The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 110

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

Ransom is at his best when discussing the economic aspects of his subject.
When he ventures into the arena of political history, however, his analysis is
frequently superficial, if not simplistic. Particularly unsatisfactory are his treat-
ments of the Compromise Tariff of 1833, President Taylor's attitude toward
the Compromise of 1850, the Dred Scott case, and the Bargain of 1877. More-
over, the book is marred by numerous factual errors. To cite but a few of the
most egregious: the Constitutional Convention of 1787 did not meet in An-
napolis (p. 26); Rhett, Yancey, and Quitman were not the political heirs of
Calhoun (p. 122); the major battle of April 1862 was fought near Shiloh
Church-not courthouse (p. 182); and Lee's path to Antietam lay through
western Maryland-not eastern (p. 184). Finally, Texan readers will be aston-
ished to learn that the Battle of San Jacinto occurred on April 26, rather than
April 21, 1836 (p. 93).
Despite its limitations, Conflzct and Compromise provides a useful synthesis of
the political and economic ramifications of slavery and emancipation between
1776 and 1876. Unfortunately, specialists will find much of it too simplistic, and
lay readers will have difficulty digesting the chapters on economic history.
University of Southern Mzssissippi WILLIAM K. SCARBOROUGH
The Dzary of Edmund Ruffin: Volume III, A Dream Shattered, June z863 -June 1865.
Edited by William Kauffman Scarborough. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1989. Pp. xliv+993. Introduction, notes, illustrations, in-
dex. $65.)
This third volume in the edited 4,1oo-page manuscript diary of Edmund
Ruffin brings to completion a twenty-year project by Professor Scarborough.
His subject, Virginia's most fervid advocate of secession, was worthy of this her-
culean effort. Although confined by advancing age and failing health to the
role of a restless observer, Ruffin commented widely and freely in his diary on
the disintegration of his cherished Confederacy in the second half of the war.
The result is a valuable commentary on the Confederate home front in the
Richmond area after the spring of 1863. Even more so, the diary provides re-
markable insights into the mind of a rabid secessionist whose love for the Con-
federacy was exceeded only by his hatred of "Yankeedom."
There were no heroes in Ruffin's account of the dying Confederacy, least of
all himself. Disgusted by his inability to perform useful work, humiliated by his
growing deafness, distressed by the death of loved ones in his family circle, and
worn down by the burdens of old age, he bitterly approached each day as "a
continuation of the same unvarying affliction of ennui-wearysomeness [szc] of
everything, including life itself. There is for me no alleviation, no remedy, until
death shall relieve me" (p. 384). He lived, literally as it turned out, only in the
hope that his South could establish its independence. As for the Yankees,
Ruffin lacks the words to express his hatred and contempt of them. They were
in his mind an alien race of hypocrites, pillagers, and murderers. He went so
far as to write to the Richmond Enquirer suggesting that the bodies of the
Yankee dead left behind in Ulysses S. Grant's Virginia campaign be used "for


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.