previous next
[350] confided to him, I shall be found as ready and determined as any other man to arrest him in his wrong courses, and to seek redress of our grievances by any and all proper means.

Delaware had, in 1858, chosen William Burton (Democrat) for Governor by 7,758 votes to 7,544 for his Opposition rival; Democracy in Delaware being almost exclusively based on Slavery, and having at length carried the State by its aid. The great body of the party, under the lead of Senator James A. Bayard, had supported Breckinridge, and were still in sympathy with his friends' view of “Southern rights,” but not to the extent of approving South Carolina remedies. Their Legislature met at Dover, January 2, 1861. Gov. Burton, in his Message, said:

The cause of all the trouble is the persistent war of the Abolitionists upon more than two billions of property; a war waged from pulpits, rostrums, and schools, by press and people — all teaching that Slavery is a crime and a sin, until it has become the opinion of a portion of one section of the country. The only remedy for the evils now threatening is a radical change of public sentiment in regard to the whole question. The North should retire from its untenable position immediately.

Mr. Dickenson, Commissioner from Mississippi, having addressed the two Houses jointly in advocacy of Secession, they passed, directly thereafter, separately and unanimously, the following:

Resolved, That, having extended to the Hon. H. Dickenson, Commissioner from Mississippi, the courtesy due him as the representative of a sovereign State of the confederacy, as well as to the State he represents, we deem it proper, and due to ourselves and the people of Delaware, to express our unqualified disapproval of the remedy for the existing difficulties suggested by the resolutions of the Legislature of Mississippi.”

Before the opening of 1861, a perfect reign of terror had been established throughout the Gulf States. A secret order, known as “Knights of the Golden circle,” or as “Knights of the Columbian Star,” succeeding that known, six or seven years earlier, as the “Order of the Lone Star,” having for its ostensible object the acquisition of Cuba, Mexico, and Central America, and the establishment of Slavery in the two latter, but really operating in the interest of Disunion, had spread its network of lodges, grips, passwords, and alluring mystery, all over the South, and had ramifications even in some of the cities of the adjoining Free States. Other clubs, more or less secret, were known as “The Precipitators,” “Vigilance Committee,” “Minute men,” and by kindred designations; but all of them were sworn to fidelity to “Southern rights;” while their members were gradually prepared and ripened, wherever any ripening was needed, for the task of treason. Whoever ventured to condemn and repudiate Secession as the true and sovereign remedy for Southern wrongs, in any neighborhood where Slavery was dominant, was thenceforth a marked man, to be stigmatized and hunted down as a “Lincolnite,” “Submissionist,” or “Abolitionist.” One refugee planter from Southern Alabama, himself a slaveholder, but of northern birth, who barely escaped a violent death, because of an intercepted letter from a relative in Connecticut, urging him to free his slaves and return to the North, as he had promised, stated1 that he had himself been

1 To Mr. O. J. Victor, author of “The History of the Southern Rebellion,” who knew him well, and vouches for his integrity. (See his vol. i., p. 134.) See to the same effect the testimony of Hon. A. J. Hamilton, of Texas, Rev. Mr. Aughey, of Mississippi, and hundreds of others. Southern unanimity (in certain localities) for Secession, was such as violence and terror have often produced in favor of the most universally detested men and measures all over the world. Such an apparent unanimity was doubtless secured, but at the expense of not less than ten thousand precious lives, taken because the victims would not conceal and deny their invincible affection for their whole country.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
H. Dickenson (2)
William Burton (2)
Orville J. Victor (1)
Andrew J. Hamilton (1)
John C. Breckinridge (1)
James A. Bayard (1)
John I. Aughey (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 2nd, 1861 AD (1)
1861 AD (1)
1858 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: