October 23, 1860: Southern unionists urge restraint

John Bell
John Bell

From the Staunton (VA) Spectator, a Bell and Everett (Constitutional Union) paper.

Even though Lincoln should be elected, and should be disposed to commit some aggression upon the rights of the South, he could not do it. The Supreme Court is against the theories of his party. The Senate is against them and the Congress will be against them. There are 237 members of the House–Oregon and California send three against him, Ohio ten, Indiana four, Illinois five, Pennsylvania five, and the South eighty nine, 116 in all.

We have but to elect three other anti-Lincoln members and all is safe. New York city alone will elect six. There cannot in any event then be danger of present aggression against the South, and if conservatism and a Union spirit shall prevail in the border Southern States, we may prevent any of the other States, by reason and argument, from seceding, if Lincoln should be elected.

To break up the Government under these circumstances, simply because Lincoln should be elected, would be adding madness to treason.–The danger is in the Cotton States, and not in the North. The spirit of prohibition as represented by Lincoln will be impotent for mischief, but the spirit of disunion, as represented by Yancey and other extremists of the South may be potential for indescribable evils. The people should do all they can to elect the Union loving conservatives, Bell and Everett, for then there would be no danger of disunion and civil war.

The last-gasp appeal to vote for Bell and Everett is pro forma — they could hardly have entertained any hope of a Constitutional Union victory at this point. The Spectator represented Virginia sentiment, though, in that only when war was imminent did Virginia vote to secede.

This entry was posted in Abolitionism, Constitutional Union, Republican, Secession, Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *