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to destroy this government; while I have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it."
These facts were palpable. Yet every man in the North who sympathized with the rebellion, and who was against the country, cried out, "You shall not use the negro." The men of that class turned to the laboring people and said to them, as my friend has said to you, "They are trying to make the negro your equal." Why was it? It was because they knew that, so long as the rebels had those four millions to do their work, they could put every ablebodied white man in the field to fight; and that while our poor white soldiers were dying by hundreds and thousands when working night and day, throwing up entrenchments, the white soldiers of the Southern army lay about, while their negroes dug the entrenchment and built the fortification. From the first I called on the Government "to take negroes, and make them dig, and work, and fight, and save the white men of the North." My friend and the leaders of his party said, "For God's sake don't touch the negro! You are violating the Constitution, and will irritate our southern friends." Then they turned to you and said, " Don't you see that these Lincolnites are trying to make the negro your equal—trying to pass laws to make him as good as you are?" My God! were we not saving you from the perilous battle field, and malarious swamp? Were we not saving you from the labor which the negro could perform, that you might meet and vanquish the army that was shooting you, your sons and your brothers? And were they not pleading and working for the rebellion, who were calling upon you to embarrass us, because we wanted to use the negro to put it down?
Yes, we have used them. Thank God, we now have 200,000 stalwart negroes, who are not hoeing corn or cotton, or building entrenchments for the rebels, but carrying United States muskets, and driving their rebel masters freely as their masters used to drive them. They carry with them the American flag. They will aid in bringing back the country covered by the Confederacy. And that is what I meant when I said that they were the " coming man." We had able generals, but they had not soldiers enough; and these Democratic leaders had so excited your prejudices against the negro that you would not let the Government use him. And there, on that 6th of July, I was surrounded by a body of black and white people, and was pleading with the negro to enlist and carry forward the flag. I told my hearers that the negro was the coming man; that if they would recognize his manhood, and give him arms and equipments, and a flag to carry, and officers to command him, he would take Yicksburg and Port Hudson, and would aid the white man in taking Petersburg and Kichmond. That is the sense in which I meant that he was the "coming man." And I ask any soldier here to-night, who has fought on the same field with a negro regiment, whether the negroes are not men, and do not make good soldiers, and die fearlessly for their freedom and our country and its flag? If you want the black soldiers stricken from your armies—if you want to go and save them—then support for Congress a man who is opposed to using them as soldiers; for if you re-elect me, I shall go for enlisting every able-bodied negro we can get; and if we can get half a million of negroes, I shall go for bringing home every white private soldier who wants to come home; for half a million of brave and well-disciplined soldiers will conquer what little is left of the Confederacy.'* So that if you feel that the life of your son or brother is not so sacred to you as the life of the rebel's slave, you will vote for my opponent. But if you.believe that it is the duty of the Government to use all the resources at its command— that it is its duty to make South Carolina furnish her quota, and Mississippi furnish hers, and every other rebel State furnish hers, you will vote for me; for I shall not be content until (if the war lasts long enough) every rebel State has furnished as many loyal soldiers, black or white, according to her population, as Pennsylvania has been called to furnish.
There you have one of the issues that divide my friend and me. I am not for the negro before the white man. But I am for giving every man his rights—wages for his labor, the right to defend his wife and daughter, and the right to seat his children in a school, that they may learn to read the Constitution of the United States and the Word of God, given us for our guidance here and our salvation hereafter.
Speech of Hon. Wm. D. Kelley, in the
DELIVERED AT MANAYUNK, TUESDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 4, 1864.
PHONOGRAPHIC REPORT BY D. WOLFE BROWN.
