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"The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Yallandigham] seems to be eager for a war with England. Sir, war is as dire a calamity as can befall a people. It is the most expensive game at which kings can play; the most destructive pursuit in which a people can engage. The figure of a candle lighted at both ends affords but an imperfect illustration of the wastefulness of war."
I closed these remarks on the 7th of January, 1862, when Geo. B. McOlellan commanded our army, by saying::—
"I thank the Government that, in the hour of its agony, it stood upon our historical doctrine. I thank it that it honorably avoided war with England; and I pray God that it may so far read the laws of war as to learn that it is the duty of Congress, the Generals at the head of the several columns of the army and the Government of the United States, to cut off all the resources of the rebels now in arms against us. It is the first and last law of war. Its thorough enforcement is called for by all the promptings of patriotism and humanity, and promises internal and external peace to our distracted country."
Now, what was the Trent case? A mail steamer in the British service carried two ministers of a power that had been recognized by England as a belligerent power—the rebels in arms against our government. Commodore "Wilkes brought that vessel to; he found that it had a mail and a very large number of passengers hastening on various duties over the ocean. He took from on board the rebel commissioners and their secretaries, and then let the vessel continue its voyage. No good lawyer doubts that, had he detained vessel, passengers and all, his act would have been strictly legal. But from considerations of humanity to the passengers, he permitted the vessel to go its way, taking from it those who were contraband, and whose presence would have justified the seizure and detention of the vessel. By so letting the vessel depart he brought the case within the law of search, against which our war of 1812 had been waged, and did an act in violation of the precedents of American history. Our government knowing that they could not fight the rebellion and England at the same time—knowing that to go to war with England would be to cause the division of our country and establish on our frontier a hostile confederacy, and further, and more important in this connection, that they would be fighting such war with England in the very teeth of the doctrine on which we fought the war of lbl2, William H. Seward, Secretary of State, vindicated the traditions of our history by saying that he still stood for the freedom of the seas, and against the right of search, and that Admiral Wilkes had made a mistake, not in arresting the vessel, but in letting it go, and so bringing the case within the condemnation of our own doctrine. Thus the matter was settled.
My friend would, undoubtedly, have rejoiced—peace man as he is, and opposed as he is to the use of bayonets—had we become involved in a war with England, because war with England, whose base of supplies would have been on the Canada side of the lakes, would probably have established the Southern Confederacy, for which he has such acute sympathy. You remember how he has poured out floods of sympathy for the Southern people. How he painted their desolated fields, their roofless homes, and even went so far as to call our army a band of freebooters, and charged them with having stolen the slaves, silver, horses, and other property of those towards whom his sympathies flow so exuberantly. He appealed to us in God's name, to say whether the time had not come when we should pause in our triumphal career, and give them time to think. I shall not answer his appeal, but a greater than I will. Gen. William T. Sherman, who was at the head of a Southern military academy when secession and war were determined upon, and who resigned his position because he owed allegiance to the Constitution and flag of his country, has recently had a correspondence with Gen. Hood, of the Confederate army. Gen. Sherman does not agree with my distinguished competitor in considering the fact that men of New England will think and will speak their thoughts, a just cause for this war. In the first letter to which I shall call your attention, he makes this rejoinder to Gen. Hood:— ■ ,
"In the name of common sense, I ask you not to appeal to a just God in such a sacrilegious manner. You, who in the midst of peace and prosperity, have plunged a nation into war, 'dark and cruel war;' who dared and badgered us to battle; insulted our flag; seized our arsenals and forts that were left.in the honorable custody of a peaceful ordnance sergeant; seized and made prisoners of war the very garrisons sent to protect your people against negroes and Indians; long before any overt act was committed by the (to you) hateful Lincoln Government; tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion despite of themselves; falsified the vote of Louisiana, turned loose your privateers to plunder unarmed ships, expelled Union families by the thousands, burned their homes, and declared, by an act of your Congress, the confiscation of all debts due to Northern men for goods had and received 1 Talk this to the marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day make as great sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best Southerner among you."
