Botts denounces disunion

John Minor Botts
John Minor Botts in 1841

Former Representative John Minor Botts spoke on October 1, 1860 in Richmond, VA opposing secession.

PRESIDENTIAL.; THE CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA. John Minor Botts in the Field—He Denounces the Disunionists.

Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.
RICHMOND, Va., Monday, Oct. 1.
Hon. JOHN MINOR BOTTS addressed an immense audience in this city this evening, at the Bell and Everett Head-quarters. Over 4,000 persons, of both sexes, were present. The stage was beautifully decorated with wreaths of flowers twined around the portraits of WASHINGTON, CLAY, PLEASANTS and others.

Mr. BOTTS was greeted with tremendous applause. Referring to the fact that Mr. YANCEY was speaking on the same evening, he said he regretted that there should be two performances going on at once. Yet, as the one party was dissolving the Union, it would be well enough to have the other tinker it up.

He said he was tired of politics and disgusted with politicians; but, when he saw treason and disunion stalking abroad in the old Commonwealth, he felt compelled to enter the arena, and raise his voice in defence of his country. He denied that he was a party man, but could not forget that he had a country to defend and save, so far as his feeble voice could save it.

He gave notice of a long speech, and said he was prepared to take all the consequences. If he did not speak, and Virginia went against BELL, it would be charged to BOTTS’ not speaking. If he did speak, and Virginia was lost, he knew it would be charged to the fact that BOTTS did speak.

Botts was a Whig in the 1830s and 1840s; after the death of the great Whig leader Henry Clay, he joined the American (Constitutional Union) party. Like most southerners, he opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1850, but like Douglas, he also opposed the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton constitution. An ardent unionist, he was arrested during the war by the Confederate authorities. After the war he published The Great Rebellion: Its Secret History, Rise, Progress, and Disastrous Failure. See Harper’s Magazine for a brief biography and portrait of Botts.

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