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MARION COUNTY AR
Arkansas Anti-War Sentiment
From A Documentary History of Arkansa
Original of the below is found in the
J. R. H. Soolt Papers, Special Collections
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Google Books has part of the book online, although not this letter
Thanks to Tracy Converse for this transcription
The heading (date & location) was not included in the transcription I received from Tracey Converse
Hon. W. W. Mansfield
I set my self down today, Sunday as it is, to drop you a hasty line. Well tomorrow is the ominous day. It will possibly be a day long to be remembered by the people of Arkansas and by the people of the United States.
In the language of the Roman Ancient, the ides of March have come, but not passed. It is befeared that an attempt may be made to prevent the inauguration of Lincoln. This could do no good, but might be productive of very much harm.
From the returns which we have received, I presume there is little doubt but that a majority of the delegates will be Conservative. And if the convention should think proper to pass an ordinance of secession, it will be referred back to the people for their approval or disapproval.
We have no late news here as to what the Border State Convention has done. There were some slight intimations in a slip from Fort Smith papers, that an adjustment had been made, that was thought to be satisfactory to the border states; but we have not had any news on the subject since.
So we remain in ignorance (not blissful I hope) of what is going on in the capital. You will of course, be posted up every day with the very latest news from Washington.
It is to be feared that from Lincoln's line of policy that he will attempt to collect the revenue at Charleston and other southern ports. This will, in my opinion, be looked upon, and treated by the southern states as equivalent to a declaration of war. And there will no doubt be a measuring of arms between the South Carolinians and the federal troops at Fort Sumpter [sic] if it is not given up [to] the authorities of South Carolina. I think that any attempt to blockade the ports of the southern states, will be crossing the Rubicon. Although I am willing to acknowledge that South Carolina has acted hastily and it may be to some extent wrong; yet I have too much southern blood in my veins to sit quietly down and see her contending with the abolition hordes of the North and not wish her God-speed.
I have but little doubt but that General Davis, the newly elected President of the Confederacy, will demand in language strong and emphatic, the surrender of Fort Sumter; and if his request be not complied with, an attempt will be made to take it by force of arms.
We are living in the midst of trying times. Great events are so continually transpiring that we do not appreciate them. One unlucky spark would now touch off the whole magazine and build up a gulf wider than that which existed between the rich man and Lazarus. But we must try to prevent that calamity from taking place and it is to be hoped that every person in the government will realize that he is responsible at least to some extent, for the way in which the ship of state, and the glorious old Union, are to be conducted in the future.
I must confess that I have not as much confidence in my own judgment as I have usually had. When I look at the blessings the Union has conferred on us, I feel like it would be almost sacrilege to even think of seeing it dissolved, again, when I look at the wrongs and indignities that have been heaped upon me in newspapers, pamphlets and even stereotyped in books, I can hardly maintain my conservative position.
I am afraid that having once divided it will be easy to get up new divisions, until we will be like the little Republics of South America. I shall wait with much impatience and anxiety, the inaugural address of Lincoln. It will, in my opinion, either inspire new confidence, and give us new and strong hopes of an equitable adjustment of our difficulties, or otherwise, it will destroy all that is left, and place us in a condition to know what we may rely on.
In a word, I think that war, with all its horrors, that send a chill to the very heart; or peace, and restored confidence, which will cause one shout of joy to go from each and every true patriot in the land, to the great dispose of human events. But, I have already trespassed on your patience. Nothing has transpired since you left worth telling. The river is getting down again, and I fear that there will not be much boating going on for some time. Drop me a line and let me know what your Convention is doing.
Your Abdt. Servt.
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