It appears from this that Gen. Hood hates the "Lincoln Government" almost as badly as my competitor. But Gen. Hood, finding that he could make no more out of Sherman with his pen than he had with his sword, sent the Mayor and Councilmen of Atlanta to him, to request him not to send the women, old men, and children out of the city. These rebel functionaries appealed to Sherman, just as my competitor appealed to you last night. They were defending the same bad cause—that of the Southern Confederacy against the North and its people, and the flag and Constitution of the country. The identical appeals that were made by those Confederate rebels have been made here by my distinguished friend, whose sympathy with taem is so unbounded. But let Sherman demonstrate this :—
"headquarters Military Division Of The Mississippi, In The Field, Atlanta, Sept. 12, 1864.—James M. Calhoun, Mayor, E. E. Rawson and S. C. Wells, representing City Council of Atlanta. Gentlemen: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet shall not revoke my orders, simply because my orders are not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggle in which millions, yea hundreds of millions, of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only in Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war we must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution which all men must respect and obey. To defeat these armies we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.
'•'Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter, and therefore deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and, sooner or later, want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting until the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here till the war is over? I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do; but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will.
"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know that I will make more sacrifices than any of you to-day to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on till we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority wherever it has power; if it relaxes one bit of pressure, it is gone, and I know that such is not the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the National Government, and instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion such as has swept the South into rebellion; but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a Government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.
"■ You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against the terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error, and is perpetuated in pride. We don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your land, or anything you have; but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have; and if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it. You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters the better for you.
"I repeat, then, that, by the original compact of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia which have never been relinquished, and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, etc. etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of provocation. I, myself, have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children, fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different—you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent carloads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people, who sonly asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it only can be reached through Union and war, and I will ever conduct war purely with a view to perfect an early success.
"But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your home and families against danger from every quarter. Now, you must go, and take with you the old and feeble; feed and nurse them, and build for them in more quiet places proper habitations to shield them against the weather, until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle on your old homes at Atlanta.
"Yours, in haste,
"W. T. SHEEMAN, Major-General."
Does not that letter respond most aptly to the fervid appeal with which my friend closed his last address? The traitors who drew that letter from Gen. Sherman must have uttered just the appeal by which he attempted to induce you to consents peace and separation, or peace even if it involved separation.
I am for sustaining Sherman. I am not in favor of an armistice and of giving back to the freebooting Confederacy, with which we were threatened, the fifteen guns that Ord took yesterday, or those that Birney may take in his march toward Richmond; for the news is that Grant has flanked Petersburg, and is again onward to Richmond. Richmond is part of my country; and I want to visit it when the star-lit flag again illuminates the dome of its Capitol. Now that we have got the issues involved in the war and coming election fairly stated and see that they are identical—now that you know my views and those of my friend as to the settlement of those issues, the time has come for me to answer his propositions and interrogatories.
