Imágenes de páginas
PDF

country to the very verge of destruction. Once more, I come before you, to offer again an earnest prayer, and beg you to listen to a warning. Our country is not only at this time torn by one of the bloodiest wars that has ever ravaged the face of the earth; but, if we turn our faces to our own loyal States, how is it there? You find the community divided into political parties, strongly arrayed, and using with regard to each other terms of reproach and defiance. It is said by those who support more particularly the Administration, that we, who differ honestly, patriotically, sincerely, from them with regard to the line of duty, are men of treasonable purposes and enemies to our country. [* Hear, hear." On the other hand, the Democratic organization look upon this Administration as hostile to their rights and liberties; they look upon their opponents as men who would do them wrong in regard to their most sacred franchises. I need not call your attention to the tone of the press, or to the tone of public feeling, to show you how, at this moment, parties are thus exasperated, and stand in defiant attitudes to each other. A few years ago, we were told that sectional strise, waged in words like these, would do no harm to our country; but you have seen the sad and bloody results. Let us be adunonished now in time, and take care that this irritation, this feeling which is growing up in our midst, shall not also ripen into civil troubles that shall carry the evils of war into our own homes.

“Upon one point, all are agreed, and that is this: Until we have a united North, we can have no successful war. Until we have a united, harmonious North, we can have no beneficent peace. IIow shall we gain harmony & How shall the unity of all be obtained 2 Is it to be coerced ; I appeal to you, Iny Republican friends, when you say to us that the nation's life and existence hang upon harmony and concord here, if you yourselves, in your serious moments, believe that this is to be produced by seizing our persons, by infringing upon our rights, by insulting our homes, and by depriving us of those cherished principles for which our fathers fought, and to which we have always sworn allegiance.” [Great applause.]

After some variations on this theme, he continues his appeal to Republicans in these words:

“We only ask that you shall give to us that which you claim for yourselves, and that which every freeman, and every man who respects himself, will have, freedom of speech, the right to exercise all the franchises conferred by the Constitution upon American citizens. [Great applause..] Can

you safely deny us these ? Will you not trample upon your own rights if you refuse to listen ? Do you not create revolution when you say that our persons may be rightfully seized, our property confiscated, our homes entered? Are you not exposing yourselves, your own interests, to as great a peril as that with which you threaten us? Remember this, that the bloody, and treasonable, and revolutionary, doctrine of public necessity can be proclaimed by a mob as well as by a government. [Applause.] * * * “To-day, the great masses of conservatives who still battle for time-honored principles of government, amid denunciation, contumely, and abuse, are the only barriers that stand between this Government and its own destruction. If we should acquiesce in the doctrine that, in times of war, Constitutions are suspended, and laws have lost their force, then we should accept a doctrine that the very right by which this Government administers its power has lost its virtue, and we would be brought down to the level of rebellion itself, having an existence only by virtue of material power. When men accept despotism, they may have a choice as to who the despot shall be. The struggle then will not be, Shall we have constitutional liberty ? But, having accepted the doctrine that the Constitution has lost its force, every instinct of personal ambition, every instinct of personal security, will lead men to put themselves under the protection of that power which they suppose most competent to guard their persons.”

Near the close of his address, the Governor says:

“We stand to-day amid new-made graves, in a land filled with mourning; upon a soil saturated with the blood of the fiercest conflict of which history gives us an account. We can, if we will, avert all these calamities, and evoke a blessing. If we will do what? IIold that Constitution, and liberties, and laws, are suspended ?– shrink back from the assertion of right? Will that restore them : Or shall we do as our fathers did, under circumstances of like trial, when they combated against the powers of a crown? They did not say that iiberty was suspended; that men might be deprived of the right of trial by jury; that they might be torn from their homes by midnight intruders? [Tremendous and continued applause.] If you would saye your country, and your liberties, , begin right; begin at the hearth-stones, which are over meant to be the foundations of American institutions; begin in your family circle; declare that your privileges shall be held sacred; and, having once proclaimed your own rights, take care that you do not invade those of your neighbor.” [Applause.] (These orations are mild and cautioús compared with the great mass of Democratic harangues on this occasion. The allusions to Mr. Wallandigham's arrest as a lawless outrage, and to the States as guardians of the rights of their citizens (with direct reference to the impending draft, which Gov. Seymour, with the great mass of his party, was known to regard as unconstitutional), and all kindred indications of a purpose to resist the Federal Executive, even unto blood, in case his “usurpations” and “outrages” should be repeated and persisted in, were everywhere received with frenzied shouts of con

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

The first Draft in the city of New York for conscripts under the Enrollment Act was advertised to commence at the several enrollment of fices soon afterward;” and, as a preparation therefor, the several Democratic journals of that city seemed to vie with each other—especially in their issues of the eventful morning— in efforts to inflame the passions of those who at best detested the idea of braving peril, privation, suffering, and death, in the prosecution of an • Abolition war.” That the enrollment here was excessive, and the quota required of the city was too high, were vehemently asserted; that

drawing of names from the wheel was broadly insinuated; but that the Draft itself—any Draft—was unconstitutional, needless, and an outrage on individual liberty and State rights, was more emphatically insisted on.

Said The Journal of Commerce:

“It is a melancholy fact that war, sad and terrible as it is, becomes oftentimes the tool of evil-minded men to accomplish their ends. The horrors of its continuance are nothing to their view. The blood shed counts as of no value in their measurement. The mourning it causes produces no impression on their sensibilities. Such men lose all consciousness of personal responsibility for the war, and only look to selfish desires to be realized. What right has any man, or any class of men, to use this war for any purpose beyond its original object? If they, indeed, have diverted it from that, if they have prolonged it one day, added one drop of blood to its sacrifice, by their efforts to use it for other ends than its original design, then they are responsible before God and man for the blood and cost. There is no evading that responsibility.

“Some men say, ‘Now that the war has commenced, it must not be stopped till slaveholding is abolished.” Such men are neither more nor less than murderers. The name seems severe: it is nevertheless correct. Would it have been justifiable for the Northern States to commence a war on the Southern States for the sole purpose of abolishing Slavery in them ż No 1 it would have been murder to commence such a war. By what reasoning, then, does it become less murder to divert a war, commenced for other purposes, to that object? IIow can it be any less criminal to prolong a war, colnmenced for the assertion of governmental power, into a war for the suppression of Slavery, which, it is agreed, would have been unjustifiable and sinful if begun for that purpose?”

Said The World.

“Whether the weak and reckless men who temporarily administer the Federal Government are aware of the fact or not, it is undeniably a fact that the very existence of the Government they administer is quite as seriously involved, in the execution of the conscription which they are now putting in force, as it has been in any other measure or event of the war. The act itself, which should never have been framed, except with the most absolute deference to the Constitution and on the broadest attainable basis of representative support, was fairly forced to its passage through the Constitution and over the restraints and decencies of Senatorial debate. Such were the circumstances which attended its final passage, that one might almost have supposed the National legislature to be an oligarchic conspiracy plotting a vast scheme of military servitude, rather than the council of a great people giving form to its independent determination and organizing its force for the assertion of its freedom. The idea of a military conscription being in itself profoundly repugnant to the American mind, it might have been supposed that unusual steps would have been taken by the friends of that resort to present it with the utmost possible frankness, and in the light best adapted to dissipate the popular hostility.

there would be unfairness in the

st; Monday, July 13.

“Nothing of the sort was done. A measure which could not have been ventured upon in England even in those dark days when the press-gang filled the English shipsof-war with slaves, and dimmed the glory of England's noblest naval heroes—a meas, ure wholly repugnant to the habits and prejudices of our people—was thrust into the statute-book, as one might say, almost by force. It was not only a conscription, but an act passed by conscription.

“The natural consequences followed. IIundreds of thousands of loyal citizens were led to look with distrust and concern upon the passage of the bill. Men who would not hesitate for a moment to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors, upon the summons of any legitimate National authority, became discontented and dissatisfied with what they regarded (whether justly or unjustly is not now to the point) as an unnecessary stretch of Governmental control over individual liberty.”

