A powerful appeal to Virginia.
The following powerful appeal to the Old Dominion from a citizen of Georgia
, we present to the reader in a prominent position in our columns, and we ask for it a patient and deliberate perusal.
The author is a man of very great ability; he is one of the most devoted patriots of the South
in these times, that subject all men to the highest test of public virtue and good faith to the land they live in. His appeal in tone and sentiment must inspire every mind with a kindred feeling, while his arguments are unanswerable:
The Border States.
What does a new reckoning reveal as to the position and prospects of the Border Slave States
Now that a new Administration has come into power, and the policy of the future and results of the past can be known, let us survey the field and observe its salient points.
The Union already sundered, the position of the Border States
already, just as new as it would become by uniting with the Southern Confederacy.
The position reached by drift
is as full of new relations as though carefully selected, and entered upon of set purpose.
It is further evident that, amid all the changes wrought, no concessions have been made by the North
Even the convulsions of dissolution have been unaccompanied by a solitary relaxation of any solitary pretension to usurped power on their part.
It is, therefore, further evident, that even extreme necessity can procure no recognition of rights claimed in common by the States of the South
--seceded and unseceded — to the former secured, indeed, by disruption, but still unsecured by the latter.
The position attained by drifting upon the current of events, is worse, indeed, than the old. The strength of the old Constitution has been tested and found wanting.
The — so to speak — unnatural added strength of outside pressure, in aid of constitutional barriers, has railed likewise.
The moral obligations of the Constitution
, and the threatened consequences of its breach, (the disruption of the Government
,) have been alike disregarded by the North
She will not give up her hold upon ungranted jurisdiction, either for conscience sake, or for the sake of consequences.
Such being the result of the test as to constitutional guaranties, what have the Border States
to fall back upon?
Nothing but voting power, in which, also, their position has been greatly weakened.
It fifteen States could not protect themselves thus, can seven or eight do so?
This safeguard, already inadequate, has been greatly reduced.
Their relations, at all events, are new.
The alternative is left them --which new position shall we accept?
Let the comparison be drawn between the Constitutions, the institutions, and the people, between which, the choice lies.
The Northern construction of the old Constitution has prevailed.
It has prevailed over judicial decision — over protest — over our ballots — over everything.
Your view, and that of the Courts
, has been defeated; their's sustained.
The Constitution of the Confederate States
, on the other hand, is the embodiment of the policy of the South
from the foundation of the Government
It is all that we claimed the old Constitution to be, with the addition of provisions we did not insist upon under the old Government; because, although to our interest to make them, we felt bound by our bargain not to insist on them.
Disembarrassed by their
breach of the bonds, we present now a new Constitution, specially adapted to our own necessities and our best development.--So much for our relative Constitutions.
To compare our institutions.
Our institutions and yours are the same.
Between yours and those of the North
exists (in opinion at least, and that opinion potent in legislative power,) an irrepressible conflict.
Our policy and yours harmonize.
Their policy and yours conflict.
They have always conflicted in other respects, as well as upon the slavery question.
Are we not large enough and strong enough for self-protection — so that no external motive requires union with the North
Internal policy can be but promoted by separation.
True, we should not have separated, had the bargain been unbroken.
But now the question comes in another form.
Our relations, and their relations to you as peoples.
How do they stand?
We have ever been friends.
We have fought shoulder to shoulder for the same great principles.
Common institutions, common interests, a common culture, have made us friends.
Diverse institutions, diverse interests, a diverse culture, have made them, for the most part, aliens in feeling — many of them bitterly hostile — to you and to us. Together our representatives in the national halls have debated points of strife against theirs.
Together we have heard ourselves and our institutions reviled by them.
If friendship, association, mutual good feeling, the remembrances of "Auld Lang Syne," common hopes for the future, are to decide the question, in whose favor must it be decided?
Such are the results of a comparison of Constitutions, policies and peoples.
Both sides now want you. But why?
The motives of which side present the best appeal to your patriotism, your pride, your interests, your safety?
What is the future before you with the North
No furture — literally no future — unless you are content to become Northern men; unless your nation is to be changed — your feelings — your institutions — your habits — your ways.
Are you willing to accept the terms?
you accept them, if you will?
Can you effect these changes?
What will become of the Ethiopian?
Can he change his skin?
Is he to be free?
Is he to stay or go?
And where to go?--and on what terms?
How will you settle the question?
It must be settled.
But there are consequences, it may be said, of dissolution — consequences on the other side.
We are border States, and the brunt of trouble must fall upon us. True.
We grant it freely; and so do not wonder at your proceeding with caution.
But you will dare to decide the question, and act as brave men on the decision.
You have illustrious examples in your own history of daring — and successful daring.
Count the costs both ways.--Will it cost more to vindicate your rights, or to surrender them?--to maintain your institutions, or to abandon them?--to remain Southern men, or to become Northern men?--to take care of slaves, or of free blacks?--To which course does patriotism, honor, consistency, point?
To which does instinct
guide you?--no bad judge, when the whole case is known.
In the sober second thought of the people of the Border States
, the North
, little as it may think it, has a more formidable foe to face than in their first thought.
