Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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To C. F. Jackson, Esq., Governor of Missouri.


January/February 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, January 9, 1861.


MY DEAR GOVERNOR:  I did not, in one letter, finish up the inaugural.  Most patriotic Governor!  why are you opposed to the slave trade?  Do you dislike slavery?  Do you wish to check its progress?  If you do not, noble Governor, then you are right in opposing the slave trade!  But oh, thou rational, and not insane functionary, if you would promote the spread and prosperity of slavery, thou should’st not, and would’st not, oppose the slave trade.  Most intelligent Governor!  you tell us, in the inaugural which you delivered immediately after taking the oath to support the Constitution—alluding to the fire eaters—that “with them the alternative is the maintenance of that institution which the crown of Great Britain forced upon their ancestors, or the conversion of their homes into desert wastes.”  Dearly beloved, do you mean to say that these ancestors were opposed to divine institutions; that they thought slavery an injury to them?  Yes, Claiborne Fox, that is what you mean!  Now, tell me, philanthropic and sanguinary fire eater, were the “ancestors” right or wrong?  Was the Crown right or wrong, in forcing on them this great religious establishment?  Dear Fox, why dost thou undertake now this same forcing process upon the territories?  Why hast thou put thy sentiments nose upon the ground like all the rest of thy pack, and why art thou hounding on the track of a nigger extension?  Answer me, thou man of gammon and balderdash, who speakest with so much horror of the proceedings of the Crown, whilst thou art thyself doing the self same thing.  Oh, Claiborne Fox, thou hast forgotten thy consistency in thy zeal.

Dear Governor, you say slave owners have the right to take slaves into the territories; that it is a constitutional right; they have no equality without, and they must have this granted, or dissolve the Union.  Yes; and you are valorous—speak of armies, forts and guns!  Dear Governor, can you remember ten years back?  Do you mind of one Jim Lindley—a man of wit, of logic and of eloquence?  Oh, yes, you “never can forget” those castigations and excoriations.  When Lindley ran with you for Congress, you denied that Congress could legislate on slavery in the Territories; you insisted the thing was plain; no room to doubt; no man was sound who disagreed with you.  You were a traitor then or now.  You would dissolve the Union then, because Congress had no power to legislate; now, now, because they do not legislate.  Then you swore the beast was white, and now you swear he’s black.  Dear immortal Claiborne, rememberest thou Tom Benton?  Dear Governor, I know thou dost.  He was thy friend, “faithful and just to thee,” and him thou didst betray.  Old Bullion did not say of thee, thou wast an ass whose ears were longer than thy legs.  No, that was not the speech—’twas this:  that thou wast a sly and cunning Fox, whose tail did brush out all the tracks they feet did make.

Accept, dear Claiborne Excellency Fox, the assurances of my most distinguished contempt.