Washington's Remains Removed from Harms Way

Underscoring the sectional nature of the victorious Republican party were fears that relics and heroes of the old Republic would be desecrated or violated.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Washington’s Remains Removed from Harms Way 

“[Diary entry] May 21, 1861:

Removal of the Remains of Washington – A correspondent of the Lynchburg “Republican” says:

“I was told today that a report having reached . . . Virginia that the tomb of Gen. Washington was going to be violated by the Republicans, his remains and those of his family were promptly removed to a more central spot in the State, where they will be out of harm’s way.

If this is true, what a commentary on the North! How strange that coming events should prompt such a move! Surely we live in a singular age.”

(Diary of Ada Amelia Costin, Wilmington, North Carolina, Tuesday, May 21, 1861. Special Collections, Randall Library, UNC-Wilmington)

The Fictitious Status of a Sovereign State

The visiting Frenchman Hauranne, stayed in the North and supported its war against the American South. Yet, he wrote about and admitted the dictatorial and arrogant abuses of power inherent in Lincoln’s regime, often comparing it to the French Directory and Reign of Terror.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

The Fictitious Status of a Sovereign State

“[Diary Entry] December 21, 1864:

You know that senators are elected, not be direct popular vote, but by the State legislatures, with each sending two senators to Congress, whatever the size of the State’s population. But since last July Louisiana has a new State constitution, a semi-military document produced by General [Nathaniel P.] Banks and a Mexican-style junta chosen exclusively by known friends of the Federal Government. Thus Louisiana’s rights of Statehood have been restored, at least on paper; the reorganized State government exercises its full sovereign rights; but officials are elected under the protection of the military authorities, by a twentieth, at most, of its citizens.

That is called “reconstruction” of the State of Louisiana, though it serves only to give an appearance of legality to a state of martial law. Louisiana could have been made a “territory” for the time being; that is, the policies of the Washington government could have been imposed on her without giving representation in Congress. She could have been left for awhile longer under the undisguised rule of a military commandant and this arbitrary exercise of power would at least have had the merit of honesty.

It was thought preferable to give her the fictitious status of a sovereign State in order to wield in her name in the halls of Congress the power of which she has been despoiled. Some Republicans . . . give their unreserved approval to all the dictatorial measures of General Banks. Finally, the dictator of Louisiana has come to Washington in person to support his protégés, and no one doubts that the two senators will be seated.”

(A Frenchman in Lincoln’s America, Volume II, Ernest Duvergier de Hauranne, Donnelly & Sons, pp. 218-219)

Antiquity Out of Fashion

There is much truth in the view that today’s universities are job-training facilities that specialize in leftist indoctrination of young people and accomplish little in the way of a valuable education.  These schools demonize the past unless it fits within the framework of the cultural Marxism they espouse —  while they rob students of the ability to understand their culture, traditions and roots of the Western Civilization they live within.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Antiquity Out of Fashion:

“At our universities, the historians like to dump the ancient history course in the lap of the philologists, and vice versa. Here and there it is treated like a poor relation whom it would be a disgrace to let go to ruin entirely. But with the public at large antiquity is completely out of fashion, and the “culture” which is supported by this public even feels hatred for it. Various faults of antiquity serve as a pretext.

The real reason is conceit about modern communication and transport and the inventions of our century; then too, there is the inability to distinguish technical and material greatness from the intellectual and moral kinds; and finally, the prevalent views about refinement of manners, philanthropy, and the like.

But what makes it generally impossible for the present-day average “educated” man to find anything appealing in the ancient world is the total egoism of today’s private person who wants to exist as an individual and asks of the community only the greatest possible security for himself and his property, for which he pays his taxes amid sighs, and who also likes to attach himself to the community in a specific sense as an “official.”

On the other hand, the peoples of the ancient Orient, who lived tribally, impress us as races of which each individual is only a type, with the king as the highest type.

Finally, today’s “educated” men are firmly resolved to make a bargain, with whatever power, for their existence at any given time. There is an enormous veneration of life and property. There is a mass abdication, and not just on the part of the rulers! And there are numerous bargaining positions and concessions against the worst – and all this with great touchiness in matters of recognition and so-called honor.

With the ancients, on the contrary, it was all or nothing, with no fear of disaster. The fall of states, cities, and kings was considered glorious. That is something alien to us.”

