We find in our Southern exchanges the following interesting letter from George N. Saunders
to Louis Kossuth
Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 8, 1861.
My Dear Governor:
Your old and trusted friend, * * * *, has just arrived here from his new home in * * * * *. As he is about to leave for Europe
, I embrace the opportunity his going offers to say a word to you on American affairs.
It must be difficult for you to comprehend that a people who flocked by tens and hundreds of thousands to listen to your immortal words upon the rights of States and ‘"peoples" ’ to govern themselves in their own way, should, in a few short years, forget all your wise teachings, and surrender themselves to a political and military despotism worse in all of its aspects than that from which you had just escaped.
A despotism erected for the sole purpose of subjugating independent States and a free people, allied to them by all the ties which civilized nations hold must sacred.
I rely upon your sagacity as a far seeing statesman to at once dissipate the flimsy sophistry by which the Lincoln Government
and press attempt to justify or excuse this usurpation and unnatural war.
On the 6th of November, 1861, the United States
was never so strong as a nation, never so prosperous, joyous and hopeful as a people.
On that fatal day a majority of the American
people, owing to divisions in the constitutional party of the nation, were enabled under the forms of the Constitution
to elect Abraham Lincoln President
This minority and its chosen chief were pledged to use the power of the Federal Government
to curtail the rights and privileges of the Southern States
and people for the aggrandizement of the political power and wealth of the Northern States
This threatened overthrow of the Constitution
and assumption of extraordinary powers of the Federal Government
and his party in Congress and in the Northern States Legislatures
very naturally excited alarm South Carolina
, more watchful and sagacious than the other States, declared her separation from a Union, the power of which was so soon to be used for her enslavement.
It would have been imbecility and cowardice of the lowest character to have awaited the forging of the chains.
But, even after South Carolina
had so wisely taken the initiative President Davis
, then Senator
, Senator Hunter
, of Virginia
, Confederate States Secretary
for Foreign Affairs, and Senator Toombs
, of Georgia
, now a General in the Confederate army, asked only for reasonable constitutional guarantees and pledges from the Lincoln
administration, that the rights and interests of the Southern States
and people should be held inviolable.
Instead, however, of receiving such assurances they were met with nothing but jeers and defiant menace.
The Republican aders, intoxicated by their success and thirsting to unlimited power, had not the patriotism of the common honesty to submit the ultimatum of the South
to a vote of the people of the North
Had they done so, there would have been peace.
they unanimously declared for war, with its fat contracts and innumerable offices for their hundred thousand hungry place hunters.
A few antiquated politicians, of previously good standing in the South
, but who unfortunately for the country had lost all the vigor of intellect they once possessed, are not without fault.
Blind devotion to the Union
prevented their seeing the stealthy strides of the Northern
incendiary destroying the vital parts for which our first war of independence was fought.
Little did any of our Revolutionary sires dream that the blood-bought Union which they ban founded to protect as from external foes could be so soon and successfully used by a fanatical minority, to the destruction of the Constitution
which created it, and to the annihilation of the independence of States and the liberties of the people — the sources of all its power and grandeur.
All propositions for adjustment having been voted down by the Lincolnites in Congress, the Southern
representatives retired from Washington
, and the seceding States sent fresh Representatives, including many of the old, to the Congress
at Montgomery, Ala.
At this new Congress, chosen by sovereign conventions of the respective States, the right hand of fellowship was again tendered in the Constitution
The free navigation of the Mississippi
, whose tributaries branch into so many of the Northwestern States
, was guaranteed, also the power was reserved to admit them as free States into the Confederacy Simultaneously
with these constitutional offers of friendship on the part of the South
came actual war from the Lincoln Government
The free trade policy of the South
threatened to at once destroy the revenue, manufactures and commerce of the North
The representatives of these interests, although many of them had been regarded as constitutional friends of the South
, immediately became clamorous for a war of subjugation.
The money power thus suddenly abandoning the conservatism which had hitherto marked its character, declared for a war, to be waged for the benefit of capital manufactures and commerce; the unseating of these great interests by the free trade policy of the South
The best people of the North
have as yet taken no part in this suicidal war, inaugurated by the capitalists, manufacturers and merchants of New York, Philadelphia
, and Boston
; but are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our armies in their midst, confidently believing that the sober second thought of the Northern
people will rescue their section from the brutal despotism which now over awes it.
Scarce six months have elapsed since the war began, and it is already raging along a line of over 7,000 miles. Nine hundred thousand men are engaged in the conflict, and as I write, the telegraph announces the defeat and disastrous rout of he Lincoln
army at Columbus
, on the Mississippi
, by the Southern
The Southerners have whipped, and will continue to whip the Lincolnites whenever the odds are not greater than two to one--like the Hungarians when they fought against the Hapsburg for their independence.
Fortunately for the South
, with her numerous navigable rivers, ramifying railroads and high mountain defences, she can duty the combined quartermasters and commissaries of the world.
Her military resources are unbounded; her rivers, harbors and mount in passes are fortified with innumerable cannon, from the largest eleven-inch columbiad to the smallest howitzer.
