Monday, September 03, 2012

Charles Dickens on the Civil war - March 1862

From Charles Dickens letter to the WW Cerjet 16 March 1862:

"I take the facts of the American quarrel to stand thus. Slavery has in reality nothing on earth to do with it, in any kind of association with any generous or chivalrous sentiment on the part of the North. But the North having gradually got to itself the making of the laws and the settlement of the tariffs, and having taxed South most abominably for its own advantage, began to see, as the country grew, that unless it advocated the laying down of a geographical line beyond which slavery should not extend, the South would necessarily to recover it's old political power, and be able to help itself a little in the adjustment of the commercial affairs.

Every reasonable creature may know, if willing, that the North hates the Negro, and until it was convenient to make a pretense that sympathy with him was the cause of the War, it hated the Abolitionists and derided them up hill and down dale. For the rest, there's not a pins difference between the two parties. They will both rant and lie and fight until they come to a compromise; and the slave may be thrown into that compromise or thrown out, just as it happens."

"As to Secession being Rebellion, it is distinctly provable by State papers that Washington, considered it no such thing – that Massachusetts, now loudest against it, has itself asserted its right to secede, again and again – and that years ago, when the two Carolinas began to train their militia expressly for Secession, commissioners sent to treat with them and to represent the disastrous policy of such secession, never hinted it would be rebellion."

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