While researching for the Athens Post essay for Chronicling America, I came across this little treasure in UT Libraries’ Special Collections. The handwritten piece bears the title, “The McMinn Manifesto,” but this might be a little misleading. It is an article written in long-hand by William G. “Parson” Brownlow for publication in his newspaper, Brownlow‘s Knoxville Whig, June 17, 1868, col.5-6. The note–which is signed “Editor”–includes instructions to the printer to insert the “proceedings entire” at the end of the piece. The “proceedings entire” were a reprint of “A call for a public meeting of the citizens of McMinn County” from the Athens Post, October 3, 1862, col.2. The meeting’s resolutions (Athens Post, October 10, 1862, col.1), in which the citizens of McMinn County were urged to pledge their loyalty to the Confederacy, were also printed in Brownlow’s piece.
Brownlow’s article appears to be a rewrite of a very similar article (of his) published in his Knoxville Tri-weekly Whig and Rebel Ventilator, July 26, 1864, col.3. Brownlow, a staunch supporter of the Union, used his newspaper to denounce the Confederacy and its supporters. His combative reaction to the Athens Post’s articles is typical of his out-spoken editorial style. Brownlow’s 1868 rewrite of his earlier article may have been prompted by his recent visit to Athens, Tenn. The purpose of that visit was to rally support for Ulysses S. Grant’s presidential campaign. He mentions Grant and Colfax at the end of this piece.