R. Tansill to Robert Hunter, March 22, 1860

    Source citation
    R. Tansill to Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter, March 22, 1860, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1916, Vol. II, Correspondences of Robert M. T. Hunter 1826-1876, ed. Charles Henry Ambler (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1918), 305-306.
    Author (from)
    Tansill, R
    Date Certainty
    Don Sailer
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    MONTEVIDEO [S. A.], March 22, 1860.

    DEAR SIR: We continue to receive news here of the miserable state to which the abolitionists have brought our country.

    Their recent treasonable and murderous expedition into our State proves, if proof is needed, their cruel character and barbarous intentions towards the South. They are the most detestable creatures that ever existed, and are truly a curse to the Republic. They will yet force the Southern people to seek that safety out of the Union, that is denied them in it.

    I blush, Sir, for the unfortunate condition of the country, and sigh at the remembrance of the happy time when we believed that national liberty had firmly established herself upon our favored land, and our glorious Union would last forever.

    But alas, how vain are the hopes and expectations of man. We only hope to be disappointed. Indeed, I have lost all hope of the preservation of the Union. It is already virtually dissolved. When the great laws of necessity and self-preservation shall implore the solemn duty of a formal separation upon the South, we must act like freemen who know their rights and are determined to maintain them, let the consequences be what they may. We must not hesitate or cavil about legal forms, but “cut the Gordian know” of abolitionism at once, and “provide new guards for our future security,” and bid defiance to our enemies, against whom we are invincible, if we act wisely. Should the National Democracy succeed in electing the next President and I believe they will, and fondly hope that you, Sir, will be their choice, the Union will exist a few years longer. Yet, the catastrophe is certain to come sooner or later, and the South ought to prepare for it. To fail in this, would be highly criminal.

    I have written to His Excellency Governor Letcher, that whenever Virginia shall withdraw from the Union, I will at once resign my commission and return to my native State, and then he may consider me as subject to her orders, in whatever capacity her Governor may think proper to command, to assist in defending her honor and rights. At first I intended to write you, Sir, a long letter upon this unfortunate subject, but the thought of the wrongs the South has already endured, and the calamities with which the whole nation is threatened, “maketh the heart sick,” and disqualifies me for the task. Besides, it would be useless for me to recapitulate the injuries we have sustained, and dangers which now threaten us, as you are doubtless already too well acquainted with them.

    There can be no real reconciliation with the abolitionists, et al at all. They are alike incapable of reason or justice. They are ever ready to cast away the garb of humility, and grasp the staff of power, and show their barbarous appetite for blood and murder. Trust them not, they always “nurse the dreadful appetite of death.” If the South should ever be so unwise as to submit to the election of an abolitionist President, her degradation will be complete; her end that of St. Domingo. Mark the prediction.

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