Said The Daily Wews:

“It is sincerely to be hoped that measures will be taken to test the constitutionality of the law which threatens to remove sixty-odd thousand of our citizens from the State of New York, before a single individual is permitted to be forced, against his will, to take part in the ungodly conflict which is distracting the land. It is said that Gov. Seymour openly expresses his belief that neither the President nor Congress, without the consent of the State authorities, has any right to enforce such an act as is now being carried into effect under the auspices of the War Department; but that he thinks his interference would do more harm than good, and that the question ought to be settled by the courts.

“The manner in which the draft is being

conducted in New York is such an outrage upon all decency and fairness as has no parallel, and can find no apologists. No proclamation has been issued upon the subject; and it is only a matter of surmise whether 300,000 or 600,000 men are to be raised. If, as is supposed, 300,000 additional troops are to be added to the Union Army by the present conscription, the proper quota to be drawn from this city would be about 12,000 of our citizens. Instead of this number, however, over 22,000 are being drafted; and, with 50 per cent. extra required for exemptions, 33,000! No allowance is made for the militia who are in Pennsylvania and Maryland; and the $300 to be paid by rich conscripts, instead of purchasing substitutes, is to be diverted, against the spirit of the law, to some other direction.

“The evident aim of those who have the Conscription Act in hand, in this State, is to lessen the number of I)emocratic votes at the next election. The miscreants at the head of the Government are bending all their powers, as was revealed in the late speech of Wendell Phillips at Framingham, to securing a perpetuation of their ascendency for another four years; and their triple method of accomplishing this purpose is, to kill off Democrats, stuff the ballotboxes with bogus soldier votes, and deluge recusant districts with negro suffrages. The crafty, quiet way in which the enrollment has been carried on, forestalled both criticism and opposition. Nevertheless, the work has neither been fairly performed, nor has it been thorough. And, now that it is over, the people are notified that one out of about two and a half of our citizens are destined to be brought off into Messrs. Lincoln & Company's charnel-house. God for: bid We hope that instant measures will be taken to prevent the outrage, and to se. cure such a decision from our courts as will exempt New York from further compelled participation in the suicidal war which is desolating the land.”

A most incendiary hand-bill appeal to the people to rise for the vindication of their liberties had been circulated anonymously throughout the city on the night before the 4th, with evident intent to incite an insurrectionary movement on that day; but the tidings received by telegraph of Meade's success at Gettysburg, calling all the supporters of the War into the streets and inclining its opponents

[ocr errors]

to solitude and seclusion, interfered
with the execution of the programme.
I3ut now, inflamed by the appeals of
their favorite journals, the commence-
ment of drafting in our several
districts was marked by the gather-
ing—especially in the up-town dis-
tricts, where there is a compact pop-
ulation of laborers, mainly of foreign
birth—of excited crowds, who soon
proceeded to violence, arson, and
bloodshed.
In the IXth Congress district, com-
prising the most northerly wards of
the City, largely peopled by railroad
employés and other foreign-born la-
borers, the drawing commenced at
10 A. M., in the house where the en-
rollment had been made, at the cor-
ner of Third Avenue and 46th-street,
in the presence of some 300 persons,
mainly spectators. Half an hour
thereafter, when 75 to 100 names had
been drawn, while all was quiet and
orderly within the building, a pistol
was fired in the street, where a large
crowd had rapidly assembled; where.
upon, a shower of brickbats and other
missiles was hurled at the house, and

swelled to furious thousands; and a strong detachment of the police, which attempted to disperse or drive the mob, was likewise worsted and forced to retreat. The firemen, who were tardy in their appearance, and who were cheered and applauded by the mob, made no effort to save the obnoxious house in which the fire had been kindled, but finally arrested the progress of the conflagration; though not till several more houses had been destroyed, and the bulk of the mob had moved off to other scenes of outrage and devastation. The organized militia of the city were generally absent in the interior of Pennsylvania; the Government had no military force within call but a handful on Governor's island and in the forts commanding the seaward approaches; while the Police, though well organized and efficient, was not competent to deal with a virtual insurrection which had the great body of the foreign-born laborers of our city at its back, with nearly every one of the 10,000 grog-shops for its block-houses and recruiting-stations.

