Friday, November 18, 2011
Address to the People of the Southern States
Address to the people of the southern states
by George W.L. Bickley,
President of the Knights of the Golden Circle
KGC Convention address Raleigh, NC. May 1860
Note.--The following pages are addressed to the citizens of the Southern States by order of the Convention of K. G. C. held at Raleigh, N. C., May 7--11th, 1860.
The President of the Legion begs to ask his fellow-citizens of the South not to regard the literary imperfections of the address, as it has been prepared at intervals while canvassing the State of Virginia in furtherance of the objects of the K. G. C.; and, therefore, under great disadvantages.
If, however, it shall tend in any measure to disseminate sentiments congenial to Southern interests, the real ends hereof will be attained, and the K. G. C. will be happy to know they have done even a little good in arousing the South to a sense of her political dangers. The day for bold and fearless speech and action has come, and the Southern citizen who fears openly to avow his sentiments in the present crisis, is unworthy of being called a son of the South.
Fellow Citizens of the Southern States:
The object of the following pages is to fairly and honestly canvass the claims of the K. G. C. organization to your respectful consideration and unprejudiced sympathy. The Knights of the Golden Circle constitute a powerful military organization, as a nucleus around which to hang such political considerations as will, if well managed, lead to the disenthrallment of the cotton States from the oppressive majority of the manufacturing and commercial interests of the North. It would also go to Mexico in the character of a Defensive Colony, and become a centre, drawing to itself every good citizen who desires relief from the anarchy and civil wars which have so devastated that country since 1824. It would give protection to life and property, and rigidly enforce those great principles of sobriety and industry which have been so distinguishing a feature in the rise and progress of Anglo-Americanism on this continent. But the K. G. C. mean to obey the laws of the United States as well as those of Mexico, and to avoid a single act which would bring a blush of shame to our cheeks. As Americans, we would Americanize Mexico for the common glory of our American character, and because the interests of the nation, no matter how viewed, demand such an accomplishment by our people. As Southern men, we would Americanize the country, because therein rests the only hope of keeping the cotton States of this Union on a footing of political equality with other States. As philanthropists, we would settle and Americanize Mexico, because the happiness of the people will be enhanced; and as Knights of the Golden Circle we would colonize and Americanize the country, because we thereby open new avenues by which to benefit ourselves, financially, socially and religiously.
In scanning the history of American politics during the past thirty years, there is much to arrest the attention of the statesman, and to induce the institution of serious inquiry as to the probable results to which political parties are now hurrying us. In reviewing the history of the past thirty years, we hope to deal impartially with the facts in the case, and to appeal to the reason of our fellow-citizens rather than to their passions. And if others cannot draw such conclusions from the facts as we do, then let them weigh well the mere facts themselves, and form their own conclusions.
In 1830, there were but two great parties in the United States, both of which were thoroughly national and very equally divided, so far as mere numbers were concerned, in every State of the confederacy. In fact, this nation was one of homogenous interests; of consolidated patriotism.
The States of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and the now State of Florida, were being settled and developed with such remarkable success that the English dogmas of Wilberforce were imported to this country, and William Lloyd Garrison began a crusade against the slave institutions of the South, which was taken up and urged by the people of New England with all the vehemence of fanaticism, until the Summer of 1831, when an insurrection occurred in Southampton county, Virginia, by which over sixty white persons were inhumanly massacred. Our people had heard of abolitionism, but they had not dreamed of such a practical demonstration as this. Like the crash of the thunder-bolt it fell on the startled public, and spread a deep panic throughout the surrounding States. Under the impulse of the threatened dangers, the question of emancipation was openly and fully discussed in the State Legislature, and might have resulted in the immediate emancipation of the slaves, had it not been for the meddling and aggressive policy of the Garrisonian abolitionists, and the wide-spread sympathy openly expressed for Nat. Turner in the New England States, where he was compared to Washington, Pascal and others who had struck for liberty. We soon learned the extent of the dangers which threatened to overwhelm us in an enlarged Dominican massacre.
Our press, politicians and people repudiated and denounced Garrison and his followers, yet this did not arrest the steady advances of abolitionism. Other Garrisons arose--we were shamefully slandered, and every possible argument and threat used to coerce us to submission. But as we now clearly perceived the real originators of that affair, our people dismissed at once, and we trust, forever, the question of emancipation. The North redoubled her energies: the press, the pulpit, bar and agent were invoked to assist in strangling what they were pleased to call this monster sin.
Books were written; songs were composed and set to music--abolition societies were organized in every village--lectures were delivered; lithographic pictures were scattered abroad, and every possible means was taken to plant deeply in the Northern mind a deadly hatred to Southern African Slavery. And its labors were not unsuccessful, for despite our contempt, we could not but see that this party, formed for the express purpose of destroying our slave institutions, was every year, month and day, acquiring an increased power and importance. The Northern people resorted to petitions to Congress, when the public and their representatives tried to daunt them by sneers and ridicule, and finally to rule them out altogether; but therein that honorable body failed most completely.
Legislators, Congressmen, Senators, Ex-Presidents, and high official dignitaries, enlisted under the freesoil banner, until it became the grand issue on the merits of which places were obtained. Northern State Legislatures passed special codes to protect the runaway slave from arrest by his master. The popular "Under-Ground" Railroad was established--slaves were enticed from their homes, and conducted by this association from place to place until safe beyond the grasp of the laws of the land, and for this purpose large sums of money were raised in the North, not only to practically run slavery out of the South by kidnapping, bur for urging through Congress the Wilmot Proviso, which was one of the first and most dangerous attempts to reduce the South to political vassalage--for it not only left all our territories open and free to the occupancy of the citizen of the North, but at once excluded the slaveholder, because by moving thither with his property it was practically confiscated.
The great West was being rapidly settled by Europeans, who arrived in our country with deep-rooted prejudices against slavery, until the anti-slavery party was no longer confined to the manufacturing districts of New England, but like some fatal epidemic, it had spread over the whole North and West. Abolition Presidential tickets were presented, often a negro and a white man on the same ticket; and more remarkable still, these tickets received the support and countenance of a numerous body of white voters. Great Britain, ever ready to sacrifice any interest to serve her own, urged on and assisted the North in this unholy crusade against the South, until, in 1850, our people had been wrought to a fever heat of excitement, when that conservative old hero of the people. Henry Clay, came to the rescue through a series of legal enactments, known as the Compromise Measures. These were followed by others, variously modified, but always adverse to slave interests. The Missouri Compromise was repealed, and the repeal was even sought for by Southern men on just and equitable grounds, yet never was an act of Congress more detrimental to the most vital interests of the South.
These various enactments gave rise to a great sectional party, wide-spread throughout the North and West, and partially in the Southern border States. The old Whig party, with all its glorious associations, had ceased to exist, and a new party, intended to eschew the negro question, sprung into existence, to be finally absorbed by the great Republican-Sectional party of the free States. To build up this party it was hitched on to every project likely to secure the sympathies of the Northern people--as the Homestead Bill, preference for Americans, protection to home manufacture, Pacific railroad schemes, and many other things patent to every American reader.
At this time Mr. Douglass, wishing to conciliate or blind all parties, brought forward the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which was eventually carried through Congress, much to the satisfaction of our Southern people, who thought that they perceived therein an honest intention on the part of the North to open the territories to the settlement of all sections, without reference to the slavery institution. But we had counted on what was never intended, for at once the Greeleys and Beechers and Parkers, set to work in organization of the notorious Kansas-Aid Societies and Emigration-Aid-Clubs. The cry of "Free Kansas!" was raised, and thousands of the worthless population of the large Northern cities were armed and sent forth with instructions to "slay and spare not" the Southern man who dared to settle there with his property.
The South, to counteract this, raised funds and sent forth a few men, but in many instances they not only acted in bad faith to us, but compromised any prospects we might have enjoyed in the future. The Emigration-Aid Societies, with Beecher, Parker, Chapin, and such leaders, kept up a stream of armed emigrants to Kansas. Reporters for the occasion was sent thither to assist in kindling the flames of civil war; and when we remember that the whole administration influence was employed to keep the peace ineffectually, we cannot but perceive that the Republicans of the North and West were in earnest. It may be remembered that Western and Northern Governors, and State Legislatures, became so deeply interested, that Kansas affairs furnished the subject matter for more than one Gubernatorial message. The old issues of party were for the time forgotten, and the North came up as a unit to the support of the Aid Societies. Kansas was lost, and the South was mocked for her attempt to plant her institutions there. It was this Kansas struggle; this practical application of the squatter-sovereignty doctrine of Senator Douglass, that gave rise to the organization of the Black Republican party--which was made to embrace all the Eutopianisms of the North. Hitherto we of the South had not seriously contemplated the possibility of building up a formidable sectional party; but when the name of John C. Fremont was brought forward as the champion of that party, and we saw the results of that contest, we could no longer close our eyes to the fact that there were really but two parties into which the people were divided; a Northern party, opposed to slavery and ready to repeal all laws which protected it; and a Southern party, in favor of slavery institutions and a rigid enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution, which at least protects it.
The Republican or Northern party is abolitionized--the Southern party is going rapidly to secession. All parties in the North are free-soil; all parties in the South are constitutionalists, and when the provisions of that instrument are violated, then our people are secessionists. It is quite true that there are many pro-slavery men in the North--men who have stood by us nobly; but, also, there are men in the South who are in favor of the Union per se--men who, to preserve the Union, would give up the slave institutions of the Southern States, and re-enact the farce and folly of Jamaica Emancipation. There are also a few strongly conservative men both North and South, who are neither Abolitionists nor Conditional Secessionists--men who rightly judge that the faithful execution of the various provisions of the Constitution will be quite sufficient to protect every interest in the Republic. But what can such a corporal's guard do against the great ruling parties of the country? Literally nothing, but to increase the already widened breach.
The steady march of the abolition sentiment has been constantly southward, and no circumstance has tended even to check it. We annexed Texas under a Southern administration, and then, to hold it, we had to fight Mexico. The South furnished sixty-three thousand men, while the North, with her vast population, furnished less than forty thousand. The losses were 24,500 men, more than two-thirds of which, or 17,000 men, fell on the chivalrous States of the South. The war cost about 210,000,000, the larger portion of which was paid by the cotton and sugar planters of the South. Yet we not only acquired no slave territory, but we lost New Mexico, which Texas generously ceded to the Federal Government. The North gained California, and incidentally Arizonia. It is then clear that the acquisition of Southern territory by the Federal Government is a dangerous experiment, and not to be countenanced for one moment.
