Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 1864

January 31, 1864

—An editorial from a Seneca County, New York, newspaper reveals the essence of how most Democrats and Copperheads in the North felt about slavery, abolition, and black people:

Politics in Petticoats.

On Sunday evening last, an Abolitionist of the feminine gender undertook to enlighten the people of Seneca Falls upon the dark subject of the Negro. The meeting was held in the Abolition temple of the Wesleyan Church, and was provided [?] over and encouraged by the clergyman who officiates at the Abolition altar of the Church. A large crowd was on hand, most of whom, probably, like myself, out of curiosity to witness the masculine freaks of a masculine woman, and the better to draw the contrast between a true lady in the quiet sphere of domestic life, and one who perverts the position which Providence originally assigned to her, by mounting a political forum, and haranguing a mixed multitude – male and female.

It appeared by her story that she had been "the General Superintendent," as she called herself, of eight or nine hundred contrabands, at the negro depot of the Government in South Carolina. . . . She acknowledged that the negroes were naturally lazy, and that the year 1862 proved a very unprofitable one for Uncle Sam in his negro farming speculation; that the one hundred Yankee Abolition school-teachers who went down there to try to teach the young niggers, were completely discouraged, and all returned home to the North, utterly disgusted with their lovely employment; but that now matters look more encouraging, because the Administration is soon to sell all those beautiful plantations to the darkies at $1, 25 per acre, so that they will have a fine chance to revel among the luxuries of their former refined masters. This she maintains is to be the blessed result of our glorious civil war. . . .

The meeting behaved very civilly, and only one or two faint efforts at applause were attempted, which didn’t produce the exhilarating effect that was intended, and the crowd dispersed after they had been invited by the clergyman to buy some pictures of the lady, purporting to show some dreadful effects of slavery. It is very evident that Abolition harangues do not draw the sympathy of respectable people now, as they formerly did in the flourishing of Old John Brown and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

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