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party in the country. They gave the people frequent elections, an ample and beneficent judicial system, and provided methods by which the Constitution could be peaceably amended, and supposed that they had made the internal peace of the country enduring as its mountains. The thought of secession, rebellion or revolution never disturbed them. John C. Calhoun, in 1847, introduced it into the Senate of the United States, embodied in certain resolutions, which Col. Benton moved at once to lay on the table. Calhoun looked at him with that calm eye of his, and said: “I am happy to hear from the gentleman; I shall know where to find him.” “Yes, sir,” replied Old Bullion, “you may always know where to find me. You will always find me on the side of my country. I am glad you know it, sir.”
In 1848 the Democratic Convention assembled at Baltimore, and I went there to help make the nominee. I saw Wm. L. Yancey, Calhoun’s ablest disciple, arise in that Convention and submit to its consideration Mr. Calhoun's dogma, which had been so promptly tabled at the previous session of the Senate. I saw the question brought to a vote in that grand Democratic Convention, which embraced delegates from every Southern State—South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and all the rest; yet among them all there were but 36 Southern men to vote for the doctrine which my friend propounds as the doctrine of the Democratic party to-day, to wit: that the Constitution of the United States contains the seeds of its own destruction; and that any State that may believe an act to be unconstitutional need not wait till the Supreme Court has passed upon the question, but may go out of the Union, and may rob you of your interests under the Homestead Law, and under the Constitution of the United States, which gives you citizenship in each and every State.
The despised and rejected heresy of 1847–8 is the ruling doctrine of the Democratic party to-day, and when, in the Chicago Convention, they pledge themselves with “unswerving fidelity to the Union under the Constitution,” they avow to all knowing men just that doctrine. They declare that “in the future, as on the past” (mark you, as on the past), “we will adhere with unswerving fidelity to the Union under the Constitution, as the only solid foundation of our strength, security, and happiness as a people, and as a framework of government equally conducive to the welfare and prosperity of all the States, both Northern and Southern.” Now, we of the Administration party are for the Union unconditionally until this war be terminated; and then, if any man has violated the Constitution, we will take him before the courts of the land, and punish him. But while there is war-making upon us, our great object is to maintain our country; for it is no odds what the Constitution is, if we have no country for the Constitution to operate upon. Therefore, in order to have the benefit of the Constitution, we mean to maintain the integrity of the country, that our posterity, dwelling in that country, shall enjoy the benefit of the Constitution.
I have shown you, fellow citizens, that James Buchanan, and John B. Floyd, and Howell Cobb, and Isaac Toucey, and Jeremiah S. Black talked about “the Union under the Constitution;” they had sworn, all of them, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. I have read you Mr. Buchanan's reasoning as to what are the powers of the government under the Constitution. I have read you his attorney-general's opinion on that subject, and thus shown you that the phrase “the Union under the Constitution” means the Constitution as the Democratic party understand it; that is, with the right of secession in it. Is it not so? Do they mean “the Union under the Constitution,” as Webster understood it, as Clay understood it, as Jackson and his cabinet understood it—the Union with vital power in the Constitution to defend the Constitution and maintain the Union ? or do they mean “the Union under the Constitution” as it was understood by James Buchanan, and Howell Cobb, and Jeremiah S. Black, and John B. Floyd, and Isaac Toucey, and as it is understood by my competitor here, who has no fault to find with Mr. Buchanan's Administration? If they mean “the Union under the Constitution,” as they understood it, why shall they make war now to maintain what they would not make war to keep 2 Why shall they act give to the rebels what they regard as their territory 2 Did they not give them arms to defend it 2 Did they not give them a navy to defend it 2 Did they not surrender to them the United States army, lest it might be used to deprive them of that territory? Did they not strip you of arms, ammunition, soldiers, and ships ? Why will they not, then, adhere in the future to the same policy which they practised in 1860, let the whole thing go, and declare that the Constitution is a rope of sand 7 - . When my distinguished friend shall have answered my questions as to when the Constitution was so amended that its powers were restricted to the territory lying north of Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, I will proceed to consider the questions he has done me the honor to propound to me.
Speech of Hon. Wm. D. Kelley in the
AT SPRING GARDEN INSTITUTE, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26.
PHONOGRAPHIC REPORT BY D. Wol F.E BROWN.
