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THE WAR-PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION.
A number of States are in rebellion against the Government, endeavoring to dissolve the Union, and establish a new Confederacy; they have large armies in the field, and are making war upon a grand scale. It is said by some that we can compromise, and make peace. But what is meant by compromise? Would consenting to a dissolution of the Union, dismemberment of our territory and establishment of an Independent Confederacy be regarded as a compromise ? If 80, we can compromise. Have the rebels ever intimated, or held out proposals for peace on any other terms? If they have, I have no knowledge of it. On the contrary, they have, in every form, and on every occasion, declared their unalterable purpose to accept only of disunion and independence.
Some two weeks ago, Wm. L. Yancey, one of the most able and influential men in the rebel States, was invited to address the Legislature of Alabama. In the course of his speech, he reviewed in the most scornful and contemptuous language, the proposals for compromise and peace, which had come from the North, and spit upon the men who offered them, declaring that they would prove as false to the South as they had recreant to the North. He expressed, however, a hope that the South would receive great benefit from dissensions in the North, and upon that subject used the following language :
“We have something to hope, however, from this division of the councils of our enemies—from their fierce party strife and jealousies. Upon this hope let us build our own unity—upon their jealousies let us build our own harmony-upon these clashings of party interests let us bind together our own patriotic energies—upon their selfishness and folly let us base a prayer to God that he would enable us to exhibit, in behalf of our beloved country, a self-sacrificing wisdom, both in opinion and action, in all matters appertaining to our defense.
Why then should the people of the North be deluded with the idea that compromise is possible, and thus induced to abandon their efforts to suppress the rebellion? Why should they be divided among themselves, and weakened by the proclamation of a hope so utterly fallacious? Some there are who profess to believe that all we have to do to bring about peace and a restoration of the Union, is to lay down our arms and withdraw from the conflict. Peace, temporary and hollow, might be had upon such terms, but not a restoration of the Union. It would be a dishonorable and shameful surrender, forever tarnishing the character of the Nation, and History would write down as infamous the instruments by which it was accomplished.
Others say that we should re-construct the Union, in doing which the New England States should be left out. But what have the New England States done that they should be left out? It is said we are paying heavy duties on imports to sustain their manufactures, and are in that way oppressed. If so, let us repeal them. The New England States are but six, while the States of the North-West alone
are nine, with the prospect of an indefinite increase. That, however, is not the real objection. It is that their political principles are offensive, and the men who would turn them out, desire to construct a Republic in which they can hold the power. Such a project would be criminal to the last degree, if it were not insane. The fortunes of parties are variable. The party in power to-day is down to-morrow, and the victors are, in turn, overwhelmed, and so it goes from year to year. The scheme of constructing a Republic, taking in such States as are favorable, and turning out such as are not, presents the last stage of partisan insanity. It would be forming a Republic for the party, and not the party for the Republic. A government founded upon such ignoble purposes could not stand, and would not deserve to.
In every point of view, the scheme just considered, is full of dishonor and ruin. Our Union once dissolved, and our present relations broken up, all that is traditional and sacred would be lost, and any future alliances that States might form with each other would be regarded as mere arrangements of convenience, possessing no tie beyond the interests of the hour, and liable to dissolve at the first outbreak of faction.
The President has issued his proclamation offering freedom to slaves held in certain of the rebellious States. It remains to be seen what effect this proclamation will have in suppressing the rebellion; but whether it be effectual or not, for the purpose for which it was intended, the authority upon which it was issued is beyond question.
If the rebels do not desire the Government of the United States to interfere with their slaves, let them cease to employ them in the prosecution of the war. They should not use them to build fortifications, manage their baggage trains, perform all the labor of the camp and the march, and above all to raise provisions upon which to subsist their armies. If they employ the institution of slavery as an instrument of war, like other instruments of war, it is subject to destruction. Deprive them of slave labor, and three fourths of the men composing their armies would be compelled to return home to raise food upon which to subsist themselves and families. If they are permitted to retain slave labor, they are enabled to maintain their armies in great force, and to destroy that force we are compelled to shed much of our best blood. Let us not be more tender of their property, than we are of our blood.
But it is said the emancipation of the slaves will lead to insurrection, and the sacrifice of innocent women and children. Such an event would be greatly deplored. But it is not, in my judgment, a necessary result, or one likely to occur. The history of insurrections shows that they spring not from emancipation, but from despair. But if it were, I should say to the rebels, that if they were unwilling to incur the dangers of insurrection, and do not wish the Government to meddle with their slaves, they must cease to employ them in the prosecution of the war. With what propriety can they employ the institution of slavery as a means of our destruction, and at the same time ask us to let it alone? As well might they place their women and children in the front of their ranks, fire over their heads at us, and then call upon us not to fire back for fear of hurting them.
The madness which would inaugurate civil war in the North, and set neighbors and brothers to cutting each others throats, because the President has proclaimed freedom to slaves in States which have attempted to secede from the Union—have utterly rejected the authority of the Constitution of the United States-have formed for themselves a new Constitution-made a new flag, and to maintain these are waging an unnatural and blooody war, is beyond human comprehension.
That we should fall upon and devour each other, to protect the Constitutional rights of those who declare to the world that they have forever renounced and abjured all allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the United States, would be a spectacle so monstrous that no parallel could be found in history.
There is but one salvation for this people, and that is the suppression of the rebellion and the restoration of the Union; and this can surely be accomplished if we are but united; and I pray God that the storms of party and passion, which now obscure the heavens, may speedily pass uway, and again discover us to the world a united people, unalterably resolved to vindicate our honor, and preserve the Union which our fathers gave.
I believe that the masses of men of all parties are loyal, and are united in their determination to maintain our Government, however much they may differ upon other points; and I do sincerely hope that men of all parties will be willing to abate much of their peculiar opinions in subordination to the great cause of preserving our national honor and existence. And in conclusion, allow me to express my confidence that your deliberations will be animated only by an ardent desire to foster the honor and interests of our beloved State, and to cherish and protect, at whatever cost, the power and the glory of the government of our common country.
OLIVER P. MORTON,
Governor of Indiana. January 9th, 1863.
LAID ON THE TABLE AND ONE TIIOUSAND COPIES
ORDERED TO BE PRINTED.
JOSEPH J. BINGHAM, STATE PRINTER.
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