the crowd rushed in, driving out the The outbreak had manifestly been officers and clerks, tearing up the premeditated and préarranged; and papers, and taking complete posses- the tidings of its initial success, being sion. In a few minutes, one of the instantly diffused throughout the city, rioters produced a can of spirits of incited an outpouring into the streets turpentine, which he poured over the of all who dreaded the Draft, hated floor and set fire to it, and the build- the War, or detested Abolitionists and ing was soon in flames—the police- Negroes as the culpable causes of men and draft officers who attempted both. The rioters constantly augresistance being driven off by show- mented their numbers by calling at ers of stones—Mr. John A. Kennedy, the gas-houses, railroad offices, workSuperintendent of Police, who was shops, and great manufactories, and present in plain clothes, being recog- there demanding that all work should nized and severely beaten. A small be stopped and the laborers allowed force of the Invalid Corps soon ap- to fall into their ranks—a demand peared, but was promptly overpow- which, through sympathy or cowardered and driven off by the mob, now ice, was too generally acceded to. Of

course, the thieves, burglars, and other predatory classes, the graduates of European prisons and the scum and sediment of Old-World felony, who by tens of thousands have their lairs in the great emporium, were too glad to embrace the opportunity afforded them to plunder and ravage under the garb of popular resistance to Abolition despotism, and made haste to swell the ranks and direct the steps of the drunken, bellowing, furious mob, who now rushed through street after street, attacking the dwellings of peaceful citizens who were stigmatized as Abolitionists, or who were exposed to odium by some sort of connection with the Government. By 3 P. M., the rioters had become many thousands in number; and they were probably more numerous throughout the two following days. The most revolting feature of this carnival of crime and villainous madness was the uniform maltreatment to which the harmless, frightened Blacks were subjected. That The Tribune building should have been for days beleaguered by a yelling, frantic crowd, who constantly sought to incite each other to an attack which they were too careful of their own safety to make (save once, just at dark of the first day, before it had been armed, and when they for a mo

ment had possession of the business office, and had just time to dismantle and set it on fire before they were charged and driven out by the Police), was quite intelligible, if not so clearly justifiable; and so of the attacks on enrollment offices, arsenals, police stations, &c.; but that an inoffensive negro boy should be hunted at full speed by a hundred White miscreants intent on his murder, while many a poor Black woman had her humble habitation sacked and devastated as she narrowly escaped into the street —barely saving her life, and nothing else—several of this abused race being killed without even a suggestion or suspicion of fault on their part, and all the rest put in mortal terror—was an exhibition of human fiendishness which the Nineteenth Century has rarely paralleled. In one case that was noted, (and there were doubtless others as atrocious,) a colored boy not ten years of age was set upon in the most public part of the city, and pelted with sticks and stones by scores of men and boys until he managed to make his escape. In another case, a Black man, no otherwise obnoxious

save by his color, was chased, caught,

hung, and all his clothing burned off. IIis dead body remained hanging for hours, until cut down by the Police.”

The Colored Orphan Asylum was

* The Tribune of July 15 said:

“It is absurd and futile to attribute this outburst of ruffianism to any thing clse than sympathy with the Rebels. If, as some pretend, it results from dissatisfaction with the $300 exemption, why are negroes indiscriminately assailed and beaten almost or quite to death? Did they prescribe this exemption? On the contrary, are they not almost uniformly poor men, themselves exposed to the draft, and unable to pay $300? What single thing have they done to expose them to this infernal, cowardly rushanism 7 What can be alleged against them, unless it be that they are generally hostile to the Slaveholders' Rebellion? And how are the drafting officers responsible for the $300 clause?

“We may just as well look the facts in the face 7 These riots are ‘a fire in the rear' on our country's defenders in the field. They are, in purpose and in essence, a diversion in favor of Jeff Davis and Lee. Listen to the yells of the mob, and the harangues of its favorite orators, and you will find them surcharged with “nigger,’ ‘Abolition,’ ‘Black Republican,’ denunciation of prominent Republicans, The Tribwne, &c, &c.—all very wide of the draft and the exemption. Had the Abolitionists, instead of the Slaveholders, revolted, and undertaken to upset the Government and dissolve the Union, nine-tenths of these rioters would have eagerly volunteered to put them down. It is the fear, stimulated by the recent and glorious triumphs

« AnteriorContinuar »