Fellow-Citizens.—I hope you will preserve the same good order to-night that characterized your proceedings on Friday night. We are engaged in an important work, in attempting to inaugurate this system of canvassing constituencies, and it depends upon you to determine whether it shall be successful. My distinguished competitor opened his leading remarks by propounding five propositions, and closed them by submitting seven interrogatories to me. In his closing remarks he seemed to complain that I had not answered all his propositions and interrogatories. In this he was a little unjust. I am here by his invitation, and the invitation which he addressed to me contained no one of those propositions or interrogatories. It invited me to enable you to judge between us with reference to our principles and their application to the great issues of the day. Had it contained the propositions and interrogatories, I might have filed some cross-interrogatories before we brought the case to an issue. I shall, however, as the debate proceeds, reach all his propositions and questions. For the present, I prefer to follow the line of argument with which I began. . On Friday evening I demonstrated, I trust satisfactorily to you, that the organization now known as the Democratic party has abandoned the faith of its fathers, has adopted the dogma of Calhoun, which was scouted from the Senate by the Democratic party in 1847, and from the Democratic Convention at Baltimore in 1848, and that by abandoning the principles of Jefferson and Jackson, and adopting those of Calhoun and the fire-eaters, it has been led to become co-conspirator in organizing and arming the rebellion with which we are now at war. I proceed now to show that Abraham Lincoln and his friends stand where the fathers of the Democratic party stood; that they stand where Jackson stood—where Douglas stood —where McClellan stood until he consented to glove the mailed hand of war, and pass his time in playing the peaceable game of presidential politics. I mean to show that by this deviation from the great landmarks of the party to which my youth and early manhood were devoted, the leaders have brought themselves to believe and teach the doctrines by which Benedict Arnold defended his treason, the doctrines of the peace men of the war of 1812, and of the men who refused, so far as their voice went, to give sustenance and pay to our Soldiers upon the fields of Mexico. I have shown you that during the administration of Mr. Buchanan a portion of the States of this Union seceded, the Southern Confederacy was formed, the public property in the South was seized by the Confederacy or by separate States, and that the armies under Twiggs and Canby had been surrendered—that under Twiggs voluntarily, that under Canby necessarily, from the fact that the Administration had withheld from it supplies, arms, and transportation. - I now come down to the fourth of March, 1861, when the Government passed out of the hands of the Democratic party, and Abraham Lincoln assumed the helm of the grand old ship of state, known as the United States. I propose to read to you portions of his inaugural address, in order that you may see whether he eagerly accepted this war, or whether he strove, before bringing our armies together or to the frontier of the Confederacy, to win back to peace those who were arrayed against the Government. My distinguished friend said, “let him bring his army to the frontier, and, my word for it, we can have peace.” If he has the word of Jefferson Davis at the back of his, it may have some value; but I shall show you that before Abraham Lincoln called an army into existence to quell the rebellion he prayed its leaders for peace. “Fellow-citizens,” said Abraham Lincoln in beginning his inaugural, “in compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President before he enters on the execution of his office. - “I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement. “Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination so to do.' Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read :— “‘ Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State, to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to the balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.’ “I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States, when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another.” Passing to another portion of this address, for I cannot devote my hour to reading the whole of it, Mr. Lincoln further said:— “I, therefore, consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this, I deem to be only a simple duty on my part: and I shall perform it, so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or, in some authoritative manner, direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself. . “In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the National authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be but necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States, in any interior locality, shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating, and so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it better to forego, for the time, the uses of such offices. “The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed, unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised according to circumstances actually existing, and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles, and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections.” I turn to still another brief passage. “My countrymen, one and all,” said the incoming President, “think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you, who are dissatisfied, hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty. “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’” Before