The Raleigh Standard Protests Conscription

If the civil law is to be trampled under foot by the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and every able-bodied man placed in the army from sixteen to sixty-five, -- if no man is to have a hearing before a State Judge, as to the right of the enrolling officer to seize him, and if the rights of the States are to be ignored and swept away by the mere creature of the States; the common Government, the people of North Carolina will take their own affairs into their own hands, and will proceed, in convention assembled, to vindicateBy "vindicate" the author seems to mean protect or defend. their liberties and their privileges. They will not submit to a military despotism. They will not submit to the destruction of their rights, personal and civil, in this or any other war.... Woe to the official character who shall attempt to turn the arms of the Confederate soldiers against the people of this State! North Carolina will not be the slave of either the Congress at Richmond or Washington. She is this day, as she has been from the first, the keystone of the Confederate arch. If that stone should fall, the arch will tumble....

Is it not an outrage on every principle of free government for men of desperate fortunes, professing to represent other States on whose soil they dare not set their foot, to make and enforce odious and oppressive laws on our people?...

Trust them no longer. Remember their fair promises. The dwellers in the garden of Eden, when they listened to the tempting promises of Satan, were not worse deceived and ruined than were the people of the fair, happy, and blooming South when they listened to the fair promises of those arch deceivers, YANCEY, WISE & Co.William Lowndes Yancey was a leading secessionist from Alabama, one of a group known as “Fire-Eaters” because he spoke so strongly in defense of slavery. Former Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise had become a strong secessionist after Lincoln’s election, and raised a private army in the spring of 1861 to march on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry before Virginia had even seceded.

A heretofore contented, prosperous, and happy people were told by them that we must withdraw all connection from our Northern taskmasters, who were making us pay one dollar and fifty cents for shoes, ten cents per yard for shirting, two dollars per sack for salt, ten cents per pound for sugar, the same for coffee, &c.When this was published, prices in the South were far higher than this. The author is pointing out, sarcastically, that secessionists had been angry about high prices charged by northern merchants — prices that after three years of war, southerners would now have welcomed! And these same reckless men, who are now for putting all into the army, (except for themselves and a few favorites,) then told us that secession would be peaceable, and there would be no war; that we were to have a nation of our own, free from extortioners -- a perfect paradise with the tree of life, the cotton plant, in our midst, before which all nations were to bow down and worship, and from which rivers of free trade were to flow to the ends of the earth, on the bosom of which the rich merchandise from every clime was to be freighted and poured down in our laps free of taxation. How have they deceived us? The blood of hundreds of thousands of our poor children, smoking from the many battlefields, and the cries of starving women and children tell the tale. Will our people be longer deceived by those false prophets and arch-deceivers? Or will they not command the peace, and staunch these rivers of blood?


Credit text

Raleigh Standard as quoted in the New York Times, January 22, 1864.