Zebulon Baird Vance

{From the Fayetteville Observer.}

COL. ZEBULON BAIRD VANCE.

MESSRS. EDITORS. — I very much approve your determination to support for the office of Governor and Commander-in Chief of the forces of North Carolina, Col. Zeb. B. Vance, of Buncombe. From intimate acquaintance I know he possesses uncommon gifts and has had abundant opportunities for improving them.

His natural gifts are great quickness of perception, mother-wit and common sense to a remarkable degree, a fine mind, great energy and readiness of resources, and above all a genial disposition and an honest and kind heart. He is a self-made man. He inherited little more than a good library, but that library he used to great advantage. I first knew him a boy of sixteen, and was astonished at his accurate knowledge of the English Classics. He finished his education at the University of North-Carolina, where he attained the first distinction in his studies, being especially eminent in the department of Constitutional Law.

After leaving College he obtained license to practice law, and soon had a fine practice at the bar. He served as member of the General Assembly from Buncombe, and afterwards a vacancy occurring in the Mountain district by the elevation of Gen. Clingman to the U.S. Senate, Col. Vance was induced to offer himself as a candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives, being opposed by the Hon. W.W. Avery. As Gen. Clingman had carried the district by about two thousand majority, and his influence was in Colonel Avery’s favor, many thought it the merest folly for Colonel Vance to oppose the manifest sentiment of the people. The result showed the accuracy of Vance’s  judgement and his hold on the affections of the mountaineers, for he defeated Avery by over two thousand majority. And the following year Col. David Coleman was vanquished by a similar majority. The ability, mental resource, eloquence, humor and presence of mind exhibited by Col. Vance in these contests with powerful champions, have given him high reputation as an orator.

The course of Col. Vance in Congress was eminently conservative. He labored hard to stay the tide of Northern fanaticism, and he carefully refrained from language calculated to stir up sectional feeling. But when the Northern President overstepped the bounds of the Constitution, refused all efforts by our wisest and best men for conciliation, and called for troops from North Carolina to make war on the rights of the South, Vance’s voice was for prompt and earnest resistance in arms. If Andy Johnston and Horace Maynard had taken counsel of Vance, their names would not now be infamous, and East Tennessee would not be a thorn in the side of the Confederacy.

 

Not content with raising his voice for war, whilst most of the prominent politicians were cringing around Gov. Ellis and Col. Winslow of the Military Board, begging for office, Col. Vance volunteered as a private in the Rough and Ready Guards. That company made him its Captain, and long before the aforesaid hungry patriots had wormed themselves into the public crib, he was serving his country in the hot and unhealthy country near Norfolk. But his merits were not forgotten. He was soon, though absent at the time, elected Colonel of the 26th regiment of volunteers, easily defeating, I am told, L.O’B. Branch, then Colonel of the Commissary department; but it was not many days before Col. Branch of the Commissary department was appointed Colonel of a regiment by Gov. Clark, and then by the President Brigadier General, and Vance placed under him!! The duties of these various stations Col. Vance fulfilled to the satisfaction of all except one or two partizan editors — to their satisfaction until it was discovered he would oppose their schemes of making Johnston Governor. Few better combine the three qualities laid down by Jefferson as necessary to a faithful public servant, industry, capacity, integrity, than Colonel Vance. Few men have had finer opportunities of learning the duties of a Governor in these trying times. He is a statesman and can conduct the affairs of the Camp.

Some men, Messrs. Editors, believe in the stock of men as in the stock of horses. I will therefore mention that no one in the State can boast of a prouder lineage than Col. Vance. His grand father by his mother’s side was Zebulon Baird, from whom he inherits his name. Col. Baird was one of the best citizens of Buncombe, honored and respected all his days — served for many years as a member of the General Assembly from Buncombe. His grandfather by his father’s side was Col. David Vance, a Revolutionary hero, who fought at King’s Mountain.

Z.B. VANCE.

A few weeks since, we expressed our determination, to support Col. Z.B. Vance, for Governor, if he would accept the nomination. He has accepted, and to-day, we place his name at the head of our paper, to be kept there until he is elected, which we doubt not will be his fate, as soon as the polls are open and the people vote. We do not think that any reasonable objection can be urged against such a consummation. He is “honest, faithful and capable.” He is devoted to the cause of his country.

He did not want, wait for, or ask for, an office, before he would gird on his sword and fight for the independence of the South — not he — he is not one of that sort. He knew that the great boon of liberty and independence could only be achieved by hard fighting, and, no sooner did Lincoln issue his proclamation for seventy-five thousand men to deprive the South of her rights and liberty, than, shouldering his musket, he stepped into the ranks, a private, (and a very good looking one at that — that is a recommendation sometimes, particularly in the ranks.)

