Circular letter from General Richard Keith Call

Circular letter from General Richard Keith Call


Letter from Gen. R. K. Call.
[left column]

The following letter was written for publication in
the last Sentinel, but in consequence of our issuing
on Monday, in advance of our usual time for publication,
it was not received in time for insertion. By
request, we issue it in the following slip.

Lake Jackson, Saturday night,
December 22nd, 1860.
Mr. Hart: I have attended two election precincts
to-day, one in Leon, and one in Gadsden County,
and never at any time, or on any occasion within the
last ten years, have I seen so much unanimity, so
much enthusiasm, in the support of the glorious
American Union, as on this day, appointed for its
destruction by political leaders!
At Young's precinct, in this County, there were
only twenty-one votes given, and the highest candidate
on the conservative ticket received just twenty-
one votes. At Concordia, in Gadsden County, there
were 146 votes given, and of this number, the highest
candidate on the Union Ticket received 136
votes, and the lowest candidate on the Union ticket
received 132 votes. The highest candidate on the
disunion ticket received ten votes, and the lowest
candidate on the disunion ticket received only eight
Never, sir, have I witnessed a more imposing and
interesting spectacle. Every voter belonging to the
district, able to reach the polls, was present - every
one was of that highly respectable, moral, religious,
and intelligent working class of men, for which Gadsden
County has ever been so pre-eminently distinguished.
There was not a politician - not a leader,
among them. Each one came up in the true dignity
of the free American citizen, prompted by a spontaneous
love of country, which animated every heart,
and beamed from every eye. All were calm, grave
and thoughtful. All seemed deeply impressed with
the solemnity of the occasion. All seemed to feel
most sensibly, the sacred duty - the high responsibility
of the American citizen, surprised in his quiet
home by the sudden, unexpected; and precipitate
call to decide, almost without a moment's reflection,
the most momentous and solemn question every presented
for the decision of mankind, to pronounce
judgment of approval, or condemnation on the whole
great system of popular government; -a judgment
which must immediately affect themselves, the liberty,
the peace, safety, happiness and prosperity, of
30,000,000 of American citizens, and the relations
and liberty of the whole world. All seemed to feel
most deeply - most sensibly - that they were called
on in a rash, impetuous hour, to decide the fate of
the American Union - to decide the fate of the great
Temple of civil and religious liberty, in which
men of all nations and tongues are worshippers. -
And each and all did their duty, their whole duty,
in a manner honorable to them and honorable to the
American name. Brave, faithful friends of their
country! With them a wild retreat, a headlong
rush out of the Union, is not May-day pastime, no
Saturday night's frolic, no jubilee for a nation's
There are no men in your State, sir, who will resent
an insult, or avenge a wrong to Florida, with
more promptitude - more spirit and pride, then they.
There are none who will resist the Black Republicans
with more firmness and energy - none who will
take up arms sooner - none who will fight more
bravely, under the stars and the stripes of the Union;
but they will not be led like slaves - they will not
be lead, or driven, into revolution, rebellion and
treason against their country. They will yield no
constitutional rights of their State, or of any man of
their State, to any earthly power, and they will submit
to no wrong or injustice, at home or abroad.
I doubt not, sir, that the voices of these brave and
patriotic men of Leon, and Gadsden, "vox populi
voz dei," is the voice of nine-tenths of the working

[ right column]

men of Florida, who have had time to think for themselves,
uninfluenced by excited politicians.
They will never yield any constitutional guarantee
of African slavery - they will unite firmly and faithfully
with all men of the South, in demanding from
the North, and enforcing every legal and constitutional
right of the South. But they will "submit"
to the law while it is constitutional, and they will
maintain the Union while it is constitutional.
They are true and loyal to every principle of our
government, under which our fathers lived, under
which we have lived so free, so prosperous, so happy.
They acknowledge the right of the majority to govern
and will yield ready obedience to the will of the
majority, whenever fully, calmly, and deliberately
expressed. But they will not be surprised into disunion.
If they have not been allowed time to think
-they will take time to think, and they will act as
becomes loyal American citizens. I do most sincerely
hope, sir, that the Convention, so suddenly
called, so precipitately, so hastily chosen, whatever
may be its political complexion, will weigh well, and
deliberately consider, the great responsibilities so inconsiderately
and rashly thrown upon them. I do
sincerely hope that reason may not be dethroned by
passion - that no attempt will be made rashly to
strike the American Flag - that no attempt will be
made to declare Florida a nation alien and foreign to
the American people, until Georgia shall have gone
[smudge] of the Union-and until the Ordinance for the
succession of Florida shall, for a reasonable time, have
been submitted to the people for their sovereign approval
or condemnation. Be assured, sir, that any
attempt to surprise the people into disunion, contrary
to their wishes, to destroy this free and glorious government
will be met with a rebuke corresponding in
sternness and energy with the audacity of the design
to precipitate them into revolution, rebellion, and
treason against the government to which they owe
allegiance, and for which they are ready to die!
And may the Providence of a merciful God, defend
us all from the dire calamities with which we are
Your Fellow-Citizen,
R. K. Call
December 23d
Glorious anniversary of a glorious night, Jackson's
first victory on the banks of the Mississippi.
Post-script.-The 8th day of January 1861, will
be celebrated at the Lake Jackson Church. It will
not be a day of eating and drinking-it will not be a
festive day, but a day of thanksgiving to God - a day
of honor and gratitude to the memory of the great
Chief, whose prowess in arms, has made that day
glorious in the world's history.
Ladies and gentlemen of Florida and the adjoining
counties of Georgia, whose hearts beat time to
"the music of the Union" - true hearted American
citizens, are cordially invited.
A Portrait of General Jackson taken 35 years ago
will be displaced under a banner bearing a Star for
every State of the Union, which has not "nullified"
the Fugitive Slave law and denied the Supreme jurisdiction
of the Supreme Court of the United States.
All States which have deliberately committed either
of these grave violations of the constitution, will in
in [sic] the sentiment of the gallant sailor on shore, the
brave Stockton, Hero of the "city of the Angels,"
here of Sacramento, be regarded as out of fellowships
with the loyal States of the American Confederacy.
Addresses not exceeding fifteen minutes in length
will be delivered by those whom the occasion may
inspire to offer the tribute of heartfelt gratitude to
the memory of the Hero of New Orleans. There
will be no pomp - no ostentatious pageantry, all will
come up with true American hearts, to lay their
grateful offering on the altar of their country.

R. K. Call


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0023