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[Letter from W.M. Carter to Young John Allen, February 18, 1861]

Barnesville, Ga February 18, 1861

My Very Dear Cousin,

Doubtless you are expecting a letter from me as this reaches you. I have been thinking for a month that I would write, but have been waiting to get our business properly arranged so that I could send you a report at the same time. You wrote me to send Dr. Terry 350 dollars, which I did, & to pay for some Millinery goods which Mallie would buy in Atlanta and also send Bro. Cox of LaGrange 225 dollars.I wrote to Bro. Cox in reference to the matter & he wrote me that he should not visit New York this spring, but that he had a friend there who would fill the bill for you. I told him I supposed that would answer the purpose, but in a few days he wrote me that he had declined sending to his friend as it would be a great deal of trouble to a friend to buy such a bill of goods. I thought about the dissapointment and wrote to Mallie about it & I also sent to bro. Cox for the bill of Articles & sent it to Mallie; & we concluded that we could buy most of the goods in Atlanta, which we did to the very best of our ability, & we truly hope that you will be tolerably well pleased with the bill of goods, although we did not get exactly suited in every thing ourselves, we spent two days & a half trying to please you & ourselves. The articles we bought amounted to 220 dollars, besides the expense of going & coming. I charge nothing at all for the time I take in waiting on you, although I have to neglect my own business, yet it's a pleasure to me to make a sacrifice at any time for those I love as I do you. I assure you that you feel nearer & nearer like a brother & sister, and the more I think of you the more I love you. My thoughts are with you daily, & as you once asked an interest in any petitions at a throne of grace. I try to remember you in my feeble manner every day, it is my constant business to live for God, to make my peace calling & election sure when done with time
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I suppose you will be somewhat aye- very much surprised when I tell you that we are in a perfect state of confusion in our political world, unless you are posted in reference to our troubles. Last fall, as you know, was the Presidential election. We had four sets of candidates in the field, in consequence of the Democratic party dividing North & South; the result was the election of the Black Republican candidate, which caused a perfect state of consternation all over the States, and the Southern States are making & have made a terrible ado about it. South Carolina first seceded from the Union, then Alabama, Florida, Mississsippi, then Georgia, Louisiana & Texas. The States seceding have had conventions and appointed a Southern Congress which is in session at Montgomery Alabama, they are fixing up a provisional government for twelve months. Jefferson Davis of Miss., President & A. H. Stephens of Ga. vice president of the Southern Confederacy. There is bloodshed looked for before the troubles are settled which will begin at the Sea-port towns, about the Fortes. The South Carolinians have taken possession of all the fortes on their borders except Forte Sumter in Charleston harbor. & the United States troops & authorities are determined not to give it up until compelled by force of arms, the Carolinians have been trying to tease the President out of it, but his last answer was a positive refusal and rather insulting in its nature. I think they are determined to have the Forte at all hazards, and then will be bloodshed indeed & in truth when it does commence. I hope however it will be averted. The other Southern ie Cotton States have nearly all their Fortes in possession & are ready to defend themselves against any invasion. The President elect Abraham Lincoln of Springfield, Ill. started on the 12 inst to the Capitol to be inaugurated. I understand that he says he intends to collect the revenue in the Southern ports, but in that I guess he will be mistaken, for the South is determined not to yield an inch to anything the North may demand. The Border States have declined secession untill they have made an honest earnest effort to get their rights in the Union, and then
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if they fail in that effort, they will go with her Southern Sister States. This is the course I wanted all the South to pursue but there has been some strong disunion people a long time at work at the foundation of our once prosperous government. The Border (middle) States have a peace convention; now assembled in Richmond. Some are inclined to think that the North will grant them entire satisfaction and that all the States will go back again in the old Union. Pennsylvania has repealed the laws on her Statute books, obnoxious to "Slavery" as that is the great bugbear in the way of peace and quietude in the whole country. The truth is, we are in such a state of confusion now. I think it is rather doubtful about its being settled soon. The South has such little confidence in the promises of a Northern political party, that it will be a hard matter to get them back together as they once were. There are a great many office seekers in our country and the more dynasties, the more offices to fill. The political panic has caused a great monetary panic also. & our Southern friends in New York city are feeling the effects of it more than almost any other class of people. The poor working class are in a bad condition, both North & South, but worse at the North as there are so many more there than here. Hundreds have been turned off, and have nothing to eat, and no work to do to get anything. I can't tell you all about the condition of our country, neither its present nor future as the future I can't see into. But one thing is certain if we get into civil war, we will have troublous times in the country, for the negroes are getting quite impertinent, very saucy indeed, and some have been making arrangements to kill out the whites and take possession, about 26 miles below here, they made a start, or was getting ready for it. They have been suspected around Grantville and they have out vigilant matches constantly to keep them at home in their places. Mrs. Ferribe's old Jack has been thought to be rather too busy-bodied in matters that did not concern him. Mellie & the children have moved to town. I have been to
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see them twice since Christmas, and I have got so I want to be with them all the time; they feel very near to me; I can't tell why it is so, unless it is because they seem to think something of me; if I could be so I feel that I am willing to devote the remainder of my life in contributing to their wants & pleasures. My inclinations run that direction! 19th [added] I have just returned from the graveyard where they took up a subject that had been buried nearly seven years. A dreadful undertaking. I joined the S. of I. last year and am acting as W.P in our division named after the Rev. Dabney Jones of Palmetto. Sister Matt is in Alabama teaching school, she is very well rece ived indeed. John K. Leak is the finest preacher on Merriwether Circuits. I think he is very well received. Wm. A.J. Phillips & [added] wife, John Garner, Davie Coleman & wife & several others have joined the church at Providence. I heard they were expecting Uncle Wilie Hutchins to join almost every meeting. I don't know what his notions are, I suposed that he was the same 'hard case' that he had always been. Dear Cousins I want to say so much I don't know what to say as you will discover from my abruptness. I shall have to desist for the present, in a few more words. I suppose you would like to know how I am getting along in the world. Well, my life is on that is not very pleasant in my present condition. I am here & my children in Merriwether, my land rented & my servants hired out to different persons. I am boarding with Sister & they don't get along like I want to see man & wife, and consequently I am not very pleasantly situated in that respect. I may be on extremes, however, for I almost idolized my wife and I expect if I had another good one I should be worse, if she was not happy, I should not lie to my indifference. I do love to see people agreeable & pleasant what little time they have to live. I had the impression indellibly stamped on my mind this morning returning from the graveyard after raising those two bodies to try to exert my energies to live right I help those around me to do right. Our earthly [added] possession when done with the world is but small. Will you please remember your unworthy cousin at a throw of grace that having done all I may be able to stand entire at last.

Accept my love & best wishes your eternal welfare. W.M Carter
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Rev. Y. J. Allen

Shanghai,

China


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