My Fellow-citizens: My friend opened the discussion last night, and occupied your attention an hour and a half. He discussed some of his propositions; he gave you a list of the names of certain laws to which he objects, and stated his judgment of their general purpose; and made some tolerably fair hits at me personally; but he said not one word against the rebellion—not one in favor of putting it down—not one in favor of strengthening the armies that are battling for the unity, of our country and the maintenance of our Constitution. He endeavored to excite your prejudices against the negro. He told you that slaves were happier and more secure than you. He reminded you—no, not reminded, but told you that you were all liable to go to the almshouse in your old age, while slaves were certain not to go there. I cannot say that he reminded you of this, for it is not the fact, aiad he cannot point to the case of one honest, temperate, industrious workingman who has gone to the almshouse from Manayunk. But he told you that the slaves were better off; for the Northern workingman had the almshouse staring him in the face, while the benevolent owner of the slave would take care of him in old age and sickness.
The implication of his entire discourse was that we of the North had begun this war. Indeed, he said expressly, that as early as 1790 New England had begun to antagonize slavery, and hence the war. He deprecates the horrors of war, and tells you that if he and his party get into power you shall have peace. Does he mean to say that they will fight the war to a successful issue more rapidly than we are doing? I ask this question, and I request him to answer it. Does he mean to say that they will fight this war to a successful issue more rapidly than we are doing? or, does he mean that if they get into power, they will give the rebel leaders their way, and so procure peace? I ask him to tell us precisely how he and his party will redeem the promise which he made last night, that if you would elect them to office they would give you immediate peace.
I, on the other hand, charge that this war was made by the South—that it was made with the encouragement of the Democratic leaders of the North. I have shown in my earlier addresses, as you will find by reading them, that the rebellion was organized during Mr. Buchanan's administration—that South Carolina seceded 76 days before Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated—that the Confederacy was organized, and Jeff. Davis elected President and Alexander H. Stephens Vice-President early in the month of February preceding the 4th of March on which our good President was inaugurated, and I now ask the gentleman to point to the order of Government by which Fort Sumter was fired upon. That act was done by the order of the Confederate government and not that of the United States Government. The war is a rebellion of the slave owners of the South against the Government of the United States, in order to form a confederacy of which slavery—a system of unpaid labor, a system in which capital owns its labor—shall be the corner-stone; and so Alexander H. Stephens, the present Vice-President of the Confederacy, deliberately announced to the world. The Southern leaders prepared for and began their rebellion with the certain knowledge that if the Northern people should be true to themselves and the Government, it would involve them in war. But the reckless leaders did not believe that the Northern people had courage and patriotism enough to maintain the integrity of their country. They boasted that one Southern man was as good as five Northern men. Franklin Pierce, the last Democratic President but one, had written to Jefferson Davis, that if war should follow secession, that war could not be confined to the South, but would prevail in our own cities, our own towns, our own villages. The aristocratic leaders of the Democracy of the North despise the laboring man as much as their fellows in the South, and are as tired of universal suffrage and political equality as they. They dare not express their feeling on the subject so freely, because they look to the votes of laboring men to give them power to execute their aristocratic purposes, but they have sustained the Southern slave-drivers in all their assaults on popular rights; and when you were told by my friend, last night, that the slaves were happier, and, in many contingencies, better off than the white workingmen of the North, you were told exactly what the Democratic leaders believe; I, however, never knew one before who, like my competitor, was so honorably frank as to avow this belief in the face of a body of workingmen. Nevertheless, it is their creed.
