Thursday, August 8, 2013

Northern Businessman Critical of Lincoln's War

A number of prominent Northern businessmen opposed the Lincoln administration for both business and political reasons. Robert Graham Dun left his home of Chillicothe, Ohio in 1850 for a position with the New York City mercantile agency of Tappan and Douglass, one of the first credit-rating services in the US.  He purchased the company outright in 1859.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Northern Businessman Critical of Lincoln's War
"[Letter to] John G. Dun, September 25, 1861:
"How does this infernal Black Republican War affect you in a business way?  It is playing the h---ll with us all here. I have never had the slightest sympathy with the Federal Gov't in such a wicked and sectional war.  I am a firm believer in States' rights – in the [sovereignty] of States; & I think the Gov't at Washington has no right to declare war against any State or States."
[Letter to] Robert George Dun, October 17, 1861:
"Bright future isn't it? I sometimes feel so mad and disgusted with the country that I wish I was out of it.  In fact I begin to think as Uncle Joshua used to preach – that democratic government is a humbug & the sooner we turn it into a monarchy the better.  I really believe we are fast drifting to it.  One thing is certain we shall never have so free a Gov't again . . . now since politics has become a profession there is nothing but [pollution], bribery, treachery and everything but honesty in the rulers of the country, from the pettiest office of a back-house inspector up to the President of the U.S."
[Letter to] John G. Dunn, March 15, 1862:
"The ridiculous stories about strong Union feeling at the South I am convinced is all humbug.  These stories are got up to humbug the "dear people" that they may continue to be bled freely by the Administration & just as long as the people continue to have their eyes sanded & pour their money into the Public Crib this was will be waged.  [It seems] the people at the North are all crazy & mad to believe for a moment that this Union can ever be restored . . . No!  The South can only be kept subdued by a standing army of a million men . . . ."
[Letter to] Robert George Dun, May 27, 1862:
"The crazy infatuation of the North in trying to carry out its "irrepressible conflict" doctrine has you may say, wholly bankrupted the country & I for one would not care to invest much in Gov't securities.  My opinion is, however, that this war – this wicked war – will continue as long as this Niger [sic] Administration is in power; as long as there is a dollar in the Treasury for the vampires in office to gloat over.  I understand that . . . newspaper reporters whose dispatches were not allowed to pass by censors of mail and telegraph . . . . but on arrival here were nabbed & carried to Fort Lafayette for their pains.  My consolation is that some day there will be a day of reckoning for the devil incarnate at the head of the government now."
[Letter to] John Dun, March 2, 1863:
"We are bound, hand & foot now by one man power and nothing but revolution will save us. The enforcement of the conscription law will, I believe, be the torch to the magazine.  States must assert their rights & put down the occupations [sic] of the mere agency called government at Washington."
[Letter to] John Wood, March 5, 1863:
"I see but little prospect of an early peace notwithstanding the "Copperhead" fraternity [that] seems to be rapidly on the increase.  I look for [revolution in the North] – at least a conflict for States rights but I do not care to discuss politics – I am completely disgusted with the country and its people."
[Letter to] John G. Dun, June 27, 1863:
"Politically, there is a good deal of excitement here about the advance of the Confederates. I hope & believe Lee is bent on taking Washington. Victories on the part of the South is the only hope of an early peace. I should not be surprised to hear of Lee's attacking Phila. & capturing it & then dictating terms of Peace in old Independence Hall."
[Letter to] James Angus Dun, July 23, 1863:
"I suppose you will have heard of the Great riot in this city last week . . . gotten up in opposition to the Lincoln conscription.  The people won't stand any such usurpation of power by the "Machine" at Washington."
[Letter to John Dun, September 16, 1863:
"I fear the frauds you anticipate in your coming election will be fully realized. I have no doubt but [that] the Democrats will be swindled out of the election of their candidates.  The enforcing of the conscription in Ohio will be a pretext for [martial] Law & Lincoln's proclamation (out this morning) suspending the writ of habeas corpus will [Bastille] all who say a word in opposition. I shall regret blood shed in Ohio, but I hope the [D]emocrats will fight for their rights to the last man."
(A Northern Businessman Opposes the Civil War, Letters of R.G. Dun, Ohio History, Volume 71, No. 2, July 1862,  Ohio Historical Society, pp. 138-145)