a large standing Army and Navy and more offices and pensions to bestow than the Crown of England during the same term.

So greatly do I apprehend disastrous changes that as an American citizen today I would compromise upon a Government as just and stable as that of Britain. God preserve our Country, I pray, and may my fears prove unfounded.

A paper constitution is a very good thing usually so long as it lasts as intended by its framers; but it is necessarily open to construction; hence to change, and to such construction as to destroy its good and develop its bad features. As the country and people for whom it was written change, the paper constitution must change to suit them; and construction, not amendment, quietly affects, undermines and destroys it.”

(Stephen R. Mallory: Confederate Navy Chief; Joseph T. Durkin, University of North Carolina Press, 1954, excerpts pp. 377-378)

Oct 24, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders

An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders

“When Lloyd George, wartime premier of Great Britain, visited Richmond, he paid tribute to the South and its two great soldiers, Jackson and Lee.

Accompanied by Governor [Elbert Lee] Trinkle and others, he went over the battleground of the Seven Days’ fighting around Richmond in 1862; returning he visited the monuments to Jackson and Lee and laid wreaths upon them, baring his head for several minutes in reverence.

He agreed that the World War had developed no military commander like either of these Southern leaders and ventured the opinion that the history of America might have been different had Stonewall Jackson lived. (Rockbridge County News)”

(An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders, Confederate Veteran, July 1924, excerpt pg. 284)

Oct 13, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Baptized with Blood at Manassas

Baptized with Blood at Manassas

“Jackson believed in the Southern cause, as if it had been a revelation from God . . . Jackson believed that the war of invasion was a heartless crusade against mankind and womankind, and the civilization of the South, and the higher law proclamation was the aftermath of the pernicious broadcasting of seed sown by Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and Joshua R. Giddings.

Jackson believed that the “Grand Army” in holiday attire, with flaunting banners and careering squadrons, were an aggregation of iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of images, creeds, institutions, traditions homes, country. So believed he when the “Anaconda” with panting sides drew back to strike.

Man to man, bayonet to bayonet, cannon to cannon, bosom to bosom, here was challenged the asserted right of coercion, of frenzy against frenzy, patriotism, anger, vanity, hope, despair; each facing and meeting the other like dark clashing whirlwinds.

Eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, and Jackson with folded arms, occupies the plateau near the “Henry House.” Just beyond is a dark confused death wrestle. Forty thousand athletes against eighty thousand athletes; two hundred odd iron throats perpetually vomiting an emetic of death.

There is . . . the order given, and the “old Stonewall Brigade” is hurled like an immense projectile against ranks of human flesh. There is a halt, a recoil; cannon spit out their fire, their hail, their death upon bosoms bared to the shock. “There stands Jackson like a Stonewall.” Under that name he was baptized with blood at Manassas.

Everywhere that faded coat and tarnished stars were the oriflame of battle and the old brigade followed them as if they had been the white plume of Navarre.

This incomparable leader never failed in a single battle from the day when with 2800 men at Manassas, where he cut their communications and decoyed their columns into the iron jaws of Longstreet’s reserves. Such achievements were not accidental. No maneuver could mislead the clear judgment that presided serenely in that soul of fire.

Lifeless eyes and voiceless lips now, had cheered these flags with the same joy that once greeted the eagles of Napoleon. Withered skeleton hands now, had borne them at the head of charging squadrons and battalions, the guidons of victorious armies – the guerdon of a nation’s trust and faith.

If out of the cold, dead white stars could come again the old gleam of light as it lighted up the line of direction over the mountain passes of Virginia and the valley of the Shenandoah, what a halo of glory would encircle Winchester and Gordonsville and Chantilly!

How dramatic the narrative; how truthful the history; how inspiring the reminiscence; how fully and completely vindicated the Old South – the lost cause! But there is no light in the stars, and the broad bands of blue upon the blood-red field are disfiguring scars upon the face of an incident long since closed, and closed forever, full of tragedy and patriotism.”

(The Broken Sword; Or, a Pictorial Page of Reconstruction, D. Worthington, P.D. Gold & Sons, 1901, excerpts pp. 104-107)

Oct 12, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Black Hills Not For Sale

Black Hills Not For Sale

After conquering Americans with a scorched-earth strategy in 1865, Northern generals turned their sights on the Plains Indians who stood in the way of railroads, expanding industrialism and gold. Sherman, pressed by his mentor Grant, presided over the relocation and extermination of thousands of Indians, as well as the virtual annihilation of the wild Buffalo those Indians depended upon for food.

As Lincoln instigated his war to protect the tariff income of the US Government, Grant would do the same to retrieve prosperity at the expense of the Indians.

Black Hills Not For Sale

“Mysterious and remote . . . the Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux and – until Custer’s expedition – almost unknown to the whites, save for rumors of gold.

In 1873, a financial panic gripped the country. With the national debt over $2 billion, the Grant administration was in desperate need of way to replenish a cash-starved economy. As had been proven in California back in 1849 and more recently in the Rockies, there was no quicker way to invigorate the country’s financial system than to discover gold.

