« PreviousContinue »
into an army.
heretofore been the practice; but the exigency never before arose when it was necessary to conscript men
The exigency does not confer new powers, but evokes them into service. At this moment, the question, whether we shall use this power, is not one of expediency merely; not what is best. It is, in effect, a question, to this nation, of life or death. We literally have no choice.
Gentlemen upon my right (the Republican side of the House) know that it is my conviction, that all the vaunted panaceas for our troubles have failed, utterly failed. I expected them to fail. I attempted in vain to satisfy the House, that it was leaning upon reeds shaken by the wind. My earnest, repeated suggestions were, of course, unheeded; but the results are too palpable to be overlooked or mistaken, and reason is slowly re-ascending the steps of its throne. Pray God it may not be too late.
The policy inaugurated on the 1st of December, 1861, has been fruitless of good: it has changed the ostensible, if not real, issue of the war. That policy, and the want of persistent vigor in our military counsels, render any further reliance upon voluntary enlistments futile. The nostrums have all failed. Confiscation, emancipation by Congress, emancipation by the proclamation of the President, compensated emancipation, arbitrary arrests, paper made legal tender, negro armies, will not do the mighty work. Nothing will save us now but vicrories in the field and on the sea; and then the proffer of the olive branch, with the most liberal terms of reconciliation and re-union. We can get armies in no a
other way but by measures substantially those in the bill before us, unless the Administration will retrace its steps, and return to the way of the Constitution, for us the strait and narrow way which leads unto life. The war on paper is at an end. The people have, for a time, been deluded by it. That delusion exists no longer. If
you are to suppress this Rebellion, all instrumentalities will fail you but the power of your own right arm.
Mr. Speaker, the measures and policy heretofore pursued have not been merely fruitless of good; they have been fruitful of evil: they have made, or largely contributed to make, a united South; they have made a divided North; they have alienated from the Administration the confidence and affection of large portions of the people; they have paralyzed your arm, and divided your counsels. Gentlemen flatter themselves this alienation and disaffection are the work of the Democrats ; that the people have been misled and deceived by their wiles. Sir, the people of this country read, and keep their eyes open, and comprehend; and the plain fact is, you cannot unite them upon the policy you now pursue. They do not believe in destroying the Union and Constitution in the hope of building up better by force of
You may unite them on the issue of maintaining the Union and the Government at every price and cost, but upon no other.
Having distracted the public mind, having alienated to a great degree the affection and confidence of the country, what is left to you? To resort to those constitutional powers vested in you for the preservation of the Gov
ernment which you have in trust, and which you must use, or be false to that trust. Gentlemen say the people will not bear this measure. I will not believe it. I believe the people of this country are ready to do and to endure every thing for the preservation of their unity, their national life, and, through that unity and that national life, all that makes life precious to men: they will submit to it. In view of the infinite interests at stake in this great controversy; in the solemn conviction that there is to-day no hope of peace except in disintegration ; that, as a nation, we must conquer in arms, or perish; they will meet and respond to this imperative call of duty. Such is my hope and trust.
But, Mr. Speaker, suppose they hesitate ; suppose they do not submit: you can but try; you have no other hope. The negro will not save you ; paper money will not save you; your infractions of personal liberty will not save you. · If the illegal and unnecessary arrests are persisted in, in the peaceful and loyal States, they will ruin you. Go firmly to the people, and present to them the real issue: they will understand the terrible exigency in which the country is placed'; and they will be true to that country, if you show clearly to their comprehension the length and breadth and height and depth of that exigency. Mr. Speaker, the issue must be met at all hazards. If the people will not support you, if they will not do this highest act of duty, the days of this Republic are numbered, the end is nigh. Satisfy them that you mean to be true to the Constitution and the Union, and they will be true to you, and will uphold and save you.
The issue, I repeat, must be met. You die without this measure: you can no more with it, except you die, as cowards die, many times. I go, therefore, for appealing from panaceas and make-shifts to this highest, most solemn, and imperative duty of the citizen to protect the life of the State.
NEW ENGLAND AND THE UNION.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEB. 28, 1863.
The most careless observer of the signs of the times will not have failed to notice the attacks, frequent, persistent, ubiquitous, upon the history, character, and policy of New England. The evidence of union and concert in these attacks is plain; and, what is very significant, the concert includes the politicians and presses of the States in arms against us. The aim and purpose of these attacks are palpable. They are not for counsel, rebuke, chastening: to these we might give heed for possible good. The obvious purpose of this war of words is to create a feeling of bitter hostility to New England in the Western and Middle States (the traitors in arms against the Union hate her now with sufficient intensity); to force the conviction upon those States, that the character and policy of New England are such, that the good-will and harmony of the country cannot be maintained while she forms part of the Union; and to bring about a reconstruction on the basis of the Confederate Government, slavery for its corner-stone, and “New England left out in the cold."
The element of the New-England character and policy, which, it is averred, makes union with her intole