August Belmont, Letter from August Belmont to Herschel Johnson, November 22, 1860, Letters, Speeches and Addresses of August Belmont, Privately published, 1890, p. 236.
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New-York, November 22, 1860.
My Dear Sir: I have seen with great satisfaction that amidst all the turmoil of passionate madness, fed by the incendiary speeches of Yancey and Toombs, your patriotic voice is loud in favor of the Union.
Heaven grant that the wise counsels of such men as you and the noble Alex. Stephens may be listened to, and that our Southern brethren may act firmly and manly, but without precipitation. In that case all must in the end come right, and the South will ride triumphantly through the storm.
My only fear is that the secession leaders, reckless of patriotic considerations, and only bent upon the accomplishment of their treasonable ends, may succeed in manufacturing packed conventions in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, for the purpose of precipitating secession without an appeal to the people.
This ought to be prevented at all hazards, and I hope that you, and other patriotic leaders, will rouse the people of your State to a full appreciation of the nefarious game played by their pretended friends. I have expressed my views more at length in a letter, which I addressed to-day to Mr. Forsyth, and of which I beg to hand you a copy.
The South has got the game in her own hands, and it is for her to choose whether to give peace and greatness to our common country, while at the same time securing for herself every Constitutional right, or whether to bury us all in one desolating ruin, which would be to the enemies of human liberty a vindication of the justice of their uncompromising opposition to self-government. The dissolution of the American Union is the death-knell of human liberty.