Confederate History Month 2012: Stephen F. Hale’s Letter To Kentucky

Stephen F. Hale of Alabama argues Kentucky should secede from the Union

Alabama

Commissioner Stephen F. Hale of Alabama attempts to persuade his native state Kentucky to secede from the Union.

“What Southern man, be he slave-holder or non-slave-holder, can without indignation and horror contemplate the triumph of negro equality, and see his own sons and daughters, in the not distant future, associating with free negroes upon terms of political and social equality, and the white man stripped, by the Heaven-daring hand of fanaticism of that title to superiority over the black race which God himself has bestowed?”

There are plenty of Rainbow Confederates who claim to be Southern men. These people even go so far to say that the one thing the South is not is “racist.” They even claim to be preserving our Southern heritage too:

“What, then are the circumstances under which, and the issues upon which he was elected? His own declarations, and the current history of the times, but too plainly indicate he was elected by a Northern sectional vote, against the most solemn warnings and protestations of the whole South. He stands forth as the representative of the fanaticism of the North, which, for the last quarter of a century, has been making war upon the South, her property, her civilization, her institutions, and her interests; as the representative of that party which overrides all Constitutional barriers, ignores the obligations of official oaths, and acknowledges allegiance to a higher law than the Constitution, striking down the sovereignty and equality of the States, and resting its claims to popular favor upon the one dogma, the Equality of the Races, white and black. . . .

Upon the principles then announced by Mr. Lincoln and his leading friends, we are bound to expect his administration to be conducted. Hence it is, that in high places, among the Republican party, the election of Mr. Lincoln is hailed, not simply as a change of Administration, but as the inauguration of new principles, and a new theory of Government, and even as the downfall of slavery. Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions — nothing less than an open declaration of war — for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans. Especially is this true in the cotton-growing States, where, in many localities, the slave outnumbers the white population ten to one.

If the policy of the Republicans is carried out, according to the programme indicated by the leaders of the party, and the South submits, degradation and ruin must overwhelm alike all classes of citizens in the Southern States. The slave-holder and non-slave-holder must ultimately share the same fate — all be degraded to a position of equality with free negroes, stand side by side with them at the polls, and fraternize in all the social relations of life; or else there will be an eternal war of races, desolating the land with blood, and utterly wasting and destroying all the resources of the country.

Who can look upon such a picture without a shudder? What Southern man, be he slave-holder or non-slave-holder, can without indignation and horror contemplate the triumph of negro equality, and see his own sons and daughters, in the not distant future, associating with free negroes upon terms of political and social equality, and the white man stripped, by the Heaven-daring hand of fanaticism of that title to superiority over the black race which God himself has bestowed? In the Northern States, where free negroes are so few as to form no appreciable part of the community, in spite of all the legislation for their protection, they still remain a degraded caste, excluded by the ban of society from social association with all but the lowest and most degraded of the white race. But in the South, where in many places the African race largely predominates, and, as a consequence, the two races would be continually pressing together, amalgamation, or the extermination of the one or the other, would be inevitable. Can Southern men submit to such degradation and ruin? God forbid that they should.

But, it is said, there are many Constitutional, conservative men at the North, who sympathize with and battle for us. That is true; but they are utterly powerless, as the late Presidential election unequivocally shows, to breast the tide of fanaticism that threatens to roll over and crush us. With them it is a question of principle, and we award to them all honor for their loyalty to the Constitution of our Fathers. But their defeat is not their ruin. With us it is a question of self-preservation — our lives, our property, the safety of our homes and our hearthstones — all that men hold dear on earth, is involved in the issue. If we triumph, vindicate our rights and maintain our institutions, a bright and joyous future lies before us. We can clothe the world with our staple, give wings to her commerce, and supply with bread the starving operative in other lands, and at the same time preserve an institution that has done more to civilize and Christianize the heathen than all human agencies beside — an institution alike beneficial to both races, ameliorating the moral, physical and intellectual condition of the one, and giving wealth and happiness to the other. If we fail, the light of our civilization goes down in blood, our wives and our little ones will be driven from their homes by the light of our own dwellings. The dark pall of barbarism must soon gather over our sunny land, and the scenes of West India emancipation, with its attendant horrors and crimes (that monument of British fanaticism and folly), be re-enacted in our own land upon a more gigantic scale.”

  • John

    The British reference there made it tougher to send the Royal Navy over to seal off the Chesapeake and New York harbours on behalf of the Confederacy.

    Always the hostility eh?

    The foreign policy of the Confederacy wis something you ought to spell out.

  • Mosin Nagant

    “But, it is said, there are many Constitutional, conservative men at the North, who sympathize with and battle for us. That is true; but they are utterly powerless….”

  • Eric Hale

    It is amazing the level of erudition and mastery of the English language people had in the 19th century.

  • He was referring to the catastrophic experiment in abolition in the British West Indies.

  • Yes, the quality of discourse was much higher back then than it is today. That was before the triumph of the Yankee public school system.

  • Jim

    Even the poor and misedumacated aped the elites back then. The intellect contained within discourse between two commoners after church would dwarf that of most affirmative action doctoral dissertations.

  • John

    I know.

  • John

    It’s strange how uttey honest they are.

    You know people still privately think these things.

  • rjp

    Hunter what do you use as a reference source for all these speeches?

    Have they been compiled into one text?

  • Some of these speeches are online.

  • The “Confederacy Resources” section underneath the header has been drastically expanded. The best material on the blog gets lost in the whirl of posts.

  • ‘If we fail, the light of our civilization goes down in blood, our wives and our little ones will be driven from their homes by the light of our own dwellings. The dark pall of barbarism must soon gather over our sunny land….’

    Hale understood well the collapse of civilisation that the ‘propositional nation’ would bring upon us.

  • Yep.

    They knew exactly where this was going. The prophecy came true.

  • It is our job to finish what they started.

  • Wayne

    Great post, Hunter! Speaking of my Old Kentucky Home, I was totally disgusted with the attitude of FB friends and family over the UK game. Various references to the UK team as “our boys” and hanging on every move of the game, play-by-play postings. “Their boys”, even though most weren’t from KY and had not loyalty to KY or Kentucky heritage. Now I could expect such lionization from UK alumni, but the vast majority were not. Disgusting. That’s what the state of Daniel Boone, Jefferson Davis, Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn to name a few, has become–a collection of b-ball worshipping droolers with a hard-ons for diversity. I did take the opportunity to post about loyalty being a two-way street and that the UK as in institution had the same loyalty to the citizens of the Commonwealth as University of Arizona did to theirs (zero, hence inviting Time Wise to undermine the good work the people of Arizona want done).

  • stonelifter

    Thanks for the good work Hunter

  • Brutus

    I don’t know that I’d say that about the University of Kentucky. I went there and it is nowhere near as “Progressive” as virtually any and all other universities and colleges. In fact, just last year I took some classes there again and detected little or no bullshit, and I was certainly on the lookout for it. Right off the bat, I can think of no better university to recommend as far as not being totally immersed and saturated with Liberal ideology.

  • Wayne

    Brutus: It’s by no means the worst, but by Marxist detection meter is very, very finely tuned. My main point though was that it dissappoints me when the University of FILL IN THE BLANK is allowed to become the defacto representative of the State itself. University of FILL IN THE BLANK has NO LOYALTY to the people of the States they supposedly serve.
    By the way, I like your nom de guerre. It’s the same one used by one of my favorite Anti-Federalist writers, which was again taken from Roman history.