To his first and second propositions he admits that I have replied. To the third, I made a partial reply; and at the risk of reiterating some of my remarks, I recur to it. It is this: "Whenever any department of government exercises any power beyond or antagonistic to the Constitution, it is revolution." I deny the proposition. Worcester defines a revolution to be "an extensive change in the political institutions of a country, acomplished in a short time, whether by legal or illegal means." Now, a single department of our government may perform an unconstitutional act that only one individual will feel; and that individual may, as I told you the other night, go into court and obtain redress. That would certainly not be a revolution. A President and his Cabinet might adopt a line of policy which a large number of men, even a majority of the people, would believe to be unconstitutional; and yet at the end of four years from his inauguration, the people could remove him, or they could impeach him through the two Houses of Congress. In either event, unconstitutional as his policy might be, it would not be a revolution. If the Southern members had remained in the House and the Senate, and Abraham Lincoln had done any unconstitutional act, they had the Senate so thoroughly, and so clear a working majority in the House, that they could have impeached him at any day during his Presidential term. It was only by their withdrawal that his friends obtained the control of Congress. As I have already said, our courts were established, and the power of impeachment provided, and elections ordered at brief intervals, to furnish certain remedies for any unconstitutional acts. We have, every two years, an election of Congressmen, and every four years an election of President, so as to enable the people to correct any error of that kind. Gen. Jackson removed the deposits from the Bank of the United States; and every member of that party of which my competitor was for a long time so distinguished an ornament—the old Whig party—howled that Gen. Jackson had violated the Constitution. Henry Clay, Webster, the Southern Whigs, the Western Whigs, all opposed that act as violative of the Constitution. I remember hearing David Crockett, George McDuffie, William C. Preston, and nearly a score of other members of that party speak at the Philadelphia Exchange, and denounce the unconstitutional acts of Andrew Jackson. Who says now that Andrew Jackson revolutionized the government? Will my friend say so? I would like to hear from him on that question. There was a disagreement as to what the Constitution meant, and it was executed as understood by those who were in power. It belonged to them to execute it, and they must be governed by their understanding— not that of others. Should McClellan be elected, the Democrats will construe it in the future 'kas in the past." That the people did not believe that Andrew Jackson had violated the Constitution is shown by the fact that they not only re-elected him, but elected Martin Van Buren, his nominee, to succeed him, whose pledge, made in his Inaugural, so satisfactory to the Democrats of the country, was that he would." tread in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor."
To the Whigs of those days the acts of Jackson were unconstitutional, as those of Lincoln are to my friend and his brother Peace Democrats; but because the Whigs believed his policy to be unconstitutional, was it revolution? Will my friend tell you that it was? So of many acts and periods of our history to which I might refer you; but I select a very striking one. You can nowhere find in the Constitution (and I challenge my friend to point it out) authority given to the President of the United States to acquire territory without the consent of Congress or the people. Yet how did we acquire the Louisiana territory—comprising not only the State of Louisiana, but that magnificent territory sweeping northward from the Gulf to the Lake of the Woods, embracing in its amplitude Iowa and Minnesota as well as Louisiana and Mississippi? Did the people ever vote in favor of that measure? Did they elect a Congress to adopt it? No; the President of the United States, without authority, bought it from France, and agreed to pay $15,000,000 for it. That President was not Abraham Lincoln; nor Wm. Henry Harrison; nor either of the Adamses. He was Thomas Jefferson, the founder and father of the Democratic party; and his greatest biographer says that "he violated the Constitution to save the country," because the occupation of the Louisiana territory by a foreign power would have involved us in perpetual war. The Government that held that territory had the power to control the commerce of the Mississippi. You know how effectually that commerce was stopped when Yicksburg and Port Hudson were in the hands of those whose sufferings so touch the tender sympathies of my distinguished competitor. There was that river, with its great branches, more than 50,000 miles long, draining an empire that may hold five hundred millions of people—one branch, the Ohio, taking its rise in the prolific mountains of our own dear Pennsylvania—others rising in each of the Northwestern States—others rising in the Southern border-States. More than fifty thousand miles of river, more than thirty thousand miles of which have already been navigated by steam, were, or might be, locked up by the possession of the Louisiana territory; and Thomas Jefferson, regardless of the restraints of the Constitution, having an opportunity to buy that territory, when Napoleon felt that by selling it he would aggrandize the future commercial rival of England, and supply himself with "the sinews of war," bought it for the American people; and so Thomas Jefferson became the benefactor of his country and of mankind by transcending the restraints of the Constitution. My distinguished friend would have you vote for him that, in Congress, he may vote to give the fairest and most important part of that same territory to a foreign Confederacy, and so again lock up the commerce of the Mississippi Valley and the Northwest! He now, by the terms of his proposition, denounces Jefferson's act as revolutionary.