But not only in this direction has abolitionism advanced; it has made rapid strides in Virginia, in Maryland, in Kentucky, in Missouri, and, on more than one occasion, it has spoken further southward. The Aid Societies have planted colonies in Texas. They have sent their Browns into Virginia, and their agents elsewhere throughout the South. By books, papers and missionaries, the seeds are deeply and broadly sown, and unless we are more than ordinarily vigilant, the harvesters will reap the border States of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. If we speak correctly, and the history of the country will sustain us, may we not inquire by what means the North has thus gradually and steadily advanced on us? In the spirit of fairness and sobriety, let us answer.
The North commenced first on our consciences, by and through church organization, which she pursued with unabated vigor until the suspicions of the Southern people were aroused. Then she commenced on our children, through educational appliances. Her sons were placed in our colleges, her daughters in our schools and families, and here they began to cultivate the young mind for a future rich harvest. Northern men have been called to edit our papers, and Northern women to educate and train our daughters. The one propagates abolitionism by insidious clippings of abolition arguments, and weak comments thereon; the other, while their conduct is, so far as we have observed in the main, irreproachable, by constantly reminding the child of our duty to be kind and affable, and that we are all the work of one Creator, and of one race, so impress the child's mind, that by the time it arrives at maturity it is already abolitionized.
The books commonly used are openly abolition, and the papers circulated contain either highly wrought scenes of Southern cruelty, or similar pictures of domestic felicity in the North. The vessels of the North enter our Southern rivers and harbors, and teach our negroes to plunder their masters, by trading pistols and knives, and other weapons, for stolen corn, hogs, chickens, &c.; while her politicians in congress send abroad their fulminations against slavery, until every avenue has been occupied by which the people can be reached.
In 1840 it was disgraceful to be called an abolitionist, even in the North. Is it so now? Let the people of Harper's Ferry answer. Could any reasonable man have believed fifteen years ago that the States of Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri would have been seen sending delegations to the Abolition Convention of 1860 at Chicago? Or could he have believed for a moment that one hundred guns would have been fired at Wheeling, Virginia, in honor of the nominee of that Convention? Abolition presidential tickets in Maryland, in Virginia, in Kentucky, and Missouri! Only think of it, Southern men; and think further, that the next State Republican Convention of the renegades of the Old Dominion is to be held at Richmond, and we shall probably hear in 1868 that their National Convention is to be held at the same place.
The people of the North are in earnest in their warfare on our institutions. They believe slavery to be a great social, moral and political wrong, and one that they are called on to eradicate, and having the voting majority, they will, if the Union lasts, eventually succeed. On the other hand, we of the South believe slavery to be a Divine Institution, wisely established by Jehovah himself, and fraught with all the elements of social, moral and political good to the negro, and conducive to the best interests of our common country. Believing this, we are willing and determined to defend our constitutional rights by every means God has given us, even to the destruction of the federal compact which we have thus far so rigidly respected. Between the interests and sentiments of the North and the South there is, as Mr. Seward asserts, an "irrepressible conflict," and every Southern man who will go into our congressional halls and listen to the Sumners, Hickmans and Lovejoys, will feel it.
We are told by Hickman that we are helpless--that the powerful North will not allow us to act; and by Lovejoy, that we are compelled to import a certain amount of female virtue from the North annually, to keep up a show of decency!
Son of the South! have you a mother, a sister, or wife?
But these taunts do not cease here. Every one knows that they are as common in Europe as in the United States, and that as soon as an American, whether man or woman, begins to abuse the people of the South, he or she soon turns up as a "lion" or "lioness" in Europe. That such a course affects Southern credit, and strongly predisposes European merchants to deal directly with Northern merchants, is demonstrable. These practices have come to be more annoying and oppressive, more injurious and unjust, than the causes which led to the struggles of the Revolutionary period, and if it were not for the increased social and intellectual cultivation, and an increased dislike for scenes of suffering, they would long since have involved us in consequences of the most disastrous kind. Forbearance will not last always.
The avowed policy of the Northern people, as expressed by their representatives in congress, is to refuse the admission of any more slave territory; but to urge on and precipitate all the horrors of Senator Seward's "irrepressible conflict," and usher into actual existence Helper's "impending crisis." It is true Seward and his party do not threaten to vote us down, by arraying the non-slaveholder against the slaveholder in the Slave States, but his partner in iniquity, whom he endorses, does. This is the secret of Helper's scheme. Senator Seward, on the other hand, is a bold and fearless statesman, who goes more surely and effectually to work, and in such a way that detection is not probable, until retraction is impossible. He well knows that under the new census of 1860, and the consequent new apportionment of representatives, the South will have lost all power to pass through Congress a single law intended for Southern protection. The plans of the Republican party are well studied, and have been thus far skillfully managed.
The idea of American expansion is as deep-rooted in the North as in the South, except that the Northern people and statesmen are determined that the work shall be executed by the Federal Government, and that, therefore, all acquired territory being in the hands of the Government, its destiny will be fixed by the overwhelming majority of the Republican party. Cuba, Mexico and Central America are vastly coveted by the North, but that Free Soil States may be erected south of us. With her Homestead bills and Emigrant Aid Societies, she well knows she can people rich Mexico and Cuba and fruitful Central America before our people could be enabled to settle up their business. Manufacturing communities always enjoy emigration advantages over agricultural communities. No greater calamity could befall the South than the ratification of the Mexican treaty, or a war with Mexico, Spain or any of the Central American States, and every effort should be made by the Southern people to prevent either of these occurrences.
Under the present embittered feelings of parties, the progressive success of the Republican sentiment, the increasing insolence and admitted numerical power of the North, the decline in Southern representative power, can this Union last? Can policies and interests so adverse be maintained? Are we not in hourly danger of a rupture between the people and the Government, which thus by its policy cramps one class of citizens through the majority influence of another class?
Will the North or the South recede? We do not believe the North ever will recede--and certainly the South is now nailed to the wall. Further recession is death to us; and if one party or the other does not retrace its steps, or modify its policy, a severance of the articles of confederation is as certain as that there is a God overruling the destinies of men and nations. There are only six kinds of labor in which the slave may be profitably employed: in the production of cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, coffee, and in mining; and until these great staples cease to be useful or productive of individual and national prosperity, slavery, where climate and soil justify, will exist, unless the master and slave are alike and together driven from the land at the point of the bayonet--an attempt that would be resisted to the death. If we have education, we must have conservative institutions--and these are concentrated in slavery and agriculture. Hence the agricultural South is not revolutionary--we like old forms, and detest innovations. No Utopianisms spring on our soil--no Mormonism, Millerism, Spiritualism or Transcendentalism of any kind.
With these facts patent to every man in the South--with the political organizations of the Abolitionists--the Emigrant Aid Societies--the armed "Turner" Associations--the foreign armed regiments--the arming the Kansas emigrants, and the forcible ejection of Southern men from territory purchased by the common treasure of the country--the steady advances of abolitionism southward--the invasion of our Southern soil by armed bands of Northern men, to incite insurrection in our midst--the wide-spread sympathy for these men in the North--the endorsement of the infamous Helper doctrines by over sixty members of Congress--the notorious corruption of political parties and presidential aspirants--all declare in unmistakable language that this Union is now held together by a rope of sand that may crumble at any moment into a thousand atoms. When grave senators tell us that as they sit and watch the evolutions of debate in Congress, they feel as if on a new railroad, with a drunken engineer and a drunken conductor, flying along at the rate of sixty miles an hour, with the certain knowledge that a vast precipice was at an uncertain distance ahead, we may well stop and enquire if there is not a magazine already under the floors of Congress likely to be ignited at any moment.
No republic has ever yet maintained its integrity longer than it maintained its slave institutions and conquest policy. The moment we renounce these our doom is fixed--our history as a great republic will be complete.
Under these circumstances, the K. G. C. would go forth and plant new colonies, build up new markets, and expand the area of Anglo-Americanism. We would educate our young men to the science of arms. We would acquire and hold as a rallying point and an outlet other territory adapted to slave labor. We would remove the coming struggle between the North and the South to the plains and valleys of Mexico. We would take the young man from his dissipations and point him to the glittering crown of glory that awaits the brave and industrious. We would have such an organization in every Slave State that the neucleus of an army would be every where present. Now, fellow-citizens of the South, we ask you if the time has not arrived, if the exigencies of the times do not call for a powerful effort on the part of the people of the South to arrest this Northern policy which must so soon lead to the most deplorable results? The Knights of the Golden Circle have no political schemes to serve by this movement. We act alone for the common good of the Southern States.
The causes operating in Mexico which have justified such an organization in this country are found in the history of that unhappy Republic for the past forty years. In the annual message of President Buchanan, delivered in December last, the following significant summary of affairs in Mexico was delivered to the Congress of the United States, and though it does not state half the truth, it is nevertheless horrible enough to mantle every American's cheek with a blush of shame. Other facts will be developed when we treat more particularly of Mexico and our friends there:
"Outrages of the worst description are committed both upon persons and property. There is scarcely any form of injury which has not been suffered by our citizens in Mexico during the last few years. We have been nominally at peace with that Republic, but 'so far as the interests of our commerce or of our citizens who have visited the country as merchants, ship-masters, or in other capacities, are concerned, we might as well have been at war.' Life has been insecure, property unprotected, and trade impossible, except at a risk of loss which prudent men cannot be expected to incur. Important contracts, involving large expenditures, entered into by the General Government, have been set at defiance by local governments. Peaceful American residents, occupying their rightful possessions, have been suddenly expelled the country, in defiance of treaties, and by the mere force of arbitrary power. Even the course of justice has not been safe from control, and recent decree of Miramon permits the intervention of government in all suits where either party is a foreigner. Vessels of the United States have been seized without law, and a consular officer who protested against such seizure has been fined and imprisoned for disrespect to the authorities. Military contributions have been levied in violation of every principle of right, and the American who resisted the lawless demand has had his property forcibly taken away, and has been himself banished. From a conflict of authority in different parts of the country, tariff duties which have been paid in one place have been exacted over again in another place. Large numbers of our citizens have been arrested and imprisoned without any form of examination or any opportunity for a hearing, and even when released have only obtained their liberty after much suffering and injury, and without any hope of redress. The wholesale massacre of Crabbe and his associates without trial in Sonora, as well as the seizure and murder of four sick Americans who had taken shelter in the house of an American, upon the soil of the United States, was communicated to Congress at its last session. Murders of a still more atrocious character have been committed in the very heart of Mexico, under the authority of Miramon's government, during the present year. Some of these were only worthy of a barbarous age, and if they had not been clearly proven, would have seemed impossible in a country which claims to be civilized. Of this description was the brutal massacre in April last, by order of General Marquez, of three American physicians, who were seized in the hospital at Tacubaya while attending upon the sick and dying of both parties, and without trial, as without crime, were hurried away to speedy execution. Little less shocking was the recent fate of Ormond Chase, who was shot in Tepic on the 7th of August, by order of the same Mexican general, not only without a trial, but without any conjecture by his friends of the cause of his arrest. He is represented as a young man of good character and intelligence, who had made numerous friends in Tepic by the courage and humanity which he has displayed on several trying occasions, and his death was as unexpected as it was shocking to the whole community. Other outrages might be enumerated, but these are sufficient to illustrate the wretched state of the country and the unprotected condition of the persons and property of our citizens in Mexico.
