YA Pamphlet Collection (Library of Congress) DLC [.

An address to the people of the southern states online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryYA Pamphlet Collection (Library of Congress) DLC [An address to the people of the southern states → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

E 423
Copy 1




At a large meeting of Southern members of both Houses of
Congress, held at the Capitol on the evening of the 7th instant,
the Hon. Hopkins L. Turney, of Tennessee, having been appoint-
ed Chairman at a previous meeting, took the Chair ; and, on mo-
tion of the Hon. David Hubbard, of Alabama, the Hon. Wm. J.
Alston, of Alabama, was appointed Secretary.

Whereupon, the Hon. A. P. Butler, of South Carolina, from
the Committee appointed at a preliminary meeting, reported an
Aaddress to the Southern people, recommending the establishment,
at Washington City, of a Newspaper, to be devoted to the support
and defence of Southern interests, which was read, and with some
slight modifications, adopted.

The following resolution was offered by the Hon. Thomas L.
Clingman, of North Carolina, and unanimously adopted by the
meeting :

Resolved, unanimously. That the Committee, in publishing the Address, be instructed
to give with it the names of the Senators and Representatives in Congress who concur
in the proposition to establish the Southern organ, as manifested by their subscription to
the several copies of the plan in circulation, or who may hereafter authorise said com-
mittee to include their names.


-Thos. G. Pratt.


Senators— R. M. T. Hunter,
J. M. Mason.

Representatives —

J. A. Seddon,
Thos. H. Averett,
Paulus Powell,
R. K. Meade,
Alex. R. Holladay,
Thos. S. Bocock,
H. a. Edmundson,
Jeremiah Morton.

North Carolina.

Senator — Willie P. Mangum.

Representatives —

T. L. Clingman,
A. W. Venable,
W. S. Ashe.

South Carolina.

Senators — A. P. Butler,
F. H. Elmore.

Represen tatives —

John McQueen,
Joseph A. Woodwardw
Daniel Wallace,
Wm. F. Colcock,


South Carolina — continued.

James L. Orr,
Armistead Burt,
Isaac E. Holmes.


Senators — Jno. McP. Berrien,

Wm. C. Dawson.
Representatives —

Joseph W. Jackson,

Alex. H. Stephens,

Robert Toombs,

H. A. Haralson,

Allen F. Owen.


Senator — Jeremiah Clemens.
Representatives —

David Hubbard,

f. w. bowden,

S. AV. Inge,

W. J. Alston,

S. W. Harris.


Senator — Jefferson Davis.
Representat i ves —

W. S. Featherston,

Jacob Thompson,

A. G. Brown,

W. Mc Willie.


Senators — S. U. Downs,

Pierre Soule.
Represefitativcs —

J. H. Harmanson,

Emii-e La Sere,

Isaac E. Morse.

And upon motion, the meeting adjourned.

Attest : Chairman.

Wm. J. Alston,



Senators — Solon Borland,

W. K. Sebastian,

Representative —

R. W. Johnson.


Representatives —

Volnev E. Howard,
D. S. Kaufman.


Senator — D. R. Atchison.
Representative —

James S. Green.


Representatives —

R. H. Stanton,
James L. Johnson.


Senator — Hopkins L. Turney.

Representatives —

James H. Thomas,
Fred'k p. Stanton,

C. H. Williams,
J. G. Harris.

Senators — Jackson Morton,


Representative —

E. Carrington Cabell.



The Committee to lohich was referred the duty of preparing an Ad-
dress to the people of the slaveholding States upon the subject of
a Southern organ, to be established in the City of Washington,
put forth the following :

Fellow-Citizens : A number of Senators and Representatives
In Congress from the Southern States of the Confederacy, deeply
impressed with a sense of the dangers which beset those States,
have considered carefully our means of self-defence within the
Union and the Constitution, and have come to the conclusion, that
it is highly important to establish in this city a paper which, with-
out reference to political party, shall be devoted to the rights and
interests of the South, so far as they are involved in the questions
growing out of African slavery. To establish and maintain such
a paper, your support is necessary, and accordingly we address
you on the subject.

In the contest now going on, the constitutional equality of fif-
teen States is put in question. Some sixteen hundred millions
worth of negro property is involved, directly ; and, indirectly,
though not less surely, an incalculable amount of property in other
forms. But to say this, is to state less than half the doom that
hangs over you. Your social forms and institutions, which sepa-
rate the European and the African races into distinct classes, and
assign to each a different sphere in society, are threatened v/ith
overthrow. Whether the negro is to occupy the same social rank
with the white man, and enjoy equally with him the rights, privi-
leges, and immunities of citizenship, in short, all the honors and
dignities of society, is a question of greater moment than any mere
question of property can be.

