A Presidential Inauguration 150 Years Ago

It was generally ignored, but this past February 18 was an important anniversary in American history. It was on that date 150 years ago that Jefferson Davis, former U.S. Senator and former U.S. Secretary of War, was inaugurated as the first President of the C.S.A., the Confederate States of America. Alas, he was also that nation’s only president. Four years after his inauguration the nation ceased to exist, though 250,000 men gave their lives fighting to defend its independence.

Why “alas”?

Numerous reasons can be given, but at a time when Americans are finally showing some resistance to Big Government’s ever-increasing intrusion into the details of their lives, as witness the phenomenon of the Tea Party movement, there is one in particular that invites consideration before any other. Adopting virtually in its entirety as its own the U.S. Constitution, but interpreting key provisions according to their original sense, the Confederacy was organized around the principle of states’ rights. This, more than anything else, distinguished it from the U.S. and most other modern nations, the “more” including slavery. (Slavery, after all, existed in states that did not join the Confederacy, and also in other nations at that time.) It put the Confederacy solidly at odds with the most pernicious of all the tendencies of the modern leviathan-state, including the U.S.: to concentrate political power in a centralized government.

Together with the defense of their way of life, safeguarding the principle of subsidiarity (to put it in Catholic terms) is why the Confederates fought back when Union armed forces invaded. When they failed in their fight Americans everywhere stopped saying “The United States are…” as they had before 1861. They began saying “The United States is…” Had they succeeded, and then stayed loyal all these years to founding principles, there would be today at least one major nation in the world where the lives in society of citizens were regulated by local government instead of by one-size-fits-all rules set by far-away bureaucrats with nothing to justify their existence except setting still more rules. Who knows? Such a nation might have served as a model for others.

Mention was made above of the Confederates defending their way of life. This brings us to a reason why Christians may especially lament the failure of the Confederacy to secure independence. The way of life of its people was agricultural. It was rooted in the land. On the land is where the family, the domestic church, is most apt to flourish. Why?

Without turning these lines into an essay on the subject, the reason is simple. A real home is not simply where members of a family sleep at night, as with a typical suburban household today. Integral to a farm family’s living on the land is their spending their days working that land together. The kids may have to spend part of the day learning school lessons, but they also have chores to do. And of course Dad and Mom are always nearby, not away in an office cubicle somewhere.

It also happens that a man who has a piece of land where he can raise food for himself and his family is going to be freer from the control of other agencies, like government and corporate interests, than will be men who live elsewhere and work for somebody besides themselves. Today, not simply farmers, but craftsmen, doctors in private practice, scientific researchers on their own, artists, anyone working independently in any line of work, are all on the verge of extinction. This might be different had the Confederacy endured and its people maintained their way of life.

Another specifically Christian reason it is lamentable that the Confederacy failed to secure its independence is that its society was hierarchical. That is, it corresponded to the organization of the Church, Heaven, and everything else in Creation that is natural. This was another characteristic that set it apart from, and at odds with, most of the modern world and the way it is governed. One of the basic principles of that governance is that everybody is equal.

Since men are not naturally so, state action becomes necessary in order to make them equal, and inasmuch as the less gifted are inherently unable to rise to a higher level, others who could excel must be kept at the lower one, or reduced to it. The result is a universal leveling. Eventually, instead of the rare and excellent being prized, they are disparaged. Mozart is contemptuously dismissed as “high-brow” and rap hailed as “music”. Great books by “dead white men” are branded as “irrelevant”. Instead, the likes of Dan Brown are downloaded onto Kindles by those who still read at all. The dumbing down of America as exemplified by the public school system is obvious. The reduction of everything to the lowest common denominator is better illustrated by the degeneration of “higher education” into no more than vocational training, and lately vocational training to no end. (Does anybody know the number of Starbucks baristas saddled with huge college-loan debt whose degrees have nothing to do with pouring coffee? In a hierarchical society the work you do and life you lead might not be at the top, but neither would you be left asking, “What’s the point?”)

Of course more than education is affected by the adoption of low standards. Coarse language becomes commonplace. Vice is paraded. Acts once regarded as heinous become protected by law. Honor, probably the quality most prized among the men who populated the Confederacy, runs out of us as fast as value out of the once powerful dollar.