"In all these cases our ministers have been constant and faithful in their demands for redress, but both they and this government, which they have successively represented, have been wholly powerless to make their demands effective. Their testimony in this respect, and in reference to the only remedy which, in their judgments, would meet the exigency, has been both uniform and emphatic. 'Nothing but a manifestation of the power of the Government of the United States, (wrote our late minister in 1856,) and of its purpose to punish these wrongs, will avail. I assure you that the universal belief here is, that there is nothing to be apprehended from the government of the United States, and that local Mexican officials can commit these outrages upon American citizens with absolute impunity.' 'I hope the President (wrote our present minister in August last) will feel authorized to ask from Congress the power to enter Mexico with the military forces of the United States, at the call of the constitutional authorities, in order to protect the citizens and the treaty rights of the United States. Unless such a power is conferred upon him, neither the one nor the other will be respected in the existing state of anarchy and disorder, and the outrages already perpetrated will never be chastised; and, as I assured you in my No. 23, all these evils must increase until every vestige of order and government disappears from the country.' I have been reluctantly led to the same opinion, and, in justice to my countrymen who have suffered wrongs from Mexico, and who may still suffer them, I feel bound to announce this conclusion to Congress."
Common humanity calls on us as a civilized people to arrest this state of anarchy and misrule. The K. G. C., in co-operation with the best and only reliable people in Mexico, have undertaken to infuse such an American element in the country as will lead to the establishment of a permanent and just government--if the threatening aspect of politics in our country and the disorganized condition of Mexico do not lead to the conclusion that the powers of the North and the South need balancing, and that Mexico is the weight to be thrown in the scales, then we are laboring under a wild and foolish delusion.
Under proper conditions, Mexico is the legitimate field of operations for the K. G. C., and hence some description of the country, its people, and their condition, must be of more or less interest to the Southern public. The relations of Mexico, either physically or politically considered to the commercial and political interests of the South, are strongly marked and worthy of serious attention.
In democratic nations there is only one example of pure syntheticism found, and that is the universal belief in the permanency of the laws of change, circumstance and progression. There is no inertia in American society. Every man, relying on himself, constantly struggles not only to excel others, but to carry every new enterprise further towards perfection than any of his former attempts. There is no such element as retrogression in our character. Our trade and commerce is now immense, yet no one dreams for a moment that it has reached its climax. We all look forward to the opening of new commercial relations and avenues to the acquirement of wealth; hence we contemplate a vast trade with China, Japan, and all the Pacific Isles, which, to follow the natural channel, must cross Mexico, on the line of the Old India Trade--from Acapulco to Vera Cruz, via of the city of Mexico, and thence to New Orleans, Mobile and Pensacola, to be distributed to the rest of the States of the Union, and even to the Canadas and Europe. To secure these advantages for the South, the Gulf of Mexico must be commanded, which can only be done by owning Mexico and the West Indies, or the principal of that group. This would not only give us the disbursement of that trade, but the whole commercial advantages of the Mississippi and its tributary valleys. That an enormous trade must be established between the Gulf States and what is now the Mexican Republic, the Western or Pacific States of America and the South of Asia and Polynesia, will hardly be denied, and the sooner Mexico is Americanized the sooner will that trade be established.
The Federal Government having no foreign policy, and being so cramped by legal restrictions on its powers, must remain an inactive spectator to the national advantages which present themselves, leaving the work solely in the hands of private enterprise. This want of a definite foreign policy has greatly retarded our national prosperity.
The safety of a republic, as all history shows, depends on two prominent principles, viz: aggression and conservative institutions--expansion and slavery.
The old Roman policy is still a republican necessity, wherever civilization is innately progressive, as it always is when directed by Anglo-Americanism.
Every other government, save ours, seems blessed with a foreign policy which has greatly added to their prosperity, but here the powers of government have been so distributed, so many checks and balances have been attached to every department, that there is little ability on the part of the government to protect our citizens either in the rights of their persons or in their property. A military policy adds to the intrinsic virtue and energy of the nation, and is always productive of great commercial prosperity. It is this which has made such a magnificent empire of France; but where the nation is reduced to a mere shopkeeper's idea, the people become effeminate, corrupt, and eventually a prey to nations where hardier practices have been adopted.
Mexico possesses over six thousand miles of sea-coast, is our next-door neighbor on the South, and produces just such articles as must tempt our people to establish commercial relations with her. She has an area of 830,000 square miles, and, considered as a mere agricultural nation, is capable of supporting a population of 256,000,000. Her population on the first day of January 1858 was 8,554,000, which is thus divided: native Europeans and Americans, 65,000 Mexican. "Creoles," (pure-blooded Europeans born in Mexico,) 1,591,820; native indigenous races, (old Anahuacan and Aztec tribes,) 2,208,824; mixed native and European, African and Asiatic races, (more commonly a mixture of Spanish, Indian and Negro,) 4,688,356.
If all the bad elements in Anglo-Saxon society were jumbled together, and trained in vice for a century, the result would give forth a better society than has resulted from Mexican amalgamation. They are a people who do not comprehend moral responsibilities, and, like the red man of America, seem ill adapted for the walks of civilized life. The only hours of peace and prosperity Mexico ever enjoyed since the Conquest, was under the Spanish Domination from 1518 to 1824. At that time the ambitious Mexicans, like the imitative monkeys, sought to imitate the British colonists by forming an independent republic.
Accordingly the Spaniards were destroyed or expelled, and ignorant Mexico set to work to manufacture the machinery of government, when at the same time she had not shaken off the mists and errors of barbarism.
It is quite true that the Mexicans had sufficient cause to rebel against Spain. When Cortez first landed in Mexico, in 1518, it was governed by a powerful Indian monarchy, under whose rule the arts had made very considerable advances; but the superior arms and energy of the Europeans, and the intestine feuds among the Indian nations, enabled Cortez and his followers to make an absolute conquest of the country, which for three hundred years was subject to the iron hand of Spanish Domination. The Indians were impoverished and kept in ignorance while the Spaniard ruled. All offices, from the Alcalde and Regider, were sold to the highest bidder, and the place was like an exchange bill--worth as much as it could be made to pay. Merchants, government officials and ecclesiastics could not be tried for crime in the ordinary courts of justice, and with other privileged classes, were safe from arrest or conviction when brought to trial before their own orders. The descendants of the conquerors (Creoles) found themselves interlopers on their own soil--and all classes, except the Guachupines, (European Spaniards,) reduced to vassalage. Of fifty Viceroys, who governed from 1535 to 1818, only one was born in the New World, and he was a Peruvian. The condition of the Creole was little better than that of his Indian serfs. To keep the people ignorant, learning was discouraged and no book could be circulated or read, until it had been examined and sanctioned by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. No Mexican could, under severe penalties, raise flax, hemp or saffron. The growing of tobacco was a government monopoly. The cultivation of the olive, the vine and the mulberry, was prevented, lest the trade of Spain should be injured. Limitations were placed on the productions of cocoa, indigo and sugar. The manufacture of all articles produced in the Mother Country was strictly prohibited, and the monopolies of introducing such articles were sold to the highest bidders. The civil, fiscal and criminal administration was frequently most unjust, tyrannical and partial; and the exactions by taxes, duties and tythes, exceedingly burdensome. This unhappy state of affairs was in some degree favored by the position of the Roman Catholic church in Mexico, which was, for a long period, rather a machine of the Court at Madrid, than a purely Catholic establishment. Before the revolution the Pope could only communicate with Spanish America through the Court at Madrid and the Council of the Indies. This explains why the Priests took the side of Spain during the war of Independence. It was the game of "You tickle me, and I tickle you." The church was not then, and is not now, a party in Mexico, but in self-defence joins one or the other parties as either one may promise it protection.
When the church has joined a party, it has had to furnish the money, and hence the party so being assisted has been denominated the "Church Party." The horrors of Mexican misrule becoming intolerable, led to the open rebellion which forced Spain to relinquish her grasp on Mexico. In October 1823, Vittoria proclaimed the Constitution. Iturbide, the Emperor, was driven out, and returning in 1824, was shot. At this time the opposing and contending parties in Mexico were the Creoles or natives, and the Guachupines or European Spaniards. The great mass of the lower orders sided mainly with the Creoles, who, proving victorious in 1829, decreed the expulsion of the Spaniards. At least two-thirds of those then remaining in Mexico were shot or driven out, and the conquerors set about making a government, but they were soon divided into Imperialists and Republicans. After protracted and sanguinary contests, the struggles between these factions terminated in the defeat of the Imperialists. This, however, did not bring peace, as the victors were again divided into Centralists and Federalists--a distinction not clear by their names, but which should be recognized as Federalists and Lateralist, or Statesrights parties. These parties were for a long while engaged in bloody battles, which were succeeded by the desperate struggles of the Escarses and Yorkinos, ("Scotch-Right" and "Ancient York," terms that will be understood by many of our readers.) Among the many names prominent in these struggles we find those of Hidalgo, Calleja, Truxillo, Iturbide, Rayon, Morelos, Metamores, Bravo, Concha, Mina, Galana, Santa Anna, Peredes, Victoria, Echavari, Pedraza, Barradas, Bustamenta, Commonfort, Zoluaga, Miramon, Juarez, and others of more or less notoriety, mixed up with conspiracies, pronunciamentos, against the government, the sacking of towns, the confiscation of estates, violated oaths, the seizure of supreme authority, want of money, plans to rob the church and property-holders, escapes to foreign ports and the like incidents. Now, in all this the People of Mexico have had no share, except as they have been forced into this or that army. It has been the army and its brigand officers who have produced all these evils. The people want Peace, and it is certain that they now mean to have it.
