Expose of the Knights of the Golden Circle - Member Knight

Chapter IX.
Perfidity of the Successionists

Yancey and Toombs—the Slave Trade and Fillibustering—Northern Sympathizers with the latter—the "Abolition" Scarecrow—the Lecompton Swindle the work of the K.G.C.—Similarity of that Fraud with Secession Operations—the Impetus given the Secession Movement by the Republican Leaders in 1860—the Breckinridge Party a Secession Organization.

It will be remembered that Mr. Yancey said, after the withdrawal of his state from the Union, that he had been a secessionist for thirty years. It will also be remembered that it was charged that Mr. Toombs said, in a speech he delivered in Congress a few years ago, that he expected to see the day when he could call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill Monument. These remarks will not be wondered at when it is revealed that the men from whom they emanated are the oldest members of the Southern Rights' Club now living. Yancey paid, out of his own pocket, over ten thousand dollars to equip secret slavers, between the years 1834 and 1840. Toombs, who is presumed to be the wealthiest man in Georgia, donated, from time to time, for the same purpose, over twenty thousand dollars. In many instances it was not necessary to purchase or build a ship, but merely to buy or hire the master. Of the six kidnapping vessels sent out between 1834-40, five were Yankee crafts, owned by Yankee captains; and the whole three plying during 1856 were New York vessels. Thus it will be seen that the Southern people have some reason for saying that a Yankee can easily be induced to sell anything he has, even to his honor; that among the Northerners there is no such thing as principle.

That greatest of all scarecrows, "Abolitionism" has been the pretext, during the past few years, for every species of secession scoundrelism. A man who moved to Kansas Territory and favored the Free State ticket was an Abolitionist; the man who honestly believed that slavery was the creature of local law, and that the Constitution of the United States did not carry and protect it everywhere, was an Abolitionist; the man who denied the constitutional right of secession, or the right of one state to destroy the whole government, was an Abolitionist; and, finally, in latter days, the man who sustains the Constitution and upholds the stars and stripes, is an Abolitionist.

Just at this latter juncture, the Northern secessionists, with few exceptions, call a halt, having been hitherto apparently blind respecting the direct and legitimate tendency of their promotion of "Southern rights," and their opposition to "Abolitionism." With the exceptions of those contemptible specimens of humanity, Vallandigham, of Ohio, and Jesse D. Bright, of Indiana, there are few politicians in the Northwest who are not now, in Southern eyes, what they so recently abhorred, "Abolitionists." The real Abolition party of the North was so insignificant a political element that no sensible Southern man had the slightest fears of danger from it. It only needed to have been let alone to have died so dead that it would never more have been heard of. While conversing with the Hon. Archie Dixon, of Kentucky, some months ago, he remarked to me:

"We could have always managed the Abolitionists had it not been for the Knights of the Golden Circle in the South, and their accomplices in the North. The great Northwestern States always contained a wholesome conservative majority until the Yancey school, in the Slave States, and the Buchanan school, in the Free States, undertook to construe the Constitution into a pro-slavery document."

Who desires better proof of the determination of the secessionists, North and South, not to allow the "Abolition" fire to go down, than the course which was taken by them to force the great Lecompton swindle through Congress at its 35th session? That swindle was the legitimate concoction of the K.G.C., and was produced and presented in the manner that it was, for the sole purpose of strengthening the free-soil element in the North, and dividing the Democratic party. Notwithstanding all the "outrages" that were committed in "Bleeding Kansas," the conservative people of the Free States had elected "Granny" Buchanan on the principle of non-intervention, by a large majority, in 1856 and it was plainly obvious that something a little stronger than the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty was required to thoroughly "abolitionize" the North.

The so-called Constitution, framed by the K.G.C. Convention at Lecompton, was considered the very thing that would accomplish the work. In electing delegates to that Convention, the same "coercive" appliances were used to secure the success of the pro-slavery ticket that are now used to elect delegates to a secession convention, and the same fraud and trickery were manifested in its deliberations that have since characterized the secret sessions of every secession body that has convened. It is also true, and I here record it as a matter of history, that the same class of arguments was used, both by the K.G.C. of the South and their truckling followers in the North, to prove the legality of the Lecompton Constitution as is now used, by the same individuals, to prove the legitimacy of a secession ordinance.