But let this not rest on my mere declaration. When the Convention of the State of Georgia was considering the question whether that State should secede, Alexander H. Stephens, the present Yice-President of the Confederacy, made a speech against secession. He held to the doctrine of State rights; he believed that a State had a right to secede, and he said that, if a majority of the people of his State should determine to go out, he would go with them. He identified himself with his State. But he appealed to the members of that Convention not to involve theiB country in war, as the attempt at secession must do. He believed that Northern men would fight. He believed that wheji the South should secede, it would become the duty of the President, who had sworn "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution," to make war in defence of the Union. He knew that when the war should come, it would abolish slavery, because he knew that it would be the duty of the commander-in-chief of every army, when he came to the frontiers of a country, to offer protection to all the people of the country who would support his flag, and he knew that we of the North recognized negroes as people, and he saw that we could not be so foolish as to pour out the blood of our own men to fight Southern rebels when we could call on their negroes to do that work. He remembered that Lord Dunmore, the British Colonial Governor of Virginia, at the beginning of the. Kevolrttionary war, had, in accordance with the usages of war, issued a proclamation calling upon slaves to rally to the flag, and guaranteeing them freedom for so doing. Therefore he knew that to go to war would be to abolish slavery, that war would make it the duty of the North to abolish it; or, in other words, that it must inevitably be abolished by the necessities of war. Now, while I answer the whole of my friend's appeals in behalf of the South, and his allegation that the North is in the wrong, by reading you a portion of the speech of Mr. Stephens, Yice-President of the Southern Confederacy, made in January, 1861, in the Georgia Convention, which passed the ordinance of secession, I will also prove that it (the rebellion) is not against wrong and oppression, but was begun in the delusive hope of founding a slave empire. Those remarks were as follows :—
"This step (Secession), once taken, can never be recalled; and all the baneful consequences that must follow will rest on the Convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war, which this act of yours will inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvest shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land, our temples of justice laid in ashes, all the horrors and desolations of war upon us, who but this Convention will be held responsible for it, and who but he that shall give his vote for this unwise and ill-timed measure shall be held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and probably cursed and execrated by posterity in all coming time, for the wide and desolating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now propose to perpetrate?
"Pause, I entreat you, and consider for a moment what reasons you can give that will even satisfy yourselves in calmer moments, what reasons you can give to your fellow-sufferers in the calamity that it will bring. What reasons can you give to the nations of the earth to justify it? They will be the calm and deliberate judges in the case, and to what cause, or one overt act can you point on which to rest the plea of justification? What right has the North assailed? What interest of the South has been invaded? What justice has been denied, or what claim; founded in justice and right, has been withheld? Can any of you to-day name one governmental act of wrong deliberately and purposely done by the Government at Washington of which the South has a right to complain? I challenge the answer.
u On the other hand, let me show the facts of which I wish you to judge; I will only state facts which are clear and undeniable, and which now stand as records authentic in the history of our country. When we of the South demanded the slave trade, or the importation of Africans for the cultivation of our lands, did they not yield the right for twenty years? When we asked for a three-fourths representation in Congress of our slaves, was it not granted? When we demanded the return of any fugitive from justice, or the recovery of those persons owing labor or allegiance, was it not incorporated in the- Constitution, and again ratified and strengthened in the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850? When we asked that more territory should be added that we might spread the institution of slavery, have they not yielded to our demands, in giving Louisiana, Florida and Texas, out of which four States have been carved, and ample territory for four more to be added in due time, if you, by this unwise and impolitic act, do not destroy this hope, and, perhaps, by it lose all, and have your last slave wrenched from you by stern military rule, as South America and Mexico were, or by the vindictive decree of universal emancipation, which may reasonably be expected to follow?"
Let me pause here to ask whether Alexander H. Stephens did not, as I have said, see, before the war began, that slavery must inevitably be abolished by the war? And yet, more true to the Confederacy than he, my friend stands up and tells you the war is for the negro, and against the white man, and that emancipation is unwise and unconstitutional.
"But what have we to gain by this proposed change of our relation to the general government? We have always had the control of it, and can yet, if we remain in it, and are united as we have been. We have had a majority of the Presidents chosen from the South, as well as the control and management of most of those chosen from the North. We have had sixty years of Southern Presidents to their twenty-four, thus controlling the executive department. So of the Judges of the Supreme Court; we have had eighteen from the South, and but eleven from the North. Although nearly four-fifths of the judicial business has arisen in the free States, yet a majority of the court has always been from the South. This we have required so as to guard against any interpretation of the Constitution unfavorable to us. In like manner we have been equally watchful to guard our interests in the legislative branch of government. In choosing the presiding presidents (pro tem.) of the Senate, we have had twenty-four to their eleven. Speakers of the House we have had twenty-three and they twelve. While the majority of representatives, from their greater population, have always been from the North, yet we have so generally secured the speaker, because he, to «a great extent, shapes and controls the legislation of the country.