The Church in Mexico is controlled by about 300 high dignitaries who own real estate to the value of $298,000,000; with this immense property, most of it very productive, the Church dignitaries not only try to control the thousands of poor Priests, and through them the people, but she assumes to dictate laws and fill with agents, of her own selection, every place in the gift of the government, and when the people and poor Priests demur to such high-handed proceedings, she sends forth her brigand army to lay waste and devastate the land. She is rich, the people are poor, and thus the Church soon reduces the people to beggary. It is a repetition of the course of the Church in France, which led to the destruction of Louis XIV., and all the succeeding horrors, which were not checked until the strong arm of Napoleon confiscated the Church estates and reduced the ecclesiastics to their proper sphere of spiritual duties.
In Mexico little or no attempt is made to educate the people, except where they are intended for public functionaries, and even then it is exceedingly limited. A few have been educated in the United States, and these are the most enlightened and trustworthy men in Mexico.
Yet, in a country of 8,000,000 inhabitants, we might expect to find some worthy citizens, and though the number is small, such do exist. They deplore the reigning anarchy, and earnestly plead for American intervention. These are the foreigners who have settled in the country; the wealthy landed proprietors, the large grazers, miners and merchants. They want protection for their families and property. The people of Mexico are indolent only because the land is most prolific, and because there are neither markets nor roads, and even if there were, everything is so unsettled that the producer has no guarantee that he will ever reap the fruits of his toil. They are treacherous, because they are ignorant, and recognize their mental inferiority when in contact with the Anglo-American or British mind; they are thieves, only because honesty is not productive of social and public respectability. They are licentious, because virtue has no permanent recognition.
On the 5th of February 1857, the present Constitution of Mexico was adopted, and Commonfort was chosen President: but proving a traitor to his trust he fled the country. By the seventy-ninth Article of the Constitution, Benito Juarez, who was Judge of the Supreme Court, became his lawful successor. He, accordingly, on the 11th of January 1858, entered on his duties. In the meantime Felix Zualaga usurped the Presidency, and Juarez was driven from place to place until he finally reached Vera Cruz, where he established and has since held the Seat of Government. Zualaga was soon displaced by Robles, and he by Miguel Miramon, who but a short time before had been a robber chief in the mountains of Mexico. Since Miramon's accession to power the contest has been stoutly waged between Juarez, representing the people and Democratic principles, and Miramon, representing the Church party and European interests. While the Government of the United States has recognized Juarez as de facto and de jure President of Mexico, England, France and Spain, and other European powers, recognize Miramon's Government. The K. G. C. recognize no government in Mexico save that of the Constitution of 1857, represented by Juarez, and in this they not only sustain the Government, but they express the sentiments of a vast majority of our own people.
Yet, with all her struggles--all her scenes of anarchy and waste, a few months of peace seem to be quite sufficient to re-enrich this American Italy. Her fruitfulness is astonishing. On comparison we shall find that no portion of the world rivals Mexico in all the elements of wealth and comfort. She produces every fruit, flower and plant of the torrid zone, and every cereal tree and fruit of more Northern and temperate regions. Baron Humboldt tells us, "There is scarcely a plant in the rest of the world, which is not susceptible of cultivation in one or the other part of Mexico." In animal life she is quite as much favored. There are one hundred and thirteen species of land birds known in Mexico; of these eleven are natives also of South America; thirty four of the United States, while sixty-eight are peculiar to Mexico. The stock of wild and domestic animals is immense.
The soil of Mexico is mostly alluvial, and in general, extremely fertile. Where it cannot be irrigated there are arid spots, in which we find a super-abundance of carbonate of soda, rendering vegetation meagre. On the Eastern border of the great plains, there are districts so covered with lava as to be unfit for cultivation, and narrow sandy strips immediately on the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast, having a similar bad character; but of the whole vast territory of Mexico, stretching from the fifteenth to the thirty-second degree of North latitude, and from the eighty-seventh to the one hundred and twenty-fifth degree of West longitude, there is but a small part which is not admirably adapted to tillage or grazing. The magnificent table lands have the climate of Southern Europe, and a vastly richer soil. Of corn, this American Italy has yielded as high as eight hundred bushels for one of seed. A yield of three or four hundred for one is not uncommon, and even during the poorest years the crops will be eighty to one. Near Puebla, forty to one is the usual return of wheat. At Zelaya, Salamanca and Santiago, forty-five for one is the usual yield of wheat. The table lands produce vast crops of large and small grains, as also an abundance of cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, apples, pears, figs and pomegranates. The capsicum is grown in fields, and there are many large plantations of the American aloe, from which the cider-like drink, pulque, is produced. The people on these table lands live, mainly, on corn, but they grow large quantities of wheat, rye, barley and potatoes. Nowhere in the world is there a greater abundance of vegetable food.
The lower districts grow, in profusion, all the tropical fruits. There are extensive plantations of plantains, maniac, oxalis, tuberosa, discocerea alata, and batatas. Potatoes are frequently from fifteen to eighteen inches in circumference. Oranges, lemons, guavas and pine applies are abundant. Great quantities of rice are grown on the Rio Huasacualco. Bananas, an acre of which will feed fifty men, while an acre of wheat will feed only three men, are grown with the utmost ease. The olive and the vine flourish everywhere, as also melons and potatoes. Mulberry trees do well, and silk can be cultivated advantageously. Sugar-cane is well adapted to the warmer districts. In the States of Mexico, Puebla, Vera Cruz, Michoacan, Tobasco and Oaxaca, there are annually produced 40,000,000 lbs. of sugar, worth nearly $3,000,000. Coffee of the best quality, and in abundance, is produced in the districts of Autlan and Tepic, in Jalisco; and in Cuernavaca, Colima, and parts of Vera Cruz, it is not only produced in quantities, but it is equal in quality to any in the world.
Tobacco is produced in many parts, but that of Tobasco is most superior, and is thought to be equal to that of Cuba. Indigo grows wild, and in any required amount in Oaxaca, Jalisco, Colima, Tobasco, Yucatan, Campeaché, Chiapas and Michoacan. Coacoa is produced in large quantities in Chiapas and in the disputed district of Soconusco, as also in Yucatan and Campeaché. The flax and hemp of Michoacan are of the finest quality and most abundant. Strange to say, that while the cotton plant grows spontaneously in many parts of Mexico, and propagates itself, yet in all Mexico not more than 25,000 bales, of 400 lbs. each, are produced. The cotton lands of Mexico are capable of supplying the world's demand, yet the Mexicans buy large quanties from us. The State of Oaxaca alone produces $1,000,000 worth of cochineal. The vanilla bean is extensively cultivated in Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, and is a product of great importance. The grape is extensively cultivated in Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, Durango, Zacatecas and Jalisco; and the production of brandy is considerable. The black bean, which is to the Mexicans what the potato is to the Irish, is produced every where.
In Guanajuate and Quartero, and in Sonora, it is claimed that the yield of wheat is commonly sixty to one, and often one hundred to one. Barley is one of the most important products. The forests of Mexico possess an inexhaustible source of wealth. The production of silver is even now, with anarchy reigning throughout the country, nearly $35,000,000--one half of which is smuggled out. The taxable property is more than fifteen hundred millions, (1500,000,000.)
The value of the real estate held by the Romish Church in Mexico in nearly $300,000,000. At least one half of the property of the city of Mexico, with a population of 200,000, is owned by the clergy. The income of these meek disciples is $27,000,000, with which the upper dignitaries, of whom there are only about 300, maintain a princely style. The whole number of priests in Mexico is 4,678, of whom 4,378 are mere curates, who get a salary barely sufficient to support them. These lower priests side with Juarez and the people against Miramon and the high dignitaries, but they dare not express themselves in districts held by Miramon. The Church of Mexico enjoys revenues half as large as the whole amount collected by the Government of the U. S.
The foreign and domestic debt of Mexico, founded in just claims, is one hundred and twenty-eight millions of dollars, ($128,000,000,) of which nearly $63,000,000 is due to foreign governments--Great Britain holding at least three-fourths of this amount. For several years past there has been an annual governmental deficit of fully $15,000,000. Now, the question naturally arises, how is Mexico ever to pay these debts? The answer is plain. By developing her resources, and confiscating all Church estates and property not strictly appertaining to the discharge of the ordinances of religion. For the justice of such confiscation by the State, the intelligent reader is respectfully referred to Vattel on the Laws of Nations. Until this is done, Mexico can have neither peace nor liberty.
A country blessed with so many elements of wealth as Mexico need not be poor. With all her wars and scenes of confusion--with all her checks to trade, commerce, agriculture and mining, we nevertheless find that her agricultural products alone amount to $304,000,000. Her manufactures consist mainly of arguadiente, sugar, mescal, soap, oil, wine, brandy, delft-ware, glass, paper, cotton cloth and thread, woollen and silk cloth and thread, and many other articles of less importance. The value of manufactures of all kinds in Mexico exceeds $122,000,000. These sums, together with her mining products, show that
Mexico produces annually $461,000,000, on which she does an exchange trade of $64,000,000--only one-ninth of which is enjoyed by American citizens.
Under American management she would produce more than $900,000,000 annually. With the finest mining country in the world, all Mexico does not produce as much in value of the precious metals as the little State of California, Americanized only twelve years ago. For California now produces about $50,000,000 per annum. The export trade of Mexico is $32,000,000, or four dollars to each inhabitant. That of the United States is nearly $340,000,000, or nearly twelve dollars each for our whole population. What a commentary on Spanish American enterprise!
Mexico has yielded from her mines, since the Cortezean conquest, nearly $3,000,000,000, figures altogether incomprehensible in their real meaning--nearly one hundred thousand tons of silver and gold. A train of four-horse wagons, loaded with this treasure, would reach from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee; or from Portland, Maine, to New York city--and if distributed equally to the inhabitants of the United States, of all ages, sexes and conditions, would give to each one thousand dollars apiece! Is this not an empire worthy of being reduced to civilization?
