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war was brought upon the country by those in rebellion. Rebellion is war. Every ordinance of secession was a declaration of war, denouncing a forcible dislodgment of the authority of the Government. Every seizure of a fortification, every capture of a Government vessel, every occupation of a custom-house, every robbery of an arsenal, every plunder of a mint, every confiscation of loyal property was an act of war. The attack on Sumter was but the last feather that broke the endurance of the country, and it demonstrated the necessity of meeting the issue of force thus unequivocally tendered. In this issue the insurgents are the war party. The party of peace is the Government and those who sustain it, seeking by arms (the only means left to it) the restoration of the peaceful reign of law. The spear is entwined by the olive branch, and I see hope for the termination of this war when those who commenced it shall lay down their arms, return to their allegiance, and do their duty under the Constitution. On these terms, worthy of all acceptation, peace may be restored in a day. Those who continue the rebellion continue the war, and on them must rest the responsibility before God and man.
At the special session of Congress in July, 1861, the following resolution introduced by the venerable and patriotic Crittenden of Kentucky was voted for by every member of the House of Representatives present except Potter of Wisconsin and Burnet of Kentucky, the former an abolitionist and the latter a secessionist now a member of the rebel Congress. The resolution is as follows:
That this war is not waged on our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights and established institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.
I voted for this resolution. I approved of it then; I approve of it now. It was in harmony with the tone of all the messages which had been sent to Congress by the President of the United States up to that time, and was approved by him. Afterwards and during the last session of Congress I voted for all those measures which were calculated to suppress the insurrection, increase the energies and strengthen the arm of the Government. If reëlected, I shall continue to do so-firmly convinced as I am that there is no hope for the success of free government on this continent if the experiment we are now making fails. The paramount object is to save this Government and the Constitution of the United States. For these grand and beneficent objects, and for these alone, ought this war to be prosecuted; and as these objects justify the assumption of arms, whatever stands in the way of reaching these objects ought to give place for without govern
ment and nationality all else would be worthless to ourselves and our posterity.
In a speech delivered by me in Congress, on the 24th day of April last, which was extensively circulated, I used the following language:
My motto is, "Save the nation at any cost"; but believing as I do that the Constitution affords us the amplest power to do this, I am utterly opposed to its violation. Let it not be said, either, that I am governed by any purpose to shield and protect any interest which comes in contact with the safety of the Republic and the integrity of the Union. In regard to African slavery, I value far higher the permanency of the Government and the preservation of the Constitution for these are essential to our own liberties - than I do any question connected with the freedom or slavery of this inferior race of men.
These are my opinions to-day; and it lies in my way to examine in their light the recent proclamation of the President of the United States looking to the emancipation of slaves in certain revolted districts to be hereafter specified, on the contingency of their persevering in the rebellion. The proclamation proceeds upon the principle that to suppress the insurrection by withdrawing that which feeds it is strictly within the war power, and therefore constitutional. Without discussing the abstract proposition, I apprehend that the conduct of a statesman should be controlled by the practical elements which are involved in questions of public policy. I cannot agree with Mr. Lincoln in the expediency or necessity of so extreme a measure as this. Neither do I believe that it will be justified by the results. I do not think it will strengthen the Government. It is calculated to create distrust and division in the ranks of the great Union army. It is sure to intensify the feeling of opposition in the revolted States. If carried out it will do injustice to the great body of Union men in that quarter who are ready to rise and strike a blow for the Government when the day of their deliverance shall come. It may lead to servile insurrection, to scenes of cruelty and horror, involving the innocent with the guilty, the strong with the defenseless in indiscriminate ruin. Its action would be at war with the spirit of the age in which we live, and with those noble principles of enlightened civilization which form the corner-stone of our beautiful fabric of government. Let us shun these extreme policies. Our Government is yet strong in all the elements and material of war, and with an abounding patriotism in the hearts of the people all over the country, North and South, is amply able to overthrow this wicked attempt on the national life.
It may be said, however, in justice to the President, that by staying the execution of the proclamation for three full months he has demonstrated his willingness to preserve the country without the destruction of slavery and has fairly thrown the responsibility of saving the institution on those who
are in arms against their country. A simple return to duty, before the first of January, will render the proclamation inoperative. I dismiss this topic with an additional suggestion which I commend to the attention of the American people. The force of the proclamation as a war measure will be spent during the war. When the civil power shall be restored by the success of patriotic arms, the status of the "contraband" will be purely a judicial question to be determined by the Constitution and the laws. The word "forever" in the proclamation is breath and nothing more.
And now, fellow-citizens, if you choose to make me your representative in the Thirty-eighth Congress I shall continue as heretofore to labor for the promotion of the best interests of the people of the State of Missouri. No public measure calculated to advance these will fail to receive my earnest and unqualified support. Long identified with the people of the State, and knowing no other home, I feel that your interest is my interest; and for weal or for woe I mean to share with you a common destiny.
