Christopher G. Memminger letter, February 7, 1833
Christopher G. Memminger
South Carolina state rights & nullification
convention ticket [1832?]
Library of Congress, American Memory
- South Carolina Historical Society
- Christopher Gustavus Memminger (1803-1888) was a prominent political leader and the first Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States of America.
- Letter to John Harleston Read (1788-1859) from Memminger discusses political topics of tariffs and nullification, and preparations for possible armed resistance to federal revenue cutters (ships) in Charleston, S.C.
"The President has directed that no vessel having on board dutiable goods shall be permitted to come above Castle Pinckney until all the duties due upon goods on board shall either be paid, or secured to the satisfaction of the Collector. ... the Nullifiers cannot by [possibility] get at the goods in order to serve their replevin writs—they cannot take them by force until they first get possession of the forts or drive away the vessels of war, and to do either of these they must proceed to open war and take its chances. They are therefore obliged either to suffer their remedy to be futile, or to attack the United States—they can't act longer on the defensive. Whether they really intend an attack or not, it is difficult to say, for while on the one hand they are fitting up 24 pounders and making other preparations looking to actual war, while they are getting up volunteers and making blue cockades, it cannot have escaped their leaders, that the whole Union is ready to crush them, and their stock of money is already nearly expended. The contingent fund I have good reason to believe has already run low, and what they are to do when that is gone, they must be better politicians than I, if they know. Will they then go on? This question of course we cannot answer. We are in their hands. There is but little doubt that if they choose they can destroy many of our men (the Union men), but they must know that there will be an awful retribution taken upon them. This therefore will force them to peace if they be not mad. Still the fear of seeming ridiculous, will make them keep on hoping for any chances of division among the States which would chance. ... . In the present position of things, it is next to impossible to say what move will next be made, as the moves are all in the hands of the other side. The impression today from Washington is that the Tariff [will be] modified. Calhoun it is said is nearly [?], so much is he excited and nervous. Certainly their situation in the Union is dreadful, for they are cursed everywhere and although they feel they may injure us, they fear the trial of that and the retribution which will follow.
I am glad you have formed a society. Let us be true to ourselves and the Union will be saved."
- Note: Forms part of the Historical Society's Read Family Papers, 1779-1920 (bulk 1824-1915)
(See NUCMC catalog record)