Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Secessionists and Other Scoundrels: Selections from Parson Brownlow's Book

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Secessionists and Other Scoundrels: Selections from Parson Brownlow's Book

Article excerpt

Secessionists and Other Scoundrels: Selections from Parson Brownlow's Book. Edited and with an Introduction by Stephen V. Ash. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c. 1999. Pp. [x], 157. Paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-8071-2354-4; cloth, $29.95, ISBN 0-8071-2353-6.)

William Gannaway Brownlow, an uncompromising opponent of southern secessionists better known as Parson Brownlow, created quite a ruckus in the early 1860s. Brownlow used his Knoxville newspaper, the Whig, to excoriate Tennessee's secessionist governor Isham Harris, local Confederates, pro-Confederate ministers, and anyone else who dared to disagree with him about the Union. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was a "minnow" trying to metamorphose "into a WHALE?" (p. 66). "Sink or swim," Brownlow thundered in a May 1861 editorial, "live or die, survive or perish, I am a Union man, and owe my allegiance to the Stars and Stripes of my country" (pp. 62-63). His opponents were "unmitigated cowards, God-forsaken scoundrels, hell-deserving villains, and black-hearted assassins and murderers ..." (p. 74). Stephen V. Ash seeks to reintroduce this largely forgotten southern Unionist to a modern audience through this abridged and edited version of Brownlow's 1862 book of his editorials, letters, and essays. Ash, the author of Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 1860-1870 (Baton Rouge, 1988) and When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865 (Chapel Hill, 1995) and an associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, succeeds admirably in presenting the parson's vitriol and wit, his fervid patriotism, and his unswerving loyalty to the United States, Methodism, and the idea of black inferiority. …

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