In the councils of the nation I shall coöperate with, and be guided by, the enlightened views and patriotic purposes of such men as the noble Crittenden of Kentucky, and that far-seeing Republican statesman, Judge Thomas of Massachusetts-feeling as I do, that with such experienced counsellors by my side, and in the light of their patriotic example, I cannot greatly err in the service of my country in this its hour of agony, of peril, and of gloom. No man may question my devotion to the Federal Union. It is the political divinity which I have worshipped from my infancy, and my heart sickens within me to see the demon' of Disunion, the abomination of desolation, standing in the holy place. If
Freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell,
how must the heart of Liberty and Humanity be wrung when the funeralpall shall be spread OVER THE GREAT REPUBLIC? But my eye pierces the gloom!
Sail on, sail on, O Ship of State!-
With all its hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate.
Let us be true to our God-appointed mission! Let the men of this generation prove themselves equal to the emergency by vindicating the integrity of our country, by preserving and handing down to our posterity the priceless inheritance of popular government bequeathed to us by patriotic sires. Your fellow citizen,
COLUMBIA, October 27, 1862.
JAMES S. ROLLINS.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, April 12, 1864, on the Resolution offered by Mr. Colfax, Proposing to Expel Mr. Long.
Mr. Speaker: I feel somewhat embarrassed because I shall not be able to make in the three minutes assigned to me a very interesting speech; and unless I can trench upon the time of my friend from New Jersey [Mr. Rogers], who, I believe, is next to occupy the floor, I shall claim from the courtesy of the Speaker the opportunity of submitting on Thursday morning a few remarks.
I think, Mr. Speaker, from the demonstrations we have had here to night, that the heart of every patriot in this House and in these galleries ought to be filled with hope and assured with confidence that the country is safe! Certainly no man, after the broad, liberal, patriotic, and antipartizan views which we have heard expressed here, can have a shadow of doubt that we shall be able to suppress this rebellion!
To abandon irony, Mr. Speaker, I must confess that my heart is filled with sadness at the continued notes of party! party!! party!!! which I hear sounded. It seems to me that all are for party and none for the country; that on both sides of the House it is a continual attempt to obtain some small advantage for party-not to promote the great interests of the Union, but those of party for the next Presidential election.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. ELDRIDGE: I hope the gentleman shall have leave to go on.
Mr. ROLLINS of Missouri: Mr. Speaker, if I could save this country from destruction I should be willing that this or that side of the House should select the man to preside over its destinies not only for the next four but for the next forty years. If I could save the Government from destruction it would be a small matter to me whether Abraham Lincoln or George B. McClellan presided over the country's destinies.
Mr. Speaker, I desire to express my opinion regarding the resolution proposed by the honorable Speaker of this House. I shall not vote for the expulsion of the member from Ohio. I think that resolution the most ill-timed that has been proposed here during the present session. If the speech of the gentleman from Ohio contains poison which is likely to produce disease in
the body-politic of the country, the honorable Speaker could not have selected a more efficient mode of infusing that poison into the public heart of the country than by introducing a resolution to expel the honorable member from Ohio.
Without that resolution I venture to say that the speech of the gentleman from Ohio would perhaps not have been read by a thousand persons in the United States; but as it is it will be read in every State, in every village, in every mansion and cabin, from one corner of the land to the other. If it had not been for the resolution the honorable Speaker has offered, the speech of the gentleman from Ohio would have fallen still-born from his lips. It would have passed like the speeches of other gentlemen delivered here into the political historical rubbish of the country, and most of us would have forgotten within a few weeks or months that it had ever been delivered.
I repeat, sir, if that speech contains political poison, the censure for disseminating it must fall upon the head of the honorable Speaker of this House. If it be a dagger aimed at the national heart, it is the strong hand of the Speaker that directs it and drives home the fatal blow! And, sir, if this speech is capable of doing the injury which seems to be attributed to it, to the Speaker far more than to the gentleman from Ohio will that injury be due.
But, sir, I do not apprehend any serious detriment from that speech. If the cause of the Union and the cause of the country is to be shaken by such a speech as that, it ought to perish; and if one hundred and eighty-three members of the House are not competent, morally and intellectually, to meet the honorable gentleman from Ohio in his argument, and show that he is wrong-if they cannot furnish the antidote for the poison, then I say we are unworthy to represent a free people in a great crisis like this. We are doing but poor justice to their intelligence and patriotism if we suppose for a moment that a speech like that could shake their confidence in the stability of the Government and in the permanency of our free institutions.
For myself, sir, I have no fears of the effect of that speech. I rely upon the discriminating intelligence of the great masses of the American people to correct in their own minds the gross errors with which it abounds; and for its utterance I would not expel or even censure the gentleman. I would not do it because I am in favor of the largest liberty of debate, especially in times like these. In my judgment the wisdom of our ancestors has been no better illustrated than in that provision of the Constitution which says that no member shall be expelled except upon the vote of two-thirds of the members of this body. We see the importance of the rule on this occasion. We see the lengths to which party spirit would run. We see daily in the affairs that occur upon this floor that questions of the utmost importance are not decided upon their merits, but invariably according to the strength of party on this