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honest masses, the loyal men of Kentucky had a most difficult and critical duty to discharge. With what fidelity and good judgment she met the crisis let the history of passing events tell. No crimes or blunders were committed by her true sons. Rejecting all false theories springing out of the secession movement, forgetting the sympathies which were appealed to in order to enlist her in the Southern cause, rising to a true national position and planting herself upon the bulwarks of the Federal Constitution, she threw off her neutrality, unsheathed her sword, and by the side of the gallant men who flocked to her rescue from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and other loyal States she bade defiance to traitors and proclaimed, in the language of the immortal Jackson, “ The Federal Union, it must be preserved." Upon the crimson fields of Wildcat, of Somerset, of Fort Henry, of Fort Donelson, and Pittsburg Landing she illustrated anew her deep devotion to the cause of constitutional liberty.
No, sir, Kentucky has not attempted nor desired to dictate the policy of the nation in this terrible crisis. She has done her whole duty under the most trying and difficult circumstances that ever surrounded a brave and chivalrous people; with true and filial devotion she has bared her bosom and received the blow which was intended for the heart of the nation ; poised upon her own great centers of truth and loyalty she has resisted every appeal made to her by recreant sons, and stood as a wall of fire to check the encroachments of those whose purpose was to destroy the nation. What I have said of Kentucky is equally true of the other border slave States — Maryland, Western Virginia, Delaware, and Missouri. They regard American nationality as the precious casket in which is contained the priceless gift of free institutions, and they would regard themselves as alike recreant to their generation, to posterity, and to struggling humanity throughout the world if they failed to do their part towards preserving and transmitting unimpaired to future generations this sacred and invaluable trust.
Sir, whatever others may have done, or may yet do, to uphold and maintain the Government and the Constitution, the loyal men of the border slave States, as long as time shall last and free institutions be prized among men, will be remembered and honored for their heroic courage and devoted patriotism. Like poor old Lear, they have withstood the “peltings of the pitiless storm” that raged around them; have checked and rolled back the mad waves of passion and prejudice which were sweeping with desolating fury over the land and threatening to engulf all that was most precious on this continent. For the sake of their country and its free institutions they have sacrificed their material interests, broken the tenderest ties of family and of social life, and determined either to perish or to save from dismemberment and ruin the Union and the Constitution, threatened by the fierce assaults of ambitious leaders and their deluded and misguided followers. And, sir, as long as a love of liberty and of free government shall find a lodgment in the hearts of men, the names of Johnson, of Etheridge, of Prentice, of Guthrie, of Davis, of Gamble, of Bates, of Phelps, and, though last, yet first, of my venerable friend who sits before me (Mr. Crittenden) will be associated with the founders of republican government on this continent.
Mr. Chairman, I fear the end is not yet. My mind alternating betwixt hope and fear, I put my faith upon the patriotism and good sense of the
Ι great majority of the American people, and the kindness of that good Providence that has thus far watched over and guided our country through all the dangers which have beset us:
A thousand years scarce serve to form a State,
Recall its virtues back, and vanquish time and fate? What we most need in the present hour is calm and prudent counsel in our legislative halls. I am sincere in the belief that the Government is in more danger from the indiscreet action of impracticable politicians and misguided theorists than from any failure of our arms. What we want is a great Union Conservative party, made up from all other parties, within whose folds may be gathered the good men of the nation, North and South, planted firmly on the Constitution, and determined to resist and to repel the aggressions of extremists, and by a liberal and beneficent policy win back the wandering children of the republic to their duty and their loyalty.
Sir, if my poor voice could reach our distant brethren in the South, I would ask each and every one of them, What has the South gained by secession? What has any one individual in the South gained by secession? Has it given, is it likely to give them, a better form of government? Is their property more secure? Has it brought peace and happiness to their firesides, prosperity to their business? Have they profited in any respect by this movement ? On the contrary, have not the ambitious leaders who put on foot this rebellion, contrary to the wishes and better judgment of the masses, brought bankruptcy, ruin, and desolation upon the entire South ? There never was, so far as I know, a single solitary meeting of the people asking a change of government. The movement did not originate with the people themselves. They are patriotic. It originated with Davis and his crew in this Capitol. And oh!
Is there not some chosen curse,
The masses were happy and contented, satisfied with their government as it was. Living under the protection and benign influence of a free constitution and wholesome laws, they asked for no change, they wanted none, and they are now sighing for the old order of things. This monstrous crime of involving the country in rebellion and war lies at the door of uneasy and discontented politicians, reckless and maddened leaders, and was gotten up to promote their own reckless and selfish ends. A day of terrible retribution awaits them. Like Actæon in heathen mythology, they will, in the end, be destroyed by their own friends. The loyal citizens of the South, deceived and betrayed, will in due season turn upon them and punish them for their iniquities; while the great and beneficent Government, the glory and admiration of every loyal American heart, planted amidst all the perils and dangers of our revolutionary conflict, will exert its authority throughout the length and breadth of the nation, and our hearts will be once more cheered and animated at the sight of the “ old flag,” baptized, as it will have been, in fire and blood, planted securely upon every mountain-top and in every valley from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.
