« PreviousContinue »
REPUBLICAN PARTY AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
SPEECH AT A Public MEETING AT FANEUIL Hall, TO PATIFY THE
REPUBLICAN NOMINATIONS FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT, SEPTEMBER 28, 1864.
Hon. John C. GRAY presided at this meeting.
VELLOW-CITIZENS, - I do not speak to-night in
the belief that anything in the way of speech, from me or anybody else, can add to the certainty that Abraham Lincoln will be reëlected President of the United States. This event is already fixed beyond doubt or question. [Applause.] It is the clear, palpable, visible will of the American people, which only waits the official record of the 8th of November next. The case is plain. Everybody who voted for him four years ago will vote for him now, while others, like Edward Everett [cheers), who voted against him before, will gladly range among his supporters.
Here is a sum of simple addition, requiring very little arithmetic. But it is not astonishing that persons who have lost their patriotism should lose the power of calculation also.
And here let me remark, that, in taking a place at the head of our ticket, the distinguished gentleman to whom I have referred renders a patriotic service, and sets an example to all Bell-Everett men, who do not
1 Mr. Everett was one of the Republican Electors at Large.
prefer to follow Bell rather than Everett. If any belonging to that extinct combination vote against Edward Everett, it will be only to find themselves in the company of the traitor, John Bell. If you choose to give them a designation, let it be simply “Bell men.” It remains to be seen how many, at this crisis, prefer the traitor to the patriot. These two names, once in conjunction, now represent the two hostile ideas of Rebellion and Patriotism.
Even if the election be certain, our duty is none the less imperative. It is certain, because every good citizen will do his duty, and will see that his neighbor does it, too. It is certain, because, thank God, Patriotism at the North is stronger than Rebellion. [Cheers.] But we must all unite to make it gloriously certain.
I have often, on former occasions, when addressing my fellow-citizens, put the question, “Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery ?” — and I put this question now; for it is the question which necessarily enters into the coming election. On the answer hinges absolutely the peace of our country and the perpetuity of our institutions. Therefore I put the question in another form: “Are you for your country, or are you for the Rebellion ?” That is the question to decide by your votes. It is vain to evade this question, vain to wink it out of sight. It will come to every man as he puts in his vote, and he should decide it sincerely, patriotically, religiously.
And now, that I may bring this responsibility home to mind and conscience, I have no hesitation in saying, that, in voting against Abraham Lincoln, you will not only vote against Freedom and for Slavery, but you will vote against your country and for the Rebellion, - in
short, you will give the very vote which Jefferson Davis would give, were he allowed to vote in Massachusetts. No matter under what excuse this may be done, no matter by what argument you may deceive yourselves, no matter what apology you may construct, founded, perhaps, on personal objections or personal partialities, - it will be all the same. Your vote will be a vote against Freedom, -ay, Sir, a vote against your country. Just to the extent of its influence, you will give aid and comfort to the Rebel enemy, and will prevent the restoration of Union and Peace.
There can be no third party now, whether in the name of moderation or in the name of progress, there can be no third party between right and wrong, between good and evil, between the Almighty Throne and Satan. There can be but two parties here. Choose ye between them. One is the party of the country, with Abraham Lincoln as its chief, and with Freedom as its glorious watchword ; and the other is the party of the Rebellion, with Jefferson Davis as its chief, and with no other watchword than Slavery. As in the choice of Hercules, there are here before you two roads, - one leading to virtue and renown, the other leading to crime and shame. Choose ye between them. Vote against Abraham Lincoln, if you can, or stay at home and sulk, if you will; you have only, as a next step, to go over to the enemy.
There is now no question of candidates; there is no question of men. Candidates and men, no matter who, are all insignificant by the side of the cause. It is the cause we sustain and would bear, as the ark of the covenant, on our shoulders. Therefore I put aside all that is said of the two candidates. It would be useless to
attempt comparison between them, although it might appear, that, in those matters where one has been most criticized, the other is in the same predicament, — that, if Lincoln is slow, McClellan is slower, — that, if Lincoln has employed the military arm in the arrest of individuals, McClellan has employed it in the arrest of a whole Legislature, and that, if Lincoln'drove Vallandigham out of the Union lines as a penalty for sedition, McClellan, drove the Hutchinsons out of the Union lines as a penalty for singing songs of Freedom. But why consider these petty personalities? They divert attention from the single question, "Are you for your country, or are you for the Rebellion ?” [Applause.]
I have said that there are but two parties. If you would understand their respective characters and their claims to support, glance, first, at their history, and then at the principles they have recently declared.
On one side is the Republican party, originally formed to check the encroachments of Slavery, and especially to save the vast territories of the Republic, preserving them forever sacred to Freedom. Such a party, originally formed with such an object and inspired by Freedom, was the natural defender of the Republic, when Slavery took up arms against it. To this end it las labored, and to this end it will continue to labor, until, by the blessing of God, the Union is once again restored, I call it the Republican party, because that was its early name; but, for myself, I am indifferent to the name by which you call me. Let it be Republican, Unionist, or Abolitionist, what you will, I am with those patriots who stand by their country, seeking its safety and renown. [Great applause.]
It is sometimes asked, What has the Republican
party done? Look around, and you will see everywhere what it has done. Its acts are historic. Slavery and the Black Laws all abolished in the national capital; Slavery interdicted in all the national territories; Hayti and Liberia recognized as independent republics in the family of nations; the foreign slave-trade placed under the ban of a new treaty with Great Britain; the coastwise slave-trade prohibited forever; all persons in the military or naval service prohibited from returning slaves; all Fugitive Slave Acts repealed; the rule excluding colored testimony in the national courts abolished; and slaves set free in the Rebel States by Presidential proclamation: such are some of the triumphs of Freedom, under the auspices of the Republican party. [Cheers.] But this is not all. The Pacific Railroad is at last authorized ; agricultural colleges are provided for; homesteads on the public lands are offered to all actual settlers; while, by special legislation, emigration is encouraged and organized. But beyond all these measures, any one of which in other days would have illumined a whole administration, the National Government, acting in self-defence, with Abraham Lincoln as its head, has set on foot one of the largest armies of which there is any authentic record, — has equipped a navy which, in the variety and completeness of its power, with all modern improvements, may vie with any in the world, -- while, by a most successful financial system, including banks and credit, it has obtained the unprecedented sums required for all this enormous preparation.
All this is the work of the Republican party in less than a single Presidential term. [Prolonged applause.] It remains for this party to crown its transcendent la