During the next four years, numerous events having to do with the War Between the States will be commemorated nationally, as the inauguration of President Davis was not. Since we have remembered it here, let us offer one more reason, a specifically Catholic one, for lamenting the Confederacy’s failure to secure independence.

The Faith, though its adherents were a minority in the Confederacy (as also in the Union), flourished in those states in ways it did not elsewhere. For instance, there was no city in the Union that was Catholic like New Orleans at that time. Catholics also had the only real schools to speak of, which is why leading families of the region often sent their children to them, as was President Davis himself when he was a boy. If such realities opened society in the Confederacy to a Catholic influence at its highest levels, it also made that society tolerant of other minorities. So it was that representatives of the then-sovereign and allied Cherokee nation were welcomed into Congress in Richmond. So it was, also, that the first Jew named to any American cabinet was Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State. Today, even a casual visitor to towns of the former Confederacy will be struck by the harmony and courtesy marking relations between the races and that are too often absent in Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit or, as far as that goes, Washington, D.C., where the present lines are written. How much social strife and pain could have been avoided if the side that won the war had been open in the same way?

More to the point, had the Confederacy endured, those children educated in Catholic schools would have grown up to become its chief figures in society, culture and politics. Thus might there have arisen in North America a Catholic nation, one that over the years would lend support to other such nations, or at least refrain from attacking the Catholic interest overseas, as when – to offer but one example – the U.S. acted in the name of “religious freedom” to overthrow the government of President Diem of South Vietnam back in 1963, leading to a war as pointless as a restaurant waiter’s college degree. As things stand, of course, there is not now any nation left in ex-Christendom that can still be called Catholic, or not any with real weight in the world (one thinks of Malta).

As we have said, it is all to be lamented.

A bit of irony: The Confederacy lacked a national anthem when President Davis was inaugurated. Bearing in mind that the spirit of the Confederacy was profoundly anti-modern, which it to say, contrary to the chief tenets of secular liberalism, it brings an ironic smile to the lips to hear that the band providing music for the occasion turned to some that is indubitably stirring but also is that of the marching song of the Revolution. They played the Marseillaise.

“To arms, citizens! March on! March on!”

  • Bonifacius

    Once again, I highly, highly recommend that an organization such as yours, being based as it is in Yankee country, consider the views of the Civil War espoused by Orestes Brownson, whom you elsewhere laud, a Yankee, a Unionist, and the greatest Catholic writer of the 19th Century in America. Specifically, I refer you to “The American Republic” of 1866.

    You will find in Brownsons’ writings a candid acknowledgement of the implicit socialism of the abolitionists and of many Unionists *as well as* as the individualistic and well-nigh anarchistic leanings of Southern secessionism. The great thing about the failure of the Confederacy is the fact is that its aborted future permits people to dream utopian dreams about what it might have accomplished. I see little basis for such speculations.

    “So it was, also, that the first Jew named to any American cabinet was Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State.”

    It is one thing to dismiss the lie that the antebellum and wartime South was beholden to the religious bigotry that typified the Ku Klux Klan later, but what would Fr. Fahey have said about this?

    “That is, it corresponded to the organization of the Church, Heaven, and everything else in Creation that is natural.”

    Hierarchy is in fact part of the organization of nature. So too is what Brownson terms “the unity of the race,” i.e. the human race. The secessionists celebrated the Dred Scott decision which, in open contravention of the historical fact that several states had acknowledged Negroes as citizens prior to 1857, ruled that black Africans could not be citizens of the United States as they were deemed to be an inferior race. Please consult the “Cornerstone Speech” of Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the Confederacy. Stephens states that the Confederacy was a truly modern state as it was the first founded on the modern, scientific doctrine (!) of Negro inferiority.

    Additionally, please consider that even if the Union had not resisted secession, then there would have been perennial concern every election cycle whether this or that state would secede from the Union or secede from the Confederacy and rejoin the Union, etc. Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, etc., not to mention Kansas and Nebraska, etc., would have seen civil strife. It is not as though Lincoln introduced the threat of violence into the mix; it was already there. Who fired on whom at Fort Sumter?