How any man with one particle of honesty or consistency could come before the intelligent masses of the Free States advocating the claims of a presidential platform, the very framers of which had been, more or less, engaged in the Lecompton secession scheme, is an enigma, the unraveling of which I confess myself totally incapable of performing.

While the world stands, and the people continue to think, there is one thing which will remain a lasting disgrace to the Republican party. I allude to the assistance they rendered the Breckinridge secessionists, in the campaign of 1860, in the North. Although totally ignorant of the secrets of the K.G.C., by whom Mr. B. was nominated, yet they did far more to popularize his ticket north of Mason and Dixon's line, than the secessionists themselves. All the senatorial speeches made against Douglas by such men as Benjamin and Jeff Davis, were eagerly sought for, and vigorously circulated, by the leading Republicans throughout the country. Further, the same partisans used almost superhuman efforts to swell the numbers at all the secession ratification meetings that were called, from time to time, in the Northern States, during the campaign.

While it was utterly impossible for the Republicans and Secession Democrats to harmonize on a single principle, they agreed to unite in their mutual hatred of Douglas. Of course it was to the interest of the Republicans that the Democratic party should be divided; and, according to the rules of political warfare, there is nothing wrong in one party taking advantage of the disconcerted condition of another, to secure a victory. But I apprehend there is an honorable way of profiting by such advantages. The Republicans must have seen that the Breckinridge ticket was a secession ticket, and that, consequently, the favoring of it, either directly or indirectly, was the promotion of rebellion and civil war. To have acted honorably in the matter, therefore, would have been to discuss and enforce the merits of their own platform and candidates, and let both Breckinridge and Douglas tickets entirely alone, especially the former. The Republicans certainly were the more natural friends and allies of the Douglas men, as it regarded the maintenance of the Union and the enforcement of the laws, as has been fully proven since the outbreak of the present revolution.

I was myself a Republican, and a warm supporter of the Republican platform, but never could get the consent of my consistency to encourage the secession ticket. The real criminality of such an encouragement, however, never fully appeared to me until I traveled South, and there, both in castle and out doors, heard the K.G.C. congratulating themselves over the "valuable" assistance rendered them by the "Abolitionists" of the North.

The Republican party has a platform of which it may justly be proud, and has done many highly estimable things; but the promotion of the secession ticket in the Free States during the campaign of 1860 was not one of those things. Should it survive the present storm, and again present its claims to the people of this government, let it never be guilty of another so gross and fatal a crime as this was.

In due keeping with the manner in which the K.G.C. tried to palm the Lecompton swindle on the honest-thinking masses, in 1857-58, and in precisely the same spirit in which they have since conducted the secret sessions of their secession conventions, and forced their secession ordinances upon their fellow citizens, we now find them conducting all their present diabolical schemes. Having assumed the capacity of "Confederate" rulers, and having deprived the people, by armed mob suasion, of all their power, they form a bogus government, establish bogus laws, and, by the most inhuman, brutal means, force the rightful sovereigns of the land to obey them. Wherever they have "the power", they arraign, try, and hang, as a traitor, a man, for merely asserting his preference of the United States Government; they confiscate and plunder the property of those who refuse to take up arms against their country; they beat and mercilessly abuse a man for merely saying that the fanatics of the North and South are equally to blame for the present unhappy state of affairs; they, in their fiendish madness, even condescend to drive innocent, helpless women from their homes, not allowing them, in many instances, to take their own wardrobes with them; they steal all the U.S. property which they can appropriate to their own use, and destroy that which is not available; they burn and blow up bridges and public buildings; they issue bogus warrants for the arrest of such sterling patriots as Nelson and Johnson; they concoct secret schemes to arm the secessionists of such states as Kentucky and Maryland, to the end of dragging them forcibly out of the Union; they locate secret agents in the Border States to assist in conveying arms, provisions, etc., into the seceded states, to destroy lives and property, and violate female virtue: they send agents to Europe to misrepresent the true state of affairs in this country, and to induce foreign powers to assist them in destroying this government. Is there not a day of retribution?