Atlanta, Ga. April 16th, 1861 - Great Defense of Southern Rights - Family of Georgia Supreme Court Judge Robert Lyon -  With Perfect Atlanta Cancellation Cover

This letter was written by Miss. A. M. Usher, who was the private family school teacher for the family of Judge Robert Y. Lyon, who was one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia.  The letter is 6 pages in ink and comes with that excellent cover mentioned in the title.  If you collect letters related to Atlanta or early Georgia in the Confederacy, this letter is a must! 

                                                                                                                                   Atlanta, Georgia April 16th/61

My Dear Friend,

            After a long and circuitous journey your letter reached its destination.  I was pleased to hear from you though I must confess I like not the spirit.  You see I am in the sunny south though not in the land of “traitors”.  I deny the term.  Northern is as I am – proud as I am of my native land I cannot avoid sympathizing with the south in the present difficulty.  The spirit manifested by the south in withdrawing from a Government under which she was subjected to insults without number, interferences, meddling, etc. etc. by a self righteous set of crazy fanatics is in my mind truly commendable.  I only wonder patience has so long held her sway.  It has not fallen short of martyrdom.  These things look very different to one who is in the midst of them than they do from a cool survey from a cool region.  I know if I were a southerner with southern interest my rage and indignation would know no bounds. 

            I am astonished at the patience and charity manifested by the public.  For the past quarter of a century the North has been encroaching gradually it is true but none the less certainly upon the south dictating in matters that concerned only the south trying by every possible means to impress the south with the idea of the sanctification of Northern motives etc etc. making the slavery question  perfect torment to their consciences when in reality, as recent acts demonstrate to a certainty it is only a party question kept up by party leaders.  If slavery was such a harden on their consciences why when the south takes the burden on her own shoulders do they not let the mater drop.  They are not satisfied.  They must needs have civil war in order to force back the states in order that they may have something to quarrel over. 

            The southern Confederacy at first was no enemy to the North.  It was willing to overlook all grievances and wished to be friendly but the North has driven it into a defensive position and is creating a spirit of hatred which will only cease with life. 

            The seceded states will never return to the old government.  They will join England, France or even Mexico first.  They only ask to have their independence recognized and will have it or die in the struggle.  You have no idea of the spirit which pervades the country it is not wild and fanatic but one of steady, determined perseverance.

            They have a deep friendly feeling for the North and even now if the North would take the right course all former intercourse would be renewed as two nations of course but with friendly feeling.  They have no desire to fight the North yet if Northern troops come here they must expect a warm reception.  I have no patience with the late acts of the new administration.  I have until with a short time had but little to say on the subject.  I hated to take sides against any own land.  I could not approve but recent changes have been more than I could silently bear.  I have heretofore ignored the subject in all my letters.  I tell my correspondents I want to hear from them and want to write to them of myself.  I’ll leave the newspapers to discuss politics but now was I so certain I cannot avoid thinking and writing of it.  Even now they are fighting in Charleston so a dispatch at eleven o’ clock proclaimed.

          Suppose I drop war and tell you of my wanderings since I wrote you before.  It is just seven years tonight since we made our debut at Clifton.  I cannot believe it yet.  I feel quite changed. My friends tell me I am very different in looks somewhat but more in – I do not know what.  Mother says a few more years at the south will ruin me.  I think when I wrote you I intended to return south in the fall of fifty nine.  I abandoned the idea and instead took a trip to Niagara Falls, visited several old school friends, Ellen Humphrey, Amanda Adams, etc.  I believe you knew them.  A portion of that winter I taught in Clinton at the old school.  You have no idea what a model school it is – Miss. Parkhurst you know is all systems and perseverance.  I never
saw a better regulated institution.   Nothing like the shabby affair we knew.  You ought to visit the house – Miss Parkhurst used to speak of you.  She would be glad to see you.  The building and everything connected with it are very much improved.  You would never mistrust the comfortable homelike house of today is the same as the cheerless barn like mansion of older time.  I really want you to go there.  Wish I might go with you.  I came south in the spring of sixty then fully intended going home this summer but have deferred it until next summer.  I am this time teaching a family school.  I have a delightful situation everything is so agreeable that I have consented to remain another year.  I am in the family of R. Y. Lyon who is one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia.  I never was so well satisfied away from home before.  I had no idea of staying more than one year but as I said before I like so well I have concluded to remain until next summer.  Then I should be delighted to take in Washington on my return and if you are there I shall be sure to do so.  Do please keep my old bachelor for me.  He is (I fear) my last chance – I just passed my twenty fourth birthday – Old maid is the only
thing for the future.  Will you have a nice cozy room for a useful as well as ornamental addition to your family circle sometime in the future?  I hope you have not forgotten your promise to provide me shelter in time of need.  I know you will need someone to do the mending, knit the stocking etc.  I am bespeaking a room from all my friends but fear with so many strings to my bow I’ll come off minus some of these days.  Mary Hunt is at home, Cora Green is living Utica, Libby Barrows now Walton is in Iowa, Carrie not married is there also.  I hear from them occasionally – they are not so mean as you.  They do not do as well as they ought, yet they are respectfully courteous.  I expect about sixty five I’ll get a reply to this “ere document.”

            Well take your time.  Don’t hurry it might bring on a fever which in the spring would be dangerous.  Same old six pence I hear you cry I am not wondering if you are changed.  Why in the world don’t you send me the representations of your family circle?  You promised it.  Don’t let me have to beg, but in that as the other matter take your time there is nothing like deliberation in this world.  You were quite right in addressing me East H.

            I’ll always get letters sent there so in doubt that is safe.  If you reply to this tirade in the course of a year you may address me Atlanta, Georgia, Care of Judge Lyon after that E. H.  Would like to have a good laugh with you – think I would feel better.  I have grown very sedate and dignified as you’ll perceive when you next see me. Good bye.  How is the little one or ones? 

A.M. Usher


An excellent southern letter and cover!

#CG213 - Price $395