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	A Letter to the  Post. 
  Here is the letter I sent off to the Post this
day.  The talk of the Secessionist is a compilation,
much of it being derived from Mc Nutty on board
the Marion.    Nothing of it is invented or over-stated.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
	SOUTH CAROLINA.
		   
     {From an Occasional Correspondent.}
The Hallucinations of the Rebels A Scene in
  Charleston Threats of the Ultraists Effects of Se-
  cession on Business The Contemplated Capture of
  Fort Sumter.
	CHARLESTON, S. C., January 23, 1861.
  The suggestive truth embodied in the proverb
which alludes to the effects of  good intentions, 
is recognised by its frequent quotation.  Never, I
think, since Cervantes s dear old Don pricked forth
at sunrise over the plains of La Mancha, were so
many noble and estimable qualities devoted to the
furtherance of a monstrous delusion an anachron-
ism at once tragic and ridiculous as are evinced
by the better class of these South Carolinians.  They
have as little idea of the true nature of their hallu-
cination and whither it leads as Quixote himself,
and sometimes discuss the matter with you as he
did with the splenetic chaplain of  that unworthy
duke and duchess,  with a show of reason, logic
and argument which granting the radically false
premises is admirable to listen to.  Their possession
is as complete and terrible as those chronicled in
Scripture.  They believe that slavery is right be-
fore God and man; that they are justified to both
in doing, daring and risking everything for its con-
servation.  Nothing but the pitiless logic of con-
sequences will convince them.
  I have endeavored to describe this class of South
Carolinians before, their appearance, manners and
conversation presenting, in most respects, the op-
posite of the popular northern conception of fire-
eaters.  I have spoken of them as the movers and
exponents of this Revolution, because the common
impression is otherwise, and must be set right or
the question never can be correctly understood.  As
yet, these men and those accepting and following
the lead of their convictions are paramount, hence
the peculiar character of this contest.  It has been
conducted in strict obedience to South Carolinian
officials; traitors, perhaps, to the government of
the United States, but certainly not demagogues nor
the ringleaders of a mob.  Without endorsing the
editorial assumptions of the impossibility of the ex-

[newspaper clipping: second column]
istence of one in this city, (which I think history
contradicts in one or two instances,) so far as se-
cession has progressed, Charleston has exhibited
nothing like one.  From first to last, state authority
sanctions everything.
  Mind, I do not say that the entire population are
influenced by, or even alive to, the principles actu-
ating the class I have described, or that personal
interests have not their weight; few human actions
but originate in mixed motives.  The convictions
of the many are as strong as those of the few, but
they base them on more direct and coarser grounds,
often revolting enough to the northern ear.  That
phase of southern character which some of your
Republican papers too pertinaciously hold up to
their readers as the whole of it, is often exhibited
in the daily talk of an average South Carolinian.  I
am going to give you a sample of it.  I heard it
only last night in one of our bar-rooms.
  The place was crowded, the speaker, one of a 
well-dressed group of half a dozen, not an ill-look-
ing man, though with too sharp features and sinis-
ter eyes, evidently possessing position and stand-
ing among his class, for all present regarded him
with a half-fellow-well-met cordiality, indicative of
good-will and recognition.  He had plenty of money
and he treated the company again and again, al-
most ostentatiously.  There was no attempt at pri-
vacy in his remarks, he rather seemed to court at-
tention than otherwise.
   Yes, gentlemen,  he said,  Georgia is out, by
   , and wouldn t have gone out if it hadn t have
been for Major Anderson!  We owe that to him,
any way.  I tell you Fort Sumter will cost Uncle
Sam the secession of more states than we want to
form a southern confederacy.  We ve got enough
now, though we ll have as many as we can get.
We re all right; Georgia has settled the business
 it was a tight squeeze, though.  After all, them
Georgians are whole-souled fellows, with hearts as
big as a bullock s.  They burnt General Scott in
effigy, confound him!  I wish he d come to Charles-
ton, that s all.  He is a disgrace to the South; has
always been half a free-soiler didn t they run him
for President against Pierce?  Now, he s no better
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page ninety-six
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-01-23
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Civil War; Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marion (Ship); McNutty, Dr.; New York evening post.; Pierce, Franklin; Scott, Winfield; Secession; Slavery
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; Georgia
Scan Date:2010-05-11

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen
Description:Describes Gunn's experience as a correspondent for ""The New York Evening Post"" in Charleston, South Carolina, in the aftermath of South Carolina's secession from the federal government, including a conflict between A.H. Colt and Mr. Woodward, a visit to Sullivan's Island, John Mitchel's tale of assisting with the lynching of an abolitionist, attending a celebration in honor of Benjamin Mordecai, Will Waud's arrival in Charleston, the scene in Charleston the day the ''Star of the West'' was fired upon by the Morris Island battery, pistol and rifle practice with various Charlestonians, a rumor in New York about his having been tarred and feathered in Charleston, a visit to the quarters of the ''Richland Rifles,'' witnessing a slave auction, and a visit to Colonel Bull's home.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Secession; Slavery; Slaves; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Charleston, South Carolina
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.