Mr. Chairman, the effect of this revolution will be to settle, and forever, certain dangerous theories springing out of our form of government and threatening constantly a collision between the State and National authorities.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Wears yet a precious jewel in its head. The nation has been convulsed to its center; thousands of true and brave men have been sacrificed in the contest; we have created a national debt that will be a heavy burden to the present and to several generations which will come after us; but all these are as nothing compared with the value of the life of the nation. The people will not murmur if the Constitution is preserved and our matchless form of government not seriously impaired. They will feel assured that no such revolution will be attempted again for “light and transient causes.” They will feel their faith greatly strengthened in republican institutions.
The experiment will have been thoroughly tested as to the ability of the people to govern themselves. And
When wild war's deadly blast is o'er and the angel of peace shall once more spread his bright wings across the continent, starting afresh in the race of nations, and purified by the severe ordeal through which we have been compelled to pass, we shall be a wiser, a better, and a stronger people; and when men shall have returned to the peaceful pursuits of private life, and society shall have assumed again the steady forms of law and order, the energies of the masses will be unchained in new fields of enterprise that will lure them on to reinstate their fortunes; and despite the terrors and calamities of the frightful and unnatural revolution through which we are now passing, our great nation, with the strength of a young giant, will at one bound assume its lost position and go forward in the march of improvement in a manner that will eclipse even our former unparalleled success; and before the close of the present century, in all the elements of power and of national strength, and in our contributions to science and literature, to art, to arms, to commerce, to manufactures, to agriculture, we shall assume a position second to that of no other civilized nation in the world.
Mr. Chairman, in casting our eyes across the beautiful valley westward we behold a vast but unfinished monument intended by his affectionate countrymen to perpetuate a lively recollection of the virtues and character of Washington. Each State of the American Union has contributed a part of the material of which this beautiful shaft is built. From one a block of limestone, from another a block of marble, from another a block of granite, from another a block of quartz sprinkled with gold. The motto of the great State that I have the honor, in part, to represent in this hall is, “ United we stand ; divided we fall,” and in her contribution to the Washington monument she has sent here a block of solid iron carved from her own great mountain, typical of her vast mineral resources and of her strength and power when these resources are fully developed, and indicating further that as iron is more durable than marble or granite so Missouri will be more steadfast in maintaining the Union of these States and in preserving the Constitution and Government which Washington gave to us.
To the Electors of the Ninth Congressional District of the State of
Fellow-Citizens : Having by force of public considerations consented to be a candidate for reëlection to Congress, it is due to you that I should make a frank avowal of the principles which will guide my action in our national councils if you
desire me to serve you in this crisis of our national existence. Unable to make a thorough personal canvass, as it would be my pleasure to do, of every portion of the district before the day of the election, I make no apology for addressing you through the medium of the press, in the confidence that what I say in candor will be candidly received.
We have fallen, fellow-citizens, upon evil times. Two short years ago we were a prosperous people, in the enjoyment of social order, under the gentle rule and the protection of the law, cultivating the arts of peace, and in the secure enjoyment of all the results of a high and steadily progressive civilization. And why, fellow-citizens, are we not to-day in the enjoyment of all this with the addition which the two intervening years would have contributed to the grand total of national and State well-being ? There is but one answer to be given. Theconstitutional appeal to the ballot has been violently pushed aside by an appeal to the bullet. The resort to law has given place to the resort to arms, and civil war is desolating our land. A rebellion causeless in its inception and stupendous in its proportions is raising its parricidal hands against the Government of our fathers, is madly shaking to its foundations the fabric of our national greatness, and dashing the confidence of the world in the prevalence and perpetuity of free institutions among men.
It is not unknown to you, fellow-citizens, that I have steadily opposed the theory of secession during the whole of my political life; and I have seen nothing in its practical exhibitions during the last two years in our unhappy country to abate my abhorrence of it. In doctrine it is false; in effect it is “evil, and only evil, and that continually." I have accordingly met the rebellion with my solemn protest, in public and in private; and if my feeble voice had been heard and heeded in our State councils the distant din of the battle might indeed have fallen painfully upon our ears, but its desolations would not have entered the borders of Missouri.
And why should not Missouri have thrown her entire weight into the balance against this unnatural rebellion ? Could she, a great State in the center of the great Republic, sure to have the benefits and glories of the country poured into her lap, rationally seek through dismemberment to hem the border of a feeble Confederacy founded on the doctrine of secession and to endure