The Disunion Rant

Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, November 14, 1860

The true way to treat the Disunion bluster now so prevalent at the South, is to leave it alone. The attempt to resist it or put it down by force, would assist instead of repress it, and make that real which is now only a sham.

The Disunion cry has been the bugaboo of the South for thirty years. With it she has always, hitherto, been able to scare the North into submission; and the sole object of resorting to it in the late election was to drive the North into compliance with her wishes. The noisy blusterers of the South had no doubt of their ability to accomplish their end. Failure was never anticipated, not even dreamed of by them.

But they have failed. Had they succeeded, the hollowness of their threats would never have been discovered; but having failed, the sole question with them now is, how best to escape from their embarrassing position. They must do something, to make their people at home believe them in earnest, and yet so manage it as to prevent the consummation of what they threaten.

This is the explanation of the present attitude of the South. The leaders—Toombs, Yancey, Chesnut, Iverson, Wise and the other noisy fellows, who declared without reservation that the election of Lincoln would be followed by a dissolution of the Union, must either attempt to dissolve it or go into utter disgrace. They are therefore pretending to carry their threats into execution in order to put themselves right at home. They have promised; and they must at least seem to perform.

It would be the madness of folly, therefore, to treat these men as being in earnest. To do that would soon make them in earnest. Let them alone and play out their play. When they show signs of being in earnest, and put their necks in a halter, it will be time enough to string them up. They will not do that, if left to themselves. They have been, for years, engaged with the zeal of demagogues in inflaming the public mind of the South with artful misrepresentations of Northern sentiment and designs, and extravagant appeals to Southern peculiarities; and now, when the crisis has come which they have provoked, but not anticipated, they find themselves confronted by a people who have taken them at their word and have not only believed, but profess a willingness to follow, them. How shall the poor devils escape? That is a question for them to answer. Let us rather sympathize with them in their dilemma than think of dealing severely with them. They must wriggle out of their trouble; and it will be amusing to stand by and witness their manoeuvres in doing so.

In less than a month this farce will be played out. Within that time the true Union sentiment of the South will develop itself. There is patriotism and good sense enough in the South to manage the whole affair. Let us leave it, then, in the hands of the true men of the South. It does not need our interference. Hands off. The time may come when the whole country will have to interfere; but just now all that the North has to do is to leave the Hotspurs alone.