he had called for a soldier, before he had the power to give an order with reference to a national vessel, did Abraham Lincoln, in the presence of the American people, and of the God of our beloved country, thus appeal to the people of the South to take time and let the “sober second thought,” which used to be a Democratic doctrine, control them. What was the result 2 James Buchanan had announced to the loyal people of the South that if they dared attempt to resist the secession of their respective States, he could not, and would not, aid them or take sides with them. His administration had armed the Southern army. The Confederacy had been organized, had been officered, had received its army and navy from that Administration; and its soldiers carried on their shoulders our muskets with which to put us to death, if we should attempt to maintain the unity of the country, its constitution and its flag. Yet Abraham Lincoln organized no war. The fourth of March passed, and the fifth, and each successive day of that month, and April began, and eleven days of that month had passed when you were shocked as I was (and I care not whether you be my partisans or those of my friend), when you felt that you had rather die than that the insult which had been put upon the flag of your country should not be wiped out in blood; when from fortifications constructed around Fort Sumter with James Buchanan's deliberate consent (for his Secretary of War could have ordered the commander of Fort Sumter to destroy the working parties attempting to construct those works) from fortifications constructed, I say, by the consent of James Buchanan and the Democratic party, Fort Sumter and the flag of your country were fired upon, and a thousand hands and hearts engaged in the bloody work of storming seventy United States soldiers who defended the flag of the United States over a United States fort; and when fire had driven those poor men from the stronghold that your money had built, those brutal rebels fired upon them at the water's edge. The country sprang to arms and cried for an avenging war; and Abraham Lincoln, who had said to those people that the issue of civil war was with them and not with him, responded to the country's call, and appealed to the people for 75,000 men. They came at his call; they swelled to a hundred, to two hundred, and to three hundred thousand; and he brought them to the frontier of the Confederacy. He held them on the north bank of the Potomac and on the north bank of the Ohio, until you and I grew impatient. He would not invade Virginia. He still hoped that reason and patriotism would bring the rebels back. But when they began to construct works from which they could shell the capital of your country, as they had shelled Fort Sumter, he sent troops into Alexandria and along the northern borders of Virginia; and again you thrilled, I care not what your party may have been, when you heard that young Ellsworth had died for taking down the rebel flag from above a house within sight of the District of Columbia. • This war is the rebels' war. The war maintained by the President is for our country and our posterity. It was begun by the rebels; and it is maintained by the patriotic people of the country for the purpose of crushing rebellion and establishing the Constitution and the code of laws belonging to us, in their supremacy, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the northeastern point of Maine to the southern point of Texas. & I have said that the Democratic party, misled by the doctrines of John C. Calhoun, have been forced to occupy the position of Benedict Arnold. From that position they are spitting envenomed spite on the tomb of Andrew'Jackson, and kicking the green turf from the new-made grave of Stephen A. Douglas. These things I shall prove to you before we part to-night. What are their complaints 2 Let me cite them in substance from one of their most distinguished orators and statesmen. I take them as they are made, point by point, in a speech by Horatio Seymour:. “The freedom of speech and of the press has been denied us.” “It is your property, the property of Northern tax-payers, which is confiscated.” . “Men have been torn from their families and locked up in prison, and women too.” “Men are told that they must leave their homes and devote themselves to war.” “The policy of the Administration has placed hindrances in the way of the Union.” . “The Administration has entered upon a settled policy, dangerous to the welfare of the country.” - & 7. “In God's name, are there no means by which we can save the lives of husbands and brothers?” - * * 8. “We have nominated McClellan that we might restore prosperity and peace to the eople.” p N. let me read a proclamation written by Benedict Arnold, after he had deserted the flag of our country and gone over to Great Britain. You will find that he makes each one of these points, just as though he had handed them to Horatio when the latter was ascending the platform to make his speech. On the 20th of October, 1780 (just about the time when Pennsylvania was abolishing slavery), Benedict Arnold issued the following proclamation to the citizens and soldiers of the United States:— “You are promised liberty by the leaders of your affairs. But is there an individual in the enjoyment of it save your oppressors 2 Who among you dares to speak or write what he thinks against the tyranny which has robbed you of your property, imprisoned your sons, drags you to the field of battle, and is daily deluging your country with blood s” w -Does not this sound amazingly like a modern Democratic speech 2 But let me proceed. “Your country once was happy, and had the proffered peace been embraced, the last two years