This week’s column features a brief Christmas message from back in 1860 from the Weekly Arkansas Gazette. In this message from 150 years ago, the State of Arkansas is likened metaphorically to a ship which must stay on course, and not be “driven by the storms of fanaticism into the very breakers of destruction”.

One must observe closely, not only what excatly IS mentioned, but what has NOT been mentioned in the various papers quoted thus far in the “150 Years Ago…” column on this website: slavery as a cause for ANYTHING. Thus far in both Northern papers as well as Southern papers, this “peculiar institution” has not been mentioned as a cause for the militia being mustered, nor for the political arena Arkansas found herself in late 1860.

Thus far, the South’s grievances as seen in the primary documents privided by this website show the main issue, or cause of Southern weariness: the election of Lincoln, who was not even on the ballot in 1860 in the Southern states:

[LITTLE ROCK] WEEKLY ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 29, 1860, p. 2, c. 1
Christmas.—Since our last, Christmas has come and gone. While the festive season has brought joy to some it has brought sorrow and sadness to many. The good old ship of State freighted with our political fortunes, which heretofore, has steered clear of shoals and quicksands, has been driven by the storms of fanaticism into the very breakers of destruction. That she may escape without being wrecked—that we may escape with our lives and our honor—is the prayer of the patriotic, to which let all say Amen!