previous next

Bishop Otey.

The Memphis Appeal publishes a long and eloquent letter from Bishop City, of Tennessee, (a native of Virginia,) to Wm. H. Seward. But it will fall upon his cars as did the inspired voice of Aaron upon the ears of Pharaoh.--We extract the following graphic picture of the military spirit of the South:

Sir, believe me, when I say that from the Chesapeake to the banks of the Rio Grande, is heard the martial note of separation.--The laborer is quitting his fields, the professional man his office, the merchant his counting room, and the pioneer of the wilderness is dropping his axe and snatching up his deadly rille, all to array themselves in the ranks of war. Our mountain tops and valleys are pouring forth their hardy sons, while our plains are alive with armed men, eager for the strife of battle. Even the free negro, the unconscious representative of a class whose alleged degradation and uncomplaining wrongs have roused into frenzy all the fierce passions of twenty millions of men in the North, comes forward, voluntarily, and begs the favor of being allowed to fight for the land where he toils for his daily bread.

Our women; the daughters of mothers who moulded bullets and carried them hot in their aprons to their husbands as they stood behind their stockades and repelled the assaults of the merciless savage, are practicing themselves in the use of fire-arms, and forming voluntary associations to prepare lint and bandages for the wounded — condiments, medicines, and other comforts for the sick and toil-worn soldiers!

Sir, I have been in this State forty years.--The Indian boundary line, when I came to Tennessee, was two hundred miles East of this place. It is now twice that distance West-- it is now I know not where. I have traveled often than I can count years of my life, all over these Southwestern States, from Fort Towson to Tallahassee — from Virginia to Texas, and mingled freely with the people, under all the ordinary circumstances of social intercourse. I have had the best opportunities to know them intimately, and, I think, understand their character thoroughly. I tell you, in all the soberness of truth, that wherever the invader shall attempt to pass the borders of these States, with hostile intent, he will be met by a living wall of men, with brave hearts and hands armed for the strife of death, more difficult to pass than breast works frowning with cannons and bristling with bayonets, more numerous than those which crown the ramparts of Burgos. Numbers may overcome and destroy these men, but in my conscience, I declare, that I do not believe that the united strength of the North can compel them to submission. You may kill them, but as Cambronne is reported to have replied, in behalf of the old guard, to the demand for surrender on the bloody field of Waterloo, ‘"they die! they never surrender!"’

I repeat that I know this people; I know their impetuosity, their reckless daring. But I know, too, and others who have fought by their side know also, that they can be cool and steady as veterans, when the occasion demands. Accustomed from childhood to the handling of arms, and practiced in their skillful use, in the chase, which frequently involves dangerous encounters with formidable wild beasts, they acquire all the readiness of attack and defence which marks the veteran in war, and far more activity than he possesses. It is not to be denied that the same qualities of soldiership distinguish the troops of the Northern States, where they have been trained in similar schools of hardy discipline. But this admission suggests, first and foremost, the thought, by no means a pleasing one to minds which are set on peace, that an encounter between such troops, must be proportionately more destructive. But be that as it may, the coolness and deliberation with which our people are preparing for the conflict, may well surprise any one, and knowing their temperament, as I do, I may add, their calmness fills me with amazement. They certainly inspire high hopes as to the final result of this unfortunate difference, disastrous as the realization of those hopes must be to any who, with hostile tread, venture to violate the sanctity of our soil.

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
William H. Seward (1)
Otey (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: