Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Union or Secession
  • "Hold Your Horses"
On January 11, 1861, the editor of the Fredericksburg News considered Northern abolitionists and Southern secessionists both to be enemies of Virginia.
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"Hold Your Horses"

Editorial in the Fredericksburg News, January 11, 1861.

In January 1861, the editor of the Fredericksburg News counseled moderation in determining the fate of the Union: "Let all the South unite on a common demand to the North, and we believe it will be accorded to us by all except New England. The Disunionists per se are the Abolitionists at the North and the misguided ultra men of the South—and both are enemies to the true interests of Virginia." Like many other Southerners, he blamed Northern abolitionists and overeager Southern secessionists for the threat of separation. The News's editor reflected the opinion of many Virginians and Americans who looked to Virginia to help set a course for the nation during the winter of 1860–1861.

Editorial in the Fredericksburg News, January 11, 1861.
HOLD YOUR HORSES—"Keep your powder dry" is a good maxim, and "keep your temper" is another. What is the use of grown men going into a paroxysm at every telegraphic falsehood published. The North is entirely wrong, and knows it, and is beginning to acknowledge it. Why should Southern men get into a passion. That is very easy. It is a very blunted sensitiveness which is hugely excited at what disturbs the coarsest nature. Moderation proves more character and common sense.
Let all the South unite on a common demand to the North, and we believe it will be accorded to us by all except New England. The Disunionists per se are the Abolitionists at the North and the misguided ultra men of the South—and both are enemies to the true interests of Virginia.
We say "Virginia"—because this moment we wish she was an independent Empire, and, firm and fearless in her own power, could, and would, say to North and South—"Hands off." "When you cease your frantic fuss, we will say on what terms there may be an honorable adjustment or a peaceful separation."