May 14, 2017 - Foreign Viewpoints, Memorials to the Past    Comments Off on The Tao on Historic Places

The Tao on Historic Places

Loosely meaning “the way” or “the path,” Taosim originated in prehistoric China and has exerted a strong influence over Chinese thinking for ages. During China’s cultural revolution of 1966-1976, many Taoist temples were desecrated and monks sent to hard labor camps. Nonetheless, the Taoist view of historic places and memorials to the past resonate today.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Tao on Historic Places

“Autumn trees swept with dawn,

Look as if they’ve been lacquered,

Rooted around an old battlefield,

The mists linger here like ghosts.”

There are still places where you can walk and feel a profound gloom. Such is the case with old battlefields. People died there. The force of their determination still resonates.

You can find such places in every country. Often, no one builds anything there, even when land is dear. We say that we do not want to forget our dead. We say there should be a memorial. Others say that the disturbance there is so great that the living cannot abide with the dead.

History is essential to our understanding of the present. Unless we are conscious of the way in which we came to this point in time as a people, then we shall never fully be able to plan the present and the future. We need to know what roots are still alive.

We need to know how things came to be so that we can project from here. We also need to know the failures of the past so that we can avoid repeating them.

History is not always glorious. Sometimes our history is melancholy. We must accept that. This life is terrible and people do terrible things to each other. If we are to live for the sake of the good and strong, then we should have as much of a background as possible.”

(365 Tao, Daily Meditations, Deng Ming-Dao, Harper San Francisco, 1992, pg. 278)

 

Slavery is But an Accident in this Quarrel

Alabamian John Moncure Daniel was appointed charge’ to Sardinia by President Franklin Pierce in July, 1853, a post he would hold until early 1861. His conversation with Jeremiah Black (below) reveals the murky nature of Northern war aims as Black later claimed that slavery abolition was the pure cause of the war, despite his known hostility toward abolition fanatics.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Slavery is But an Accident in this Quarrel

“John Moncure Daniel had one last official duty to perform in Washington: a farewell visit to the Department of State, to which he had reported for almost eight years. His mission to Italy had formally ended on January 28 [1861], when President [James] Buchanan had signed the warrant for his recall.

One day in February Daniel paid a call on the new secretary of state, Jeremiah Black, a Northerner who had taken office only two months earlier, after the resignation of Lewis Cass. Black had been the U.S. attorney general and a successful lawyer in Pennsylvania. Daniel’s great-uncle considered him the ablest member of Buchanan’s cabinet.

Three years after their 1861 meeting, John Daniel recalled that he had expressed Southern sentiments to the new secretary of state. The two had talked about the troubles that were approaching, and Daniel had alluded to the matter of slavery. According to Daniel, Black had replied:

“Sir, slavery is but an accident in this quarrel. Slavery is only the John Doe and Richard Doe case, in which this mooted question is to be decided – whether your States shall continue their sovereignty and self-government, or the Northern majorities shall govern you and all of you as they please and according to their own separate interest. If they had not the point of slavery convenient, they would try it on other points just the same.”

(Pen of Fire, John Moncure Daniel, Peter Bridges, Kent State University Press, 2002, excerpt page 161)

 

Slaves and the South

Southern uneasiness regarding slavery agitation had its origins in the murderous Haitian and Santo Domingo slave revolts, and Northern abolitionist encouragement of slave insurrection in the South, culminating in Nat Turner’s 1831 terrorism and John Brown’s attack. In contrast to their strenuous efforts to incite violent slave uprisings, the abolitionists never advanced a peaceful and practical solution to the slavery they abhorred.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Slaves and the South

“Abolitionist assertions that the bondsmen were frequently inadequately clothed, underfed and driven to death are economically unreasonable. Masters wished to preserve the health and life of their slaves because a sick Negro was a liability and a dead Negro was worth nothing. A rude plenty prevailed on the average plantation.

