Page images

Jackson's Final

secrate the soil which your labors have made fruitful, and which is consecrated by your homes.

The Call to Arms.

correspondence—a request | stitutional requirements of the Federal Government. General Lyon politely but But it is equally my duty to advise you that your first decidedly declined. The allegiance is due to your own State, and that you are interview ended. The Governors returned under no obligation whatever to obey the unconstiby their special train that evening, and before tutional edicts of the military despotism which has the morning of the 12th, the Gasconade rail- introduced itself at Washington, nor submit to the infamous and degrading sway of its wicked minions way bridge was burned, as well as the westin this State. No brave-hearted Missourian will obey ern span of the bridge over the Osage river. the one or submit to the other. Rise, then, and drive The telegraph wires were cut. The Govern-out ignominiously the invaders who have dared to deor's son acted as director of the destruction. A proclamation was immediately prepared by the Governor, of an openly revolutionary and treasonable character. He denounced the acts of the Federal troops as 66 a series of unprovoked and unparalleled outrages," and called out fifty thousand of the State militia, "for the purpose of repelling invasion." He gave his own version of his interview with General Lyon, and declared that he "humiliated" himself by promising to maintain a strict neutrality and to refrain from making military preparations, because he was anx-"Minute Men" to all sections of the State to ious to avert the horrors of civil war; but, that the Federal commander having refused to disarm the Home Guard, and having claimed the right of military occupation, the Governor declared that "all efforts towards conciliation have failed," and proceeded to call out the militia. The proclamation concluded:

"In issuing this proclamation I hold it to be my most solemn duty to remind you that Missouri is still one of the United States; that the Executive Department of the State Government does not arrogate

to itself the power to disturb that relation; that power has been wisely vested in the Convention, which will at the proper time express your sovereign will; and that meanwhile it is your duty to obey all con

"CLAIBORNE F. JACKSON." Thus was the mask dropped, and the deluded agent of despotism stood forth in his true character. He fled from Jefferson City with such of the State Guard as were available, taking steamer for Booneville, to which point he directed troops to rally, and whither all obtainable arms, munitions and stores were rapidly borne. Ex-Governor Price dispatched his

arouse the people and concentrate forces. The most outrageous falsehoods were dissem minated of Federal designs; no means were left unemployed which would "fire" the people, and inspire hate of the General Government. It was the old story over again of baseness and deception towards his own people: they gathered to fight an enemy whom they had been informed and made to believe, were "Dutch hirelings" come for subjugation and spoils.

Thus, the door to peace was closed; and Missouri, through the treason of her Governor, entered upon the untried reality of testing the power of the Central Government.



The Governor's


GOVERNOR Magoffin of Kentucky, after his unnecessarily offensive reply to

the requisition of the Federal Government, hastened to take such steps as must, eventually, place the State in a position of offense and defense. The Legislature was convened, by proclamation on the 18th of April, to meet April 28th. After adverting to the attitude of the Northern States, the proclamation declared: "Whatever else should be done it is, in my judgment, the duty of Kentucky, without delay, to place herself in a complete position for defense. The causes for apprehension are now certainly grave enough to impel every Kentuckian to demand that this be done, and to require of the Legislature of the State such additional action as may be necessary for the general welfare."

Great Union Demonstration.

On the evening of the 18th, an immense Union meeting was held in Louis

[blocks in formation]

"Events of commanding importance to the future safety and honor of Kentucky have occurred which call for action on the part of her citizens; and every consideration of self-interest, and every dictate of wisdom and patriotism must prompt our State to maintain most resolutely her position of loyalty. Situated on the border of the Slave States, with sev en hundred miles of territory exposed to hostile attack, should the Union be divided into two sepa rate sovereignties, and with but one million of popu lation to oppose the four or five millions of the States contiguous to her, which might become unfriendly, Kentucky owes it to herself to exercise a wise precaution before she precipitates any course of action which may involve her in an internecine war. She has no reason to distrust the present kindly feelings of the people who reside on the north bank of the Ohio river, long her friendly neighbors, and connected by a thousand ties of consanguinity, but she must realize the fact that if Kentucky separates from the Federal Union, and assumes her sovereign powers as an independent State, that Ohio, Indiana and Illi