It has been said, though, that Mexico is not adapted to slave labor. Let us see by comparing it with Brazil. There are nearly 3,000,000 slaves in Brazil, whose value is quite as great as it is here, and in some cases sales have been made at figures which would astonish even our own planters. In 1850, the decree preventing their further importation, was promulgated, and now the want of labor is so much felt that the people, and several papers, are strongly urging the re-opening of the African slave trade. The Brazilians unwisely introduced three men to one woman, and the consequence is, that there is little or no natural increase of slaves in Brazil. Now, Brazil has no production in the culture of which slaves may be employed that Mexico does not equally enjoy, while Mexico has her cotton and mining districts to add to her superiority. Then, if Brazil, through her slave institutions, has elevated herself to the highest position among the South American Nationalities, why should not slave institutions equally elevate Mexico over her present pitiable condition?
Our friends in Mexico, the property holders, and peaceable citizens, tell us there is no hope, but in our intervention to redeem this American Garden--this hot-bed of wealth and prosperity. As our Government cannot, and should not, for obvious reasons, interfere, every friend to the interest of the South should assist in raising the funds to place the K. G. C. in Mexico. The Government has been notified, in various ways, of the intentions of the K. G. C. Mr. Cox, a member from Ohio, in a recent speech in the House of Representatives holds this language: "I know that such movements are now in process of organization.
They may have a peaceful appearance. They are led by the Knights of the Golden Circle, whose mystic 'K. G. C.' has the magic of Prince Arthur's horn, which could not only call his thousand liegemen at the blast, but before whose blast the enemy fell down. * * * * The gentlemen in this country connected with these movements are men of military tact, and approved courage. They profess to obey our neutrality laws; they will not infract them; but if they go into Mexico, they will go as emigrants, on invitation, and carry the appliances of Art, Manufacture and Agriculture. Of course they cannot go unarmed to such a country." Further on in his arguments, urging the Government to take the work out of our hands, he again says: "These are the movements of an active age.
They indicate health, not disease--growth, not decay. They are links in the endless chain of Providence. They prove the mutability of the most imperial of human institutions; but, to the philosophic observer, they move by a law as fixed as that which makes the decay of autumn the herald of spring. They obey the same law by which the constellations change their places in the sky. Astronomers tell us that the 'southern cross,' which guided the adventurer upon the Spanish main four centuries ago, and which now can be seen, the most beautiful emblem of our salvation, shining down through a Cuban and Mexican night, just before the Christian era, glittered in our northern heavens! The same GREAT WILL, which knows no North and no South, and which is sending again, by an irreversible law, the southern cross to our northern skies, on its everlasting cycle of emigration--does it not control the revolutions of nations and vicissitudes of empires? The very stars in their courses are 'Knights of the Golden Circle,' and illustrate the record of human advancement. They are the type of that territorial expansion from which this American Continent cannot be exempted without annihilation. The finger of Providence points to our nation as the guiding star of this progress. Let him who would either dusk its radiancy, or make it the meteor of a moment, cast again with nicer heed our nation's horoscope."
Here was a northern man urging the passage of the Mexican treaty, concocted by Mr. McLane and Senor O'Campo, warning the Congress of the United States, through the Military Committee, of the certainty of the accomplishment of our objects, if the Senate did not ratify the Mexican treaty. As that body failed to recognize the treaty, the clear inference is they recognized the legality of our movement, and our ability to do all we propose, viz: to Americanize Mexico.
Southern citizens, we ask you to contemplate a nation which has had 35 separate and distinct Governments in 36 years, with 72 rulers, only two of whom have served their full terms, and that an adjoining country asking you to rescue them from war and bloodshed--from murder and pillage--from rape and arson--willing to divide with and be governed by your counsels. Can you find it in your hearts to respond negatively? We have sympathy for the Turk, the African, the Moore, the Hungarians, the Poles, Sicilians, Italians and Irish, yet we have none for our neighbors, the poor Mexicans! On other considerations than those of humanity, you must do it in self defence, as we shall hereafter show.
But let us look at the resulting influences of our success on our American politics: In the first place, the mere announcement that the K. G. C. had crossed the Rio Grande, or landed at Vera Cruz with a force of ten or fifteen thousand men, would of itself be sufficient to divert the attention of the nation from the bitter sectional strifes that now threaten us with civil war. It would touch the cupidity of the northern merchant and manufacturer, by holding up to each new markets for the disposition of their goods; it would prove to the northern people that we were determined to balance the political powers of the nation and to strengthen ourselves to resist the coercive oppression of sectional legislation. It would plant a Southern Colony, with Southern habits and Southern institutions, where otherwise the fallacies and fanaticisms of the North are sure to go, if we do not move soon. It would change the centre of American population, and give to the South the majority of representatives in both branches of the National Council. It would bring into the Union, or in case it was refused on the ground of slave institutions, into the Southern Confederacy, twenty-five Southern States, with fifty Southern Senators and sixty or more Southern representatives. It would increase the commercial power of the South to such a degree, that our large cities would be compelled to build up direct trade with Europe. It would give openings to the discontented politicians, and enable the South to safely dispense with all the territory North of 34° N. L. for Northern settlement, and still have a preponderance. Mexico has a population nearly as large as that of the Southern States in 1850, and an area of territory quite as large. It would give us all the elements of empire and prosperity. The K. G. C. would not at once ask that the States of Mexico be admitted to the Union, but they would Americanize it--plant our institutions there, and build up a separate nationality, as in the case of Texas, adopt such a policy as the South most needs, and under the ægis of our flag gain perfect and complete control of the Gulf of Mexico.
If the South should be pressed out of the Union, we should at once join her and as a unit resist all enemies to our rights and interests. We would buy her cotton and manufacture it, and give her in return our coffee, fruits and gold and silver. We would keep pure and undefiled the religion of our fathers from the contaminations of the abominable heresies of Northern fanaticism, freesoil, fuerorism, socialism, abolitionism, spiritualism, Mormonism and other eutopianisms.
We would not draw slaves from the present slave States; but we would organize and remedy the defects of the present Peon system of Mexico, and adopt the apprentice system of England, the old system of Brazil, and protect by law all Africans landed on our shores. While we would not open or engage in the slave trade, if others took the risks of delivering we should protect them when once landed. We should never return the poor degraded Africans now at Key West, to their old haunts of misery, superstition and heathen barbarities.
We would say to the world, the white man is and always has been superior to the black man, and we prefer the blacks as slaves to having them in our midst as equal citizens. The success of the K G. C. would compel the Northern States to repeal their treasonable laws which were enacted to thwart the provisions of the fugitive slave law. It would put an end to the necessity of our keeping a fleet in Mexican ports to protect Americans. It would kill out the Wall Street and New Orleans lobbies who are constantly compromising the government to assist them in nefarious schemes to plunder the Mexicans. It would guarantee peace and order to the Texan frontier; and the development of the valley of the Rio Grande and our Arizonia possessions, and greatly enhance the necessity and value of the Southern Pacific railroad. It would develope shipbuilding, manufacture and mining in the South, and more equally distribute the population of the country. It would employ all classes and enrich the industrious and sober. It would bring back the days of political harmony and help us with the friendly struggles of the old Whig and Democratic parties to outvie each other in serving the best interests of a common country.
The organization of the K. G. C. is simple, yet we believe well adapted to the ends in view. It was originated at Lexington, Kentucky, on the fourth day of July 1854, by five gentlemen who came together on a call made by Gen. George Bickley, the President of the American Legion K. G. C. Only two of the five organizing members have survived to the present time. A clause in the fourth article of the obligation states, "I will never desert the order or its arms as long as five brothers can be found who remain true to its work, and in case of the death of our chief officer, I will, in concert with my brother Knights who have our sacred word and dugard, proceed to elect by a majority vote a successor to the said President, and such successor shall vow to carry out the true objects of this confederation of knighthood." The third degree has been given to but few persons, and to show that the gentlemen who assumed its responsibilities were in earnest when they took its vows, we beg to quote from the degree work the prayer which each had repeated, on bended knee, before taking those vows:
"O! God, thou creator of all things, incline us to wisdom and virtue. Protect and guard us, O! King of Kings, against hypocricy and deceit. Solemnly impress us, Omnipotent God, that we are but men, and must give an honest account of every thought and deed unto thee. Prepare us to fulfill all the duties we are about taking on ourselves, and make us as we profess to be, brothers indeed. Make us better men, wiser and more trustworthy, and deliver us from every temptation that may be cast in our way to cause us to violate our solemn vows. Hear and protect us, O! Father, as thy sons, working for the glory of thy name, and the common good of our fellow men; make us true and faithful in all our duties to one another, and when danger threatens us, do thou be our shield and our defence--and as Christ suffered death for us, so incline us to die for one another. And now, Master, be with us in this our meeting; conduct us safely through life, and finally bring us home to thy kingdom, full of honor and glory, for Christ's sake. Amen."
The men who pledged themselves to die by their institution, and whose hearts had been prepared for calm reflection by the above prayer, would not likely take any very rash steps. And the organization of the K. G. C. clearly shows that there was a very considerable amount of intellect employed in arranging the scheme. It is divided into three prominent divisions, and these divisions are again divided into classes, while again the classes are divided into departments.
There is the first division, which is absolutely a Military Degree, appealing strongly to the chivalry and martial pride of our people. It is divided into two classes--denominated the Foreign and Home Guards. The first is composed of such worthy and eligible men as wish to participate in the wild, glorious and thrilling adventures of a campaign in Mexico, and who constitute the active army of the K. G. C. The second class, or Home Guard, embraces such members of the first degree or division, as are over age for active duty, or who are from disease or deformity, incapacitated for military duty, and such ministers, lawyers, judges, officials, merchants and aged gentlemen as are willing to assist and who sympathize with the order, but cannot from circumstances participate. In this Home Guard there are many of the first men of the South, and a large number of Ladies of wealth and respectability--for Southern Ladies are admitted to the first and second degree, but not to the third. The first of these classes--the Foreign Guard, is divided into all the departments of a well organized army. The second class--the Home Guard, has but two functions, viz: to assist in raising means for the provision of material and transportation of the army, and to defend us from misrepresentation during our absence. They know all that transpires or that is contemplated, and enjoy certain remunerative advantages and privileges that may not here be explained.
The second division or degree is also divided into two classes--the "Foreign" and "Home" Corps--each of which has its special duties. This is the commercial and financial division; the "Foreign Corps" becomes suttlers, commercial agents, paymasters, postmasters, clerks, physicians, ministers, teachers, editors, hunters, negotiators, &c., &c. The "Home Corps" assist by their advice, and exertions and contributions in getting money, arms, ammunition, clothing and other necessary material, and in forwarding the same to the army, and in assisting to direct public sentiment in proper channels, and in sending on recruits as fast as needed.