Such is the contest now going on — a contest in which public
opinion, if not the prevailing, is destined to be a most prominent
force, and yet no organ of the united interests of those assailed
has as yet been established ; nor does there exist any paper which
can be the common medium for an interchange of opinions
amongst the Southern States. Public opinion, as it has been
formed and directed by the combined influence of interest and
prejudice, is the force which has been most potent against us in
the war now going on against the institution of negro slaveiy ;
and yet we have taken no effectual means to make and maintain
that issue with it, upon which our safety and perhaps our social

existence depends. Whoever will look to the history of this ques-
tion, and to the circumstances under which we are now placed,
must see that our position is one of imminent danger, and one to
be defended by all the means, moral and political, of which we
can avail ourselves in the present emergency. The warfare
against African slavery commenced, as it is known, with Great
Britain, who, after having contributed mainly to its establishment
in the new world, devoted her most earnest efforts, for purposes
not yet full}^ explained, to its abolition in America. How wisely
this was done so far as her own colonies were concerned, time has
determined, and all comment upon this subject on our part would
now be entirely superfluous. If, however, her purpose was to
reach and embarrass us on this subject, her efforts have not been
without success. A common origin, a common language, have
made the English literature ours to a great extent, and the ef-
forts of the British Government and people to mould the public
opinion of all who speak the English language, have not been
vain or fruitless. On the contrary, they have been deeply felt
\\'"herever the English language is spoken, and the more efficient
and dangerous, because, as yet, the South has taken no steps to
appear and plead at the bar of the world, before which she has
been summoned, and by which she has been tried already without
a hearing. Secured by constitutional guaranties, and independent
of all the world, so far as its domestic institutions were concerned,
the South has reposed under the consciousness of right, and in-
dependence, and forborne to plead at a bar which she knew had
no jurisdiction over this particular subject. In this we have been
theoretically right, but practically we have made a great mistake.
All means, political, diplomatic, and literary, have been used to
concentrate the public opinion, not only of the world at large,
but of our own country, against us ; and resting upon the undoubted
truth that our domestic institutions were the subjects of no Gov-
ernment but our own local governments, and concerned no one
but ourselves, we have been passive under these assaults, until
danger menaces us from every quarter. A great party has grown
up, and is increasing in the United States, which seems to think
it a duty they owe to earth a)ul heaven, to make war on a domes-
tic institution, upon which are staked our property, our social or-
ganization, and our peace and safety. Sectional feelings have
been invoked, and those who wield the power of this Government
have been templed almost, if not quite beyond iheir power of re-
sistance, to wage a war against our property, our rights, and our
social system, which, if successfully prosecuted, must end in our
destruction. Every inducement, the love of power, the desire to
accomplish what arc, with less truth than plausibility, called
"reforms," all are offered to tempt them to |)ress upon those who
arc represented, and, in fact, seem to be an easy prey to the spoiler.

Our equality under the Constitution is in effect denied, our social
institutions are derided and contemned, and ourselves treated with
contumely and scorn through all the avenues which have as yet
been opened to the public opinion of the world. That these assaults
should have had their effect is not surprising, when we remember
that as yet we have offered no organized resistance to them, and
opposed but little, except the isolated efforts of members of Con-
gress who have occasionally raised their voices against what they
believed to be wrongs and injustice.

It is time that we should meet and maintain an issue in which
we find ourselves involved by those who make war upon us in
regard to every interest that is peculiar to us, and which is not
enjoyed in common with them, however guarantied by solemn
compact, and no matter how vitally involving our prosperity,
happiness, and safety. It is time that we should take measures
to defend ourselves against assaults, which can end in nothing
short of our destruction if we oppose no resistance to them.
Owing to accidental circumstances, and a want of knowledge of
the true condition of things in the Southern States, the larger por-
tion of the press and of the political literature of the world has
been directed against us. The moral power of public opinion
carries political strength along with it, and, if against us, we must
wrestle with it or fall. If, as we firmly believe. Truth is with us,
there is nothing to discourage us in such an effort.

The eventual strength of an opinion is to be measured not
by the number who may chance to entertain it, but by the
truth which sustains it ; we believe, nay, we know, that truth
is with us, and therefore we should not shrink from the con-
test. We have too much staked upon it to shrink or to tremble —
a property interest, in all its forms, of incalculable amount and
value ; the social organization, the equalitj^ the liberty, nay,
the existence of fourteen or fifteen States of the Confederacy — all
rest upon the result of the struggle in which we are engaged.
We must maintain the equality of our political position in the
Union. We must maintain the dignity and respectability of our
social position before the world ; and we must maintain and secure
our liberty and rights, so far as our united efforts can protect
them ; and, if possible, we must effect all this within the pale of
the Union, and by means known to the Constitution. The Union
of the South upon these vital interests is necessary, not only for
the sake of the South, but perhaps for the sake of the Union.
We have great interests exposed to the assaults, not only of the
world at large, but of those who, constituting the majority, wield
the power of our own Confederated States. We must defend those
interests by all legitimate means, or else perish either in, or with-
out, the effort. To make a successful defence, we must unite
with each other upon the one vital question, and make the most

of our political strength. We must do more — we must go be-
yond our entrenchments, and meet even the more distant and in-
direct, but by no means harmless assaults, which are directed
against us. We, too, can appeal to public opinion. Our assail-
ants act upon theory — to their theory we can oppose experience.
They reason upon an imaginary state of things — to this we may
oppose truth and actual knowledge. To do this, however, we too
must open up avenues to the public mind ; we, too, must have an
organ through which we can appeal to the world, and commune
with each other. The want of such an organ heretofore, has
been, perhaps, one of the leading causes of our present condition.

