The Broad Principle of Eleven Dollars a Month and Rations
Why indeed did the Northern States collude with the federal agent to coerce eleven Southern States into remaining in a fraternal and voluntary union to which they no longer wished to be a part? As British observers noted of the war initiated by the north, what was different about this disagreement with respect to the American colonies seceding from the British empire? As noted below, Lincoln used the same incitement of slave insurrection as Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia in 1775, did in order to defeat the American colonists bid for independence. Lincoln wanted, as Dunmore did, to see a bloody race war in the South in order to consolidate his power over Americans.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, North Carolina
The Broad Principle of Eleven Dollars a Month and Rations:
“The war grows. It becomes gigantic and absorbs all the insane energy of a notion of
Future ages will stand aghast at the madness which made a Baboon, Dictator—and yielded to the clutch of the grimacing animal the purse and the sword of a whole nation. To a commonplace person the act looks dangerous—but our Northern friends have a wondrous stock of generous and confiding simplicity. It is true that he “bastilles” his subjects occasionally, and the public good requires measures apparently harsh; but then all is for the cause, and the cause is holy—the emancipation of their fellow creatures, and the reestablishment of the glorious Union. The glorious Union is so glorious a thing that all is pardoned in its glorious defender. So the Emperor reigns, and holds the purse and the sword; and his dynasty is established in the “Great City.”
Will his billions of money and millions of recruits do any good however? They could conquer us so easily with 75,000 men we were once told—leaving 25,000 at Washington, not to protect it, but because they we not needed. Two years have brought them opposite Fredericksburg—the path is marked out be half a million graves. How many of the new millions be buried in Virginia? It is safe to say the number will not be small.
Why do these people put themselves to the trouble of coming down to get themselves killed? Did they always hate us, as Randolph of Roanoke used to think and say, and be regarded as a snarling cynic for his pains? Do they really love the Negro, and actually think that the old government was an empire, and not a Federation of Sovereigns? Do they honestly believe that Virginia became a province when she declared herself a “free and independent State”—or abdicated her God-given sovereignty in ’88 when she signed the Federal Constitution? If she did, her act is null and void. For no generation can barter sovereignty, and divest their posterity of that priceless treasure, any more than men can decree their grandchildren to be bondslaves. The very thought would be sacrilege. For the sovereignty of States like human freedom is the gift of God, not of man, and sacred.
They are going to turn the slaves loose on us. They are making black regiments. The last device of hell is openly employed—the arming of slaves and incitement to servile insurrection. The civilized world has protested in the name of God and man against this enormity—has branded it as the most colossal crime of which a government can be guilty. But Europe is very far off, and the Washington government has not much character to lose. So it enrolls its Negroes—it invites its colored friends to resume their freedom; without unnecessary violence, if possible; but to resume it.
The Chasseurs D’Afrique are already enrolled; and a regiment is on the soil of Virginia—at Winchester. This advanced guard of liberated warriors is supported by reserves of Dutch, Irish, German, and other foreign patriots who fight upon the broad principle of eleven dollars a month and rations. They, like their master at Washington, have little doubt that the worn out and cowardly race of the Old Dominion will yield to them without much fighting; and that “booty and beauty” will crown their virtuous exertions, and reward them for all their hardships and privations. Worthy gentlemen! Picturesque mixture of slaves and jailbirds—of Dutch and Irish and Negroes and Yankees! The “great New England race” descended from the “Pilgrim fathers” famed in song and story is in its mission of enlightenment and civilization to the barbarous nations of the South. They come as of old, in the early days, with the peaceful arguments of the sword and musket—and if these mild instruments of persuasion fail, they have ironclads and rifled hundred pounders to speak further in their behalf.”
(Outlines From the Outpost, John Esten Cooke, Richard Harwell, editor, R.R. Donnelly & Sons, 1961, pp. 238-241)