13 ________ c.u. Solar 20 Aug 1866


My dear Sir,

     I received through the mail your two pamphlet entitled, “Considerations for Bankers” and “A new system of Paper Currency,” for which please accept my thanks. As soon as I have read and considered them, it will give me pleasure to comply with your request, if in my opinion “the system is one that can be introduced at the South”?

No one who does not come among us and see for himself how completely ruined we are, can form any idea of our great frustrations. Before the war we were very prosperous, but like all agricultural people, very few of us were accumulating money, or that which could be readily converted into money, such as stocks in Banking and other companies [?]. When a planter [?] made more than the wants of his family required, he generally added to his capital by the purchase of lands or Negroes, and was usually more or less in debt. The result of the war has deprived us of the most valuable portion of the capital thus invested, and left us in debts, generally for the purchase of Negroes. Our great difficulty now, is to keep our lands, pay these debts and work our plantation, of course, a people who cannot pay their debts, or work their plantations except upon the faith of the crops to be made, are unable to furnish any specific capital to establish Banking _____ that will provide them with the money required to pay wages, buy provisions, ______ and implements, and restore [?] the stock and machinery destroyed by the conquering army. If your system can make our lands available to produce a currency that will be received, and which will give us the means organize a new system of labor, restore our plantations and diversity our pursuits, it will be the very thing most needful, enable us to work our lands profitably, produce those staples so useful to the world and on which our farmer property was based. I do not pretend to be instructed in the science of Finance, but I do not see why a currency which represents an invested dollar should not be as good and as safe as that which represents a specific dollar, which is liable to fluctuation, being sometimes worth a greater—sometimes a lesser per cent. But as I have not yet studied your system, I will not now pretend to offer any speculations as for its merits or demerits. All that our people need now is money on[?] credit, we are willing to work, we are able to work, we frankly acknowledge our defeat, accept manfully our condition and earnestly desire to be let alone and permitted to work our this great problem to work out this great problem of endless [?] emancipation and no compensation, without the interference of political enthusiasts, or religious fanatics. No set of men understand the Negro better than the Southern Planters and Gentlemen, and the Negro has no better friends. They feel and know this too, and if not corrupted and ruined by vicious Legislation and wicked intermeddling, the relations of Proprietor and Laborer will even [?] be adjusted and the [?] happiness and prosperity of both races promoted. It is our interest now, to educate and elevate these people, to improve their condition socially and morally, and to make them an intelligent and contented laboring class. This may be done by patience and kindness, and no men will ______ their confidence and stimulate their ambition in a higher degree than their old masters. I do not believe we can make them as profitable as the white Laborer of Europe, or of the North and West; but with our mild climate, generous soil, and kindly judicious management, I do think we may be able to make them a profitable element of society. Left alone, the lands will grow up into jungle and the Negroes will relapse into barbarism. Turned over to the tender mercies of the Freedman’s Beaureau [?] and their Agents, they will be the worst [?] cheated and abused people in history.

I am sorry to see, that the systematic misrepresentations of our people is still continued and still more grieved to know, that these misrepresentations are believed by many. I do not suppose, that history will furnish an example of a people who were so terribly in earnest, who have so frankly and honestly acknowledged their defeat and made up their minds to accept the condition and perform all the duties required of them by law. Of course, we are mortified and disappointed; but we are a fair [?] and truthful people and having acknowledged in defeat and failure, we are honestly determined to do our duty as good citizens. In no class of the community is this disposition more conspicuously manifested than in the returned soldiers. It is grand to see how cheerfully they walk and how earnestly they are endeavoring to repair our _____ fortunes. I have as good an opportunity to know the temper and disposition of our people as any other public man in the state, my duties as a judge of the Law Court require me to travel all over the State, each judge having to preside in a different Circuit at each Term of the Court, and from my very personal intercourse and observations, and conversations with my Brethren, I am satisfied that I make a correct representation of the exact condition of the public mind. I do not sympathize with those Southern men who speak of the late war as a “Rebellion” and of us as “the so called confederate states,”nor do I think that our people generally like to hear our public men using such forms of speech; we do not object to the use of them by Southern men, but they grate harshly on the ear when they come from Southern men. We believed that we had the right to decide [?], that it is the great Republican, States Rights doctrine taught in the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions [?], supported by Jefferson, Madison and Monroe and the great majority of the States men who have expounded the Constitution. Believing this, we exercised the right in good faith and hope that we would be permitted to judge for ourselves. If this construction had prevailed, not a gun would have been fired, or a drop of blood been shed. But you insisted that we had no right to decide [?], you practically denied that this was a Union of Sovereign Independent States, and that “each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well as infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.” To support this, you went to war, you invaded our territory, and after five years of hard fighting and great suffering, we are compelled to lay down our arms and confess our defeat. This we have done sincerely and honestly, we have accepted truthfully the condition, we know the value of the stake for which we played, and as sincere, earnest and brave men, we intend to abide by the decision and faithfully perform our obligations to the Government. While we honestly do this, with equal honesty we believe, that the great States Rights doctrines of the Constitution and the only [?] construction, that can preserve the Independence of the States and the Liberties of the People. The argument of the sword has convinced us of our inability to assert and maintain this Constitutional instruction; but while we accept the decision and will do our duty faithfully and honestly to the measurement [?] which has proved its superior power by the force of arms, yet the principle is more the less true, and we would be false to our history and false to the noble men who have maintained it with their lives, and we now surrender it. True manhood and dignified self respect should make us blush to use these phrases, intended to cast contempt upon a cause which we believed to be just and which is sanctified by the blood of our honest [?] and our best. All good men, all true men, North and South, not blinded by fanatical zeal, I believe have in the hope yet to see these great principles triumphant. I trust in God, it will not require another fratricidical war to vindicate others.


                             Very truly and Respectfully

                             Your obt. Servt.

A.  P. Aldrich



Mr. Spooner