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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

March-April 1862

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, April 10, 1862.

NOT A WAR OF RACES.

One of the English Reviews professes to discover among the cumulative causes of the civil war in this country, that it is a difference of races; the North, by the hypothesis, being “round head” or puritans, and the South partly cavalier, and part French and African. Leaving out of view the two latter elements, of which the proportion among the noted leaders is very small, (Mons. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard combining all that is known as such in his single person) let us examine the other two. Unless we have read history amiss the civil wars of Charles I and the commonwealth, were not wars of races at all. There, as in this civil war, brother was arrayed against brother, and father against son. Persons whose historical notions are derived from the delineations of character in Scott’s novels, are led astray by his well-known Jacobite partialities. The round heads, as they were derisively called were not all normally vulgar, low bred families; nor were the royalists exclusively the party of the higher classes. Cromwell himself must be ranked “a gentleman” by the heraldry register, his parents on either side being of immediate knightly descent. Among his adherents were numbers of the nobility, and a large proportion of the gentry of the realm. If the inquiry were worth the ink to note its results, a list could be made of nobles and persons of rank, not a few, who were “Puritans,” Commonwealth-men, Cromwellians. These struggles were between men of the same English stock, and each side embraced all degrees of rank, however widely diverse their characters; the questions on which they fought were religious and political, and arose from no race hatred or disputes.

It may be said that the divergence began from that period, and that these distinct traits have been perpetuated in their separate settlements in the North and South on this side of the Atlantic. Manifestly, however, such is not the fact. The families of the North and South are blended by intermarriages innumerable in every State and in every section. Not a few of the secession leaders are of immediate Yankee parentage, or of one remove only; and throughout the South, the class of adventurous Yankees who, renegade like, are more inveterate in their hatred of Yankee land than the southern born, is very large. With a limited acquaintance we personally know scores of such in the planting States. To talk of this as a war of races, as yet, is simply preposterous. Davis and Stephens both—more's the pity—are of Connecticut stock, the nutmeg State; Major Dugald Dalgetty, whether he settled in the North or South, has an immense posterity all over the country, and some of them own plantations and niggers and some are “itinerant merchants.”

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