The old saying, “handsome is, that handsome does,” is very true, and in the case of private Vance, has been for the hundredth thousandth time verified. He performed the duties of a private soldier so handsomely, that he was promoted — not by appointment — but by the willing votes of those who knew him best, who, when they had elected him Colonel — pronounced the work handsomely done.

“We can die boys, but we cannot surrender!” We want a man for Governor, who will died before he will consent to surrender a single interest of the State. We want a man who will inform himself of the actual condition of the defences of the State, who is able to judge when her defences are adequate to her means. We want a man who will surrender nothing — who, when a demand is made, by an enemy for surrender will say — “Come and take us!” Vance, we believe to be that man, and thus believing — we intend to show our faith by our works.

Wadesboro Argus.

Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina) Jul 9, 1862

SENATOR VANCE’S SPEECH.

We have read with much are the speech delivered in the United States Senate on the 14th inst. by Hon. Z.B. Vance, on the bill to provide the appointment of a commission to investigate the question of the tariff and internal revenue laws. The telegraphic synopsis of this speech, which we published last week, gave the Senator’s figures showing how the North has for years absorbed the emoluments of the government, leaving the South to bear the burdens, but his denunciation of the partiality which has obtained in the distribution of the public domain for the purposes of building railroads, digging canals and educating the children of the people formed but a small part of his speech. It was devoted almost entirely to an exposure of the enormities of the existing tariff.

He held it up, in all of its hideousness, for the gaze and the execration of mankind. He laid down the proposition that the protectionists were such for protection’s own sake, and he maintained it. He exposed the fallacy and ridiculousness of the cry that the government should foster our “infant manufactures,” and intimated very clearly that men who, in their chosen calling, cannot make their bread without the special intervention of the government in their behalf, had better quit the business. As to the specious claim that the country had prospered under a protective tariff, he said that with precisely the same logic such results might be affirmed of the small-pox or our Indian wars, “under which” we have undoubtedly prospered. He denounced protection as legalized robbery, and quoted from a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States which declared that a tax levied to build up private fortunes for favored individuals, and not for any public purpose, was none the less robbery because perpetrated under the forms of law.

We wish it were possible for us to lay this entire speech before our readers. It is a masterly argument, compact, symmetrical, thoroughly knitted together. There is just enough of jest in it to give it spice, but it is essentially an argument, and, we may be permitted to say, an irresistible one to any mind not already wedded to the heresy of protection. As proofs of the impression which is created, it may be remarked that Senator Vance had a larger audience at his conclusion than at his opening, and that several Republican Senators left their seats and went over on the Democratic side of the chamber to listen to the speaker.

How, with that speech upon his tongue, Senator Vance could fire the people! Our agricultural population, who are robbed year by year without knowing it, for the benefit of the few men who own cotton mills and iron mills, only need to have this iniquity placed before their eyes to cause them to rebel against it. When they fully learn, as learn they must, that they are daily paying $1.00 for articles of prime necessity which they should get for 50 cents, and 50 cents for hundreds of other articles of prime necessity which they should get for 25 and 30 cents — all this not to afford revenue to the government, because these duties are so high that these articles cannot come in at all and hence afford no revenue, but simply for the purpose of keeping up a monopoly in the hands of a few men that they may grow rich at the expense of the toiling millions — we say when the people come to realize fully the infamy of this protective tariff which robs them in the interest of a favored class, they will rise in their might against it, and woe be unto him who seeks to withstand them.

*****

Recently, in the United States Senate, when Mr. Vance, of North Carolina, asked leave to call up his resolution asking for certain facts with regard to the affairs of the sixth internal revenue district of this State, Mr. Hoar, of Massachusetts, objected, on the ground that the resolution was disrespectful to the Secretary of the Treasury! This means that the Secretary of the Treasury is an officer above the law, and that no act of any of his subordinates must be called into question because it is a reflection upon him! Verily, the pampered office-holders of this country have become greater than their masters, the people.

The Landmark ( Statesville, North Carolina) Feb 24, 1882

The keg of whiskey that Mr. Thos. N. Cooper sent to Senator Vance just before Christmas doesn’t appear to have had the desired effect. It always had been said that spirits never seemed  to take much effect on Vance.

The Landmark ( Statesville, North Carolina) Mar 24, 1882

There is a story somewhere of a Dutchman who had obtained a cheese by surreptitious means, and was just proceeding to masticate it when a violent storm came up, accompanied by terrific thunder and blinding lightning. “Mein Got!” exclaimed the Dutchman, letting fall the supposed cause of the atmospheric disturbance.