There is no paper at the seat of Government through which
we can hear or be heard fairl}" and truly by the country. There
is a paper here which makes the abolition of slavery its main and
paramount end. There are other papers here which make the
maintenance of political parties their supreme and controlling ob-
ject, but none which consider the preservation of sixteen hundred
millions of property, the equality and liberty of fourteen or fifteen
States, the protection of the white man against African equality,
as paramount over or even equal to the maintenance of some
political organization which is to secure a President ; and who is
an object of interest, not because he will certainly rule or perhaps
ruin the South, but chiefly for the reason that he will possess and
bestow oflice and spoils. The South has a peculiar position, and
her important rights and interests are objects of continual assault
from the majority ; and the party press, dependent as it is, upon
that majority for its means of living, will always be found labor-
ing to excuse the assailants, and to paralize all efforts at resis-
tance. How is it now? The abolition party can always be
heard through its press at the seat of Government, but through
what organ or press at Washington, can Southern men commu-
nicate with the world, or with each other, upon their own peculiar
interests? So far from writing or permitting any thing to be
written, which is calculated to defend the rights of the South, or
state truly its case, the papers here are engaged in lulling the
South into a false security, and in manufacturing there an arti-
ficial public sentiment, suitable for some Presidential platform,
though at the expense of any and every interest you may possess,
no matter how dear or how vital and momentous.

This state of things results from party obligations, and a regard
to party success. And they but subserve the ends of their estab-
lishment, in consulting their own interests and the advancement
of the party to which they arc pledged. You cannot look to them
as sentinels over interests that are repugnant to the feelings of
the majority of a self-sustaining j)arly.

In the Federal legislature, the South has some voice and some
votes, but in the public press, as it now stands at the seat of Gov-

ernraent, the North has a controlling influence. The press of this
city takes its tone from that of the North. Even our Southern
press is subjected more or less to the same influence. Our public
men, yes, our Southern men, owe their public standing and repu-
tation too often to the commendation and praise of the Northern
press. Southern newspapers republish from their respective party
organs in this city, and in so doing reproduce, unconscious, doubt-
less, in most instances, of the wrong they do, the Northern opinion
in relation to public men and measures. How dangerous such a
state of things must be to the fidelity of your representatives it is
needless to say ! They are but men, and it would be unwise to
suppose that they are beyond the reach of temptations which in-
fluence the rest of mankind.

Fellow Citizens : It rests with ourselves to alter this state of
things, so far as the South is concerned. We have vast interests
which we are bound by many considerations to defend Math all
the moral and political means in our power. One of the first steps
to this great end, is to establish a Southern organ here, a paper
through which we may commune with one another, and the world
at large. We do not propose to meddle with political parties
as they now exist ; we wish to enlist every Southern man in a
Southern cause, and in defence of Southern rights, be he Whig or
be he Democrat. We do not propose to disturb them, or to shake
him in his party relations. All that we ask is, that he shall con-
sider the constitutional rights of the South, which are involved in
the great abolition movement, as paramount to all party and all
other political considerations. And surely the time has come
when all Southern men should unite for purposes of self defence.
Our relative power in the legislature of the Union is diminishing
with every census, the dangers which menace us are daily be-
coming greater, and the chief instrument in the assaults upon us
is the public press, over which, owing to our supineness, the North
exercises a controlling influence. So far as the South is concern-
ed, we can change and reverse this state of things. It is not to be
borne that public sentiment at the South should be stifled or con-
trolled by the party press.

Let us' have a press of our own, as the North has, both here
and at home — a press which shall be devoted to Southern rights,
and animated by Southern feeling; which shall look not to the
North, but the South, for the tone which is to pervade it. Claim-
ing our share of power in Federal legislation, let us also claim
our share of influence in the press of the country. Let us or-
ganize in every Southern town and county, so as to send this
paper into every house in the land. Let us take, too, all the
means necessary to maintain the paper by subscription, so as to
increase its ciiculation, and promote the spread of knowledge and
truth. Let every portion of the South furnish its full quota of

8 011 898 049 9

talent and money to sustain a paper which ought to be supported
by all, because it will be devoted to the interest of every Southern
man. It will be the earnest effort of the Committee who are
charged with these arrangements, to procure editors of high talent
and standing; and they will also see that the paper is conducted
without opposition and without reference to the political parties
of the day. With these assurances, we feel justified in calling
upon you, the people of the Southern States, to make the neces-
sary efforts to establish and maintain the proposed paper.

May 6, 1850.

Any person wishing to become a subscriber to the paper, the
price of which will be moderate, can send his name, and that of
his post-office, to his Representative in Congress, without waiting
for the Prospectus to be published.


011 898 049 9


Online LibraryYA Pamphlet Collection (Library of Congress) DLC [An address to the people of the southern states → online text (page 1 of 1)