Books Acquired in Memory of William W. Swayze, III
July 18, 2013 – December 13, 2013
curated by Timothy Murray
As a result of a generous donation from the Delaware Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the University of Delaware Library has acquired a collection of more than seventy historic Civil War era pamphlets and other publications which will be designated in memory of William W. Swayze, III. Mr. Swayze was a longtime member of the Lincoln Club of Delaware who served as president of the Club in 1977 and played an important role in Lincoln Club activities for many years. Mr. Swayze, who was a lifelong resident of Wilmington, Delaware, and received his B.A. degree in Business Administration from the University of Delaware in 1938, passed away on October 26, 2009, at the age of 93. This significant addition to the Lincoln Collection features fiery political speeches, scarce abolitionist tracts, pro-confederacy publications, Confederate imprints, autobiographical works, and much more. Selections from the collection will be on display through December 13, 2013.
Civil War Memoirs, Diaries, and Reminiscences
Civil War memoirs, diaries, and reminiscences offer fascinating personal perspectives on the War and life in America during this period. Hundreds of memoirs exist from a diverse group of writers, including soldiers, sailors, political figures, civilians, slaves, and visitors from overseas. Here are three very scarce examples.
Reminiscences of the War between the States. [Cowpens, S.C.: privately printed], 1931.
William Tanner served in the 13th South Carolina Infantry. The regiment was present throughout the war in the Army of Northern Virginia. They participated in most of the major engagements including Gettysburg. The author was wounded at Five Forks and Sharpsburg. He entered the service as a private in Spartansburg, SC, and he eventually attained the rank of lieutenant. The crudely printed pamphlet is filled with the author's euphemisms and misspellings, but his narrative is fascinating.
Autobiography of James L. Smith; including also, reminiscences of slave life, recollections of the war, education of freedmen, causes of the exodus, etc. Norwich [Conn.]: Press of the Bulletin Co., 1881.
James Lindsey Smith was born into slavery on a plantation in Northern Neck, Virginia. Smith’s Autobiography focuses primarily on events in his personal life; however, he dedicates a large amount of text to his feelings on the Civil War. He not only wrote about some of the events that took place, but also the emotion and sacrifices that the soldiers were making: "I commend the daring and noble deeds of our soldiers, and hand them down to posterity as worthy of imitation, and that they have won themselves a proud position on the pages of American history." Smith concludes his autobiography by summarizing the performance and participation of the African-American troops during the Civil War, and the resulting effects on the nation’s government.
Memoirs of a veteran who served as a private in the 60s in the war between the states: personal incidents, experiences and observations. Atlanta, Ga.: Byrd Print. Co., 1911.
Isaac Hermann enlisted in the Confederate Army in May 1861, serving initially in the First Georgia infantry in Company E under Stonewall Jackson in Virginia. He also served in the Georgia Artillery and near the end of the war was assigned to hospital duty in Macon, Georgia. Hermann was one of more than two thousand Jewish men who served in the Confederate army and navy. His Memoirs describe his services and adventures, offering numerous anecdotes of daily life in the Confederate Army. Following the War he is unrepentant and states adamantly that the Southern States "had a perfect right" to secede "under the Federal Constitution and Common Compact." Hermann defiantly opposed Reconstruction and welcomed the arrival of the Ku Klux Klan "who have come back to regulate matters."
The short-lived Confederate States of America produced more than 9,000 books, pamphlets, broadsides, maps, pieces of sheet music, pictures, and periodicals. These publications are known as Confederate imprints and most of them were legislative acts, political pamphlets, bills, reports, and military documents. Confederate imprints are important sources for students of the Civil War and life in the South during this period.
Slavery: its origin, nature, and history, its relations to society, to government, and to true religion, to human happiness and divine glory: considered in the light of Bible teachings, moral justice, and political wisdom. Alexandria: Printed at the Virginia Sentinel Office, 1860.