“Whoefer know so much fuss apout a leetle old cheese!” so may we exclaim, Whoever knew so much ado over a little five-gallon keg of whiskey! The item from this paper of week before last about Mr. T.N. Cooper’s present to Senator Vance, just before Christmas, had gone all over the State. A Democratic contemporary exclaims, “My, God, Abernethy!” and one of our esteemed Republican contemporaries argues from it that Senator Vance, in accepting the whiskey, accepted a bribe. Without stopping to argue who is the guiltier, the man who offers or the man who accepts a bribe, we observe that Senator Vance’s course in the Cooper matter has not been very suggestive of bribery; and we add to this that in three or four weeks after the keg of whiskey went forward to him, a keg was received at the depot here, from Washington, consigned to Mr. Cooper. We are not prepared to say that Senator Vance sent Mr. Cooper’s whiskey back to him but it looks a good deal that way.

The Landmark ( Statesville, North Carolina) Apr 14, 1882

Senator Vance had a good old-fashioned log-rolling at his mountain home, “Gombroon,” near Black Mountain, Buncombe county. He asked in hands from all the adjacent country, as is learned from the Asheville Advance, and two extra cooks were provided for the occasion, with no lack of good things for them to cook.

The Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) Aug 7, 1885

A gentleman who met Senator Vance as he passed down the road one night last week on his way to Washington, was asking him all about his recent log rolling at his home, “Gombroon,” at the foot of Black Mountain, and inquired of him what sort of refreshments he had for the neighbors. The Senator replied that he had a barrel of cider and a barrel of beer and a jug hid out in the woods.

The Landmark (Statesville, North Caroling) Sep 18, 1885

Tremont Temple - Boston (Image from Wiki)

Senator Vance’s Lecture in Boston.

Baltimore Sun.

The lecture delivered last evening by Senator Vance, at Tremont Temple, in Boston, for the benefit of the J.A. Andrew Post of the Grand Army of the Republic on “Political Feeling and Sentiment During the Civil War” was devoted in a large measure to a discussion of the errors and delusions under the influence of which the masses of the Northern people were brought to enter upon and continue the war upon the South. Gen. McClellan, in a recently published posthumous work, expresses the opinion that the war was prosecuted by Stanton and other leaders at Washington in the interests of a particular political party.

The war itself, with the reconstruction policy that followed, was directed particularly, if not openly, to the establishment of Republican supremacy. Its history has been written, Mr. Vance complains, on the assumption that the exigencies of a party were those of the Union itself, and that party tricks must be accepted as honest representations inspired by the purest patriotism. He gives special attention to the attempt on the part of Northern writers in dealing with the civil war to forestall history, and to impress upon all who took part in it on the Southern side the stigma of treason. The term “rebellion,” still used by some persons to designate the war between the States, shows what confusion of ideas has thus been produced.

“All crime,” says Senator Vance, “is to be found in criminal intent, and no Southern man believed he was engaged in rebellion or treason.” On the contrary, the Southern people, in common with the leaders of opinion North and South, believed that secession was constitutional and right. “It was the universal understanding,” says Mr. Vance, “when the constitution was adopted, that when a State deemed herself injured she had the right to withdraw.”

The Madison resolution of 1798 asserted this right, and it was reasserted by Massachusetts in 1803, when upon the annexation of Louisiana that State threatened to act upon it. Massachusetts again, several years later, asserted the right of secession at the Hartford convention. But the doctrine became well-nigh universal when the resolutions of 1798 were incorporated in the political platform of the Democratic party, and were again and again enumerated among its principles by national conventions and by candidates who were elevated to the presidency by the votes of a majority of the American people. The Southern people considered the doctrine established and no court has ever decided that secession was treason.

“There could have been no criminal intention,” said the lecturer, “because there was no criminal knowledge.” It is therefore unfair and untruthful, Mr. Vance contends, to continue to speak of secession as treason; “the question was never decided until it was decided by the war.” A like error is involved, it was held, in the common assertion that slavery was the cause of the war, of which it was only the occasion, the real cause being the attempt of the Federal government to control the internal affairs of the States. Failure to resist interference with slavery would have precluded resistance to anything else whatever, thus making an end of State sovereignty. As for the sin of slavery itself, it is divided equally, Mr. Vance maintains, between the North and South. Rhode Island and Massachusetts sent ships to Africa to exchange New England rum for slaves, and disposed of their purchases at home in the South.

“When the Northern States,” said the lecturer, “found their climate unsuited to slaves, they sold them to the Southern States, quit the business and turned philanthropists.” The Southern States were not less forward than the North in bringing about the suspension of the slave trade, “so that on both subjects, secession and slavery, New England is not in a condition to throw stones at anybody else.” The devotion of the great mass of Southern people to their cause during the war, the immense development of Southern manufactures at the time, and the fidelity of slaves to their masters in the time of trial, were other topics treated by the Senator. Upon the question of the Confederate constitution he expressed the strong opinion that, “in view of the great odds against the Confederacy, the Southern people should have stripped themselves naked of all laws and constitutions and bowed to one will.