    Consider also that it was Southern, pro-slavery filibusters who descended upon Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean in the hopes of setting up new American (and pro-slavery) states there. I do not see how the concept of “manifest destiny” which, as Gen. and Pres. Grant points out in his “Memoirs,” so drove Southerners to support the annexation of Texas, would suddenly die out in the Southern Confederacy.

    Please resist the temptation to idolize failures on the basis of results they never yielded and to prefer the devil we don’t know to the devil we do. The triumph of the Union was not some Manichean victory of Sheer Evil over Perfect Good, nor would the triumph of the South have been a Utopia. Perhaps the defeat of the Confederacy was, as Mr. Potter claims, an opportunity lost. Brownson, at least, saw the Union victory as an opportunity for good that has since been lost. But once again, Brownson speaks better than I. Please consider him, as you have in the past. I believe you owe it to him and to the interests of full inquiry. Otherwise, you run the risk of a whitewash. Thank you.

  • Bonifacius

    Mr. Potter celebrates the sesquicentennial anniversary of Jefferson Davis’ inauguration as President of the Confederacy. I wish therefore to quote from the “Cornerstone Speech,” delivered 150 years ago by Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the same Confederacy. In it, Mr. Stephens, through an abuse of Scripture, implicitly likens black slavery and the inequality of the races *qua* races as cornerstone of good government to Our Lord as cornerstone of the Church. Please consider whether this is not as “wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically” — and religiously! — as is the sort of radical egalitarianism Mr. Potter (with the Unionist Orestes Brownson) condemns:

    ‘But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

    In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.’

  • Bonifacius
  • Eugene R. De Lalla

    Perhaps this whole article is about the “lesser of two evils”? In any event, look at what we have now! The killing of the pre-born is “legal”; homosexual “marriage” is all the rage — and “legal”; preaching Scripture against the sodomites is now considered “hate speech”; “Catholic” politicians defy Church teachings and say “I will vote my ‘conscience'”; we have a socialist/communist in the White House; the dollar is nearly worthless; and I’ll probably have to work until I drop, because “social security” won’t exist in a few years; and on and on and on…And one more thing, it seems that if a V.P. of a country makes a speech does that mean that everyone in the country falls in line with what he says? For instance, if Joe Biden says the Moon is made of blue cheese, does that mean that everyone in the country now feels and thinks the same?

  • john charles moran

    To Bonifacius:
    Sir, your slavery “arguments” against the Confederacy are just as applicable to you dear Yankeeland — a country that permitted slavery until the amendments. I wonder what you think about the negroes who owned slaves. Leave us Southerners alone, please, and wallow in your envy with your ilk.
    Thank you, Mr. Potter, for this kind remembrance of President Davis. I read your work in Triumph, and read that great review from its first number [1966].

  • Bonifacius

    Dear Mr. De Lalla,

    I am not sure whether it is legitimate to compare “what we have now” with what we might hypothetically have now if — well, if something or other had or had not happened in the 1860s, and all the other hypothetical events that have not happened in the 150-odd years since. I have no real idea what would or would not have happened had Lincoln not been elected, or if the South had not seceded, or if the Union had not declared war, other than that once states seceded war and strife and complication were necessary results. The things you decry occurred decades, if not a century after the Civil War. They show only that the people who inherited the Union misused their powers, not that life would have been better without the Union.

    You mention abortion — I will point out that prior to Roe v. Wade proportionally more Southern states than Northern states had pro-abortion laws. Please see here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_US_abortion_laws_pre-1973.svg

    Obviously the fact of federal union allowed Roe v. Wade to be the law of the land. Fine, subtract the abuse of Roe v. Wade, and you see that *when abortion law was strictly a state issue* Southern states were among the most liberal. So I guess I, who live in Illinois (where abortion was illegal in 1973), have more to complain about the federal abuse in Roe v. Wade than do many of the Southern states, who had already liberalized their laws on the matter.

