Baptists and the American Civil War: June 18, 1862

Today, a letter from “J. J.” is published in North Carolina Baptists’ Biblical Recorder, calling for righteousness on the part of Southerners in order to ensure Confederate victory in the war.

The cause for which our country is now contending should inspire every person to renewed energy and fervent devotion and dependence on God and himself individually, to defend and maintain our rights, and defend our wives and children, who daily enquire what will become of us, if we are overrun by our enemies. We have assurances from sources beyond doubt, that depradations has been committed in our beloved State; not far distant from where your correspondent writes, that are enough to rouse every one that loves freedom, to buckle on his armour and cease not until the enemy is driven from our beloved country, and peace again restored to our unhappy people.

To arouse this feeling we have men enough in our State that are not able to bear the fatigues of Camp life, that could travel from place to place and address the people on the necessity of renewed determination to resist to the last; that their motto should be freedom or death. Once that spirit pervaded the hearts and minds of the people with a humble reliance on Jehovah it would be impossible to conquer them.

And I confidently believe if we are overpowered it will be our own fault. It is to be feared that our hearts have not become as humble before God as they should be. For when we look round and see such a disposition among the people for speculation and extortioning on each other–each one endeavoring to make his fellow being pay the most exorbitant prices for everything that he has to sell. There is the article of spun cotton, when it sold at the factory for seventeen cents, the raw material was bought at ten cents, then some of the factories declared a dividend of ten per cent. What will they declare now when they pay seven cents for cotton and sell it for forty cents? And what is more needed than spun cotton at this time? It is said it pays the factory best to work for the Government, be it so. I ask where is the justice in having such prices from any source. Such a disposition seems to prevail in every direction.

God can not be pleased with such, for His Holy word forbids extortioning at all times, and any persons desiring to grow rich out of this unfortunate war at the expense of his neighbor or his Government is no advantage to either. It is time that the thoughts of riches or gain should be eradicated from our minds. And our motto should be what can we best do for the advancement of our cause and for alleviating the sufferings of humanity.

Source: Biblical Recorder, June 18, 1862 (link)