Notions of Royalty and Contempt for the Common People
William G. Brownlow

All who have noticed with care the proceedings in the South Carolina Convention must have been struck with the royalty displayed, when their President was marched in, dressed in mazarine blue, and attended by Lords and Commoners, equalling the coronation-services in the installation of a king. There is a great deal of the monarchical and despotic feeling in South Carolina. To this very day, they clothe their circuit judges in black silk gowns, and attend them to and from the court-room every time court adjourns, with a sheriff and his deputy on either side, wearing cocked hats, and carrying drawn swords in their hands! We have witnessed this mock-royalty time and again, and laughed in our sleeves, as these dignataries approached!

These are not the people to head a Confederacy for Tennesseeans to fall into. Their notions of royalty, and their contempt for the common people, will never suit Tennesseeans. In Tennessee, free white men vote who are twenty-one years of age, and they are not required to own land and negroes before they are qualified to vote. In a late speech made by R. Barnwell Rhett - who, by the way, was the leading spirit in this Convention - he distinctly enunciated that capital and property must hereafter be represented at the ballot-box. It is not strange that Andy Johnson, a tailor by trade, should denounce this whole movement in a speech in the Senate! And nine-tenths of our people will veto this Southern Confederacy at the ballot-box, and vote to stay in the Confederacy founded by GEORGE WASHINGTON and others, who thought a poor but honest man should be entitled to vote for or against those who were to rule over him! Let Tennessee once go into this Empire of Cotton States, and all poor men will at once become the free negroes of the Empire! We are down upon the whole scheme.

Knoxville Whig, Jan. 12, 1861.


Sketches of the Rise, Progress, and Decline of Secession by W. G. Brownlow
George W. Childs, Philadelphia, 1862, pages 87-88.