The third division or degree is also divided into two classes, the "Foreign and Home Councils." This is the political or governing division. The "Home Council" is one of pure advisement, and takes no active steps. It is unknown to the public or the first division of the K. G. C., and is intended to guard us against infractions of the law. Like other "Home" classes it enjoys advantages known only to the order. The Foreign Council is divided into ten departments, representing respectively the interests of agriculture, education, manufacture, finance, religion, police, war, navigation, law and foreign relations. Also from the "Foreign Council" there is selected three classes as a high court of appeals and entrusted with the making laws for the government of the K. G. C.
These classes represent respectively the interests of capital, manufacturing and mining interests, and the interests of commerce and agriculture.
The army is composed of four divisions of four thousand men each. Each division has four regiments and each regiment ten companies. There is one Major General, four Brigadier Generals, sixteen Colonels and sixteen Lieutenant Colonels. Thirty-two Majors, and one hundred and sixty Captains and their company officers, besides staff and department officers. The pay of the army and departments is one-eighth more than the salaries of the U. S. Army. For those of the privates who settle in the country 640 acres of land; those who return to the U. S. 320 acres of land or $400 in money. Pensions are provided for those who may be disabled. The rations and clothing are ample. The land for officers is proportioned to rank.
Volunteers who are not members of the K. G. C., if of worthy character, when presented in companies of over sixty-four, are accepted, if delivered at our camp in Texas, say Brownsville, free of cost, for six, twelve, or eighteen months service, as they may prefer. They must be armed and uniformed--not otherwise necessarily provided. Their pay will be the same as that of the army of the K. G. C. Their land donations will be one half for six and twelve months volunteers, and the same for those who serve eighteen months. No pensions are now provided for volunteer troops, but we hope to provide such. Those wishing to enlist as volunteers, must apply to the President of the Legion at Knoxville, Tennessee.
The K. G. C. is composed of such Southern men as are of good moral character, or of such worthy Northern men as live in the South and heartily concur with us in our determination to stand by the constitutional rights of the South. No man can be lawfully initiated into this organization who is a confirmed drunkard, rowdy, professional gambler, or who has been convicted of murder, theft or any similar heinous offence. The membership now numbers nearly 48,000. Though the army is less than 14,000 men strong. However accretions are being daily received, and it is not too much to say that we could muster 100,000 men as easy as 20,000, if we could provide the money to put them in the field.
But it may be asked what interest the South has in the operations of the K. G. C. [We mean by "South" all the slave States, and though some three or four of them are already rotten to the core with abolitionism--we wish to include them all in our use of the term "South." Yet to prevent misapprehension, we beg to distinctly aver that we mean by the term South all the citizens of slaveholding States who mean to assist in guaranteeing to the slaveholders their constitutional rights to take their slaves where they please and enjoy the profits of their labor, within the boundaries of the U. S. Territory. They constitute a class and we use the word "South" as a singular noun, representing a class.] We mean to be clearly apprehended in our answer to the above. We wish it clearly understood throughout the world, that we are Southern men, born on Southern soil, with Southern interests and relations, and that, right or wrong, according to the standard of the majority, we shall stand firm in our allegiance to the citizens and interests of the land of our birth, and we will be her Van Guard of defence, no matter from what quarter she may be attacked. The President of this Legion, who controls management thereof, is one of a family who have lived within a circle of fifty miles of Jamestown, Virginia, for two hundred and thirty four years, and if he were willing, we would not permit him to prove false to the interests of the slaveholders of the South and of the Old Dominion. He is now, as he has always been, of us, and he must be with us, in every right and lawful enterprise, intended to protect and defend the old commonwealth, and her sister States of the South.
We beg to answer the question of "What interest the South has in the success of the K. G. C.?" In doing so, we wish to be brief and explicit. Unless the area and representative power of the South is increased, there will be, from this time forward, no possibility of securing, through the congress of the nation, the passage of laws which are beneficial, protective and necessary for the South and the institutions and systems peculiar to the South. We are growing weaker every day, and have been so growing weaker gradually but visibly since 1830. The Southern States were stronger in 1840 than in 1850, and stronger then than now, (1860.) Speaking in military sense, we admit the South is stronger now than ever before, because her people are now united and determined, and because our slave property is now worth vastly more than it was in 1850. We then had 3,200,000 slaves, with an average age of eighteen and a half years. Of these 1,500,000 were male and 1,700,000 female. The average value of the males was then $400, and of the females $300, giving as the total value of our slave property in the South $1,110,000,000. In 1860, by approximation, we have no less than 4,308,000 slaves in the South, having an average value of $550, and worth in the aggregate the enormous sum of $2,369,400,000. In 1850 our total white population was 6,200,000, and the average money interest of our white population in negro slavery was $180. Our white population in 1860 is 8,100,000, and the interest of each white person in the South, supposing negro property to be equally distributed, is $300, or nearly double as much as it was in 1850. Not only is the increase of interest observable in the enhanced value of negro property, but we cannot fail to observe the increase in the products of this slave property. In 1850 we exported cotton to the value of $78,000,000, or about six per cent. on our slave property. In 1860 we export, or did in 1859, $162,000,000 worth of cotton, paying an interest on slave investments of nearly eight per cent. The total value of productions in the South is $454,000,000 per annum. And until the people of the Slave States get their consent to pay such a tribute to the North, for the advantages of the Union, there will be no cessation of slave agitation, or brotherly feeling with the North, unless some guarantees are given us that our property will not be wrested from us by some ill-advised law of a fanatical majority. The protection of this immense interest, and the repulsion of every encroaching step thereon by abolitionism, is the work of the K. G. C., and as such an order, it merits the assistance of every Southern man--and it is their duty to become K. G. C.'s, so that the whole of the Southern States may be tied together by a Circle of Gold.
Our people must present an unbroken front--no divisions should now be tolerated. The old party issues should be forgotten, and we should have but one Electoral Ticket in the South, and that should be for a representative man. We now need men who will step boldly out and declare themselves either for or against us. The disposition to "shirk" the question and issue is ill-adapted to the dangers which now threaten us. Let us know our friends and our enemies.
The K. G. C. has met with every species of opposition, and from the least anticipated sources. The "Democrats" have accused us of "Opposition," and the "Opposition" have accused us of "Democracy." The Protestant press has accused us of Romanism, and the Popish press of an intention to wage a war on the Roman Catholic religion. So the strong inference is, that we are not guilty in either case. To show that we eschew politics and religion, we beg to quote a single paragraph from our first degree work, and then the public is respectfully referred to our Rules and Regulations as adopted by the K. G. C. Congress in 1859.
"If you should not like us after you have received the first degree of our Order, you are at entire liberty to resign, and in so doing, you in no way compromise your honor. In so resigning, you give up all incurred responsibilities save that of honorable secrecy. We shall not interfere with either your politics or religion." (Decree of the K. I. H.)
The opposition we have met has been the result of ignorance on the part of our opposers. Politicians who have been so long in the habit of studying those policies which will secure them place, no odds at what sacrifice, avoid us because they fear we will commit them to the real interests of the people. They advance the most ridiculous objections without a knowledge of our true character, and thus lead others to distrust the K. G. C. Again, there are men in the South that are no friends to the slavery institution, and who are Union men, per se. Such oppose us because this is a Southern association, and is for the South first, and then the Union. Then we have a timid class, who say it is wrong to thrust ourselves on the Mexicans, as bloodshed must follow. Such men forget what the Plymouth and Jamestown colonists did, and lose sight of the results which have followed. There is a mercantile objection, viz., that the K. G. C. will not "pay." To this objection we refer to the history of the Hudson's Bay and East India Companies. The K. G. C. is precisely such an association as those, and as they won empires for Great Britain, so may the K. G. C. for a Southern Confederacy.
Others object to us, because they say we contemplate the violation of the laws of the land. In answer to this we beg to insert the 4th article of our obligation of the first degree:
"4. You do each swear to obey the laws of the United States, provided the same are consistent with the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States and the State in which you live; that you will do no act of which an American citizen should be ashamed?"
Others again say it must be an association of desperate men, and therefore must embrace the rowdies of the land. To this we again answer by quoting the second paragraph of our obligations:
"2. You swear to keep secret from all persons, except to Knights of the Golden Circle, the signs, pass-words, grips and tokens of this degree; and that you will oppose admitting confirmed drunkards, rowdies or felons to membership?"
Others say if our object is a worthy one, why have a secret attached to it--why not come out openly and avow every thing? To this we beg to say, we have seen too many noble efforts fail because they were engrafted on our political systems. Bad and designing men would use us for political purposes, to which we decidedly object. Besides, if all plans were public, every aspirant would be getting up an opposition or competition movement; and for various other reasons well understood by our members, we choose to hold within our control much of the work of the K. G. C. There never has been a resignation of a third degree member, and but few first and second degree members, and as the public who have had our whole work explained find nothing objectionable in its secrecy, it may be presumed there is nothing we need be ashamed of. We do not hesitate to say the Order is founded on selfish interests--but we hope our selfishness is not narrow or individual.
Others of our people are timid, lest England, France or Spain may interfere, and bring our Government into conflict with either of those powers. England has an immense interest at stake in Mexico, and would gladly see the country blessed with stable institutions. The field for Napoleon's energies is Europe--besides, France wishes to see permanent government in Mexico. Spain will probably interfere, but she will do so, if at all, at the sacrifice of her West Indian Possessions. Our own Government is only asked to adhere to the faith and practice of the Monroe doctrine, and to execute rigidly the neutrality laws--since we do not go to Mexico as fillibusters, to rob, burn and devastate--but as colonists, to assist those who have the right to ask, in reducing the country to peace and quiet, and to destroy the Brigandage of Mexico, so she may be developed.
The chief difficulties the K. G. C. have had has arisen from disappointed aspirants, and a few worthless characters who had forced themselves into the Order for the purpose of destroying it. These parties, in some instances, were paid by the enemies of the South and the people of Mexico for their unmanly work.