ville, at which addresses were delivered by nois, remaining loyal to the Federal Union, must Hon. James Guthrie, Hon. Archie Dixon, Hon. John Young Brown, Judge Nicholas and Judge Bullock-all eminent and influential men, whose speeches, spread on the wings of the omnipotent press, carried strength and hope all over the State, to the "conservative” element. The following important resolves were passed with scarcely a dissenting voice. We give them for their intrinsic interest, and also for the reason that they embody the sentiments of that school of politicians whose "conservatism" led them to withhold an active and open support of the Federal Government in its struggle with treason. If they did not directly sustain the Government, they held secessionism up to abhorrence, and thus paved the way for the permanent develop

become her political antagonists. If Kentucky deserts the Stars and Stripes, and those States adhere to the flag of the Union, it seems impossible to imagine a continuance of our old friendly relations when constantly recurring causes of irritation could not be avoided. It is from no fear that Kentucky would not always prove herself equal to the exigencies of any new position she might see proper to assume, and from no distrust of the bravery of her sons, that these suggestions are made; but as when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separa tion,' so an equal necessity exists that we should not dissolve those bands with our friends and neigh bors without calling to our aid every suggestion of

[blocks in formation]


Resolved-First. That as the Confederate States have, by overt acts, commenced war against the United States, without consultation with Kentucky and their sister Southern States, Kentucky reserves to herself the right to choose her own position, and that while her natural sympathies are with those who have a common interest in the protection of

Slavery, she still acknowledges her loyalty and fealty to the Government of the United States, which sho will cheerfully render until that Government becomes aggressive, tyrannical and regardless of our rights in slave property.

"Second. That the National Government should be tried by its acts, and that the several States, as its peers in their appropriate spheres, will hold it to a rigid accountability, and require that its acts should be fraternal in their efforts to bring back the seceding States, and not sanguinary or coercive..

"Third. That, as we oppose the call of the Presi dent for volunteers for the purpose of coercing the seceding States, so we oppose the raising of troops in this State to co-operate with the Southern Confederacy, when the acknowledged intention of the latter is to march upon the City of Washington and capture the Capital, and when, in its march thither, it must pass through States which have not yet renounced their allegiance to the Union.

[ocr errors]

Fourth. That Secession is a remedy for no evils, real or imaginary, but an aggravation and complication of existing difficulties.

"Fifth. That the memories of the past, the interests of the present, and the solemn convictions of future duty, and usefulness in the hope of mediation,

prevent Kentucky from taking part with the seceding

"Ninth. That the Union and the Constitution, being mainly the work of Southern soldiers and statesmen, in our opinion, furnishes a surer guaranty for 'Southern Rights' than can be found under any other system of Government yet devised by man."

Great Union Demonstration.

The speeches made upon the occasion were more patriotic than the resolutions. While they urged the "neutrality" of Kentucky they were unsparing in their denunciations of the enemies of the General Government. It was not difficult to see that, when the best interests of the State demanded, Kentucky would be ready to battle as nobly for the Union as Henry Clay would have her do were he still living.

The municipal authorities of Louisville visited-April 24th-25th-the cities of Cincinnati, Madison, &c., to reassure the people of those cities of the amicable disposition of Kentucky, and to obtain from the municipal authorities and citizens pledges of their co-operation to keep up amicable and commercial relations. They returned, April 26th, to report the most hearty assurances of kind feeling" over the border."

Interviews with
Colonel Prentiss.

The formation of the camp at Cairo was a source of annoyance to the revolutionists. Paducah and Columbus, in Western Kentucky, had, by May 1st, become strongly infested with Secessionists; and it was not long before Kentucky became aware that portions of her soil really were in possession of emissaries of the Confederacy. Colonel Prentiss, in command of the Federal forces at Cairo, had what was considered reliable information of the landing at Columbus, Kentucky-only twenty miles below Cairo-of seventeen thousand stand of arms, and of seven pieces of artillery at Paducah, on the 30th of April. Major-General Buckner of the Kentucky State Militia, in company with State Senator Johnson, had an interSeventh. That, to the end Kentucky may be pre-view with Colonel Prentiss, April 29th, to pared for any contingency, we would have her arm herself thoroughly at the earliest practicable moment,' by regular legal action.

