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July 26, 1863: Murphys

July 26, 2013

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Murphys Hotel lobby; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

I have long refrained from writing any politics, and will not say much now, but a few words on affairs here may be of interest. This state is as loyal as any eastern one. She must be so. Secession would be a yet greater folly than with the southern states. With an immense territory, with a population of less than a million—-one-half of which is in a district embracing only one-tenth of the state, the remainder scattered over a territory of over 160,000 square miles, with over 600 miles of seacoast—-she would be as an infant; a tenth-rate power could annoy her and crush her resources. Yet, there are many Secessionists—enough to fill the minds of loyal citizens with just cause for anxiety. These may be divided into three classes: the first, small yet formidable, of desperadoes, who have nothing but their worthless lives to lose, and might gain something by robbery in case of an outbreak; second, a class of southern descent, whose sympathies are with the South, who do not wish to see civil war, yet who would glory in the fall of the Republic.

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E Clampus Vitus plaque, Murphys; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

The third, and last, is the largest, and comprises a considerable party, mostly the Breckenridge part of the Democratic party, who at present control and really represent the Democratic party in this state. These call themselves Union men, but deny that the government has any power to put down rebellion constitutionally, that in fact the United States was always a “confederacy,” but never a nation. Some of these are active Secessionists, but most are only talking men, who wield some power. Judge Terry, who killed Broderick, you remember, and is now at Richmond, is an example of this class, and many other men who once held office. Were they in power now it is not probable that they would commence active hostility against the Union, but they would throw every means in their power against the general government. Some of their papers openly rejoice over southern victories or northern defeats, and all of them put the worst possible light on all northern matters, such as praising the bravery of the southern generals and men, and implying the cowardice of the northern ones.

But the Union element is vastly in the majority, unconditionally loyal. This state has had so many southern scoundrels in office that the people are afraid of them.

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