Monday, June 27, 2011

I Almost Feel Like Thanking God For This Very War

Today's entry is written by George Tyler Burroughs, Sr., the father of Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs. George Burroughs' biography can be found online at the George Tyler Burroughs page, part of the official Edgard Rice Burroughs Tribute site.

Burroughs immediately entered the Army when Lincoln called for volunteers in April 1861, and began his Civil War service in the 71st New York volunteers regiment.  He was in the hospital with dysentery when he learned that his company was marching to the front, and so he climbed out the window and caught up with his company.  And so his military career began. He entered the war as a private, and when the war ended, was a major.

This is a portion of a letter dated June 27, 1861 to his soon-to-be wife wherein he discusses the "Peculiar Institution".

. . . . I almost feel like thanking God for this very war. I know not but that the earlier impressions of some of you may have been not beneath the shadow of the "Peculiar Institution" of the "Sunny South," the land of the Ralmittan & the Palm, I would not give offence, but freely as I would tell my sisters, I must say that I feel thankful for this war because I believe that this Institution of human Slavery will now receive its death blow. Morally I believe slavery to be wrong. God made all the nations of the earth of one blood & he did not intend that the stronger should tyrannize over the weaker, the White over the Black -- for the last thirty five years it has been the prime cause of all the National troubles. Socially its tendency is to exalt one man over another, it makes its perpetrator haughty, arrogant, lazy. Not by his own honest toil does he obtain his support but through the wrongs of a made oppressed race. It curses all with whom it comes in contact, while in __  __  __.
I could but notice the deplorable ignorance of the poor white people, they are absolutely more to be pittied [sic] than the slaves. One man told me that he had never been in Washington in his life (a distance of fifteen miles) that he "reckoned" _____ would be better off if she was free, that his boys had never had any schooling worth mentioning, they did not know enough to learn a trade & therefore all mechanical labor done in his section of the country was done by men who came from the North. That the rich man's sons were educated for it & so received an office as soon as they were old enough. Do not these facts speak volumes?
George Tyler Burroughs, as found at

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