Doc. 138.-secret rebel circular.
Proofs of Plotting in 1860.
Huntsville, Ala., Tuesday, April 19, 1864.I have to-day come in possession of a secret circular, issued in Charleston five months before the firing on Sumter. The document is genuine. It is signed by one of the wealthiest and ablest lawyers of South-Carolina, and the copy which I inclose to the Tribune was addressed to one of the most prominent and influential citizens of Alabama--a Huntsville rebel whom General Logan ordered south of our lines. It should be borne in mind that this circular was issued before the meeting of the Congress of the of 1861-62--before the introduction of the Crittenden resolutions — before the Peace Congress. Yet now, after nearly three years of unparalleled war, you find incompetent officers and unworthy citizens proposing these same “disclaimers and overtures.”
Executive chamber, the 1860 Association, Charleston, Nov. 10, 1860.In September last, several gentlemen of Charleston met to confer in reference to the position of the South in the event of the accession of Mr. Lincoln and the Republican party to power. This informal meeting was the origin of the organization known in this community as “The 1860 Association.” The objects of the Association are 1. To conduct a correspondence with leading men in the South, and, by an interchange of information and views, prepare the slave States to meet the impending crisis. 2. To prepare, print, and distribute in the slave States tracts, pamphlets, etc., designed to awaken them to a conviction of their danger, and to urge the necessity of resisting Northern and Federal aggression. 3. To inquire into the defences of the State, and to collect and arrange information which may aid the Legislature to establish promptly an effective military organization. To effect these objects, a brief and simple constitution was adopted, creating a President, a Secretary and Treasurer, and an Executive Committee, specially charged with conducting the business of the Association. One hundred and sixty-six thousand pamphlets have been published, and demands for further supplies are received from every quarter. The Association is now passing several of them through a second and third edition. The Conventions in several of the Southern States will soon be elected. The North is preparing to soothe and conciliate the South by disclaimers and overtures. The success of this policy would be disastrous to the cause of Southern union and independence, and it is necessary to resist and defeat it. The Association is preparing pamphlets with this special object. Funds are necessary to enable it to act promptly. “The 1860 Association” is laboring for the South, and asks your aid. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Robert N. Gourdin, Chairman of the Executive Committee.