States against the General Government.


Sixth. That the present duty of Kentucky is to maintain her present independent position, taking sides not with the Administration, nor with the seceding States, but with the Union against them both, declaring her soil to be sacred from the hostile tread of either, and, if necessary, to make the declaration good with her strong right arm.'

[ocr errors][merged small]

give the Federal commander assurances of Kentucky's strict neu rality, and to guarantee that no Confederate troops should cross her soil to invade the North; nor would the Kentucky authorities countenance any organiza tions in the State inimical to the Federal Government. In return, General Buckner


Interview with Colonel Prentiss.


The Legislature's
Extra Session.

inquired if any orders had | election, in hopes of disparaging the returns; been given under which but, the fact that larger votes were polled for Illinois troops might "in- the Union candidates than were given for the vade" Kentucky soil. He also qualifiedly combined Presidential candidates, proved protested against the blockade of the Missis- that the people were, as four to six, true in sippi and Ohio rivers, which Colonel Prentiss their fealty to the Union. had instituted. The Federal commander re- The Kentucky Legislature ciprocated the kind feelings expressed by the assembled in extra session Kentuckian, and gave such assurances as as called, April 28th. The served to allay all fears of any "encroach- Governor's Message indicated anything but ments" on Kentucky soil. The information loyalty to the General Government. The obtained, a few hours after this interview, of following abstract gives its salient features: the landing of arms at the points named, and the reported gathering there of bodies of Secessionists, inspired the Colonel with very little confidence in Buckner's power, even if the willingness existed, to prevent the occupation of Kentucky soil by secession emissaries. Nor did a further interview (May 6th) with Colonel Tilghman, in command of the Western Military Division of Kentucky-who re-assured Colonel P. that no offensive demonstrations should be made upon Cairo from his department-prevent the vigilant and intelligent Federal officer from keeping his troops in the highest state of efficiency to repel the threatened, and apparently near at hand, attempt to break up the camp at Cairo and raise the blockade of the river.

He said; The semi-official announcement of a pacific policy on the part of the Federal Government had been broken, and has involved the country in civil war, and if not successfully resisted, will prove fatal to the liberties of the people. He charges tho President with usurpation of power in creating a standing army, mad with sectional hate, to subjugate

or exterminate ten or more States. He says that seven States have established a Confederacy, which seems to receive the cordial and undivided allegiance of their entire population, and thinks that North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas will soon join it, while Missouri, Maryland and Delaware, where public sentiment favors a like step, are considering the propriety of joining the Confederacy. He declares the American Union dissolved, and war exists. He asks whether Kentucky shall continue with and assume her portion of the enormous war debt being incurred by the Federal Governmentwhether Kentucky shall declare her own independence, and, single-handed, prepare to maintain it, or make common canse with Slaveholding States. He does not propose to discuss the subject, but refers it to the people. As the Legislature was elected

May 3d, Governor Magoffin ordered an election for members of Congress, to be held July 1st. May 4th, the election of delegates to the proposed Border State Convention* was held. The result was an overwhelming triumph of the Unionists-54,760 majority-two years ago, he thinks they had better pass a law the secession vote being very meagre; so much so as to astonish the loyalists. The Secessionists went through the farce of "withdrawing their ticket," a few days prior to the

* This election was held in response to an invitation extended by the Virginia Legislature, in March, for a Border State Convention to assemble at Frankfort, Kentucky, May 20th. Only four States responded and appointed delegates, viz.: Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia and Delaware. Kentucky elected her delegates as above stated. It was evident, however, that the Convention would accomplish nothing, as no delegates would be present from Virginia, Arkansas, &c. The vote in Kentucky was held, however, as much to test the strength of the Union sentiment as to comply with the forms of the act providing for the vote.

