Similarity of Substance

Poeta nascitur non fit,”–we are taught as axiomatic by the highest authority. So, also, of nations–they are not made; neither can they be laid off upon the map, by rule and compass, to suit the fancy, interest, or whim of any man or set of men. After all the wars in Europe for the last five hundred years, the boundaries assumed in the beginning of their national lifehood are much the same to-day. Napoleon I. did not level the Pyrenees, neither could he. Spain and France exist now as they did before Rome and Carthage. Nations, then, are not made, but born; born of identity of race, language, interest; born of similarity of climate, production, pursuit; born of congeniality of thought, feeling, habit, taste, religion; born not of treaties, leagues, constitutions; born not of man, but of nature and of God. In nature similarity of substance is, the condition precedent to crystallization. A nation is a natural crystal, and similarity, also, is the condition and law of its being.

Judged by this criterion, how could, how can ever the Northern and Southern people unify? What similarity, pray, was there, or will there ever be, between Plymouth and Jamestown, between Boston and Charleston, Raleigh and Rochester, Nashville and Detroit, Milwaukee and Mobile, New Orleans and Chicago? What attraction could exist between Puritan and Cavalier, between Rev. Cotton Mather and Capt. John Smith, between the Blue Laws of Connecticut and the perfect toleration of Maryland? What congeniality is there between the productions of the North and the South; between the ice of New Pond and the rice of Santee river; the enormous granite monoliths of Quincy and the saccharine juiciness of the cane of Atchafalaya; between the Jerome clock of Connecticut and the cotton bale of Alabama? Whom, therefore, God and nature have put asunder, man cannot join together.

Southern Literary Messenger, Volume 32, Issue 2, Feb 1861; pp. 119.

Rowdies, Cut-throats, and Burglars

Federal troops drill on the grounds of the United States Capitol in 1861. (Library of Congress)
Federal troops drill on the grounds of the United States Capitol in 1861. (Library of Congress)

One of the most melancholy features of the horrible and bloody strife into which this country is about to be involved consists in the fact that the very best portion of the population of the South will be required to meet in mortal combat, in great part, the very worst population of the North. Whenever the South shall lose a soldier, it will lose a valuable citizen, whose loss will be sensibly felt, whereas the North would be benefitted if a large portion of its soldiers would never return from the battle-field. The flower of Southern honor and chivalry will cross swords with rowdies, cut-throats and burglars from the corrupt cesspools of Northern cities.–the South sends into the field honorable, honest, moral and virtuous soldiers, the North such desperadoes, and dangerous men as she is afraid to keep at home. As an illustration of the spirit of our people, and the kind of men who are volunteering their services to the State, we will mention the fact that a number of Minsters of the Gospel who are distinguished for talents, cultivation, eloquence and piety, have exchanged the “sacred desk” for the soldier’s tent.

The Rev. Dr. B. M. Smith and Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney, Professors of the “Union Theological Seminary,” Rev. Dr. Moses Hoge, Pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Richmond city, and Rev. Dr. Pendleton, Rector of the Episcopal Church in Lexington, all of whom are well known in this county, have connected themselves with volunteer companies. Dr. Pendleton is now Captain of an Artillery Company in Lexington, being elected to supply the vacancy caused by the promotion of Capt. McCausland to the post of lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers. As Dr. Pendleton is a graduate of West Point, and has served several years in the army, he will no doubt make a good and efficient officer.–Though the conflict may be terrible, we do no doubt that, in time, the Northern “Apollyon” will succumb to the Southern “Christian,” and that our brave soldiery who go forth clad in the panoply of a just cause, will return with their banners–though “tattered and torn”–wreathed with the laurels of victory.

Staunton Spectator, 14 May 1861, p. 2, c. 3.

Not Yet So Assimilated

Southern Section of the United States including Florida &c. by John Melish, 1816.
Southern Section of the United States including Florida &c. by John Melish, 1816.

Character. The people of the United States, being the descendants of the various European nations, have not yet so assimilated, as to form a national character. They are, however, generally industrious, intelligent, and enterprising. In the northern states they are, for the most part, well informed and regular in their habits; in the southern states they are more addicted to gaming and dissipating pleasures. Jacob Abbot Cummings, An Introduction to Ancient and Modern Geography, 3rd ed. (Boston: Cummings and Hillard, 1815).

A Dissolution of the Bonds of All Society

I myself see in this war, if the North triumph, a dissolution of the bonds of all society. It is not alone the destruction of our property, but the prelude to anarchy, infidelity, and the ultimate loss of free responsible government on this continent. Thomas Jonathan Jackson in a conversation with his brother-in-law, Rufus Barringer, in the summer of 1862.