The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


Henry B. Stanton to ECS

My dear Elizabeth:

I see by the papers to night, that Susan, Mr. May, & you, I presume, had a riotous time at Rochester last night. I do'nt know whether you were there, as your name is not mentioned in the despatch.[2] If you were, I hope that no harm befel you, nor indeed any of the rest of those who desired to hold the meeting.
Of course, these mobs are wrong, wicked, & ought to be put down. But, in the present temper of the public mind, it is of no use to try to hold abolition meetings in large cities. I think you risk your lives; & in cities of the size & character of Buffalo, Albany, Boston & New York, where there is so much rowdyism, the mobocrats would as soon kill you as not.
These rioters are not unionsavers now, so much as of yore, but are rather secessionists, who desire to break up the union. Pray don't stand in their way: for they are doing a good work.
I am here at the center of political commotion, & I assure you this union is going to destruction as fast as it can. Four states are already out. Four more will be soon.[3] Civil war is close upon us. Military troops are here & coming here to try & protect the public buildings & save the seals of office & the symbols of power from being siezed by the Revolutionists. The Republican party will have as much as it can do to even get possession of these symbols on the 4th of March,[4] even with the aid of U.S. troops.
I believe all the slave states with 2 or 3 exceptions will secede before Lincoln comes in. In a word, we are in the midst of a Revolution—& I do sincerely fear that the bloodshed, & pillage, & arson, will not all be confined to the South. I fear that prominent republicans & abolitionists will be victimized all thro the North.
You have no idea of the temper of things here. Gen. Scott,[5] & other officers are here, the Regiment of Flying Artillery[6] is here, & troops are being ordered to this City, to prevent its falling into the hands of the Revolutionists.
Now, I advise you, & Susan, & all friends, to keep quiet & let the Revolution go on. You must not hope to get any additional liberty bills now. When these Southern states have all gone, then we shant need any. Half the negroes will run away, & there will be no fugitive slave law to stop them—for there will be no slave States in our Union.
You can't make any impression now in the way of personal liberty bills. The minds of the people are too much absorbed with the main Revolution, to look after these details. They are mere eddies in the grand current which is sweeping Slavery to perdition. Stand out of the way & let the current run.
Tell Daniel, the Zouave,[7] that if Gov. Morgan calls out our Militia to go Southward, & put down Secession, or to come here & protect the Capital, I shall look to see his gallant corps rallying among the foremost.
By the by, before the Zouave takes the field, I wish he would write me about how he gets along with Arithmetic, wood-chopping, &c. A thousand and loves to all. Your affectionate

H. B. S.

ALS, ECS Papers, DLC.
    [1.] At the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Third Street.
    [2.] Mobs prevented ECS from delivering her speech on 11 January but she succeeded the next day. (Rochester Evening Express, 14 January 1861, Film, 9:1059.)
    [3.] Following the lead of South Carolina, which seceded on 20 December 1860, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama seceded on 9, 10, and 11 January 1861. Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded by 1 February. Tennessee rejected secession on 9 February.
    [4.] The day of Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. Lincoln (1809-1865), an Illinois congressman, became the sixteenth president of the United States.
    [5.] Winfield Scott (1786-1866), commander of the army at the outbreak of the Civil War, arrived in Washington in December. He retired from the army later in 1861. (Warner, Generals in Blue.)
    [6.] Horse-drawn cannon.
    [7.] The Seneca Falls militia were known as the "Zouaves" for their brilliant uniforms. (History of Seneca Co., N.Y., 115.)