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On 13 November 1860, J.S. Moore of Indiana wrote a letter to his Virginia relative Doctor Thomas Moore. Much of the letter has to do with health matters and the vibrant Indiana economy. The “Indiana Moore” then turned his attention to the recent 1860 presidential election. He provides “Virginia Moore” his thoughts on Abraham Lincoln, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and who was responsible for the secession crisis pervading the nation at the time.

Abraham Lincoln campaign banner for the 1860 presidential election.

Image used courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.

“I suppose Lincoln is elected President and report says the result has created a consternation in the South and an effort is being made to adopt a plan for secession. It does appear to me that it is folly and madness on their part to attempt resistance at all events until Lincoln or his party is guilty of an overt act that would justify such a procedure if justifiable it could be. I know that Mr. Lincoln holds today principles that you and I use to battle for under the leadership of Henry Clay.

And I do say when the Republican Party is assailed the assault is not made on their principles but a misrepresentation of those principles and I hold the Democratic Party responsible for the ill feeling engendered both North and South. They persist in saying here at home that the Republican Party proposes to make war on the Institutions of the South. In a word that it is the fixed purpose of Lincoln to abolish slavery in the States when they know he stands pledged against any thing of the kind and would frown down such a movement let it come from whatever source it may. The Democratic Party has depended for success on lieing [sic] and misrepresentation for the last Twenty years and their lies and slanders have recoiled on their own heads. And they can now have the melancholy pleasure of reviewing their past course and see the ‘Rock upon which they Split.’

If the Negroes of the South looked for assistance from the North simultaneously with the election of Lincoln they gathered it from the speeches and movements of such men as Keit, Rhett, Gist, Yancy, Wigfall, and your own citizen Henry A. Wise. And those men will live to see that they by given credence and utterance to slanders started in the North have done more to excite servile insurrection among the Slaves than any other set of published articles purporting to have been copied from the New York tribune & Cincinnati Gazette that were pronounced by these papers base slanders and forgeries and I knew them to be such as I am a somewhat careful reader of those papers.

I think the conservative men both North & South should counsel moderation and thereby allay the bitter strife that has convulsd [sic] the country the last six years. I will go ‘Old Abes’ security that he will do right  and I hope he will make those corrupt officials ‘scamper’ like the money changers of old for they have almost perverted the Government. Enough on this subject.”

The letter continued as J.S. Moore proceeded to get Dr. Moore up to date on various Moore family members and his upcoming marriage.

The J.S. Moore to Dr. Thomas Moore letter, along with other Civil War era correspondence found in the Rockbridge County court records, is available at the Library of Virginia.

-Greg Crawford, Local Records Coordinator

Greg Crawford

State Archivist & Director of Government Records Services

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