There was an insensitive, natural clinging to that which was old and established — apprehension of that which was new and untried.
made this revolution, however.
made it, in spite of you; and the North
maintains its unjust ground with the tenacity with which it becomes you to maintain the truth and your rights.
The sober second thought — the friends of Union--who remained its friends after the Constitution
was gone — partly because they did not distinctly recognize the fact that we were in revolution any how, and the Constitution
or the Union
, one or the other, had to go. The Union men laid great stress on the sober second thought of the people.
They were greatly deceived.
Those who have real grievances unredressed — unrepeated by the aggressor-- instead of cooling off, wax warmer by reflection.
The more they thought of it, the more resolute were they for resistance.--Nay, the Union
men themselves, upon consideration, joined their ranks.
It has been the history everywhere.
The feeling has grown with discussion — with reflection.
‘"The cooler and clearer the atmosphere, the more distinctly we see objects,"’ (if there be objects to be seen.)
And so, brethren of the Border States
, you must confront some form of revolution.
Revolution is upon you, where you are, as real, as important, as momentous in its consequences, as if you choose to have a voice in deciding and an arm in attaining your own position.
You are left in a Government which has been already revolutionized.
The position of the Republican party was revolutionary.
Its triumph overthrew the old Constitution and set up a new one, in fact, if not in form.
With you, we endeavored to avert its overthrow — with you, to set it up again. --But we failed, and declined to enter under the new Constitution.
Too important were the interests at stake to be imperilled.
The ultimatum is before you — to accept association upon new and humiliating terms with your anti-slavery confederates, or to unite with your natural allies in the maintenance of common principles.
We cannot doubt your ultimate decision.
Your position was more embarrassing than ours, and many of our people were uneasy at the venture; but common action has in great measure harmonized conflict of sentiment here, and will do so with you.
A glorious future a waits us — so we believe.
We have a magnificent National domain, and all the natural resources a kind Providence
It was not our wish to separate from the North
; but the separation forced upon us is not now unwelcome.
Let us have our destiny.
With the North
you will be without influence — merely tolerated --in a government opposed to your policy and institutions.
You will have no future-- no history — no associations you can take pleasure in. In a word, your influence
(insignificant at that) will be in our government,
and your interest in another government.
You will have little part or lot in the matter until you cease to be what you are, and become assimilated to the North
As you now stand, Ichabod is written upon you forever; "the glory has departed;" the mother of Presidents
will have fallen into insignificance, condemned to a mere negative existence.
The land of Clay
will be trodden under foot of the abolitionists.
The bones of Old Hickory, shamelessly invoked as they have been of late to counsel submission so wrong, must almost have risen from the grave to avenge the insult.
The voice of old Mecklenburg
is already heard for the right.
But a reconstruction is called for. That were a greater miracle than the actual resurrection of the bones of old Hickory.
For the latter event there is almost cause enough.--No.
The crystal has been broken.
A new life has been begun.
We have felt the stirrings of this life; and to return to the body of death is as distasteful to our thoughts as it would have been to your Henry!
(whom shall I name?
for the name of your patriots is legion,) to return to the embrace of Great Britain
The divorce has been for infidelity.
We crave no re-union.
The corruption went to the core.
The election of Lincoln
, we are told, was according to the forms of law. It is precisely for this reason that we have resisted to disruption.
The disease has reached the heart.
The orderly action of its vital organs turned out for us as a result the election of Lincoln
We accepted the indication.
It was too late longer to indulge hope.
Are not these positions corrects?
Have not the points been rightly stated?
Did you not make such points upon your confederates?
Have you carried them?
Were you long in making them?
or will they be long in abandoning them?
Upon what ground will you base your surrender?
The unimportance of the points involved?
Want of sincerity in your demands?
Want of justice in making them?
Want of spirit to maintain them?
None of these can be the answer.-- What, then?
Speak — to yourselves; speak, and consider the impartial future your auditor --she will find an answer.
From the sons of your sires she expects no uncertain sound.
has said to us, our systems cannot stand together.
We reply, then they must stand apart
--an unexpected conclusion, perhaps!
They say, one or the other must fall, as they cannot co-exist.
Not so, say we; they must separate — that is all. Pursue your policy — your system of civilization; you are men of the North
We, of the South
, will pursue, likewise, our system.
We can live apart more harmoniously, perhaps, than we have lived together.
seems inclined to influence your choice — especially that of the Old Dominion and the Atlantic States
--by military show.--We do not regret this.
There is too much pride in these noble Commonwealths for such exhibition to be otherwise than injurious to those who make it. Old Rip Van Winkle
is slow, it is true, but he has a good substratum when it is reached.
The old Ship of State has been broken in twain.
As to one of her parts, we like not her helmsman; we like not, for the most part, her crew; we like not her destination.--We invite you into a new ship.
Its timbers are sound — its crew harmonious.
We are seeking the same port.
A new and grand development awaits us — with new energy, diffused into every department of life, action and thought; vast resources, physical, intellectual, moral, we have ingloriously left unprofitable.
We have been fond of our ease — content with foreign supplies.
A separate existence will stimulate our whole energy.
Come with us, and let us share our destiny.
Above all, we cannot spare the mother of Washington
, nor the State
which sent the first declaration of freedom to the world from the old hills of
March 23, 1861.