“The best preventative of theft is plenty of pork,” was the advice of a Virginian. Kindliness and patience, frequently extended even to a tolerance of slackness in every concern not vital to routine, created a degree of contentment among the slaves to keep them docile. Although Jefferson had declared “the whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions,” Harriet Martineau sympathized with the masters.

She wrote: “Nothing struck me more than the patience of the slave-owners . . . with their slaves.” Travelers often wondered who were the actual victims of the slave system.

Despite abolitionist allegations to the contrary, flights and revolts were infrequent. Fear that they should become general led the South to introduce ruthless laws for the apprehension of the absconders and federal legislation to protect their institution.

Actually, however, the thousands of slaves who ran away formed but a slight portion comprising the total slave population. During the several decades of its existence only some 75,000 Negroes used the underground railroad, which was organized to aid them in their attempt to reach Canada.

Flights were prompted by various causes. Some slaves undoubtedly ran away because they were talented or sensitive mulattoes who desired freedom. Others wished to escape from barbarous punishments peculiar to the slave system. Many fled . . . not to escape slavery but to return to their families and former homes. Some strayed for reasons not associated with slavery; they became tramps or vagabonds or fugitives from deserved punishments and crimes. Most slaves, unlike migratory free Negroes of a later generation, did not move from their original homes.”

(The South Old and New, A History, 1820-1947, Francis Butler Simkins, Alfred A. Knopf, 1947, pp. 46-47)

May 7, 2017 - Black Slaveowners, Slavery in Africa    Comments Off on “Slaves, Don Teodore, Are Our Money”

“Slaves, Don Teodore, Are Our Money”

The central African city of Timbuktu (Timbuctoo) continued as a market for slaves long after the British had abolished their transatlantic slave trade — which had more to do with destroying French colonial commerce than philanthropy. The Captain writes below of how the British action simply forced native African slave traders to the interior of the Dark Continent, and the trade flourished nonetheless as slaves were a traditional African medium of exchange. In his 1961 book “The Slaves of Timbuktu” (Harper & Brothers), author Robin Maugham found that slavery still existed among the African tribes in the late 1950’s. He was the brother of author Somerset Maugham.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

“Slaves, Don Teodore, Are Our Money”

“[Mahometan Foulah] Mami had visited many of the European colonies and Moorish kingdoms on the north coast of Africa, so that he was not stupefied by the untrammeled ignorance of Africans who consider Timbuctoo a combination of Paris and paradise. Indeed, he did not presume, like most of the Mandingo chiefs, to prefer it to Senegal or Sierra Leone. He confessed that the royal palace was nothing but a vast enclosure of mud walls, built without taste or symmetry, within whose labyrinthine mesh were numerous buildings for the wives, children, and kindred of the sovereign.

The markets of Timbuctoo, alone, secured his admiration. Every week they were thronged with traders, dealers, peddlers and merchants, who either dwelt in the neighboring kingdoms, or came from afar with slaves and produce. Moors and Israelites from the northeast were the most eminent and opulent merchants; and among them he counted a travelling class crowned with peculiar turbans, whom he called “Joseph’s-People,” or in all likelihood, Armenians.

However, in spite of its despotic rulers, Timbuctoo was a great central mart for exchange, and commercial men as well as the innumerable petty kings, frequented it not only for the abundant mineral salt in its vicinity, but because they could exchange their slaves for foreign merchandise. I asked the Foulah why he preferred the markets of Timbuctoo to the well-stocked stores of regular European settlements on the coast which was reached with so much more ease than this core of Africa?

“Ah!,” said the astute [slave] trafficker, “no market is a good one for the African in which he cannot openly exchange his slaves for whatever the original owner or importer can sell without fear! Slaves, Don Teodore, are our money.”

(Adventures of an African Slaver, Captain Theodore Canot, Star Books, 1928, pp. 135-136)

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2017 - Antebellum Realities, Foreign Viewpoints, New England History, Northern Culture Laid Bare, Sharp Yankees    Comments Off on Sly, Grinding, Selfish and Tricking People

Sly, Grinding, Selfish and Tricking People

This detached foreign opinion of antebellum New Englanders reveals the deep cultural chasm between the sections in antebellum times, and somewhat persistent to this day as the North has nearly accomplished its avowed postwar purpose of repopulating the South with its people, mannerisms and traditions.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Sly, Grinding, Selfish and Tricking People

“I heard an Englishman, who had been long resident in America, declare that in the following, in meeting, or in overtaking, in the street, on the road, or in the field, at the theatre, the coffee-house, or the home, he had never overheard Americans conversing without the word DOLLAR being pronounced between them. Such unity of purpose, such sympathy of feeling, can, I believe, be found nowhere else, except perhaps in an ant’s nest.

The result is exactly what might be anticipated. This sordid object, forever before their eyes, must inevitably produce a sordid tone of mind, and, worse still, it produces a seared and blunted conscience on all questions of probity. I know not a more striking evidence of the low tone of morality which is generated by this universal pursuit of money than the manner in which the New England States are described by Americans.

All agree in saying that they present a spectacle of industry and prosperity delightful to behold, and this is the district and the population most constantly quoted as the finest specimen of their admirable country; yet I never met a single individual in any part of the Union who did not paint these New Englanders as sly, grinding, selfish, and tricking.

The Yankees (as the New Englanders are called) will avow these qualities themselves with a complacent smile, and boast that no people on earth can match them in over-reaching in a bargain. I have heard them unblushingly relate stories of their cronies and friends, which, if believed among us, would banish the heroes from the fellowship of honest men forever . . . yet the Americans declare that “they are the most moral persons on earth.”

(America Through British Eyes, Allan Nevins, editor, Oxford University Press, 1948, excerpt, pp. 136-137)

 

A Splendid Body of American Soldiers

After fighting Sherman’s army of invaders to a standstill with one-quarter of their strength, Joe Johnston’s revived Army of Tennessee marched in review and under the gaze of the assembled North Carolina citizens. Gen. Thomas L. Clingman of North Carolina, exhorted his chief to allow his men to fight the invading host to the last, surpass the Greeks and gain everlasting immortality.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Splendid Body of American Soldiers

“After the battle of Bentonville, General [Joseph E.] Johnston retired his army to Smithfield, where he remained confronting [the enemy] for three weeks. While here General Johnston held a review 6 April, at which many ladies and civilians of Raleigh, including Governor Vance and officers of the State and Confederate Government were present. The army presented a fine appearance and the men were in excellent spirits.

There were in this army remnants of commands who under Albert Sidney Johnston won the first day’s battle of Shiloh, and nearly annihilated Grant’s army. Men who under Bragg, had won the battles of Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and under Johnston had confronted Sherman from Dalton to Atlanta; the men who under Hood, had been in the disastrous battle of Franklin; who had followed [Generals Nathan Bedford] Forrest and [Joe] Wheeler and [Wade] Hampton and had successfully defended Fort Sumter for four years against the combined land and sea forces of the United States, and the brigades of [General Robert F.] Hoke’s Division, who had won endearing renown in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Here also were assembled those regiments of Junior Reserves, who under Colonels Hinsdale, Anderson, Broadfoot and Walter Clark emulated the heroism of their veteran comrades, and who on the battlefields of Kinston and Bentonville had shown they were of the same [mettle] as their sires and deserving of imperishable record in the history of their country.

It was a splendid body of American soldiers; survivors of a hundred battlefields; and as they marched proudly in review before their General, they were conscious of duty nobly done and nerved for any future service that might be required of them in defense of their country.

General Clingman visited his brigade while in camp at Smithfield, and though on crutches, asked of General Johnston the honor of commanding the rear guard. This was denied him, as he was physically unable to perform such duty, and he addressed the Southern commander as follows:

“Sir, much has been said about dying in the last ditch. You have left with you here thirty thousand of as brave men as the sun ever shone upon. Let us take our stand here and fight the two armies of Grant and Sherman to the end, and thus show to the world how far we can surpass the Thermopylae of the Greeks.”

(Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-65, Walter Clark, editor, Volume IV, Nash Brothers, 1901, excerpt, pp. 498-499)

May 7, 2017 - American Military Genius, Memorials to the Past, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen, Southern Unionists    Comments Off on A Soldier and Statesman Who Served His State

A Soldier and Statesman Who Served His State

At the unveiling of Jefferson Davis’ bronze figure in Statuary Hall, Hon. Pat Harrison spoke: “Few men in the history of the Nation rendered more signal service for the country in peace or in war than did Davis. He is not among strangers . . . Over there are clay, Webster, Benton, Cass and Calhoun, his idol, with whom he served in the Senate of the United States.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Soldier and Statesman Who Served His State

An impressive scene was that in Statuary Hall of the Capitol at Washington, on June 2 [1931], when the State of Mississippi presented to the nation the bronze figure of her adopted son, Jefferson Davis, soldier and statesman.

As the cord holding the huge United States flag about the statue was drawn by Miss Adele Hayes-Davis, great grand-daughter of Jefferson Davis, another son of Mississippi, Hon. Pat Harrison, stepped to the front and delivered an eloquent tribute to the man who had served his State and nation in high places, yet had died without a country.

Fitting indeed that he should be now be known and recognized for that high service, as he has stood for long in the love and esteem of his people of the South, so now he stands in the Nation’s Valhalla of those who gave it greatest service. Of high character and blameless life, no more distinguished citizen of Mississippi could have been thus honored, and few there be who will feel but that Jefferson Davis has at last come into his own.

Commenting upon the feeling that would have been aroused by the placing of this statue in the Capitol some years back, the Boston Transcript concludes in a lengthy editorial: “The name of Jefferson Davis is justly revered in the South today, and there is no reason why it should not be honored in the North.”

In his address, Edgar S. Wilson, of Mississippi – who was a pallbearer at the Davis funeral in New Orleans – recounted scenes in the last days of Mr. Davis, “particularly when the Mississippi legislature called him before it to demonstrate to him the love and affection of the people of the State, although he walked among them a disenfranchised man.”

(In the Nation’s Capitol, Confederate Veteran Magazine, July 1931, excerpt, page 244)

 

May 7, 2017 - America Transformed, Foreign Viewpoints, Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on The South is America’s Hope

The South is America’s Hope

Count Herman Keyserling (1880-1946) was born in Estonia and married the granddaughter of Otto von Bismarck. He was an aristocrat who interested himself in philosophy and the natural sciences; Keyserling deeply believed that gifted individuals were born to rule.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The South is America’s Hope

“Count Herman Keyserling, philosopher and psychologist, world traveler and author, writes in the November Atlantic Monthly that the South is the hope of America, and proceeds, from the philosopher’s and ethnologist’s standpoint, to prove his assertion.

Count Keyserling sets up the contention that the theory of the North and East is that success comes through dynamics, through working feverishly; that if one only works a little harder, one will be more successful.

The Southerner, upon the other hand, fulfills the dictum that man is essentially the child of the earth, even though he rules it; that the Southerner realizes that there is no lasting happiness for man unless he is in harmony with the rhythm of the earth and that the only state that can endure is one which is comparatively static. That is, the restless, feverish dynamic state is apt to fade from the earth.

Alexander and Napoleon were vanquished; the Huns died out in a short while; the Normans overran Europe and even England, but the Norman culture was absorbed into the Anglo-Saxon culture of England, and the Angles and Saxons predominate to-day in England. It is not, therefore, the feverish and restless people who predominate in the end, but the more static people. “Speed is not an expression of strength and vitality,” it is an expression “merely of neurotic restlessness.”

The Northerner will continue to exist, Count Keyserling grants, but “in days to come he will be recognized as the poorest, the least superior type; he will mean to America at large what the most narrow type of Prussian means within the German nation. The Middle West will in all likelihood continue to represent America’s national foundation. But if a culture develops and the stress is laid on culture, then the hegemony will invariably pass over to the South. There alone can there be a question of an enduring culture.” (Macon Telegraph)

In this compliment to the South there is much for sober thought. There is a strong movement to commercialize the South, to create here the same money-seeking atmosphere, to change her distinctiveness into a likeness of other sections, in fact, to destroy those characteristics upon which our “culture” depends. Such effort should be combated and the South should remain distinctive among the sections. In that is distinction and culture and hope for the future.”