(Judgments on History and Historians, Jacob Burckhardt, Liberty Fund, 1999, pp. 5-7)

Dec 1, 2014 - Prescient Warnings    No Comments

An AntiFederalist Warning

North Carolinian Timothy Bloodworth (1736-1814) was a self-made man: minister of the gospel, farmer, politician, smith, physician and wheelwright. Benevolence toward his fellow man was said to be his most distinguishing characteristic.  He was first elected to the legislative assembly at age 22, and elected to Congress in 1784.  Bloodworth resigned in 1787 to return home where he fiercely fought ratification of the new Constitution he saw as an opening wedge of tyranny.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

An AntiFederalist Warning

“(In 1788) North Carolina’s Anti-Federalists contended that the adoption of this centralizing Constitution would lead to the destruction of the rights of the States and their people;  the removal of government from popular control; that capital and industry would be promoted at the expense of agriculture;

[T]hat the omission of a Bill of Rights would be disastrous; that a government so far removed from the people was dangerous—as all had learned with a central government in London; and that State governments would be swallowed up by the national government.

Timothy Bloodworth of New Hanover county maintained that the Constitution would set up an “autocratic tyranny, or monarchical monarchy.” Thomas Person of Granville county insisted that it would be impractical and dangerous,” and noted Baptist preacher Lemuel Burkitt predicted that should the Constitution be put into effect, the district for the capital would become a walled city with a standing army of 50,000 or more, to be used for “crushing the liberties of the people.”

(North Carolina and the Federal Union, Hugh Talmadge Lefler, UNC Press, 1954

 

Antebellum Abolition in North Carolina

The British colonial labor system of African slavery was on the wane after the Revolution, and North Carolinians were active in emancipation and colonization efforts.  The latter operation desired a return of Africans to their homeland, from which they were removed by British and New England slavers.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Antebellum Abolition in North Carolina:

“So far as the records show, it was not until 1715 that the General Assembly acknowledged the existence of slavery in the [British] Province [of North Carolina] and gave it a definite legal status. In 1774 . . . the Assembly passed a law which made the willful and malicious killing of slaves punishable upon conviction in the Superior Court by twelve months imprisonment for the first offence, and death without benefit of clergy for the second.

This law was amended in 1791, so as to render one convicted of the willful and malicious killing of a slave guilty of murder for the first offence and subject to the same penalty as for the murder of a free man . . . in 1817, “the offence of killing a slave” was “denominated and considered homicide” [as in] common law.”

Trial by jury was not extended to slaves until 1793 . . . Crimes trivial in their nature, not deserving punishment greater than a whipping, were entrusted to a single magistrate; crimes partaking of a greater degree of turpitude were committed to the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions . . . ”

F.L. Olmsted, perhaps the closest observer of the slave regime in the [1850’s], remarked that slavery in North Carolina had more of a patriarchal character than in any other State. The humanization of the slave code as regards his life and members of slaves may be attributed to numerous causes. In the first place, the increasing monetary value of the slave caused him to be an object of greater solicitude to his master.

In the second place . . . The Quakers [in North Carolina] were almost constantly importuning the legislature to provide more liberal emancipation laws. The American Colonization Society, with several branches in North Carolina, not only worked for the uplift of the free Negro, but after 1825 was equally interested in securing the emancipation of slaves for the purpose of colonizing them in Liberia. The work of the American Colonization Society was ably supplemented by the North Carolina Manumission Society until about 1834, when, as a result of abolition activity in the State this society ceased to exist.

From 1783 to 1830, it was not uncommon for distinguished North Carolinians to condemn slavery as a moral and economic blight and to express the desire of seeing it put in the way of ultimate extinction. James Iredell, speaking in behalf of ratifying the Federal Constitution in 1788, went as far as to say that the entire abolition of slavery would be “an event which must be pleasing to every generous mind and every friend of human nature.”

The editor of the Raleigh Register, in answering the query “Ought slavery to exist?” said: “We presume but few would answer in the affirmative, and still fewer would be found to advocate the practice as being right in itself or to justify it except on the broad plea of necessity. That it would conduce equally to the interest and happiness of the slaveholding States to get rid of this part of our population none will deny.”

Humanizing the Slave Code, R.H. Taylor, North Carolina Historical Review, July, 1925, pp. 323-330)

Dec 1, 2014 - Crimes of War    No Comments

Victim of Looters in Kentucky

Brigadier-General Humphrey Marshall was a nephew of abolitionist James Birney and served as a colonel of the First Kentucky cavalry in the Mexican War. He served as a United States Congressman, United States Minister to China, and endeavored to have Kentucky remain neutral in the sectional controversy of 1860-1861.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Victim of Looters in Kentucky:

Diary entry, June 29, [1863]:

“General Humphrey Marshall, with whom I had a long conversation tonight, told me that the Yankees stole his library (which he estimated to be worth $12,000) and sold it at auction in Cincinnati, sending him a copy of the notice of sale; also that they arrested one of his sons on his riding horse at the village of Warsaw and whipped the horse to death in the street, because it was his!

