William Howard Russell was a “special correspondent” for the London Times, who travelled the North and South during the early years of the war. The excerpted quote describes a luncheon hosted by Confederate First Lady Varina Davis. While indicative of Russell’s pro-Confederate views, it does call into question the scope of secession. Russell begs the question, what is to stop a Southern state from seceding from the Confederacy?
“Mrs. Davis had a small levee to-day in right of her position as wife of the President. Several ladies there probably looked forward to the time when their states might secede from the new Confederation, and afford them the pleasure of holding a reception. Why not Presidents of the State of Georgia, or Alabama? Why not King of South Carolina, or Emperor of Florida? Soldiers of fortune, make us your game! Gentlemen politicians, the ball is rolling. There is, to be sure, a storm gathering at the North, but it cannot hurt you, and already there are condottieri from all parts of the world flocking to your aid, who will eat your Southern beeves the last of all.”
Source: William Howard Russell’s dispatches to the London Times, reprinted in the (Mobile, AL) Advertiser & Register, 23 June 1861.
Image Credit: Library of Congress.