    Simply put, the massive abuses of federal power no more answer the fundamental constitutional question of a state’s right to secede than do the abuses of states’ rights under Jim Crow. Additionally, I would point out that there *have* been instances where federal rulings upheld the natural law, as when the Supreme Court struck down the anti-miscegenation laws that were found in both North and South, but were more stringently observed in the South. And, in any case, federal abuses pre-dated secession, as for instance the Dred Scott decision, which was judicial activism in the nth degree and which Southerners applauded. As Henry Adams observes, the Southern Slave Power upheld federal intervention so long as the pro-slavery faction controlled the federal government, and as soon as they lost control in 1860 they sought to break away from a country whose national course they could no longer exercise a veto over.

    As for Stephens’ speech, IF the Confederacy was so great and noble and lacking in hypocrisy, THEN its Vice-President’s speech, particularly one setting forth the very justification for the creation of the country he helped found, should be representative. If Stephens was in fact comparable to Biden, I rather think the C.S.A. was as miserable as our current state. In which case, Mr. Potter’s case still fails. Either he knew whererof he spoke, in which case we should indict the Confederacy as being very, very flawed from its inception and dedicated to a doctrine of racial inequality at variance with the natural and supernatural law, or else he knew not whereof he spoke, in which case the regime was incompetent from its birth. I would say that Stephens’ view, that slavery was the primary cause of secession, is borne out by the declarations of four seceding states as to the reasons for their secession, which may be found here:

    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

    Please search for the word “slavery.” In any case, this should show that Mr. Potter’s account of secession does not do justice to a fact, the fact not of slavery, which existed in both the Union and the Confederacy and which *may* sometimes be justified, but of an overriding doctrine at large among the Confederates that the slavery *of the black race* was to be maintained even at the cost of secession and war.

    Dear Mr. Moran,

    No, sir, on no account are the arguments about slavery “just as applicable” to the Union as to the Confederacy. The Union was not founded to maintain slavery, it endured slavery while it existed, and it outlawed it when the opportunity for this arose in the context of war. The Confederacy was, by the accounts of many of its founders, instituted in no small part to maintain slavery. You say the Union accepted slavery until the amendments. Aye, but it was the Union that *passed* the amendments, amendments which would have been anathema in the South. I wish that slavery had been abolished gradually and peacefully. I wish the abolitionists had not been possessed by such a fanatical streak, which was wrong and should rightly be condemned. But I wish too that secessionists had not used the election of Lincoln as a pretext for rebellion, a rebellion in which very beautiful rhetoric and many true, valuable, and patriotic sentiments and heroic valor were married to the defense of bondage based on skin tone.

    A lesson, and a partial defense of *some* of the secessionists: toward the end of the war, some Confederates contemplated emancipating the slaves in order to arm them to fight the Union. Some Virginians reasoned that this was consistent with secession as the war was about states’ rights, not slavery. To which some South Carolinians, hailing from the very state that brought the war down upon the whole country, replied no, the war was about slavery, so no emancipation, not even so as to defend the Confederacy. Better to see one’s state subjugated while defending slavery than possibly to win the war while liberating the slaves, I guess.

    So long as defenders of secession do not leave Lincoln, my compatriot, alone and they heap upon him curses, I shall not “leave the South” alone. Turnabout is fair play. In any case, I realize that there was good and bad on both sides and Catholics were accused of being lax in support of the Union, an accusation rooted in Catholic lack of enthusiasm for the war and sometimes downright opposition that is understandable on several grounds. Brownson acknowledges this more or less. But the issue of *secession as such* is not a Catholic issue, nor whether the Southerners were rebels or within their constitutional rights. Which is partly why I lament attempts to treat the Confederacy as a nascent Catholic Utopia, especially attempts that simply gloss over the fact that the *Catholic* conception of human inequality cannot readily be mapped onto the racial caste system and race-specific slavery the Confederates fought to maintain and which the Union victory *eventually* served to mitigate. Would that the Catholic truth would prevail over false conceptions, both Northern and Southern.

    I thank both of you gentlemen for corresponding with me, and the webmaster for posting my replies.

  • Bonifacius

    P.S. In response to Mr. Moran: Yes, I am aware that some black freedmen in the South owned black slaves. In fact, the legality of perpetual bondage in the United States was established in colonial Virginia when a black freedman sued to prevent a black indentured servant from obtaining his freedom when (so the servant claimed) the term of his indenture had ended. (This is to the best of my recollection; I may have some details wrong.)

