New Orleans Bee, January 22, 1861
The Northern journals received by mail afford us some inkling of the state of feeling in that section. There is nothing whatever in it to countenance the hope that the Southern States will be allowed without molestation to consummate the resumption of their independence. Whether Black Republicanism stifles the better and purer instincts of the North, or whether the commercial and pecuniary crisis consequent upon political agitation has blinded the sufferers to all sense of right and justice, we know not; but certain it is that, with few exceptions, the Northern press seems to consider secession as treason and rebellion, to be put down by the strong arm of the Federal Government. The quasi-Southern views put forth in the earlier part of the session by Mr. BUCHANAN, and the disposition at first manifested by him to offer no obstacle to the movements of South Carolina, created universal indignation throughout the non-slaveholding States; and even now when the President has greatly modified his tone, has called around him coercionists as his official advisers, and displays a marked leaning towards the North, there prevails considerable dissatisfaction because he does not proceed to send armies and navies to chastise the rebellious cotton States with fire and the sword. There is in fact among the people of the North a willful, or at all events a strange misconception of what is going on at the South. Although, like the dissolving views of a diorama, star after star is disappearing from the flag of the Union, they cannot be induced to believe that the South is in earnest. It is true that Florida followed South Carolina, that Mississippi next withdrew, that Alabama then seceded, and that Georgia has now abandoned the Union. Yet the North acts upon the presumption either that these renunciations are mere empty formalities, and may be easily recalled; or that they have been made against the wishes of immense numbers of the population of the seceding Commonwealths.
So limited is the understanding of Southern opinion that the North is wholly insensible to the truth that there is no Union party in some ten or more slaveholding States. It confounds Co-operationists with Unionists, and is possessed with the fallacious idea that because many high-minded and sincere Southerners believed it would be more expedient for the cotton States to act in concert than to withdraw separately, they are all anxious to preserve the Union, albeit at the price of submission to the administration of ABRAHAM LINCOLN. This is a wild and absolutely baseless notion. Seven-eighths of the Co-operationists are heartily in favor of secession; and, indeed, events have succeeded each other with such startling rapidity as nearly to annihilate whatever there might have been amongst them of opposition to earlier and decisive action. A more egregious error than that of supposing that there are any Union men per se in the cotton States cannot well be imagined. Whatever may be the policy of the North, let it dismiss the foolish notion that its Union theories have any friends in this quarter.
Meanwhile the Northern people continue to hold what they are pleased to style Union meetings. We have examined the proceedings of some of these assemblages, and perceive that they are little better than Black Republican gatherings, at which the South is treated to an unlimited amount of obloquy; States which are out of the Union are denounced as subject to the penalties of treason; States which are preparing to quit the Union are menaced with dire mischief, and offers of men and money for the laudable purpose of coercing the South are freely made. This is Black Republican exemplification of love of the Union. They appear to forget that the very term itself "Union" implies voluntary association, and that if any of the parties should be forced to maintain a compulsory compact, it would cease to be a Union, and would become a despotism wielded by the many over the few, and by the powerful over the feeble. Is it conceivable, indeed, that the Federal Government, at the instigation of Northern fanatics, could possibly regard the secession of ten, twelve or fourteen States—nearly half the Republic—as rebellion, and could undertake to whip them back into their former relations with the North? Such madness appears impossible. And yet, if the false and pernicious theory of treason and coercion is to be practically illustrated, it is beyond a doubt that the Government will have to direct its fleets and armies against most, if not all, the slaveholding confederacies. Under any circumstances some eight States will abandon their connection with the Union in a few weeks, while a resort to violence will inevitably add five or six more to the number. We must confess that whilst the North ignores these considerations, and insanely cries out for coercion, we cannot but think that when it once dearly perceives that it is only knitting and consolidating Southern Union, and driving the reluctant border States into a close alliance with us, it will relinquish its unwise, wicked and sanguinary schemes. If, however, this hope should prove futile, we of the South are forewarned, and will in time be forearmed.