My Melancholy Duty

Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart.

And, sir, what is our state of preparation?  Where is our ordnance?  Where is our musketry?  Where are our rifles?  Where, in fact, are any of the munitions of war, which are indispensable for our security?  Sir, you may talk about courage, and you may talk about chivalry; but I say it is not true courage and true chivalry to rush into such an unequal contest as that.  I say, in my judgment it would be folly and fool-hardiness in the extreme.  What is the condition of our Treasury?  Let me tell you, sir; because it has been my melancholy duty to make myself familiar with it, being a member of the Senate of Virginia, and having occasion to examine the financial condition of the State.  I tell you, you are bankrupt.  In order to raise the money to buy a few arms, you were obliged to resort to the miserable expedient of attempting to issue one million of treasury notes.  There is no money in your treasury; your credit is gone; your bonds are selling now, as some gentleman remarked, at some sixty dollars.  Even the munitions which are to be bought under the operation of this treasury note bill, have not yet been supplied.  Intimations have been given that the Governor has made a contract, and that there is some misunderstanding in regard to a portion of it.  But, sir, all must concur that we are not in a condition to go to war, and I say that it is the part of common prudence, common sense and humanity, that we should not engage in war until we shall have prepared ourselves for the conflict.

— Mr. A. H. H. Stuart of Augusta, first day of the Secret Session of the Virginia Secession Convention, Tuesday, 16 April, 1861.

Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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