January 14, 1864: Southern women will never surrender

Southern Belle

The Memphis Daily Appeal reprints a call from southern women to resist Lincoln’s reconstruction plans. It’s not apparent to me what “southern women” might have had a hand in writing this perfervid screed, but to me, it just cries out for Samuel Johnson’s rejoinder from almost a century earlier — “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

MEMPHIS DAILY APPEAL [ATLANTA, GA], January 14, 1864, p. 2, c. 4

A Voice from Southern Women.

Editors Appeal: Please allow the voice of exiled women of our land to reach their countrymen through your Appeal.

There are many of us upon whom the burdens of war fall heavily, and who feel every day the loneliness of the avenger’s lot; yet we say come toil, poverty, woe, and even banishment; yes, welcome death itself, rather than our countrymen should sell their birthright for a “mess of pottage;” the terms of Lincoln’s proclamation.

We are not of Northern lineage, that we should barter our liberty for houses and lands, or estimate our patriotism by dollars and cents–we have heard too, of the dog that dropped the cheese to chase the shadow.

Fallen indeed are our people, if they are willing now to give up the very right for which we have undergone so much labor, so many sacrifices, and for which our soldiers have fought, as men have seldom ever fought before.

Admitting that so small a portion as “one-tenth” supported by the bullets and bayonets of Lincoln’s hireling hordes, could drag our State back beneath the folds of the old flag, are there any who could so dishonor their native soil? Where are they who will stand forth and say: “We are the men who will descend [?] ourselves, and help to reduce our Southern brothers to an equality with the negro, and yield these, our Southern sisters, to the will of those who know no law save that of might!” Is there one who can shut his ears against the voice of our brothers’ blood that crieth unto us from the ground, and stretch out his hand in friendly greeting to their murderers?

If we forget thee, oh, our country! may our suffering soldiers point us to the world as the ignoble people who loved riches more than freedom, and scorned their own defenders to smile upon their captors; may the pale phantoms of our cherished dead rise up to mock us for having so soon forgot our slain. By the memory of our loved and lost, sleeping now in bloody graves, let us make no friendship with their foes.

Southern Women.

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