Philadelphia: 1863. Broadside, 6" x 11". Fourteen paragraphs, 87 lines of text, Very Good.
An unsigned, unrecorded broadside, dated 1863 in type from Philadelphia, with space for the names of 'Committee' members. No such names are printed, an understandable precaution: imprisonment and perhaps treason trials awaited those responsible for its publication. The Conscription Act triggered this call for armed resistance against the Federal Government; but the government's "delusive impression that the present war was waged to re-establish the Union" is the source of the rage the broadside expresses. Many Northerners loathed the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. The Democratic Party opposed any war aim except the re-establishment of the Union with slavery, "as it was."
The anonymous authors assert, "We have the power in the Northern States, successfully to resist Lincoln with force, if we could but organize for the purpose... Already a Secret and Uniform Organization has been formed by men determined to resist Federal usurpations, or die in the effort." This broadside explains how to accomplish its revolutionary purpose: the formation of "Decemvirates", separate groups of ten men, each organized by a single Captain who "shall not make known the name of those composing his Company or 'Decemvirate,' not even to the different members thereof." Each of the ten so chosen will then organize his own Decemvirate under the same principles, "and so on ad infinitum." Thus "Every citizen of the land opposed to Lincoln becomes an enrolled soldier, ready to resist by armed force his tyrannical usurpations and those of his hired minions." Each member of a Decemvirate "shall at once proceed secretly to prepare himself for open resistance, when called upon by his Captain." The broadside exhorts, "Friends, every where, Organize Speedily! The heel of the tyrant is upon you!- Don't hesitate or delay to join a Decemvirate!"
There was little organized armed resistance in the North to the Lincoln Administration, with the prominent exception of the 1863 Draft Riots in New York and several incidents in Pennsylvania, despite Confederate efforts to instigate guerilla warfare. Many Copperheads were arrested and imprisoned without trial for expressing opposition to Administration policies, encouraging desertions, or interfering with conscription. But the plots advocated by this broadside, though planned with the utmost seriousness, never materialized.
Not located in any normally consulted bibliography, or [as of June 2019] on OCLC or the online sites of Library of Congress, AAS, Boston Athenaeum, Newberry, New York Public, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Library Company, U TX, U MI. Item #32425