of misery had been spent in peace and plenty and repairing the desolation of the quarrel that would have set the interests of Great Britain and America in a true light, and cemented their friendship. I wish to lead a chosen band of Americans to the attainment of peace, liberty and safety—the first object in taking the field !” * “You have changed the purpose of the war,” says the modern Democrat; “it is no longer for the Union; it is for something else.” Just so Benedict Arnold, to cover up his treason, said that we were no longer fighting the Revolutionary war for peace, liberty and safety. “What is America,” continues Arnold, “but a land of widows and orphans and beggars 2 But what need of argument to such as feel infinitely more misery than tongue can express 2 I give my promise of most affectionate welcome to all who are disposed to join me in measures necessary to close the scenes of our affliction, which must increase until we are satisfied with the liberality of the mother country, which still offers us protection, and exemption from all taxes but such as we think fit to impose upon ourselves.” This is not, I assure you, much as it sounds like it, a modern Democratic speech; it is a proclamation of Benedict Arnold, published in October, 1780. Now let me turn to the grave of Andrew Jackson. I was a Jackson boy, and I remember how, in my earliest childhood, I wept, when running back into my mother's entry, after the newspaper that had been thrown over my head by the carrier, I picked it up and found the hickory-tree at the head of its leading column turned upside-down, and black lines between the columns of the paper, and read that a coalition had defeated the election of my idol Andrew Jackson. That was in 1824. I never ceased to be a Jacksonian Democrat. I am such to-night; and from the time the leaders of the Democratic party accepted the doctrines of Calhoun and made war upon the memory and principles of Jackson, I swore that I would fight them in honor of his name and for the safety of my country. I go now to the grave of Jackson to pluck a flowret from the chaplet which history weaves around his brow, and which will never fade. “You have suspended the habeas corpus,” says my friend and antagonist, “and how can I bring suit when you have suspended the habeas corpus?” Andrew Jackson suspended the habeas corpus, and imprisoned the judge that issued it ! And for that act, more than for any other in his life, the Democratic party made him President. These gentlemen who call President Lincoln in one breath a “tyrant,” and in another a “baboon”—and who denounce their own candidate for the Presidency when they speak of “Lincoln's hirelings and dogs”—also murmur about the freedom of the press. Let me presently read you a little from Parton's Life of Jackson. It was a question in New Orleans whether peace had been concluded between England and America. In that day there were no telegraphs or railroads. Jackson had just beaten the British army, and there came rumors by ships that arrived at Mobile that a treaty of peace had been signed. Jackson still maintained martial law in New Orleans, and the people who did not like the war resisted. You know how people of foreign birth have during this war been encouraged by democratic orators to go to the consular representative of their native land and claim exemption from military service. That game was practised in New Orleans while it was under the military rule of Jackson. The French residents were stimulated to apply to their consul for protection against his military authority. Some of the people demanded that, because there were rumors of peace, Jackson should relieve the city from martial law, Let us see what he did. . Mr. Parton says: “Mr. Livingston returned to New Orleans with the news of peace on the 19th of February. The city was thrown into joyful excitement, and the troops expected an immediate release from their arduous toils. But they were doomed to disappointment. The package which Admiral Malcolm had received contained only a newspaper announcement of peace. There was little doubt of its truth, but the statements of a newspaper are as nothing to the commanders of fleets and armies. To check the rising tide of feeling, Jackson, in the very day of Livingston's return, issued a proclamation, stating the exact nature of the intelligence, and exhorting the troops to bear with patience the toils of the campaign a little longer. ‘We must not,’ said he, ‘be thrown onto false security by hopes that may be delusive. It is by molding out such, that an artful and insidious enemy too often seeks to accomplish what the wtmost eacertions of his strength will not enable him to effect. To place you off your guard and attack you by surprise, is the natural expedient of one who, having experienced the superiority of your arms, still hopes to overcome you by stratagem.’ ‘Though young in the trade of war, it is not by such artifice that he will deceive us.' Jackson would not have liked an armistice, I suppose ! “This proclamation seems rather to have inflamed than allayed the general discontent. Two days after the return of Livingston, a paragraph appeared in the Louisiana Gazette, to the effect that a ‘flag had just arrived from Admiral Cochrane to General Jackson, officially announcing the conclusion of peace at Ghent, between the United States and Great Britain, and virtually requesting a suspension of arms.' For this statement there was not the least foundation in truth, and its effect at such a crisis was to inflame the prevailing excitement. Upon reading the paragraph, Jackson caused to be prepared an official contradiction, which he sent by an aid-de-camp to the offending editor, with a written order requiring its insertion in the next issue of the paper.”