Thornton Stringfellow (March 6, 1788 – March 6, 1869) was the pastor of Stevensburg Baptist Church in Culpeper County, Virginia. He is perhaps best known for condoning slavery and in this pamphlet he argues that slavery is sanctioned by the Bible.
Speech delivered at the Constitutional Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, Sept. 20, 1865. [Montgomery Ala: privately printed, 1865].
In this speech, the Alabama attorney and politician Alexander White debates whether Alabama ought to "voluntarily" emancipate the slaves in order to placate the federal government or refuse and make it clear this was a measure forced on Alabama.
The sin and the curse; or, The Union, the true source of disunion, and our duty in the present crisis. A discourse preached on the occasion of the day of humiliation and prayer appointed by the governor of South Carolina, on November 21st, 1860, in the Second Presbyterian church, Charleston, S. C., by Rev. Thomas Smyth. Pub. by request of the session and corporation. Charleston, S.C.: Steam-power presses of Evans & Cogswell, 1860.
In this sermon the influential Presbyterian minister laments the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, defends slavery, and denounces the Republican party. It is not known whether Smyth was related to the great Union general from Wilmington, Delaware, Thomas A. Smyth.
The South alone, should govern the South: And African slavery should be controlled by those only, who are friendly to it. Charleston: Steam-power Presses of Evans & Cogswell, 1860.
Three separate printings of this important tract appeared in the watershed year of 1860. Fearing that Lincoln would win the forthcoming presidential election, South Carolina planter and state Senator John Townsend warned that, "our enemies are about to take possession of the Government, that they intend to rule us according to the caprices of their fanatical theories, and according to the declared purposes of abolishing slavery." Townsend was one of the signatories of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, which was issued on December 20, 1860.
This scarce Southern response to Lincoln’s recent election consists of five letters to the Natchez Daily Courier which urge restraint upon the South and counsel against disunion.
Message of His Excellency, Joseph E. Brown, to the General Assembly, convened in the capitol by his proclamation, March 25th, 1863. Milledgeville, Ga.: Boughton, Nisbet & Barnes, State printers, 1863.
Joseph Emerson Brown (April 15, 1821 – November 30, 1894) was the 42nd Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865, and a U.S. Senator from 1880 to 1891. Governor Brown was a leading secessionist in 1861 and led his state out of the Union and into the Confederacy. A former Whig and a firm believer in state's rights, he defied the national government's wartime policies. He resisted the Confederate military draft, and tried to keep as many soldiers at home as possible to fight off invaders. Governor Brown denounced Confederate President Jefferson Davis as an incipient tyrant and challenged Confederate impressment of animals, goods, and slaves. In this speech Brown urges the Georgia General Assembly to prohibit the planting of excessive cotton in favor of growing sources of food for the people of Georgia so that they can avoid "subjugation by hunger."
Additional Pamphlets, Speeches, and Publications
Martial law. [Louisville, Ky.]: Bradley & Gilbert, printers, .
In this important Border State pamphlet issued at the beginning of the Civil War, Nicholas reviews the constitutional history of declarations of martial law, and weighs in against Lincoln's domestic security policies: "the utmost possible temporary mischief which might ensue from the want of power to proclaim martial law, could not equal the permanent mischief that would ensue from recognizing a discretion in military commanders or Presidents, to usurp power in disregard of the Constitution, under any pretext whatever."
This scarce, anonymously-written pamphlet is an attack on Lincoln, whose "want of fidelity to the Constitution is treason to the Union...How stands the question today? The slave is not only declared free, but, a Bill is introduced to raise and arm one hundred and fifty thousand Negroes, to aid in this war of aggression, subjugation and plunder."
Speech of Hon. Langdon Cheves, in the Southern convention, at Nashville, Tennessee, November 14, 1850. [Nashville? Tenn.]: Southern Rights Association, 1850.
Langdon Cheves, U.S. Representative from South Carolina, was an early enthusiast for secession of the Southern slave-holding states from the United States. This speech is one of the earliest of radical secession utterances and is practically a call to arms as Cheves appealed to all the slaveholding states: "Unite, and you shall form one of the most splendid empires in which the sun ever shone..."