"Nor have we had less control in every other department of the general government. Of Attorney-Generals we have had fourteen, while the North have had but five. Of foreign ministers we have had eighty-six, and they had but fifty-four. While three-fourths of the business which demands diplomatic agents abroad is clearly from the free States, from their greater commercial interest, yet we have had the principal embassies, so as to secure the world's markets for our cotton, tobacco, and sugar, on the best possible terms. We have had a vast majority of the higher officers of both army and navy, while a larger proportion of the soldiers and sailors were drawn from the North. Equally so of clerks, auditors, and controllers filling the executive departments. The record shows for the last fifty years, that of the three thousand thus employed, we have had more than two-thirds of the same, while we have but one-third of the white population of the republic. Again, look at another item, in which we have a great and vital interest, that of revenue, or means of supporting government. From official documents we learn that a fraction over three-fourths of the revenue collected for the support of government has uniformly been raised from the North.
"Pause now while you can, and contemplate carefully and candidly these important items. Leaving out of view, for the present, the countless millions of dollars you must expend in war with the North, with tens of thousands of your sons and brothers slain in battle and offered up as sacrifices upon the altar of your ambition—and for what? Is it for the overthrow of the American Government, established by our common ancestry; cemented and built up by their sweat and blood, and founded on the broad principles of right, justice, and humanity? And as such, I must declare here, as I have often done before, and which has been repeated by the greatest and wisest of statesmen and patriots in this and other lands, that it is the best and freest government, the most equal in its rights, the most just in its decisions, the most lenient in its measures, and the most inspiring in its principles to elevate the race of men, that the sun of heaven ever shone upon. Now, for you to attempt to overthrow such a government as this, unassailed, is the height of madness, folly and wickedness."
Fellow Citizens: You have heard my friend utter no such words as these, in condemnation of secession or in justification of the war now prosecuted by the National Government. He explained to you two or three times last night that he was not defending the rebellion, and this explanation was necessary, because his arguments seemed to you, as they did to me, to have that effect and that alone. I have no occasion to explain that I am not defending the rebellion, because my arguments do not sound like a defense of it. When you get a cause before a jury and hear your lawyer arguing in such a manner that he is obliged to turn to you now and then and whisper, "I am not arguing against you," you will feel that you have not employed exactly the right man. His arguments ought to be so clearly in your favor that you would know, without his assuring you, that he was at least not arguing against you. Yet I think that twice last evening the gentleman told yon that he was not arguing against us and in favor of the Southern Confederacy. I suppose from these reiterated protests that he is only speaking in a Pickwickian sense, when he seems to be arguing on that side as stoutly as any man within the dominions of Jefferson Davis could.
I illustrated last night the cause and origin of this rebellion. I told you that it was not initiated because there was a party against slavery; not because the Northern States or the government were interfering with the rights of the Southern States or people I told you that the object of the rebellion was to establish a great slave empire. Has not Alexander H. Stephens satisfied you that I spoke the truth when I said that the South had no cause to complain of the National Government, and that the rebellion was not the consequence of any grievances inflicted by that Government? Had not the South had for years the absolute control of the Government? Even during Mr. Lincoln's administration, had the Southern States remained in the Union, the Senate was so strongly Democratic that in four years its political complexion could not have been changed; and though there had not been a single Democratic member in the lower House, no law which the Southern Democrats did not approve could have been passed, because it requires a majority of both Houses to enact a law. So that until the end of Mr. Lincoln's Administration they had, by means of their strength in the Senate, an absolute veto power on any unconstitutional law that might be proposed. But the reason of this rebellious movement on the part of the Southern leaders was not that the Government had wronged them or their section; it was not that they expected or feared wrong from the Government; it was that they believed the laborer should be owned, and that they meant to found a confederacy or empire, the corner-stone of which should be human slavery. They aimed at the enslavement of the laborer whether white or black.
