For the Vindicator: The Spectator and the Clergy
Mr. Editor: The Spectator publishes the concluding paragraphs of an address to the Clergy and Laity of the Christian Churches of the country, recently issued by the Revs. Wilson, Atkinson, Smith, Dabney and others of Virginia, “touching the duties appropriate to the people of God,” in the present distracted condition of public affairs.
In order that the people may not be misled by these extracts, as to the true position of the Reverend gentlemen, I must ask you to publish the following emphatic declaration from the same address:
“Do these causes then exist? We would distinctly say, to avoid creating a mischievous mistake, that if the Southern States of the Union are persistently refused their just rights in the Confederacy and its common territories, and the peculiar property, then, in our opinion, the Southern people must conclude that these causes do exist, and that the catastrophe, however lamentable, must be met, sorrowfully indeed, and yet with the resolution of Freemen.”
Thus you will see the Reverend gentlemen are far from being the tame submissionists the Spectator would make them by its isolated extracts. They are peace-loving and God-fearing men; but at the same time patriots. Common justice, therefore, requires that they should have the benefit of the foregoing declaration, made, as they distinctly say, “to avoid creating a mischievous mistake.”
— Republican Vindicator (Staunton, Virginia), 15 February 1861.