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Captain Raphael Semmes Of The CSS Alabama

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PostPosted:     Post subject: Captain Raphael Semmes Of The CSS Alabama Reply with quote
(Picture. BT)
The following conversation between English ship Captain Hillyar and Capt.
Raphael Semmes-Confederate Ship CSS Alabama occurred during the war on August
5th, 1861. It is a summary from a well-educated Southerner who is stating his
reasons for fighting.

Captain Hillyar expressed surprised at Captain Semme's contention that the
people of the South were "defending ourselves against robbers with knives at
our throats", and asked for further clarification as to how this was so, the
exchange below occurred. I especially was impressed with Semmes' assessment of
yankee motives - the creation of "Empire"!

Semmes: "Simply that the machinery of the Federal Government, under which we
have lived, and which was designed for the common benefit, has been made the
means of despoiling the South, to enrich the North", and I explained to him
the workings of the iniquitous tariffs, under the operation of which the
South had, in effect, been reduced to a dependent colonial condition, almost as
abject as that of the Roman provinces, under their proconsuls; the only
difference being, that smooth-faced hypocrisy had been added to robbery, inasmuch
as we had been plundered under the forms of law"

Captain Hillyar: "All this is new to me", replied the captain. "I thought
that your war had arisen out of the slavery question".

Semmes: "That is the common mistake of foreigners. The enemy has taken pains
to impress foreign nations with this false view of the case. With the
exception of a few honest zealots, the canting hypocritical Yankee cares as little
for our slaves as he does for our draught animals. The war which he has been
making upon slavery for the last 40 years is only an interlude, or by-play,
to help on the main action of the drama, which is Empire; and it is a curious
coincidence that it was commenced about the time the North began to rob the
South by means of its tariffs. When a burglar designs to enter a dwelling for
the purpose of robbery, he provides himself with the necessary implements. The
slavery question was one of the implements employed to help on the robbery
of the South. It strengthened the Northern party, and enabled them to get
their tariffs through Congress; and when at length, the South, driven to the
wall, turned, as even the crushed worm will turn, it was cunningly perceived by
the Northern men that 'No slavery' would be a popular war-cry, and hence, they
used it.

It is true that we are defending our slave property, but we are defending it
no more than any other species of our property - it is all endangered, under
a general system of robbery. We are in fact, fighting for independence.
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