One million of the finest ‘"shots"’ in the world are under constant drill within her borders, and four hundred thousand of these, well armed and well officered, are ready for immediate battle.
We have inexhaustible supplies of from coal lead, copper, saltpeter, and sulphur; and we are now making seven thousand pounds of powder per diem, which will be increased to twelve thousand by the close of the month.
Our numerous workshops will in a short time turn out daily one thousand stand of small arms, which number will be rapidly augmented.
Mechanical labor of all kinds was never better remunerated or more respected in any community than in this.
Our rivers and railroads we find by experience to be great avenues of defence, and utterly valueless to the invader.
Thus the grand idea of the Northwestern
demagogue, that he would cut his way down the Mississippi
in his ‘"floating scow,"’ has become a mere poetical figure by the practical lesson given yesterday to the Lincoln
gunboats at Columbus
As you have probably seen none but the Northern
accounts of our difficulties I have gone back, in order that you may have some idea of the Southern
thought from the beginning of the revolution.
The Southern crops have never been so good.
, rye, barley, and oats have been produced in such abundance as to induce the belief that a benign Providence
has especially smiled upon us.--Twice the usual amount of Indian corn and garden vegetables were planted, and yet the season was so propitious that is in thought that the cotton and sugar crops will be quite equal to last years field.
In the raising of horses, cattle, sheep, and dogs, the South
can always excel the North
In breadstuffs and provisions of all kinds, except hog meat, the South
could now be exporters.
I mention these things to show you the absurdity of the Northern
idea of reducing the South
to submission by starvation.
I assure you that the South
can carry on the war for years against the North
, and will suffer less from blockades and embargoes than the North
or either of the European
nations with whom she has commercial intercourse.
We can and will stand it as long as any of them.
There is scarce a man, woman, or child in the Confederacy
but would rather be cut off from the world forever than to forego their independence.
At present, staple manufactures, arms drugs, medicines, and wines of all kinds, command from one to two hundred per cent more than European
rates, and will well pay the risk of running the blockade, which is not difficult; our exchange, cotton, tobacco, rice, naval stores, and breadstuffs, at reasonable prices, will be better payment by far in European
markets than gold.
The Lincoln Government, mistaking the Union
sentiment of Kentucky
to mean acquiescence in his rule, has had the temerity to send his armies into that State.
Whilst they freely give offices and contracts to desperate leaders in the different towns and counties, they have as yet failed to reduce any considerable number of her sons into the ranks Nine-tenths of her young man are with the South
The Southern Army is advancing, and will are long drives from this ward Command wouldn't ... The patriots of Kentucky
will soon meet on the sacred grounds overlooking her Capitol
, and by the inspirations gathered from the inscriptions on the tombstones of her dead, will take possession of and re-organize her State Government, giving to it vital sparks which will cause it to last as long as that can be devised by the genius of man.
The Confederates have from the beginning endeavored to restrict the war to as narrow limits as possible, in attempting only to hold defensive positions on their border, that their independence might be achieved with the smallest sacrifice of blood and pressure, with but few wounds upon the rights and liberties of mankind.
But this humane policy has tended only to embolden the cowardly foe to acts of atrocity upon our women and our homes.
The South having by the prowess of her sons established her superiority as a military power, can afford to make peace on the basis of free trade with all the world.
It would be greatly to the interest of the nations having commercial relations with her to assume the war debt, now about one hundred millions of dollars, thus removing every shackle on commerce and establishing a solute free trade.
Commercial freedom would secure basting peace, and insure the highest state of civilization to as generous and chivalric a people as the world possesses.
The nations having trade with us will be less taxed by assuming their proportion of our war indebtedness, than they would be by any tariff on imports that could be devised by us. For instance, Great Britain
, by paying two, or at most three hundred thousand pounds per annum, would be entitled to unrestricted trade with the Confederate States
, and their own tariff or revenue laws need not be in anywise deranged.
To place the same amount of money in our treasury by any tariff on imports that we might impose would require a very large percentage to be added in consequence of our extensive frontier, inland and coastwise.
Direct taxation can be relied on as all-sufficient for the ordinary civil expenses of the Confederate Government.
I have thrown out these ideas for your consideration in the hope that something better may be suggested if any peace propositions shall be made.
The Lincoln Armada have taken possession of Port Royal, South Carolina
, and may occupy Brunswick, Georgia
These were poorly defended points on our extensive Southern coast, but they were not of the slightest consequence commercially.
The Yankee fleet may find tolerable anchorage, but not a bale of cotton or anything else material.
The fact is there are but ten thousand bales of cotton in the city of New Orleans
, which will be shipped up the river at any moment that city may be endangered.
The Northern press asserts and would make us believe that Garibaldi
contemplates coming to America
I cannot and will not believe it. Garibaldi
, the Liberator
, drawing his sword in behalf of the American Bombs
, invading Virginia
, the land of his great prototype, Washington
, Pater Patriæ! Much a course would be a burning and devouring lie to all of his eventful and hitherto glorious career.
I write in great haste, omitting many things that I would like to speak of.