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A "Southern Gentleman" Describes Problems in the Confederacy

The Staunton, Virginia Spectator was a Whig newspaper that opposed Virginia's secession from the Union. On March 19, 1861, the paper published the following anonymous letter that warned Virginians about the the rising prices, violence, and isolation that accompanied secession. Georgia, like the rest of the states of the Deep South, had seceded from the Union in the weeks after Lincoln's election.


A Southern gentleman who resides in Augusta, Ga., writes thus:—"If the South were merely let alone for six months, we would probably try at the next general election to get back. The new tariff will open both eyes and pockets; 3 to 4 cents per pound on cheese, 4 to 5 cents on butter, 2 to 2 1/2 cents on sugar, 2 1/2 to 25 cents on tobacco, affect every one, and that sensibly. Prices have advanced and are still ascending. Our regular army has 140 enlisted in this city, and as many in Savannah. Nine-tenths of our youth go constantly armed, and the common use of deadly weapons is quite disregarded. No control can be exercised over a lad after he is fourteen or fifteen. He becomes MR. So-and-so, and acknowledges no master. While our free trade doubles our tariff, our postal facilities will probably be raised to 10 or 25 cents, and off the immediate line of railways there will probably be at least one mail a week. Of course, therefore, we will like secession the better as we become the better acquainted with it!"

Source | "A Southerner on Secession," The (Staunton, Va.) Spectator, 22 January 1861, 1, c.3, from The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War Virgina Center for Digital History,
Creator | Anonymous
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Anonymous, “A "Southern Gentleman" Describes Problems in the Confederacy,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed April 15, 2021,

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