The Condition of Affairs
Louisville Daily Journal, August 13, 1860
The Black Republican organs of the North undertake to make light of the idea that any of the people of the South seriously contemplate dissolving the Union in the event of Mr. Lincoln's election. Most assuredly a good many of them do seriously contemplate it, and they are even now trying to effect Lincoln's election in order to carry out their plan. We are not disposed to urge this fact upon the Republicans as what should at all influence their course in the canvass or in the election; but we are inclined to dwell upon it as a matter to be weighed and duly heeded by those who are not of the Republican party. It is all natural enough for Lincoln's own party to think and say that they will elect him if they can, be the consequence to the Union or the world what it may; but other parties may well be expected to do whatever they can, consistently with principle, to avert a fearful catastrophe. If the Republicans were to elect their candidate, we should labor as earnestly as any of them, and we have no doubt far more earnestly than most of them, to preserve the Union; but we can see no reason why patriots should seek to place the Republic or be willing to see it placed in any such deplorable exigency. We do not want to see the Union brought into direful perils simply to have the privilege of engaging in a doubtful conflict in its behalf.
The Republican leaders think or pretend to think that what is said in the Southern presses about the dissolution of the Union is mere empty bluster intended to frighten the North and influence its political action. We can calmly assure them, that, as a general thing, the fact is far otherwise. Most of the Southern organs, instead of telling more than the truth upon this subject, tell less. We have had many hundreds of private letters within the last few weeks, all informing us of a settled and widely-extended purpose to break-up the Union if a Republican shall be elected to the Presidency, and very many of them bearing testimony that the fire-eating Democracy want Lincoln elected in order that their conspiracy may be executed at once. We admit that the conspirators are mad, but such madness "rules the hour."
We had a private letter yesterday from a political friend in Alabama, who writes, "I know that arrangements are Fade, in the event of Lincoln's election, to light up the fires of civil war." We had another letter from an Alabama gentlemen, enclosing a list of subscribers for our paper, who says, "there is probably no use in sounding the alarm, but I may say that it is within my personal knowledge that a concerted blow will be struck for the dismemberment of the Union if Lincoln be elected." We had a letter from a highly respectable Georgian, also enclosing us a list of names of subscribers, who says, "the North professes to think we are not in earnest, but, as sure as there is a God in heaven, a powerful movement will be made to prevent the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln over a united Republic." A few days ago we saw a highly intelligent Bell and Everett elector from one of the extreme States of the South, who informed us that he had just passed through Mississippi, and, that he happened to have peculiar means of becoming acquainted with what was going on in that State. He said to us that it was the fixed determination of the fire-eaters there, in case Lincoln should be elected, to strike all the laws of United States dead within the limits of Mississippi; and he added that troops, even now, are secretly drilling in preparation for the anticipated crisis. He fully agreed with us as to the character of the treason he spoke of, but said that there could not be the shadow of a doubt of its extent and power.
Now the Yancey men, who contemplate this treason, broke up the Democratic party at Charleston and Baltimore for no other purpose under heaven than that Lincoln might be elected and an opportunity thus afforded them for inaugurating their projected rebellion and revolution. And they are now getting up Breckinridge tickets in all the Northern States, not because they have the slightest hope or desire of carrying any one of those States, but simply to cause them all to go for Lincoln through the creation of divisions in the ranks of those by whom alone he could by even the remotest possibility be defeated. Well, as we said before, we do not invoke the Republicans to desert Mr. Lincoln because his election would be the signal of a Southern insurrection; they can give just as much thought and just as little to that consideration as they please; but we do earnestly appeal to Northern men who are not Republicans to oppose by all legitimate means the accomplishment of the atrocious purposes of the Southern traitors. These traitors are diligently at work through their agents and followers in all the non-slaveholding States to elect Lincoln, without which they cannot hope to dissolve the Union; and we appeal to our friends in the non-slaveholding States, we appeal to all, who, not being Republicans, are still the friends of the Union, to work diligently to defeat Lincoln in those States. While Breckinridge tickets are got up through all the Northern States simply to give those States to Lincoln, the Black Republican organs, understanding the purpose, encourage and foster those tickets, praise them upon all occasions, and exaggerate the strength of the faction that supports them; and we therefore, as patriots, as friends of the country, call upon our brother patriots of the North to resist the accomplishment of the common object of the Black Republicans and Disunionists, by resorting to every legitimate means for carrying the Northern States against Lincoln.
We do not ask men to sacrifice their principles, we do not ask them to vote against the convictions of their own judgments, but we do ask them to serve their country as effectively as possible in this day of her utmost need. It is our hope, our desire, we may add our expectation, to elect Bell and Everett to the Presidency and Vice Presidency. The result of the late election in Kentucky, viewed in connection with other recent events, gives certain evidence to those who understand the condition of things throughout the South, that the whole or nearly the whole of the Southern States can and will be carried in November for Bell and Everett. What is chiefly wanted now by the friends of the Union, the Constitution, and the Enforcement of the Laws, is that Lincoln may not be elected by the people through the concentration of one whole section, and the larger section, of the country upon him. If this result can be prevented, and the election devolved upon Congress, most certainly neither Lincoln nor Breckinridge will be elected; and there is good reason to believe that Bell will be. Thus the great need of our friends is that as many Northern States as possible shall be wrested from the Republicans. It matters little how they go, so they don't go for Lincoln. Let this be prevented, and all will be well. And it must be prevented, or fearful disasters may be the consequence. Let the work be done honestly, but certainly.
We hear much from the Black Republican organs in regard to the evils of an election of President by the House of Representatives. We are aware that those evils are not merely imaginary. We should heartily rejoice if a just and patriotic and national election could be effected by the people. But most surely we should regard the election of a truly national President by the House, even in the midst of a raging conflict of parties, as an incomparably less evil than the election of a President by one section of the country, who should be utterly and deeply obnoxious to every State and county and district and precinct of the other section. If any of the Northern States can be carried for Mr. Bell, in the country's name let it be done, and we shall most earnestly rejoice thereat; but, if they cannot be carried for Bell, let them not be carried for Lincoln.