I thus deny the gentleman's third proposition, and show that it is preposterous. You might as well say that, because one hob-nail has come out of your coarse boot, it is, therefore, no longer a boot. This would be quite as logical as my friend's proposition and argument. As Thomas Jefferson saved the country by one act transcending the Constitution, so, in time of war, does it become the duty of the President to pursue a similar course, should the necessity arise. You have no right to set fire to a man's house, though you be the Mayor of the city, or though you be the Chief of the Fire Department, in^consultation with the Mayor. You have no right to break open a man's door and go into his house; but there may arise a necessity which will justify you in blowing up the one or breaking into the other
There is, as Douglas demonstrated, such a thing as a necessity. You see a house on fire. You discover it by the fact that smoke is pouring through several crevices. In the neighborhood is much inflammable matter—a board-yard, or a large number of frame buildings You do not stop to ask who is the owner of the house, and to travel to a neighboring town or distant watering-place to obtain his consent to go in; but, regardless of the Constitution and the laws, you burst in the door, and enter and extinguish the fire. You take the risk of being sued for a violation of the law. Take another case. A large portion of the city is in flames in its most compact part. There are no steam fire engines. Your firemen are exhausted; your supply of water is giving out. There must be a wide space put between the flames and the remaining portion of the city. You have no right to blow up a man's house. There is great probability, but as the wind may change, not absolute certainty, that it will be burned. But you see that there is a probability of it so great that the law will justify you in carrying kegs of powder into the cellars and blowing up every house in a whole block, or two blocks, that you may save the remainder of the city. Not only may the Mayor or the Chief of the Fire Department do this, but private citizens. But with armed scoundrels burning our villages as they burned Chambersburg—with armed scoundrels fighting us on our own soil, as they fought us for three days at Gettysburg—my friend protests that he does not like the use of bayonets, and thinks that we had better put them aside, for fear that we may violate the Constitution and consummate a revolution. If you re-elect me to Congress again, may Heaven blast me if I vote to put aside the bayonet while one man bares his breast to it in antagonism to our country, its unity, Constitution and flag.
The next proposition of my friend is that "a successful revolution against the Constitution by those in power subverts the principles of our government, produces anarchy, and establishes a despotism." Now, that is a pretty hard proposition to answer, for I cannot discover whether it is transcendentalism, metaphysics, or nonsense, and am going to submit the question to you. "A successful revolution against the Constitution by those in power subverts the principles of our government." Why, certainly, a successful revolution overthrows the Constitution; and where do you find the principles of our government if not in the Constitution.? That is equivalent to saying that "to subvert the government is to subvert the government, and to make a revolution is to make a revolution." That is all that I can make out of it. "A successful revolution against the Constitution by those in power subverts the principles of our government." Certainly it does. Who disputes it? When I tell you that for the sun to rise is for the sun to go up, I do not raise a question for argument between us; and when my friend tells me that "a successful revolution subverts the Constitution," he tells me that the sun rises by going up. That is perfectly clear. I admit it But then he adds, "produces anarchy and establishes a despotism." That? is, if a thing is done, when done;it produces two conflicting results which cannot coexist. Where there is anarchy, there is not despotism, because despotism is the strong hand that suppresses anarchy; and where there is despotism, there is not anarchy, because there is despotism its antithesis. So T admit, first, that a thing is a thing, that a revolution is a revolution, that the subversion of the Constitution is the subversion of the Constitution; but I deny that it produces the two opposite results, anarchy and despotism. This is the answer I make to that proposition; and if that answer is not satisfactory, I will try it again, if the question is renewed with explanations of its meaning. , The gentleman's fifth proposition is, that ''the theory of the equality of the negro with the white man is not a justifiable principle of revolution." I ask my friend whether I state his proposition correctly; I have it as the reporters took it down. [Mr. Northrop assented.] Now, for my life, I do not know what a "principle of revolution" is. I referred to the dictionary this afternoon, in order to ascertain. I know that a revolution is a turn, and I can understand that there may be spokes in that which may revolve; I