calling a Convention, and the election of delegates. He regrets that his proposition to arm the State was not carried out by the last Legislature. He compli ments the Commercial, Louisville and Southern Banks for tendering money to procure arms, but says he fears that from the refusal of other Bauks, the opportunities of obtaining large supplies, effective guns and munitions of war, have been lost. He recommends the issue of $1,000 bonds to secure funds for obtaining arms. The Governor compli ments the militia for their accomplishment of a State Guard, and speaks of the co-operation of the Execu. tives of Ohio and Indiana for the preservation of amicable relations and trade, but says they cannot control their lawless cltizens, and thinks that an armed collision will prevail along the whole border unless effectual measures are taken to prevent it. He says his proposition to the General Government

to suspend hostilities till the meeting of Congress, met with no success, and asks that all party feeling be extinguished, and that Kentucky maintain the peace, honor and safety of her citizens.

their law-givers. Major Anderson, the hero of Fort Sumter, a Kentuckian, had been solicited by his fellow-citizens to assume command of a Kentucky brigade. At the date of the proclamation arrangements were perfected for the enrollment of Kentucky's full quota which Anderson was to lead. Its first duty was to watch the hordes overrunning Tennessee, and to see that Buckner and Magoffin did not betray the Commonwealth as Tennessee had been betrayed by her infamously

This fell upon a LegisGovernor Magoffin. lature neither disloyal nor weak. The State was soon legislated into an "armed neutrality," as at first advised by Messrs. Crittenden, Guthrie, and others of the "Old Court" party leaders—those men who, in the terrible State convulsions of 1821-25, sustained the regularly constituted and legiti-disloyal authorities. mate Courts against an attempted revolution. The course of events, however, ere long bore away that barrier to the State's active loyalty, when none were more earnest in making common cause with the country than Crittenden and his old Whig coadjutors; while the disloyal followed Breckenridge, who preserved the semblance of obedience to his oath only to sit in the councils of the nation at Washington to intrigue and spy for the South

ern cause.

Magoffin's "Neutrality" Proclamation.


May 20th, Governor Magoffin issued his proclamation of neutrality, reciting

Attitude of the

The Legislature (May 22d) refused to accept the proclamation of the Governor as embodying a relation of the true position which the State should hold toward the Confederate and United States Governments. This was blow number one at "neutrality." The Senate rejected the House bill appropriating three millions to arm the State. This was blow number two. An act was passed amending the Militia law so as to compel the State Guards to take the oath of loyalty, swearing to support the Constitution of the United States and of Kentucky. This was

the facts of the existence of a "horrid, unnatu- | blow number three. It virtually killed neural and lamentable strife," for which Kentucky trality. In the Senate, on the 22d, Mr. Rosnot responsible either by thought, word seau made a firm, eloquent, out-spoken or deed," and declaring: speech in behalf of active co-operation with the Federal Government. His declarations indicated the half-repressed sympa

Rosseau's Union Speech.

"Now, therefore, I hereby notify and warn all other States, separate or united, especially the United and Confederate States, that I solemnly forbid any movement upon Kentucky soil, or occupathies and hopes of two-thirds of his people. tion of any post or place therein, for any purpose We may extract as follows, to indicate the whatever, until authorized by invitation or permis- views entertained, at at that time, by the unsion of the legislative and executive authorities. I qualified Unionists: especially forbid all citizens of Kentucky, whether incorporated in the State Guard or otherwise, making any hostile demonstrations against any of the aforesaid sovereignties, to be obedient to the orders of

Let that be understood. She will not go as other "When Kentucky goes down, it will be in blood.

States have gone. Let the responsibility rest on

lawful authorities, to remain quietly and peaceably you, where it belongs. It is all your work, and

at home, when off military duty, and refrain from all words and acts likely to provoke a collision, and so otherwise conduct that the deplorable calamity of invasion may be averted; but, meanwhile, make prompt and efficient preparation to assume to the paramount and supreme law of self-defense, and strictly of self-defense alone."

All this, at the first view, looked decidedly inimical; and, indeed, was so, as far as a Governor's proclamation was law; but, the people were truer to their own interests than

whatever happens will be your work. We have more right to defend our Government than you have to overturn it. Many of us are sworn to support it. Let our good Union brethren at the South stand their ground. I know that many patriotic hearts in the Seceded States still beat warmly for the old Union-the old flag. The time will come when we shall all be together again. The politicians are hav

*Afterwards the gallant Union General, whose Kentucky brigade at Pittsburg Landing performed such signal service.

« PreviousContinue »