The most serious of these difficulties occurred last winter in New Orleans, not from the regular Order, but in consequence of an attempt of about 1,000 outsiders, who had been hurriedly gotten together by a designing man, to break up the Order, if admitted or recognized, and if not, to attempt its destruction by creating a division in our ranks. As explanatory we beg to insert a card published at Marshall, Texas, by Major Sam. J. Richardson:
"A Card to the K. G. C. of Texas.--Having been absent from the State since the last of February, to examine into the affairs of the Order, it becomes my duty to report to you my knowledge of the same. General Greer and myself went to New Orleans at that time to meet Gen. Bickley in person, and arrange for our departure at an early day; but on our arrival found the condition of affairs different from what we had anticipated, and consequently were disappointed in every expectation. After a few days' conference with him and other prominent members of the organization, and a satisfactory understanding with all parties, he left for Alabama and Georgia, to raise the necessary means to outfit and move our Division immediately, with every probability of success; but before having completed his mission, was telegraphed by certain individuals, from New Orleans day by day, to return forthwith, he done so; but only to find anarchy and confusion. A few disaffected persons, or to speak more truly, who had worked themselves into the Order for no other purpose than to attempt to break it up--who had been members less than a month, clamoring for departure and aspiring to position, and to whom could not be confided the plans and movements--assailed him through the press, and threatening to assault him on the streets. After remaining several days, with this state of affairs existing, it was evident that nothing could then be accomplished there. Through the advice of his friends, he left for Mobile, Alabama, to prepare an address and general order to the K. G. C. of the Southern States to meet in Convention, at Raleigh, N. C., on the 7th of May next:
"To elect a permanent Commander-in-Chief of the K. G. C. to organize the several departments of the same.
"To elect a permanent Final Chairman, and to thoroughly organize the moneyed department of the K. G. C.
"To elect a permanent President of the third, or governing department, and to enact a code in accordance with the laws of the United States, and the objects of the association, and to provide a board of advisement.
"To determine upon equipment and time of motion, and to prepare an address to the people of the Southern States--and all other business pertaining to the K. G. C.
"I much regret that in consequence of our remote position that this order and address did not reach here in time to be generally circulated among the Castles of our State, so that we could be fully represented; but I feel assured, from my knowledge of the material of which the K. G. C. is composed, that nothing will be done that we will not heartily co-operate with; and would ask all enrolled members to still adhere to the standard of 56, and not listen to the bickerings of this disorganizing element, which will soon be cut off from us. The ultimate aim of the K. G. C. is one that will be endorsed by every true Southern man. It is not dead, but a force of circumstances has temporarily suspended its operations, only to again come forth with renewed vigor and brightened prospects. The South demands it, and no power can avert its final success.
Sam. J. Richardson.
Marshall, Texas, April 27, 1860."
Major Henry C. Castellanos, the Commandant (civil) of the 2nd La. Reg., under date of April 17th, says: "I saw Captain F. and others in relation to the troubles that have been perfidiously gotten up here, and find them staunch and true to the cause. You can depend on one regiment of twelve hundred men from New Orleans, composed of good, efficient and well disciplined troops. The Creoles and French will stand by you and by the organization." Thousands of similar letters have been received, but they cannot be introduced here. It is sufficient to refer the reader to the proceedings of the Convention, which assembled at Raleigh, N. C., on the 7th of May, 1860, in which the Commander-in-Chief, who was compelled to resign in order to leave the Convention unembarrassed, but, after a full investigation of the N. O. troubles, he was unanimously chosen permanent President of the K. G. C. organization. One occupying such a place, in such an order, must expect to incur the displeasure of many persons, and he must suffer in silence, as if he stopped to defend himself from the malignant attacks of every disappointed hunter after place, he would never be able to effect anything. Time and success will vindicate him better than any defence. The K. G. C. has been pretty well renovated and cleared of its loose characters, and the work will continue while one remains.
It is a notorious fact, that the President of the K. G. C. has, on numerous occasions, been personated by other men, who have tried to make money out of the organization. This can never occur again. We have had some difficulties arising from mere impatience on the part of members, but this has not been serious.
Again, we have found dissatisfaction where irresponsible men have tried to organize the work, and misrepresented the actual character and condition of the Order. So, in Mexico, some of our friends have grown a little impatient at our long delay in moving; but this they should remember, that this is a private enterprise, and that the raising money enough to move such an army as the K. G. C. is no small matter.
Besides, it was never understood that we should move until the conditions presented themselves so as to enable us to avoid an infraction of either our laws or those of Mexico. Those conditions have culminated, and now, if we can provide ourselves with the additional sum of ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS
($120,000) to purchase our ammunition, we shall move at the time indicated in our degree works, and to the place mentioned therein. We shall do all that is possible, and we only ask other Southern men to help us as they feel able.
The proceedings of the Convention of May 7th, 1860, which have been extensively published, are reproduced here in part only, as most of the work there was of a private character. Names are, in some instances, omitted also, as we are not authorized to use them:
K. G. C.--CONVENTION OF KNIGHTS.
The first and second day's proceedings, which were denied the public, referred to the ceremonial of the Order, and could not be published.
The Convention assembled at half past 8 A. M. Col. R. C. Tyler was called to the Chair, and Major J. Ross Howard was appointed Secretary.
On motion it was resolved to change the ceremonial of the first and second degrees, and furnish them to the proper officers. The third or governing degree to remain unchanged. For this purpose Gen. Geo. Bickley, Gen. N. J. Scott, Col. V. D. Groner, and by resolution of the Convention Col. R. C. Tyler was added, as the committee to perform this labor.
Gen. Bickley then handed in his resignation as commander-in-chief of the military department, which was accepted.
Chaplain Spangler moved that the election of a permanent commander-in-chief of the military department be deferred until the assembling of the military convention, to be called by this Convention.
The motion was adopted.
The following resolution, after some debate, was finally unanimously dopted:
Resolved, That the commissions of Colonels of Regiments, heretofore issued, are by this Convention confirmed, also those of such subordinate officers as are recommended by the said Colonels.
On motion, it was resolved to go into the election of Quartermaster General and other department officers, when the following gentlemen were unanimously elected to fill the several places following their names: R. C. Tyler, Quartermaster General; Nat. J. Scott, Paymaster General; Jno. R. W. Dunbar, M. D., Surgeon General; J. Morris Wanpler, Engineer General; Rev. Isaac Spangler, Chaplain General; A. McGibbony, Police General.
The following resolutions were then adopted:
Resolved, 1st. That the regimental subordinates of the several departments shall be nominated by the Colonels of Regiments, and commissioned by the Department Generals.
Resolved, 2d. That Commandants of States shall have power to enact By-Laws for the government of the K. G. C., in their respective States, provided the same shall in no way conflict with the laws of the Order, or of the United States.
Resolved, 3d. That the Paymaster General shall be the permanent Chairman of the Finance Bureau, and that he shall fully organize the department of Finance, and deposit all moneys collected in a suitable bank, and giving satisfactory security for the faithful performance of the same.
The next business in order was to elect a permanent President of the third or governing department of the K. G. C. The Convention unanimously elected General George Bickley, President of the American Legion K. G. C. General Bickley requested the appointment of a Board of Advisement, when a gentleman from Maryland offered the following resolution, which was adopted:
Resolved, By the Convention, that the Board of Advisement to our President, Gen. Bickley, shall consist of the heads of the several departments--the Colonels of Regiments, and their superior officers in the military department.
The Convention reassembled at 3 o'clock, P. M. On motion, it was
Resolved, 1st. That the manner and style of equipment of arms, ordnance stores and other material be referred to the President and Board of Advisement to act upon at their earliest convenience.
Resolved, 2d. That the head-quarters of the President of the American Legion K. G. C. shall be at Knoxville, Tenn., until the first day of November, 1860, after which it shall be at the second degree password.
Resolved, 3d. That a committee be appointed to prepare an address to the people of the Southern States, on the objects and aims of the Knights of the Golden Circle.
Resolved, 4th. That the heads of the different departments of the K. G. C. be governed by the rules of the United States regulations as specified in their several departments.
Fourth Day Proceedings.
At nine o'clock the President called the Convention to order. The first business in order was the election of Postmaster General, when the following resolutions, after some deliberation, were adopted:
Resolved, That the election of a Postmaster General be referred to the President and Board of Advisements, and authorizing the election and appointment of said officer when, in their judgment, the election of said officer will contribute to the good of the Order.
Resolved, That the various officers of the K. G. C. be required to wear the emblems of their several departments as set forth in the new degree work.
Resolved, That all K. G. C.'s heretofore initiated under the present work, and having proved themselves worthy, shall be re-initiated as soon as possible after the publication of the said degree works, without any additional expense.
Resolved, That from and after the twentieth day of May, 1860, and the fees of the first degree shall be one dollar, of the second degree five dollars, and that of the third degree ten dollars, and that the weekly dues of the several degrees shall be fixed by Colonels of Regiments in their respective jurisdiction, and that it shall be unlawful for any one hereafter to be initiated in either of said degrees until the fees of the same have been paid to the proper officers.
After the above resolutions had been duly recorded, the following letter and resolutions were presented by the Maryland delegation, and unanimously adopted,
Head Quarters 1st. Md. Regiment K. G. C.,
Baltimore, April 24th, 1860.
We, the members of the organization of the K. G. C., of the State of Maryland, considering the designs of our beloved Order, if rightly carried out in their true and original plan, and as represented in the circular letter of Gen. George Bickley of the 6th inst., calling a Convention of delegates to the K. G. C. to be of the utmost importance, not only to each one of us as individuals, and to the ultimate destiny of our Order--involving the interests of millions of our countrymen in its success, and more particularly of our own South; and,
Whereas, Certain members of the K. G. C. having become dissatisfied--having violated their solemn obligations--have hurled their shafts of malice and foul slander upon certain of the leaders of this organization, planted the seeds of discord and nurtured dissentions, all for purposes of self-aggrandizement, and of subverting the original intentions of the K. G. C. into a disgraceful fillibuster and piratical raid, which would result in disaster and an ignominious defeat--
Be it, therefore,
Resolved, 1st. That we deem the Convention of the K. G. C. [called by Gen. Bickley for the 7th of May next, to meet at Raleigh, N. C.,] to be of the utmost importance to the interests of our organization.
Resolved, 2d. That we recognize in the aims of the K. G. C. the true principles of the Monroe doctrine--as, also the expansion of the glorious institutions of the only Democratic government on earth.
Resolved, 3d. That in consequence of the increasing strength and influence of the irrepressible conflict party, it is all important that the South should acquire more territory and an increased representation. And, if we rise in our might and unity, and act harmoniously, we will behold in our labors a bulwark of defence for our institutions.