    But what are we to make of this? Simply that in the South people of color (blacks, Indians, persons of mixed race, and even East Indians) could be kept as slaves, even by freed persons of the same race. But this does not mean that slavery was “equal opportunity.” White people could be indentured servants, many worked in appalling conditions we would not countenance today, many worked in conditions worse than that to which some slaves were accustomed. But white men could *NOT* be held as *perpetual* slaves, as mere chattel, as property. Blacks could be property of whites or of blacks; whites could own blacks but could not be owned in turn by anyone, either black or white. The institution was, or came to be, based on race, which is not one of the legitimate “just claims” for slavery traditionally accepted by natural law theorists and Catholic theologians. My issue is not that only whites could own blacks (which is untrue), but that only blacks (and other minorities of color) could be owned. I recall that a Catholic French-language newspaper in New Orleans caused controversy in the early- or mid-19th century when, following the natural law and the teachings of the Church, it stated not only that slavery in se was not intrinsically evil, but that is was not intrinsically evil *even were the bondsman of the white race.* For the standards in the South had become, as we can see in Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech” and in the Texas declaration of reasons for secession, that slavery was restricted to “inferior races.”

    Furthermore, traditionally freedmen became citizens of the commonwealth to which their masters belonged. This was true in ancient Rome, in parts of colonial America, and in several American states of the early republic. As was recognized by the eminent Catholic jurist William Gaston (http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/45/entry), freed blacks were suffrage-holding state citizens *in North Carolina* at least until the 1830s. It was the Dred Scott decision which decided that no black man, even a freedman, could be a citizen of the United States, and ruled thus despite historical evidence that several states had recognized blacks as citizens and registered them as voters.

  • Bonifacius

    A *final* P.S.:

    I do not wish to come off sounding hopelessly smug and one-sided. Which is why I add: Mr. Potter is entirely right to call for defense of states’ rights today. While I see secession as at least dubious under the Constitution, I still see the usefulness of summoning up the memory of the Confederates in order to goad today’s citizens into defense of local and state prerogatives. Even in his denunciation of secession, Brownson looks forward to the day when Southerners, re-integrated into the Union, will help counterbalance the socialistic, statistic, centralizing tendencies of the (Yankee) abolitionists. I hope and pray that this aspect of the Confederate tradition will live on *within the perpetual Union.*

    Nor do I wish to detract from Jefferson Davis, who (like Alexander Stephens, Gen. Lee, and so many other prominent Confederates) himself opposed secession until his home state seceded and who then felt obliged to follow his fellow citizens’ will. It was a tragic position to be placed in and I understand why Bl. Pope Pius IX wove the crown of thorns for Davis, a fact I first learned of in a previous article of Mr. Potter’s in an issue of “From the Housetops.” (Incidentally, Pope Pius urged Confederate emissaries to emancipate the slaves, reasoning that this would help their govt. attract foreign sympathy and perhaps even official recognition by the courts of Europe; I understand that the emissaries rejected the proposal as incompatible with the Confederate constitution.) However, there were other choices; Sam Houston resigned as Gov. of Texas when he refused to endorse Texan secession and spent the rest of his life in retirement. While Houston refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, he also refused to take command of Union forces to fight against his fellow Southerners. Choices were difficult and I do not wish to malign men who felt compelled by circumstances to accept positions they themselves had tried in vain to resist. Thank you again.

  • Peter Walsh

    Bonifacius,
    I recently listened to a few “limited government conservatives” recall the hopes they had in ’08 that we were close to gaining a solid hold on the Supreme Court, which would have been maintained for a generation. And then the Obama calamity struck, giving us Sotomayor and Kagan. Talk about lamenting lost opportunities.

    More commonly, I meet the new grassroots “limited government Constitutionalists” who have little interest in American legal history, and do not read court opinions, whether its Marshall, Hughes or Scalia. So we have a movement of “Constitutionalists” who do not read law books. Some of them might be more accurately described as Dropouts, people who are encouraging a boycott of “the current system”.

    And then there are the Christian Rapture-believers … who logically are “boycotting politics” because they are waiting for biblical events to unfold. Another 30 million people in this group.

    It’s tough to see how the New Secessionists will increase the support for states’ rights if they develop into another group of boycotters or dropouts. People who are looking to leave usually become disinterested in agenda at the state capitol.