Despite the fact that it required them to trespass on what was legally Sioux land, General Philip Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, which extended all the way west to the Rockies, ordered Custer and the Seventh Cavalry to escort an exploring expedition from Fort Lincoln, just down the Missouri River from Bismarck, in modern North Dakota, to the Black Hills.

The supposed aim of the Black Hills Expedition of 1874 was to find a suitable site for a fort. However, the makeup of the column suggested that another, far more exciting goal was being considered. Included in Custer’s thousand-man expedition were President Grant’s eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Dent Grant; three newspaper reporters; a photographer; and two experienced gold miners.

Much to Custer’s surprise, the Indians proved few and far between once the regiment entered the Black Hills. On August 2, after several weeks . . . the expedition discovered gold “right from the grass roots.” Over the next hundred years, more gold would be extracted from a single mine in the Black Hills (an estimated $1 billion) than from any other mine in the continental United States.

In the beginning, the government made only nominal efforts to prevent miners from intruding on the Black Hills. But by the summer of 1875 there were so many US citizens in the region that the Grant administration decided it must purchase the hills from the Sioux. When the Sioux refused to sell, the administration had no choice but to instigate a war.”

(The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking Press, 2010, excerpts pp. 3-4)

Oct 8, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on “Better Patriots, Madam”

“Better Patriots, Madam”

“While President Jefferson Davis was preparing his “History of the Rise and Fall of the Confederate States,” he made a visit to the home of Hon. Henry Loevy, at Pass Christian, Mississippi. With these friends he had left [earlier in Abbeville, SC] a collection of very valuable papers, including letters from Gen. Lee and other prominent Confederate officials.

When Mrs. Loevy brought out the papers and a Confederate battle flag . . . Mr. Davis took the battle flag, and he held it in one hand and the [model of a] gun [he invented while Secretary of War] in the other, he seemed to stand the representative at once of the United States and the Confederate States governments.

As he gave the history of the flag, the memory of the war, in which Mrs. Loevy had lost three brothers, and during which her father had been banished from his Kentucky home and she from New Orleans, the True Delta, a paper owned by her husband, had been confiscated, rushed over her with such force and vividness as to cause tears to flow down her cheeks and her to exclaim:

“Mr. Davis, I have not gotten over the war yet! I believe the ladies were worse rebels than the men anyhow!”

“Better patriots, madam,” was the energetic and instantaneous reply from the man who had served faithfully in the army and Congress of the United States, and then, believing the States were sovereign, and that sovereigns could not rebel, and that his allegiance was due, first to his State, served his State and country with equal fidelity and ability, when Mississippi had become a member of the Confederate States Government.

It is well for our children to remember that their fathers never admitted that they were rebels and traitors, and to know that, though Mr. Davis was arrested on the charge of treason, no attempt was ever made to prove the charge, because lawyers knew it could not be sustained.”

(A Beautiful Reply, by Mr. Davis. Rev. W.C. Clark, Shelbyville, Tenn. Confederate Veteran, December 1894, Volume II, Number 12, excerpt pp. 354)

Sep 28, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Zeb & Sam on Liberty

Zeb & Sam on Liberty

Zebulon Vance, governor of NC, stood up for civil rights in 1862 when he learned that forty North Carolina citizens had been taken from their homes and put into a military prison on suspicion of disloyalty. He wrote to President Jefferson Davis:

“As Governor, it is my duty to see that the citizens of this State are protected in whatever rights pertain to them, and, if necessary, I will call out the State Militia to protect them and uphold the principles of Anglo-Saxon liberty – trial by jury; liberty of speech; freedom of the press; the privileges of Parliament habeas corpus; the right to petition and bear arms; subordination of the military to civil authority; prohibition of ex post facto laws.”

Sam J. Ervin, Jr., . . . stood up for the rule of law and Bill of Rights in his dealings with President Richard M. Nixon and his aides in 1973-74. In a speech to the student body of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973, Ervin said: “So long as I have a mind to think, a tongue to speak, and a heart to love my country, I shall deny that the Constitution confers any arbitrary power on any President, or empowers any President to convert George Washington’s America into Caesar’s Rome.”

(Seeking Liberty and Justice, A History of the NC Bar Association, 1899-1999, J. Edwin Hendricks, NC Bar Association, excerpt pg. 115)

Sep 22, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Barry Goldwater and States’ Rights

Barry Goldwater and States’ Rights

“The Governor of New York, in 1930, pointed out that the Constitution does not empower the Congress to deal with “a great number of . . . vital problems of government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare, and a dozen other important features.” And he added that “Washington must not be encouraged to interfere” in those areas.

Franklin Roosevelt’s rapid conversion from Constitutionalism to the doctrine of unlimited government is an oft-told story. But I am here concerned not so much by the abandonment of States’ Rights by the national Democratic Party – an event that occurred some years ago when the party was captured by the Socialist ideologues in and about the labor movement – as by the unmistakable tendency of the Republican Party to adopt the same course.