can perceive the tire that revolves with a revolution. I can understand a revolutionary principle, a principle the adoption of which will produce revolution; and I can understand a cause of revolution; but, upon my word, I cannot understand the phrase "a principle of revolution." If, therefore. I fail to answer the proposition, I trust it may be renewed in a more definite form, so that I may answer it, for I wish to do so, and it is only because I am befogged by the phraseology that I donot in a way that would be more satisfactory to my friend. But let me, before leaving the subject, ask if the gentleman means to say that "the theory of the equality of the negro with the white man is not a justifiable cause of revolution"? If he does, I agree with him. I also assert that, under our Government, we can have no justifiable cause of revolution, because there are open courts, frequent elections, peaceable means of amending the Constitution, and the right to impeach every officer under the Government. I say, therefore, that nothing can give the citizens of this country the right of revolution. To the people under all other forms of government the right of revolution belongs, for they have not access to the courts in which laws of their own making are administered; they have not universal suffrage and frequent elections; they have not the right to impeach their kings, for the doctrine that lies at the foundation of royalty is that the king can do no wrong. Therefore the people under other forms of government have the right of revolution. No, neither the desire to promote negro equality, nor the desire to prevent negro equality, is a justifiable cause of revolution. My answer" then, to the fifth proposition is, that, if the gentleman means what he does not say, that the theory of negro equality is not a sufficient cause for revolution, I agree with him.
I have thus, as satisfactorily as I can, disposed of my friend's propositions. I have meant to do it candidly, and I hope I have done it thoroughly. Now come the questions.
The first question is, "Are you in favor of the restoration of the Union of these States with their rights and powers as they were at the breaking out of this rebellion?"
I begin by asking, what States? What States? Is South Carolina still a State in the Union? If she is, all that she has to do is to lay down her arms, convene her Legislature, elect two Senators, divide the State into Congressional Districts under the last census, and authorize her people to elect the number of ^Representatives to which she is entitled, and send them to Congress ; and there will be an end of the question. If South Carolina and the rest of the rebellious States are not States of the Union, how did they get out? If they are out, they are out because their people are rebels and traitors, and they must be brought back; and I am not in favor of bringing all the old States back with "their rights and powers as they were at the breaking out of the rebellion," and of pledging myself to consent to no other method for the reconstruction of the Union. Treason is the highest crime known to human law; and a traitor is. the worst of criminals. ] am not, for instance, in favor of punishing the loyal and patriotic people of West Virginia to gratify the armed traitors of East Virginia. I am not in favor of surrendering Andrew Johnson, Horace Maynard, Parson Brownlow, and the patriotic citizens of East Tennessee to the tender mercies of the rebels in arms in the western part of that State. I am in favor of meting out to the traitors such punishment as shall give protection to the Southern men, who, in spite of James Buchanan's threat and the barbarous inhumanity of the rebel leaders, stood true to our country and our flag, and love that country and its institutions as we love them. No, I am not in favor of bringing those States back with all their rights as they existed before their people began this war. Shall we force Maryland, which has abolished slavery, to re-establish it. Shall we force the people of West Virginia and Missouri to catch the slaves they have liberated and reduce them again to bondage? Shall we force them to have slavery whether they will or not? Will my friend show how we can do it, and what clause of the Constitution provides for such a case?
Unless we can and will do all this, we cannot possibly restore the Union as it was, or bring the States back with what my friend considers all their rights. Mr. Jefferson Davis, the leader of his political school and party, would tell you that it was the right of Mississippi to have the Union so constructed that the Slave Power would always have a preponderating influence in both Houses of Congress. It is the theory my friend has accepted and defends. That is his theory, and that was John C. Calhoun's theory. With Maryland free by the choice of her people—with West Virginia free by the choice of her people—with Missouri free by the choice of her people—with new States created during these four years—we cannot, if we would, establish the Union as it was. I ask the gentleman are you in favor of setting the hand of time back four years? Have you the power of restoring to life the Pennsylvanians