One of the most perplexing and hotly disputed historical questions is why, given the abolitionists' public image as fanatics, did their doctrines ultimately prevail? The following letter reveals one former New Yorker's harshly negative view of abolition.
I care not what people at the North think, for I am now a regular Southerner....
And men, like the abolitionist...[who goes] about meddling with other Peoples' affairs...[should] pay attention to his own affairs, & let his neighbor alone. As long as those professed to be Christians, are...by their influence & gold [are] producing discord & discontent--rebellion, insurrection, & division, it [emancipation] will never take place. If these matters are going to be [agitated it will]...lead to the separation of the Union.... [I] feel as though I could plunge the dagger to the heart almost of a brother in such a glorious cause--it would be for Liberty, Liberty.... I heard of an incident the other day of one of your fraternity suddenly changing his views with regard to slavery. A minister from the North, he was spending the winter in a Southern city and when he could, made known his sentiments. In the course of time he was introduced to a young lady of much beauty, but more property in Plantation slaves amounting to $116,000. All at once his feelings suddenly changed, he ranted against northern abolitionists & northerners generally, the result of it is he's just got the gal & what he likes better the slaves, & I bet $100,000 dole, thus in less than a year, and he will have slaves of his own blood. Now such men I detest. I abhor them, & I must say that I cordially think that these and hundreds of others at the north who are now accusing the southern slaveholder of cruelty thus would jump to do as this minister has done.