Bemerkungen des Ehrb. Lyman Trumbull von Illinois: über die Einnahme der Arsenale in Harper's Ferry, Va., und in Liberty, Mo., sowie Rechtfertigung der republikanischen Partei und ihrer Grundsätze als Erweiderung gegen die Senatoren Chesnut, Yulee, Saulsbury, Clay und Pugh: die Debatte fand Statt im Senate am 6. 7. und 8. Dezember 1859. [Washington, D.C.]: [Republican Executive Congressional Committee], [1860?].
This very rare pamphlet is a German-language printing of Lyman Trumbull's well-known Senate speech, and his debate with pro-slavery and secessionist Southern Senators, delivered a few days after the State of Virginia executed John Brown. The German-speaking population was crucial to Republican hopes, especially in the upper Midwest and the Border State of Missouri, whose German immigrants were strongly anti-slavery.
Speech of Cassius M. Clay, at Frankfort, Ky. from the Capitol steps, January 10, 1860 ... [Cincinnati: n.p., 1860].
This Kentucky abolitionist was an outspoken supporter of Lincoln in the 1860 election. This speech is a rousing defense of the Union, the Republican Party, and abolition; and an equally unambiguous denunciation of the Southern plantation class and the outrages perpetrated against Kentucky anti-slavery men. He closes with Webster's immortal words of a generation earlier, "Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable."
The case of Dred Scott in the United States Supreme court: The full opinions of Chief Justice Taney and Justice Curtis, and abstracts of the opinions of the other judges; with an analysis of the points ruled, and some concluding observations. New York: The Tribune Association, 1860.
The Dred Scott case was the most famous legal case involving slavery and the most controversial decision of the century, and perhaps in the history of the Supreme Court. This pamphlet contains the two most important opinions in the case—those of Chief Justice Taney and Associate Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis of Massachusetts—as well as summaries of the other opinions.
A sermon on prayer for rulers, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago, on Sabbath morning, June 8, 1856. Chicago: S.C. Griggs and Co., 1856.
In this virtual call to arms from the pulpit, Rev. Patterson insists upon the duty of the clergy to criticize civil policies, despite the denunciations of "a class of politicians who dread any fair application of Christian principles to their courses and acts." Especially is this true when, as in the United States, forces of oppression and slavery appear to have the upper hand. Justifying the use of violence in self-defense, he says, "It is surely the duty of every citizen to use all his civil prerogatives to displace rulers who identify themselves with the cause of oppression, and seek to sustain and extend it by forcibly crushing the lovers of freedom and humanity." Civil War, he warns, is at hand: "Mutually hostile principles" govern the "despotism" of the South and the "lovers of liberty and haters of slavery" at the North.
William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow (August 29, 1805 – April 29, 1877) was an American newspaper editor, minister, and politician. He served as Governor of Tennessee from 1865 to 1869 and as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1869 to 1875. He rose to prominence in the 1840s as editor of the Whig, a polemical newspaper that promoted Whig Party ideals and opposed secession in the years leading up to the Civil War. Brownlow's uncompromising and radical viewpoints made him one of the most divisive figures in Tennessee political history and one of the most controversial politicians of the Reconstruction-era South. This example from "Beadle’s Dime Series" chronicles Parson Brownlow’s and his fellow East Tennesseans’ courage in resisting the Confederate takeover of Tennessee.
Defence of Kansas. [Washington: Buell & Blanchard, printers, 1856].
Many Northerners raised money and supplies for anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. Henry Ward Beecher was a minister and a writer who worked to end slavery. Although he never lived in Kansas Territory, his followers founded the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony in Wabaunsee County. Beecher, an abolitionist, raised money for rifles to arm the anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. Beecher’s older sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the author of the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In 1856 Henry Ward Beecher wrote this small pamphlet titled Defence of Kansas in which he argued against the spread of slavery into Kansas Territory and asked for money and support for the anti-slavery cause.