Thursday, November 1, 2007

Voices of Secession--Part 2

As the election crept closer, the voices of secession grew louder.

The Daily Delta in New Orleans ran an editorial on this day in 1860. Echoing many of the arguments presented by fireeater William Lowndes Yancey, the editor makes many predictions about what would happen if the Lincoln administration took power.

I have added this document to our Primary Documents section. Here it is in full:

“What We Have To Look For”

The Daily Delta (New Orleans), November 1, 1860

Mr. Yancey, in his speech on Monday night, very justly warned the Southern people against the danger of resting secure in the conviction that there are, in the South, no sympathizers with Black Republicanism. Whether or not there is any large number who entertain Black Republican principles at this moment, is not material. We rather incline to believe that the number of such persons must be small. But there are very many, as there must be very many in every community, who would yield to the pressure of a majority, to the allurements of office, to the seductions of power. These men, in a short time after Lincoln’s election, should the South submit to his Administration, would fill the Federal offices, would wield all the influence of the Federal Government within the Southern States, and with their followers and friends would compose the Administration party. In other words, they would be the basis of a Black Republican organization, having more or less strength in every Southern State. This is the inevitable result of Lincoln’s election should the South be deluded into submission. Nor does it require much sagacity to predict from which party the new organization will spring. No one can doubt that the election of Lincoln will precipitate upon the South an issue which must be speedily met. The question will then immediately arise, what course is the South to pursue? The division line between the party which places the rights of the South and the rights of the States above all Unions, and the party which considers the Union of more value than the preservation of Southern rights and the maintenance of Southern equality, will be run wide and deep. The party which insists on adhering to the Union, if it triumph in the South, must become the Administration party because the simple question and the only question will be, submission or opposition to the Black Republican Administration. From that party must come all the Federal office-holders. For the same principle which compels submission, demands the assistance of those who counsel submission, in carrying into operation throughout the South the whole machinery of the Federal Government. It would be absurd to say that it is the duty of the South to remain in the Union under Mr. Lincoln’s Administration, and at the same time to say that it is the duty of Southern citizens to refuse office under Mr. Lincoln. It is, therefore, very evident that if the South submit, the instruments of the Black Republican Administration will be found ready made to its hands. We are conscious that the Bell party is composed mainly of persons who would sincerely and heartily repudiate the imputation of Abolition tendencies. We know also that many of them, after the election is over, and when the course of the South comes to be determined, will join the ranks of the Southern Rights Party; but it must be clear to every reasoning mind that the logic of principles, the logic of events, the pressure of circumstances, must force a portion of the party with which they are now acting, into a position of antagonism to the South, and of adhesion to Lincoln’s Administration.

Does any one suppose that when this Black Republican party is formed in every Southern State, it will be without followers and sympathizers? He who imagines any such thing has read history to little purpose. Even now distinguished men proclaim that the question of Southern rights in the Territories is a mere abstraction; that it is not worth contending for; that it never can be settled in our favor; that it might as well be abandoned. And when that point is yielded, precisely the same reasons can be urged to persuade an abandonment of other rights, not less sacred, but much more intimately cherished. Even now the very arguments of Helper’s infamous book have been reproduced in the South by the oratorical champion of one branch of the Opposition and the newspaper representatives of the other branch. Respectable leading journals of this city devote themselves to the task of proving that the South is thriftless, lazy, poverty-stricken. Mr. Soule, preaching Douglasism to the people of Avoyelles, declares that nobody but the slave-holder has an interest in the preservation of slavery. Thus depriving the question of its sectional character, or rather of its national character, and reducing it to a question, simply, of the maintenance of the peculiar rights of a privileged class. Thus endeavoring to stimulate the jealousy of one portion of our population against another portion, and preparing it for the reception of Abolition doctrines, and disloyalty to Southern institutions. If these things are done now, they would be done a thousand times more when the integrity of Southern sentiment shall have been destroyed; when Southern spirit shall have been broken; when Southern individuality shall have been annihilated by submission to Black Republican domination and sectional despotism. This is what we have to expect. This is what will surely come upon us. We have been fighting against abolitionism at the North; and, as a contest of sections within the Union, we have lost the battle. Let us beware of the day when the struggle shall be transferred to our own soil; when the slavery question shall cease to be a sectional question, and shall become a domestic question; when the armies of our enemies will be recruited from our own forces.