(Inside the Confederate Government, The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean, LSU Press, 1993, page 77)

Nov 29, 2014 - Crimes of War    No Comments

Lincoln's Soldiers Licensed for Any Crime

The 1840 Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford, Mississippi was burned by Northern Gen. A.J. “Whiskey” Smith in August 1864, dispatched there by Sherman.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Lincoln’s Soldiers Licensed for Any Crime

“The [Democrat Convention] elected Major-General George McClellan, Lincoln’s indecisive former general, as their candidate for president in November [1864]. Clement Vallandigham’s delegates forced the convention to accept a platform of peace with the South.

A few days after the Convention convened, the stalemate around Atlanta ended [as] Sherman advanced through the smoke into a ruined city. “Atlanta is ours and fairly won,” wired Sherman to the War Department. Vallandigham and his peace Democrats saw their platform crack [and] . . . The way to the Southern heartland lay open.

On August 22 . . . a federal force under General [A.J.]“Whiskey” Smith entered . . . Oxford, Mississippi. For the better part of the month Oxford had changed hands in vicious fighting. [Nathan Bedford] Forrest held it until forced to withdraw on August 22 after two days of street fighting. That morning a large force of [Smith’s] black and white troops occupied the town.

In a one-day orgy of looting, thirty-four stores and businesses were burned. Five homes . . . were put to the torch. Smith supervised the carnage, refusing to allow anyone to remove anything of value from their homes. [Confederate Commissioner to Canada Jacob] Thompson’s wife, Kate, salvaged the one thing she valued above all else, a photograph of their only son, Macon, before he was badly disfigured in an accident. As she clutched the photo on the lawn, a Union soldier grabbed it and threw it into the blaze.

In the official report to the Confederate War Department some days later, the commandant at Oxford wrote: “General Smith’s conduct and that of his staff was brutal in the extreme, they having been made mad with whiskey. The soldiers were licensed for any crime – robbery, rape, theft and burning.”

(Dixie and the Dominion, Canada, the Confederacy, and the War for the Union, Adam Mayers, Dundurn Group, 2003, pp. 61-62)

 

Nov 29, 2014 - Indians and the West    No Comments

No Dakota Soldiers for Lincoln

For two hundred years the Dakota and whites lived side by side among what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of animals to hunt and trap. This and the fur trade helped bridge the cultural gap, but two separate and distinct views of the world they lived in was a stern reality.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

No Dakota Soldiers for Lincoln

“What was frontier to whites, the expanding edge of possibility, was to the Dakota just the opposite: the center of their world, growing smaller. Farms that signaled civilization to settlers were to many Dakotas, even to some who kept small acreages, a tool designed to fence them in, the symbol of a permanent halt to centuries of seasonal migration.

White churches brought a message of peace but were unable to absorb other beliefs, always suspicious and dismissive of the complex polytheism of the Dakota spirit world. Whites wrote everything down, mesmerized by tables of numbers; Dakotas lived by a language of spoken tales, remembered and repeated across hundreds of years.

Most of all, whites loved hierarchy, each man occupying a rung on the ladder that eventually rose to a single individual in the White House, while Dakotas operated within a shifting, dispersed power structure that defined leadership as the ability to guide a village, band, or tribe toward consensus.

Minnesota was still an infant State, only four years old but brimming over with belief in Manifest Destiny, living an irony typical of the western experience: the only true “Minnesotans” in 1862, the people who had been there first, the people whose language had given the place its name, didn’t care what it was called, where it began or ended, or how it had been made into a State.

For more than a year, white men had been killing other white men far to the south and east. A few Indian agency employees had offered to raise companies of Dakota soldiers for the Union army, but these offered had been quickly rejected at the State capital.

Many [Dakota] wondered why President Lincoln had already issued three calls for volunteer soldiers . . . unless a great many Minnesotans had already been killed. “The whites must be pretty hard up for men to fight the South,” said Big Eagle, “or they would not come so far out on the frontier and take half-breeds or anything to help them.”