I say "white or black." Can the poor white man live in the midst of slavery? Who will pay him for doing a day's blacksmithing when for a thousand dollars he can buy a man who will do the work for mere food and clothing, and throw his babies in? There is a question for you to consider. Who will pay you as a stone mason wages enough to support you and your wife and family when for a thousand or twelve hundred dollars he can buy a stone mason, to whom he need give nothing but coarse jail clothes and common food, and whose babies he may sell at from one to five hundred dollars? What is then the chance for the free working man where slavery prevails? He has no chance; and hence it is, my Democratic fellowcitizens of American or foreign birth, that you have never gone to the "sunny South." There it lies in all its broad capacity and fertility. The winters are not so long by many weeks as they are here. You do not need coal there for half the length of time that you need it here. The land is more fertile than ours, and yields crops that ours will not produce. Norfolk is the finest harbor on the American coast, and was, until after the Revolutionary war, the leading commercial port of America. And yet, my fellow-citizens, every ship load of emigrants that comes to the country comes to a Northern port. Did you ever know of a load of Irishmen, or Englishmen, or Germans, being landed in Norfolk, or in Charleston, or in the port of any Slave State? No; there is no demand for free labor there, because the capitalists buy and.sell their workingmen. Instead of going to the fertile and sunny South, with all its mighty resources both agricultural and mineral, its immense water-power, its magnificent rivers and harbors, they come in at the North—at Portland, Maine, at Boston, Mass., at Providence, R. I., at New York, at Philadelphia; and at great expense they travel with their families in emigrant cars away off thousands of miles to the cold Northwest, that they may settle where the laborer is free and respected, where his labor is rewarded by wages, and where there will be schools for their children, and churches through which he and they may learn their relations to their God and Redeemer, and have their duties in this world sanctified to them by a knowledge of those relations.
Let me again turn to the admirable book from which I read last night, and which I urge you all to get. It is entitled "The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the African Race in the United States;" by Robert Dale Owen. It is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read. Mr. Owen says, on page 125 :—
"Nor is the contempt engendered by this system towards those occupying subordinate social positions confined to the colored man. Under slavery there grows up a class of wnite, as well as black, Pariahs. A marked feature in Southern society is the temper and demeanor of the wealthy slaveholder towards an indigent portion of his own race, 'the poor whites,7 as they are called, of the South. Slavery is to them tjie source of unmingled evil. Labor owned, competing with labor hired, deprives them of the opportunity to earn an honest livelihood. Labor, degraded before their eyes, destroys within them all respect for industry, extinguishes all desire by honorable exertion to improve their condition. Doomed by habitual indolence to abject poverty, complacently ignorant, vilely proud, it is doubtful whether there exists, in all civilized society, a class of men more deplorably situated. And yet how fiercely have they been brought to fight for the slave-masters who despise them, and for the system which consigns them to degradation."
With slavery this must be so. A plantation in the South consists of many hundreds, and sometimes two or three or even ten thousand acres. The towns are small. Under such circumstances it is impossible, if the disposition existed, to maintain free schools. I explained to you last night that in slave States, it is a felony to teach a colored person to read. With four millions of slave laborers, how can there be free schools? And how can the white workingman, who can find no employment, educate his children at a pay-school? What is the result? You find that not one out of ten of the poor white men of the South can read the simplest reading matter or write his own name. I saw a whole regiment of Confederate prisoners, among whom there was not one who could write a letter, and there were only ten or twelve who could read. They were free white native workingmen of the South: and it was slavery that had doomed them to this ignorance.
Yet my friend tells you that you have the Almshouse before you, while the happy and prosperous slaves have no occasion to dread it! I do not think he flattered you; nor does he comprehend our institutions or the character of our workingmen, when he thinks that they are living in daily dread of the almshouse. Born in the lap of luxury and reared mid its appliances, he may have looked from the window of his carriage on the laboring man, bowed and begrimmed by toil, and pitying him, felt that the almshouse was his ultimate portion. But at eleven years of age I found myself a laboring boy in the workshop, and I know the hopes, the fears, and the aspirations .of the laboring classes. For nearly three-fifths of the first twenty-five years of my life, I earned my living by the cunning of these hands in the workshop; and I never dreaded the almshouse as my last earthly refuge. I knew that I was an American citizen, and felt that it was for me the orphan laboring boy to win, if God had given me the ability, both wealth and honors. And I have always found, in associating with