Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Alabama Traitors Think of Kentuckians

While looking through some 1861 issues of the Frankfort Tri-Weekly Commonwealth for items for an upcoming teacher workshop on the Civil War, I ran into an interesting article in the March 15 issue that originally ran in the Louisville Journal.

The article was headlined as "What Alabama Traitors think of Kentuckians." This particular letter was written to the "Editors of the Louisville Journal" by L.B. Manning, and was sent from Cahaba, Alabama on February 28, 1861 and reads as follows:

"GENTLEMEN: You may exult as much as you please at what you call the conservative action of Kentucky in the present crisis - out here we are not much disappointed. We expected no better from a State settled by hoosiers from Western Virginia - a very low class altogether. You have behaved like dastards and deserve to be slaves. Lincoln is welcome to you and as many more such as you and Tennessee have shown yourselves to be. That State was settled by a poor class of North Carolinians. I do not believe there is a particle of well-descended chivalrous blood in the whole of either Kentucky or Tennessee. If the old State of Virginia should follow your example she will be beneath contempt. So you may glory in your accursed Union and your miserable rag with your stars and stripes. We will punish you by not allowing you to sell your negroes out here. The most you make is by raising them for sale, and when we stop that, and refuse to buy your corn and pork, we can reduce you to starvation very soon, and you will then wish you had joined our glorious and powerful Southern Confederacy; but it will be too late."

Only a four months before, Alabama had sent a representative, Kentucky native Stephen Hale (see October 28, 2010 post), to the Bluegrass state in effort to encourage the Commonwealth's secession, but it appears that some like Mr. Manning had quickly grown tired of waiting and wanted to attempt to shame Kentucky and Tennessee into the Confederacy. I also found it interesting that he acknowledged that Kentucky was a prime provider of slaves, as well as corn and pork, for the Deep South states. With his rant I was a little surprised that he didn't threaten to boycott Kentucky hemp products too. One wonders if Manning was pleased when Tennessee finally seceded in June. Surely it wasn't soon enough for him.

The short article ended with a retort from the Journal: "He [Manning] may look down the vista of the past for his family tree without finding it, but as to his future destiny, the gallows tree looms up with a bean sinister, a traitor pendant, and the motto form Alabama's name: 'Here we rest.'"

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