(38 Nooses, Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End, Scott W. Berg, Pantheon Books, 2012, pp. 9-10)

Northern Commercial Interests Desire Cuba

It is often thought that antebellum Southern slave interests desired Cuban annexation, though Northern commercialism more actively promoted this acquisition. It is noteworthy that US Navy Lt. John Newland Maffitt, later a famed naval captain of the Confederacy, pursued and captured many New England slavers off Cuba in the late 1850’s.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Northern Commercial Interests Desire Cuba:

“The United States became especially dependent on shipments of Cuban sugar, for Louisiana plantations in the early nineteenth century could only accommodate about one-third of the national demand for the product. Not only did this trade contribute significantly to the commercial growth of New York City — which became a center for sentiment favoring the annexation of the island — but commercial interests all over the eastern United States were dependent on it.

Many Americans took it for granted that sooner or later the island would gravitate toward the United States . . . and perhaps lead to a more effective suppression of the slave trade, since Cuba was a key station in that traffic. Even in the 1850’s, when the questions of slavery and Cuba became virtually inseperable, two Northern presidents — Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire and James Buchanan of Pennsylvania — made determine efforts to purchase Cuba from Spain.

In the late 1840s . . . proannexation elements were investigating a number of ways of getting Americans involved in their cause. [Venezuelan revolutionary] Narciso Lopez . . . emerged as [the Cuban exiles in America] leader . . . [and] Lopez’s main body of troops was with him in New York. [Though Lopez’s efforts failed], he had gained considerable support in New York City and elsewhere in the North. Northerners, as well as exiled Cubans and European revolutionary refugees, had made substantial contributions to his movements in terms of manpower and financing.”

(The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, Robert E. May, LSU Press, 1973, excerpts, pp. 16-30)

Nov 27, 2014 - Bringing on the War    No Comments

Massachusetts Aristocracy Arms for War

Radical Republican Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts loudly encouraged war against the South in 1861, yet he worked hard purchasing the patriotism of non-Massachusetts men who would serve in his regiments. Faced with the necessity of raising 4,000 men by Lincoln’s draft and expecting a riot in Boston, he held troops in readiness and asked Secretary Stanton to institute courts martial against his enraged citizens. At Andrew’s request, Lincoln allowed him to enlist captured Africans in South Carolina for his State quota of regiments – thus keeping white Bay State men at home.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865

 

Massachusetts Aristocracy Arms for War

“Even as conservatives were exploring the possibilities of conciliation and seeking means of influencing [president-elect] Lincoln, Massachusetts’ newly elected Governor, John Andrew, was kindling the fires of radicalism. Southern society, he declared, must be entirely reorganized, and the federal government ought to be driven to aid in the work.

There must be no “weak-kneed” measures. “I am for unflinching firmness in adhering to . . . all our principles.” “We must conquer the South,” he said, and “to do this we must bring the Northern mind to a comprehension of this necessity.” “War is in the air,” he later confessed, “and some of us breathed it.”

As Congress gave more attention to compromise measures, Andrew hurried to Washington to consult with congressional radicals. A Virginia congressman, John Y. Mason, swore to Andrew that never could the South be induced to rejoin a Union of which Massachusetts was a member.

Thus confirmed in his direst apprehensions, Andrew held conference, on Christmas Eve, with Senators Doolittle of Wisconsin, Trumbull of Illinois, and Sumner and Wilson of his own Massachusetts. Solemnly the radical coterie decoded that the integrity of the Union must be preserved, “though it cost a million lives.”

The Governor-elect’s impassioned and sanguinary pronouncements chilled conservative hearts in Massachusetts. Boston Brahmins were horrified and indignant; they distrusted Andrew, whom they believed to be wanting in good judgment, common sense and practical ability.

“What was apprehension about Andrew,” ruefully admitted Sam Bowles, “is now conviction.” He wobbles like an old cart – is conceited, dogmatic, and lacks breadth and tact for government.” Democrats, sickened by the radicals’ willingness to sacrifice other men’s lives, asked whether people wished to die for the radical cause.

[On his inauguration day January 1, 1861, the new governor stated that] South Carolina’s secession was an injury to the Old Bay State, which was ready to endure once more, if need be, the sacrifices it had borne during the Revolution. So saying, the newly-sworn Governor called on the legislature to arm the State for war.

The entire address, sneered the Boston Post, was a lamentable appeal to passion, combining “the narrowness of a mere lawyer, with the intenseness of a fanatic.” It was “sophomoric in style, immature in thought, wretched in argument, and small in political knowledge.”

To assist him in his work, Andrew chose four aides – carefully culled from Harvard graduates and the better families – bestowed military titles upon them, and put them to gathering steamboats, purchasing supplies and inspecting the militia. The people, [Andrew] said, must become used to the smell of gunpowder.”

(Lincoln and the War Governors, William B. Hesseltine, Alfred A. Knopf, 1948, pp. 110-112)