” Pugnacious to the last, the Senator, however, concluded his remarks to his Boston audience with the mollifying statement, that old as he was he would now fight eight years, if need be, to maintain the Union.

The Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) Dec 16, 1886

His Protective Pastoral About the Girl with One Stocking.

Senator Vance once set colleagues and spectators in a roar by reading in splendid style the following pastoral, which he said was entitled, “The Girl with One Stocking; a protective pastoral composed and arranged for the spinning wheel, and respectfully dedicated to that devoted friend of protected machinery and high taxes, the senator from Rhode Island, Mr. Aldrich:”

Our Mary had a little lamb,
And her heart was most intent
To make its wool beyond its worth,
Bring 56 per cent.

But a pauper girl across the sea
Had one small lamb also,
Whose wool for less than half that sum
She’d willingly let go.

Another girl who had no sheep,
No stocking — wool nor flax —
But money enough just to buy
A pair without the tax.

Went to the pauper girl to get
Some wood to shield her feet,
And make her stockings not of flax,
But of wool complete.

When Mary saw the girl’s design
She straight began to swear
That she’d make her buy both wool and tax
Or let one leg go bare.

So she cried out: “Protect reform!
Let pauper sheep wool free!
If it will keep both of her legs warm
What will encourage me?”

So it was done, and people said
Where’er that poor girl went,
One leg was warmed with wool and one
With 56 per cent.

Now praise to Mary and her lamb,
Who did the scheme invent,
To clothe one-half a girl in wool
and one-half in per cent.

All honor, too, to Mary’s friend,
And all protective acts,
That clothe the rich in wool
And wrap the poor in tax.

The reading of this piece of doggerel was received with shouts of laughter, even republican senators leaning back in their seats and giving unrestrained way to their mirth. As for the people in the galleries they screamed and yelled frantically, and when Senator Vance sat down they kept up their uproarious applause until the North Carolina orator gravely inclined his head in acknowledgment.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 3, 1894

Southern Wit in War.

“As we are reminded by the author of “Four Years in Rebel Capitals,” the south, as well as the north, needed to exercise its sense of humor, whenever that was possible, to carry it through the terrible strain of the war. Some of the puns, burlesques, and repartee of that dreadful time have become locally historic. Colonel Tom August, of the First Virginia, was the Charles Lamb of Confederate war wits, genial and ever gay.

Early in secession days a bombastic friend approached him with the question, “Well, sir, I presume your voice is still for war?”

“Oh, yes,” replied the wit, “perfectly still!”

Always to be remembered is General Zebulon Vance’s apostrophe to the rabbit, flying by him from a heavy rifle fire: “Go it cottontail! If I hadn’t a repurtation I’d be with you!”

Lima Daily Times (Lima, Ohio) Sep 17, 1891

Senator Vance Favors the Income Tax.

Richmond Dispatch, 1st.

Senator Vance, of North Carolina, has been in town here for two days, and speaking of revenue and tariff legislation to-day said:

“There is throughout the South an almost unanimous sentiment in favor of an income tax, and this question will be brought up when the tariff bill is under discussion. My own opinion is that an income tax of some character will be engrafted upon the tariff measure before it passes Congress. What form it will take it is now impossible to say, but some of the best minds in both branches of Congress are directed to the subject, and it is safe to say they will evolve a satisfactory basis which will receive a hearty Southern support.

“It will be necessary to adopt some means of raising the enormous revenue required to support the government when tariff reform is effected. Some say this should be done by raising the tax on whiskey and tobacco. Experience, however, has shown that this is not always practicable. Statistics prove that less revenue is derived from a high tax on spirits and tobacco than from a moderate tax. The reason for this is that consumption falls off as the tax becomes prohibitory. There is no fairer way to raise revenue than by taxing incomes, notwithstanding the objection that has been urged that it will be class legislation. Such arguments are based on sophistry, as it can be easily shown that an income tax is the most equitable and just of all methods of raising public revenue.”

In an interview in Baltimore the Senator expressed himself as pleased with the Wilson tariff bill, and said the Southern Representatives would favor it. He also expressed himself very strongly in favor of the repeal of the tax on State bank notes, and gave it as his opinion that a bill looking to this end will be introduced at this session of Congress and advocated by most of the Southern Representatives.

The Landmark ( Statesville, North Carolina) Dec 7, 1893

Most of the images in this post are from the following book, which can be read online:

Title: Life of Zebulon B. Vance
Author: Clement Dowd
Publisher: Observer Printing and Publishing House, 1897

(Google book –  LINK)

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2 Responses to “Zebulon Baird Vance”

  1. Tammy Walsh Says:

    The photo of Lutenent Vance is Zebulon Baird Vance Jr. The NC Civil War governors son.

  2. mrstkdsd Says:

    Tammy,

    Thank you VERY much for the correction. I will remove his picture.

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