    Senator Davis was, himself, the ultimate political insider. As he was obsessed with the affairs of his own period, he probably didn’t spend much time with utopian visions of the past or future.

    Incidentally, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is speaking today in Grafton County. He’s a man of the New South. He might agree that the Neo-Confederates are good for an occasional chuckle.

  • Gary Potter

    Dear Bonifacius,

    Thank you for your comments. At first I felt provoked and thought you were trying to reignite the War Between the States. I am now glad I withheld answering fire. Your “final” postscript is all I could possibly want from as obviously strong an Union man as yourself. After all, the greatest value of any historical excursion is found in the application to current situations of lessons learned along the way. It is what makes the excursion more than a mere “what if” parlor game. You have precisely stated the relevance to our day of matters I raised.

    To be sure, differences remain between us. However, I conclude that if we were in the same part of the country and you made yourself known to me, we could have an amiable time arguing them over a couple of bottles of wine – something Brownson, at whose tomb in South Bend I have prayed more than once, would heartily approve.

    I must add a postscript to Mr. Moran, if he is reading. Now and then I run into someone who says, “My father used to read Triumph.” It has become rare to hear from somebody who was himself a subscriber. Evidently you and I go back a long way and it was very gratifying to hear from you.

  • Eugene R. De Lalla

    Bonifacius: You said: “So long as defenders of secession do not leave Lincoln, my compatriot, alone and they heap upon him curses, I shall not “leave the South” alone.”

    Lincoln is your compatriot?

    Did Lincoln wage the war between the states in order to free the slaves?

    Did Lincoln wage the war between the states in order to preserve the union?

    Did Lincoln uphold the Constitution?

    Why would you call Lincoln “your compatriot”?

  • John C. Moran

    For Mr. Gary Potter,
    Thanks for the note, much appreciated. Of course I first read you back in Triumph days. I have followed you as best I could over the years, never disappointed.
    As to another once excellent publication that I also subscribed to back then: I gave up on The Wanderer almost ten years ago mainly because of the Editor’s abusive behavior toward his Cousin at The Remnant; so I have stayed with the latter.
    Also, for over thirty years reading the St. Benedict Center’s various publications, where you have been published over the past years. I greatly admired Fr. Feeney and Bro. Francis; two real Catholics. The Center is in excellent hands now with Br. Andre and the others. I am glad that you are with them.
    Let me add a few more “Confederate” words, begging Mr. Bonifacius’s pardon and kind indulgence for continuing: I am now too old to get into arguments of any kind; too little time left.
    I attribute the recent violent hatred of the South and the Confederacy — little shown before the 1960’s — to the ideological spawn of the old “radical” republicans and general “leftism” and that it is motivated mainly by envy and jealousy. Why? Only the South had men brave enough to democratically put into effect the basic principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, etc. — and to fight a war for them (their independence as a new and free country). This is what they hate most of all, wallowing now in their God-less, emasculated, totalitarian police state, that was once the least-bad of political systems, at the service of alien non-Christian interests.
    I would recommend for interested S B C readers of the real justification of the Confederate independence war the long exposition at the beginning of Admiral and General Raphael Semmes’s [Mobile Catholic] nigh forgotten book Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States; but I am sure that you know this book.
    Pardon this rambling ‘note’ of appreciation for your note. Very best wishes in remembrance of old Triumph days.
    God bless St. Benedict Center’s apostolate. My regards to Mr. Bonifcacius, a good Northerner [I did not use the Y word].
    Sincerely, John C. Moran

  • Chris Campbell

    The KKK was a result of a brutal occupation and dictatorship-those types of things often lead to desperation and despicable actions of the KKK. laws in the South prior to 1865 often punished slave owners that were cruel…also, New Jersy-fought for the Union, yet did not outlaw slavery until 1865! Hmm…

  • Chris Campbell

    Tom DiLorenzo has done a lot of work on this topic, even at the unCatholic Mises site….ignore there tripe, read his work on this topic…..or listen, as ther are MP3 on it too.

  • Chris Campbell

    Secretary of the CSA Navy-Catholic, Davis considered converting, his parents talked him out of it to stay in the Anglican background….