The result is that today neither of our two parties maintains a meaningful commitment to the principle of States’ Rights. Thus, the cornerstone of the Republic, our chief bulwark against the encroachment of individual freedom by Big Government, is fast disappearing under the piling sands of absolutism. The Republican Party, to be sure, gives lip service to States’ Rights.

We often talk about “returning to the States their rightful powers”; the Administration has even gone so far as to sponsor a federal-state conference on the problem. But deeds are what count, and I regret to say that in actual practice, the Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, summons the coercive power of the federal government whenever national leaders conclude that the States are not performing satisfactorily.

I have already alluded to the book, A Republican Looks at His Party, which is an elaborate rationalization of the “Modern Republican” approach to current problems. Mr. Larson devotes a good deal of space to the question of States’ Rights, thanks to the Tenth Amendment . . . and Mr. Larson [suggests] the concept that “for every right there is a corresponding duty.” “When we speak of States’ Rights,” he writes, “we should never forget to add that there go with those rights the corresponding States’ responsibilities.”

Therefore, he concluded, if the States fail to do their duty, they have only themselves to blame when the federal government intervenes.

The trouble with this argument is that it treats the Constitution of the United States as a kind of handbook in political theory, to be heeded or ignored depending on how it fits the plans of contemporary federal officials.

The Tenth Amendment is not “a general assumption, “but a prohibitory rule of law. The Tenth Amendment recognizes the States’ jurisdiction in certain areas. State’ Rights means that the States have a right to act or not to act, as they see fit, in the areas reserved to them. The States may have duties corresponding to these rights, but the duties are owed to the people of the States, not to the federal government.

Therefore, the recourse lies not with the federal government, which is not sovereign, but with the people who are, and who have full power to take disciplinary action. If the people are unhappy with say, their States’ disability insurance program, they can bring pressure to bear on their State officials and, if that fails, they can elect a new set of officials.

And if, in the unhappy event they should wish to divest themselves of this responsibility, they can amend the Constitution. The Constitution, I repeat, draws a sharp and clear line between federal jurisdiction and State jurisdiction. The federal government’s failure to recognize that the line has been a crushing blow to the principle of limited government.

There is a reason for its reservation of States’ Rights. Not only does it prevent the accumulation of power in a central government that is remote from the people and relatively immune from popular restraints; it also recognizes the principle that essentially local problems are best dealt with by the people most directly concerned.

Who knows better than New Yorkers how much and what kind of publicity-financed slum clearance in New York City is needed and can be afforded? Who knows better than Nebraskans whether that State has an adequate nursing program? Who knows better than Arizonans the kind of school program that is needed to educate their children?

The people of my own state – and I am confident that I speak for the majority of them – have long since seen through the spurious suggestion that federal aid comes “free.” They know that the money comes out of their own pockets, and is returned to them minus a broker’s fee taken by the federal bureaucracy.

They know, too, that the power to decide how that money shall be spent is withdrawn from them and exercised by some planning board deep in the caverns of one of the federal agencies. They understand this represents a great and perhaps irreparable loss – not only in their wealth, but also in their priceless liberty.

Nothing could so far advance the cause of freedom as for State officials throughout the land to assert their rightful claims to lost State power; and for the federal government to withdraw promptly and totally from every jurisdiction which the Constitution reserves to the States.”

(The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater, Victor Publishing Company, 1960, excerpts pp. 24-30)

Sep 22, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court – July 1957

What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court – July 1957

“Congress is starting to strike back at the Supreme Court. A score of bills have been introduced to curb the Court’s power and to sidestep the effects of controversial decisions. The House Judiciary Committee, “as a matter of the highest urgency,” has appointed a special subcommittee to look into this year’s decisions.

The group is to investigate particularly the decisions that limited the power of congressional investigating committees; that weakened the laws against subversives, and that made enforcement of criminal laws more difficult.

A special subcommittee in the House is expected to come up with proposals to strike down or at least weaken the effect of three other [Court] decisions [including one holding] that communists were free to preach their subversive doctrine so long as they didn’t openly advocate action to apply it.

It is clear that a growing number of Congressmen are convinced that new laws must be passed to overcome the effects [of recent Court decisions]. Other Congressmen propose to go much further and trim the powers of the Court itself.

Senator Herman Talmadge (Dem.) of Georgia, for example, proposes to amend the code of laws to remove public schools from the jurisdiction of federal courts. Others have offered amendments to the Constitution giving States the exclusive power to regulate schools and all other matters relating to health and morals.

Behind all of the proposals affecting appointment of Justices is the objection in Congress that recent decisions have been more political than judicial in purpose and in effect.

Senator Talmadge also is sponsoring a bill to require the Court to give a full hearing, with oral argument, on any case that it decides. His contention is that the Court acted in at least 10 cases during the recent term without hearing arguments.

All of these bills, in effect, are telling the Court that it is asserting too much power over Congress, the President, and the States.”

(What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court, US News & World Report, July 12, 1957, pg. 50)