(“The South – America’s Hope,” Confederate Veteran Magazine, February, 1930, pp. 63-64)

Soundest Fiat Note Ever Issued

Elihu Root was an attorney, Carnegie institution functionary, served as Secretary of War under McKinley and Roosevelt the First, as well as Secretary of State under the latter. Born in New York in 1845, he witnessed the American South become an economic colony of New England, became a member of the notorious Union League Club and proponent of the income tax and American entry into WWI. Root was an opponent of the Federal Reserve Act. Signed into law by Woodrow Wilson with four gold pens on 23 December 1913, he remarked that the controversial Federal Reserve “measure had suffered many narrow escapes” before reaching his desk.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Ccirca1865.com

 

Soundest Fiat Note Ever Issued

“On the floor of the Senate the [Federal Reserve] bill encountered heavy opposition. Senator Elihu Root, of New York, led the attack. His remarks were bitter and persistent. Such was Root’s standing that his assaults attracted much attention. The vehement antagonism of Senator Root was based on the charge that inflation and “fiat” money were at the center of the proposed system.

“The American people,” he argued, “closed the case for and against inflation . . . when they sustained the vote of the inflation bill by President Grant in 1874. Coming into power, the Democratic Party undertakes to reserve the oft-repeated judgment of the people of the United States upon this question. We are setting our steps now in the pathway which through the protection of a paternal government brought the mighty power of Rome to its fall. And we are doing it here without a mandate from the people of the United States.”

Defenders of the bill admitted that it was true that the Federal Reserve note was not, strictly speaking, a “Government” note, but contended that it was quite obvious that it was not “fiat” money. On the contrary, it was a sound bank note, secured by a forty percent gold reserve, a lien on the issuing bank and its stock, and by the Federal Government itself. There was little or no need for the Government obligation, it was held, but for the sake of safety and William Jennings Bryan, it was there.

The Senate paid little attention to the admonition of Senator Root. In fact, it actually enlarged the inflationary features of the bill. [They] deplored the fact that a statesman of Senator Root’s international reputation should have seized upon a politician’s catch phrase and denounced as “fiat” money the soundest note ever issued.”

(Carter Glass, Unreconstructed Rebel, James E. Palmer, Jr., Institute of American Biography, 1938, pp. 100-102)

Treason in Wartime North Carolina

The traitors and misfits who terrorized North Carolinians during the war, called “Buffaloes,” were a by-product of the Northern invader. General Pickett and Hoke, during their attempts to liberate northeastern North Carolina in 1863-64, dealt severely with local men who aided and abetted the enemy. The Fort Branch mentioned below, was named in honor of Brigadier-General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch, a native of nearby Enfield, NC who was killed in action at Sharpsburg in mid-1862.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Treason in Wartime North Carolina

“The Tenth North Carolina Regiment was encamped near Fort Branch (about five miles east of Hamilton on the Roanoke River), and was awaiting the Federals, in December 1864. A force of Federals . . . were known to be advancing from Plymouth, reaching the vicinity of Fort Branch in the night of December 11.

“The enemy, piloted by some buffaloes (traitors) crossed the creek below (the east) and took our troops at the bridge in the rear. We had turned off from the main road from Tarboro to Williamston in order to come in by Hamilton to reinforce from the rear our troops at Butler’s Bridge.”

The term buffaloes, commonly referred to renegade bands in eastern North Carolina, composed of armed Negroes, native Union bushwhackers, and criminally-intentioned local misfits. They preyed on the prosperous and poor alike, relying on brutality for their success.”

(A Tarheel Confederate and His Family, Robert Garrison Elliott, RGE Publications, 1989, excerpts, pp. 51; 60)

 

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