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united South against a divided North. They hoped in the Northern States, party questions would bring civil war between Democrats and Republicans, when the South would step in with her cohorts, aid one party to conquer the other, and then make easy prey of the victors. Their scheme was carnage and civil war in the North.
There is but one way to defeat this. In Illinois it is being so defeated by closing up the ranks. War will thus be prevented on our own soil. While there was a hope of peace, I was ready for any reasonable sacrifice or compromise to maintain it. But when the question comes of war in the cotton-fields of the South, or the corn-fields of Illinois, I say the farther off the better.
We can not close our eyes to the sad and solemn fact that war does exist. The Government must be maintained, its enemies overthrown, and the more stupendous our preparations the less the bloodshed, and the shorter the struggle. But we must remember certain restraints on our action even in time of war. We are a Christian people, and the war must be prosecuted in a manner recognized by Christian nations.
We must not invade Constitutional rights. The innocent must not suffer, nor women and children be the victims. Savages must not be let loose. But
while I sanction no war on the rights of others, I will implore my countrymen not to lay down their arms until our own rights are recognized. (Cheers.)
The Constitution and its guarantees are our birthright, and I am ready to enforce that inalienable right to the last extent. We can not recognize secession. Recognize it once, and you have not only dissolved government, but you have destroyed social order-upturned the foundations of society. You have inaugurated anarchy in its worst form, and will shortly experience all the horrors of the French Revolution.
Then we have a solemn duty-to maintain the Government. The greater our unanimity, the speedier the day of peace. We have prejudices to overcome from the few short months since of a fierce party contest. Yet these must be allayed. Let us lay aside all criminations and recriminations as to the origin of these difficulties. When we shall have again a country with the United States flag floating over it, and respected on every inch of American soil, it will then be time enough to ask who and what brought all this upon us.
I have said more than I intended to say. (Cries of "Go on.") It is a sad task to discuss questions so fearful as civil war; but sad as it is, bloody and disastrous as I expect it will be, I express it as my
conviction before God, that it is the duty of every American citizen to rally round the flag of his country.
I thank you again for this magnificent demonstration. By it you show you have laid aside party strife. Illinois has a proud position-United, firm, determined never to permit the Government to be destroyed. (Prolonged cheering.)
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S FIRST CALL FOR
APRIL 15TH, 1861.
Whereas, the laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are, opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law; now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth the Militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the
War Department. I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid, this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence, of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from this date.
Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both houses of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.