Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 5, 1861 - Mass Meeting in Van Buren

Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren
The following appeared on page 5 of the January 7, 1861, issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer and details a mass meeting that took place in Van Buren in support of the secession of Arkansas from the Union:


VAN BUREN, ARK., January 5 – The largest meeting ever held in Crawford county took place to-day, HENRY WALCOX presided. A series of resolutions were adopted nearly unanimously, declaring that the institutions of the slaveholding States ought to be maintained at every hazard and to the last extremity; that we view the personal liberty bills, passed for the purpose of defeating the execution of the Fugitive Slave law, as palpable infractions of the Constitution, and that we insist on their speedy repeal, and the faithful execution of said law as a condition to the restoration of fraternal relations; that it is our ardent desire to preserve the Union, if it can be preserved consistently with the honor, rights and interests of the slaveholding States, and favor a conference of the slaveholding States at Nashville, and, if need be, a convention of all the States, that, in the event of a failure by the South to obtain such a guaranty of their rights in the Union as may be compatible with its honor and interests, that they then insist upon an equitable division of the public property and the public debt, and if this cannot be obtained, they will separate from their Northern confederates, not peaceably, but that they will draw the sword and fight for the rights to the bitter end; that we are opposed to separate action, and especially the secession of Arkansas without co-operation; that a reasonable time should be given to the non-slave-holding States to retrace their steps and depose their unprincipled leaders, and give the South such guarantees as will secure their rights and equality in the Union; that though deploring the election of Mr. LINCOLN, we unhesitatingly declare that it is not, in itself, sufficient cause for a dissolution of the Union; that we tender our thanks to Messrs. CRITTENDEN, BIGLER, RUST, and others for their efforts in Congress to heal the unhappy dissensions which have arisen between the North and South, and to preserve the Federal Union consistently with the rights and honor of all the States; that we are in favor of a State Convention at an early day, and that we recommend to the Legislature an increase of ad valorem duties to forty-five cents on the $100, which will furnish resources to defray the purchase of arms and munitions of war, with which to protect our lives and our homes from aggression and menace.

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