Today in Chickamauga History - January 29
LETTER FROM GOVERNOR RECTOR STATE OF ARKANSAS
TO JOHN ROSS
1861, JANUARY 29
“The State of Arkansas, Executive Department
Little Rock, January 29, 1861
To His Excellency John Ross,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation:
It may now be regarded as almost certain that the States having slave property within their borders will in consequence of repeated Northern aggression, separate themselves and withdraw from the Federal Government. South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana have already, by action of the people, assumed this attitude. Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland will probably pursue the same course by the 4th of March next.
Your people, in their institutions, productions, latitude, and natural sympathies, are allied to the common brotherhood of the slave-holding States.
Our people and yours are natural allies in war and friends in peace. Your country is salubrious and fertile, and possesses the highest capacity for future progress and development by the application of slave labor.
Besides this, the contiguity of our territory with yours induces relations of so intimate a character as to preclude the idea of discordant or separate action. It is well established that the Indian country west of Arkansas is looked to by the incoming administration of Mr. Lincoln as fruitful fields ripe for the harvest of abolitionism, freesoilers, and Northern mountebanks.
We hope to find in your people friends willing to co-operate with the South in defense of her institutions, her honor, and her firesides, and with whom the slaveholding States are willing to share a common future, and to afford protection commensurate with your exposed condition and your subsisting monetary interests with the General Government.
As a direct means of expressing to you these sentiments, I have dispatched my aide-de-camp, Lt. Col. J. J. Gaines, to confer with you confidentially upon these subjects, and to report to me any expressions of kindness and confidence that you may see proper to communicate to the governor of Arkansas, who is your friend and the friend of your people.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
[signed] H. M. Rector,
Governor of Arkansas