Baptists and the American Civil War: June 4, 1862

African SlaveryAn editorial in this week’s Christian Index defends the rightness of the South and reinforces Amos C. Dayton’s Georgia speaking tour in defense of the godliness of African slavery.

We are delighted when we contemplate the state of public sentiment in the South. We perceived during all our late reverses no wavering, no doubting, no trepidation, no hesitation, nor any sign of regret at that important step which launched us into this bloody war.–Thoughtfully, carefully, and closely, Southerners scanned the mighty questions at issue, and then solemnly and seriously made their decision, and prepared to undergo the consequences. They have entered into this contest with the steadiness and sobriety of men who know their power, have simply made up their minds as to their course of action, and are determined to proceed until their purpose is accomplished. To our mind, all the grand events of the last two years, have marched onward with the majestic and stately step of inevitable destiny: the hand of God is as plainly visible in them, as in the calm, yet resistless uprising and vaulting progress of the King of Day. And we no more expect to behold a return to the old order of things, than we expect to see the meridian Sun wheel in his course and slowly return to his eastern couch. Indignant at the long series of contumelious acts, by which the North has outraged our sense of justice and the dignity of our manhood; incensed at the indubitable tendency towards vassalage, on the part of the South, in the march of events; and filled with the lofty and noble ideas of independence, that have ever animated our warm Southern bosoms, we raised the standard of revolt, but, indeed, exercising thereby a God-given right, never to yield the contest until success, perfect and complete, shall crown our efforts. As a contemporary truly expresses it: “We are at war, not from a fancied sense of honor, not because excited and angry, not because we desire to gain an undue advantage over another people; but we battle for the principles of constitutional government; for the legitimate privileges of State; for the sacred rights of freemen; for liberty of conscience; for the defence of our homes, our loved ones, and our property.”

Nor will we cease the contest while any of all these objects are unattained. This is the unalterable determination of Southerners.–All honor to them, for it!

Meanwhile, as white Southerners rhetorically and militarily contend for the sacred principles of white freedom and African slavery, black enslaved Southerners (the “property” of whites) are increasingly fleeing behind Union Army lines in areas of the South occupied by the United States military.

Source: “Informal Chat: The Determination of the South,” Christian Index, June 3, 1862