Bound to Have a Fight
Constantine Weekly Mercury and St. Joseph County Advertiser, April 11, 1861
The leaders of the Southern Confederacy, conscious that their course must be kept up by excitement, are determined to provoke the government into a fight. Their whole study appears to be, how to most deeply outrage the loyal States; and they are ingenious in inventing insults and wrongs to inflict upon the Northwest in particular. The whole North is outraged in the persons of her citizens subjected to mob law; and loyal sentiment of the country is outraged to the verge of endurance by the seizure of government property and the defiance of government authority; but the great Northwest is reserved for a peculiar insult, on account of its more unflinching loyalty and hostility to treason. It is to be reached through all its material interests, its highway to the ocean blocked up, its products forbidden free passage down the Mississippi river—the natural outlet of its commerce to the ocean, and its imports and exports compelled to pay unlawful duties in order to bolster up with its loyal earnings the treason which it detests.
C. G. Memminger, who signs himself "Secretary of the Treasury," under Jeff. Davis, has issued a circular of "port regulations" on the Mississippi river. The document is a refreshing one for the importers of rice, sugar, cotton, tobacco, and the exporters of pork, flour, lumber, grain, salt, plaster, and all kinds of manufactures, to contemplate. Nelm[']s Landing, in the State of Mississippi, is the port of entry for that delectable region yclept the "Confederate States." The Collector is to stop and board all boats, rafts, crafts, &c., attempting to pass either North or South, and to smell, taste, weigh, measure, and otherwise test their cargoes, and overhaul the baggage of passengers; after which interesting processes, the captain of the craft is to pay the duties demanded, on pain of confiscation of boat and cargo, exhibit his manifest, and receive a permit to proceed on his voyage. All flat-boats loaded with coal must stop at Norfolk or Nelm's Landing, and if destined for any point which is not a port of entry, having received the permit of the collector of Norfolk, or Nelm's Landing, shall be allowed to pay duties to the collectors of said ports respectively, under a complicated system of appraisement, inspection, surveying, bonding, et cetera.
This is that feast of good things—the "free navigation of the Mississippi["] so much vaunted by the seceders—to which the Northwest is invited. Liberal, exceedingly! isn't it? We are permitted to import sugars and export produce, in our own boats, at our own proper cost and expense, and at our own risk, also, provided our captain is careful not to hoist the star spangled banner, and none of the crew or passengers are Republicans, on condition of paying tribute to a parcel of scoundrelly rebels, whose necks are only safe from the halter in consequence of the forbearance of the government they insult!
If this sort of thing is persisted in, no matter how many confederacies there may be, and no matter whether separated peaceably or not, the Northwest and the seceders are bound to have a fight. The great States lying along the Upper Mississippi must and will have their way to the ocean. Their patience is long suffering, but it will not endure any longer than there is prospect of a final reunion. To that end let us all hope and work on just principles, strengthening the hands of the government in all its proper efforts to reproduce harmony.