The Northern Democrats
January 1, 1867
A Southerner speaks at towards the Northern Democrats of Congress, calling them cowardly and regretful of beliefs towards the war.
We recently let off two or three little squibs at the northern Democrats. One of these paragraphs has been misunderstood by some of our northern friends, and been copied with evident chuckling by Forney's Press, the Cincinnati Gazette, the St. Louis Democrat, and some other Radical papers. In declining to give full faith and credit to the utterances of the Connecticut Democracy, or those of any body of Democrats in the North, we merely do what the events of the war have taught us it is our best policy to do. The northern Democrats profess now no more than they professed before the war--perhaps not so much. Thev then made it a practice to reaffirm in all their State conventions the principles of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of '98 and '99. Those resolutions distinctly and unequivocally recognized the right of every State to judge for itself as well concerning infractions of the constitution "as of the mode and measure of redress." But when we of the South undertook to exercise this right, the northern Democrats as a party (there were noble exceptions) united with the Republicans and aided them, not only to destroy every vestige of State rights, but to change entirely the very nature of our central government. The present state of this country, in which constitutions and laws are treated as worthless, and where leading politicians claiming to bo statesmen do not hesitate to declare that the will of a majority of one section is superior to all political obligations, and must be carried out, though the Constitution be violated in every part, is due in no small degree to the cowardly conduct of the northern Democracy. Not 41 cowardly " as respects rifles, bayonets, and cannon, but as respects that fear to offend the populace which is begotten of democratic institutions. They first set the example of sacrificing principle upon the altar of "necessity." They agreed to make an unconstitutional war upon the South because the northern masses, infuriated by fanaticism, demanded it. The Radicals now are only following their example ; and though we believe that thousands of the more intelligent of the northern Democrats felt that the war would produce the very results which have followed, and now regret that they had not the manliness to stand up against it, yet we of the South must be excused if we class them as States rights when In name but Federal Republicans in deed. And this is all that we meant to be understood an asserting when we said recently that the South would "put no faith in their resolution." We wished them and the Radicals to understand that we had had enough of war, and would not commence another if all the Democrats in the northern States were to declare that the Federal Government had no right to coerce a State. Let us suppose, for instance, that Congress should pass a law prescribing the qualifications of voters and providing that negroes should vote in every southern State. Such a law would be a plain, unmistakable violation of the Constitution. Every Democrat in the North knows that it would be. And yet, if the southern States were to resist its execution by force and arms, these same Democrats would fight, not on the side they themselves hold to be the right one, but on the side of the Radicals. Wherefore we beg to repeat that we cannot trust such men. We won't secede any more. We are for peace. We are "subjugated." And we wish our northern masters to know that we are not again to be led off into an attempt to uphold States rights or any other rights at the cannon's mouth. And now, having defined our position as to the northern Democrats as a party, we will add that the truest States rights men in this country, the most noble examples of statesmen who are willing to sacrifice ambition upon the altar of principle, are to be found in the northern States. There are many men in those States worthy to be classed with Sir Thomas More, who gave up the highest office in England and laid his head upon the block rather than take an odious "test oath." Such men are an honor to their kind. "Of such the" Yankee "world is not worthy" yet they are there. We honor them as heroes indeed. And these men must influence others, less known, who hold the same sound opinions and are actuated by the same high motives. Finally, notwithstanding what we have said, we are willing to cooperate with the northern Democrats in whatever efforts they may make to bring the Government hack to what it was before the war. They may do much to effect this good result, and we would not discourage them. One of them writes to us as follows, from the interior of the Slate of New York: "Certainly, if our country is ever saved " from anarchy, our liberties as well as " yours saved and preserved, it will be by " and through the agency of northern " Democrats and the southern people." "All which" we as "steadfastly believe " as does our correspondent, in whose soundness as a politician we have every confidence, and to whom and those like him nothing that we shall ever say which may appear to disparage the northern Democrats will be applicable.
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“The Northern Democrats,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed October 17, 2021, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/474.