Resolved, 4th. That we condemn and discountenance all attempts that may, in the future, be made by members of the K. G. C. to subvert the same from its original purpose as being unwise, impolitic, and contrary to our obligations; and we will ever view such members as Traitors, and unworthy of confidence, for in our union is our strength, and in our strength lies our success.
Resolved, 5th. That we recognize Gen. Bickley as the only Commander-in-Chief and President of the K. G. C. until by some action of the united K. G. C., some other personal shall be placed in his stead; or, from his own act of resignation, or otherwise, the place shall be declared vacant.
Resolved, 6th. That the thanks of the Maryland K. G. C.'s are due to Gen. Bickley, and that, by this resolution, are tendered him for the bold, fearless, and able manner in which he has ever advocated our rights, and plead the justice of our cause.
Resolved, 7th. That to our delegates to the Convention, called for the 7th of May next, to meet at Raleigh, N. C., we confide our interests, and entrust the same to them unpledged, only so far as they may deem for the best interests of the K. G. C., and will, with their sanction, abide the result of the labors of that Convention.
And, Resolved, 8th. That it is our ardent desire and unanimous prayer to the Supreme Architect of the universe, that the councils of that Convention may be held in moderation; that its members may look only to the best interests of the K. G. C.--to the expansion of our own peculiar American liberty--our beloved institutions and human advancement; then we pledge ourselves as individual members of the K. G. C., and as a body, that the proud little State of Maryland will be found ready to furnish her gallant sons, and in her abundance to assist with her capital until the flag of the K. G. C. shall float proudly and in triumph from every embattled hill-top and valley in Mexico; until her people shall be our people, our laws their laws, and the busy hum of industry be heard everywhere in that beautiful country.
On motion of Capt. Lindsay, of Va., a committee of three were appointed by the Chair to express the sense of this Convention in relation to the recent difficulty in New Orleans, whereupon a committee of three were appointed, (Col. Tyler having vacated the Chair,) consisting of Capt. Lindsay, Col. Tyler and Rev. Dr. Spangler to draft said resolutions. After a short recess for the purpose, the committee offered the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
N. O. Difficulties.--Whereas, an irresponsible and irregular faction in the city of New Orleans, have created unlawful and unwarrantable dissension in our organization, by a total disregard of the most solemn duties and obligations of our knighthood, and to the serious obstruction of our work, for purposes of personal aggrandizement; and the matter having been brought to our knowledge in due and regular form, by the President of this association, after a full and dispassionate hearing of all the circumstances, therefore be it, by this Convention,
Resolved, That we earnestly protest against all such attempts; and we call upon all faithful K. G. C.'s to discountenance such action, and such men as unworthy of association or recognition by this order, and that General Bickley, in calling this Convention, has pursued the only legitimate course marked out for him by our laws, and that we approve of the calm and dignified course he has pursued throughout his severe trials.
Resolved, 2nd, That the position conferred on General Bickley by this Convention, is the best evidence we can give the public of our appreciation of his abilities and worth, and that no further defense of his course is required at our hands.
Resolved, 3rd, That this Convention fully appreciate the labors of Major Henry C. Castellanos, in presenting the claims of the K. G. C.'s to the people of Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia, and hereby return him thanks for the same.
That business having been disposed of, the following resolution was unanimously adopted, only a portion of which we are allowed to publish, viz.:
Resolved, by this Convention, That the President and Board of Advisement be, and are hereby empowered, to appoint, upon the recommendation of colonels of regiments, or commandants of States, one or more collectors for each State, whose duty it shall be to organize castles, address the public, collect money, receive donations, and remit the same to the State Central Financial Chairman, who shall receipt therefor; (this part of the resolution is private), and further, that the said President and Board of Advisement shall commission no one to collect moneys, except these collectors who shall be duly commissioned by the chairmen of the State committees.
Resolved, That the President of the Legion K. G. C. shall be compelled to correspond with no one except the heads of departments, colonels of regiments, and their superior officers, and that he shall keep in possession safely all papers belonging to the K. G. C.
The Convention then proceeded to ballot for General Paul J. Semms, of Ga., as Brigadier General of this order, and the result was his unanimous election.
On motion of Colonel Groner, it was Resolved, That the last Military Convention of the K. G. C. meet at Atlanta, Ga., on the 3rd of September, 1860.
The Convention took a recess for half an hour, when it assembled again to canvass various matters, but transacted no important business until a call was made for an adjournment until 3 o'clock, P. M.
At 3 o'clock, P. M., the Convention was called to order. The first business was the Report of the President of the K. G. C., which was read and accepted. The Convention having completed its work, a resolution was offered and adopted that the thanks of this Convention be tendered to the President, Colonel R. C. Tyler, and the Secretary, Major J. R. Howard, for the dignified and faithful manner in which they have discharged their duties.
Since the rising of the Convention the President and his Department Officers have been busily engaged in preparing works pertaining to the order, and in putting the whole machinery of the K. G. C. into action. The States are now being canvassed by proper and trusty persons, and as thousands are to be found in all the Southern States who are willing to assist in the work, we beg here to state the mode of so doing:
A gentleman desiring to be a K. G. C., and to organize a castle, will address a note to the President of the Legion K. G. C., (Gen. Geo. Bickley,) at Knoxville, Tennessee, enclosing evidences of his standing and character, when the form of an obligation will be sent to him, which he will fill and acknowledge before a magistrate, or notary public, and return, and enclose with it the sum of five dollars. Whereupon the following castle works and papers will be at once forwarded:
7 First Degree Books and 7 Keys,
7 Second " " " 7 "
2 Copies of Instructions,
1 Roll Book,
1 Set Receipts,
20 Copies K. G. C. Address,
1 Copy Rules and Regulations,
And such other papers as are needed.
Or application may be made to any Colonel of the order, and the money to be so forwarded to him, whereupon he will order the papers. The works themselves will give all other information. Others who wish to loan or contribute money, will also apply to the President of the Legion at Knoxville, Tenn., and he will forward the name of the Banking Agent in that State who will receive and receipt for the same; or the money may be forwarded to the Chairman of the Financial Bureau, General N. J. Scott, Auburn, Alabama, who will also receipt for the same. Others who wish to take the field as collectors and advocates, must apply to the State Financial Agent, with the Colonel's recommendation, who will instruct parties how to proceed. Those having arms, or other material, to contribute, will address a note to the President, who will furnish the necessary information.
Now, fellow-citizens, let us sum up and as Southern men, reason together.
The K. G. C. is a Southern Institution--the counteracting power of the Emigrant Aid Societies of the North. It is a lawful company, looking to the winning Empire for the South.
It would show an outlet for the free negro population of the Southern States.
It would gain the control of the Gulf of Mexico and the vast trade thereof.
It would keep Mexico out of the hands of the Republican majority of the North.
It would make the South strong in or powerful out of the Union.
It would cultivate the martial spirit of our people, and so tie together all the Southern States that if one seceeds all would go.
It would provide a vanguard in the great army of the South, which must be, at no distant day, brought in the field.
It would give peace and permanency to society in Mexico; it would protect the weak and punish the bad.
It would anticipate the North in the settlement of Mexico.
It would give the trade of Mexico to our own Merchants. It would employ the idle and enrich the industrious. It would plant our religion and civilization firmly in Mexico. We affiliate with the people, and labor with them against the anarchy and oppression to which they have been subjected for a quarter of a century.
There are hundreds of other reasons, which might be urged, why every true Southern man should become a K. G. C., and assist in extending Southern Institutions, but these need not be cited in detail. Unless the Southern States look to this matter, we shall be practically disfranchised. Our fathers made us a government wherein our protection was guarranteed. Circumstances and development have wrested these guarantees from us, and now we say, our only hope is in the Americanization of Mexico. The best people there ask us to help them develop the country and prepare it for admission into our Union; we now ask you to assist us. Help us as the gallant State of Texas has done. Texas has furnished herself; what other States of the South will do as much? Send us a company, if you cannot raise a regiment--arm them with fowling pieces if you can do no better. Give us anything you can spare that will be useful to us. Give us your young and vigorous men on the field, and your old and staid citizens for counsellors. Do this and in two years the States of the South will have all the power needed to balance the machinery of government. We shall eventually succeed, even if no one of the present members lives to see the day. The seed has been sown, and events have ripened, and are ripening, to our wish. Remember the fate of the whites of San Domingo, and strengthen yourselves while you can.
Let the people go to work in earnest and the South will soon be mistress of her own interests and destiny. Put off the crisis another term and we are lost.
The border States are slipping from our grasp, and unless the people are aroused to a full sense of their danger, the Southern Confederacy will embrace only the cotton States. We see the results of our inaction only dimly now, but all the horrors of subversion will presently burst on us--when it will then be too late.
There is a way of escape still left open to the people of the South, and if we refuse to act, even this avenue will be closed and our doom will be fixed. The oppressions of a fanatical majority will consign us to a political slavery worse than death, for history presents no example of a Democracy without slavery, where the wildest anarchy did not rise and destroy the very foundations thereof. The idea of equilibrium is absurd--society must advance or retrograde, and we shall do well not to try to stop. We may sing peans to the Union till dooms day, but we shall gain nothing by its continuance, if we quietly await abolitionism. We must prepare to give up our Slave Institution, or at once resist the further advances of the Northern sentiment in our midst. The winter of 1860 approaches, and it is not too much to say that the storm will then burst on us quite to our danger and surprise. Our people, as a mass, will not think--will not act. Every tie of home, interest and political pride, is almost severed, yet we are inactive. Think, fellow-citizens, of the horrors of a struggle between brothers, and ask yourselves if it is not better that those struggles should occur on a foreign soil. The K. G. C. would fight the battles of the South on Mexican soil.
The people must begin to examine the state of the nation, and determine on a line of policy suited to the exigencies of the times. If the K. G. C. shall succeed, we shall hear no more of disunion, and if so, it will be a secession of the North--not the South. We shall stand by the Constitution and the Government that will see that every provision thereof is religiously obeyed. Outside of all other considerations, the South ought to support and extend the K. G. C. organization as a Domestic Police system--and certainly as a nucleus for her military system. That we have made the right issue, the results of the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions will abundantly show, and that the Southern Governors will have use for us within the next six months, is confidently expected. If so the K. G. C. may find its Mexico in the District of Columbia. Now, men of the South, will you help us or not? The K. G. C. have presented the only practical solution of the slave question ever offered to the American People.