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Chicago Convention the Democratic party in grand council assembled refused those delegates admission, because that party does not recognize the reconstructed State of Virginia.
In view of these facts the gentleman's assertion that they are in favor of reconstruction puts me in mind of the anecdote of the woman and her drunken husband. He had kicked the children out of doors and knocked her down, and then picking her up, he said, "Peggy, I do love you." "Do you love me, John?" said she. "Yes, Peggy, I do." "Well, then," replied she, "why the devil do you knock me down and drive the children out of doors, if you love me so?" So I say to the Chicago Convention and its adherents, "If you want reconstruction, why do you refuse to recognize West Virginia until General Lee and the other slave-driving traitors in arms against your country give their consent, and, meanwhile, kick her delegates out of doors?"
No, fellow-citizens, the Democratic party do not want reconstruction. They want to recognize the independence of the Southern Confederacy, and then to put this proposition to the people of the country—" Now, gentlemen, let us have a new deal. The mouth of the Mississippi is just as essential to us as it ever was. New England has a free labor system. New England, it is true, pays wages to everybody who works; she has a common school system, and educates all her children and the child of every poor emigrant who comes within her borders. But New England is a manufacturing district, and Pennsylvania is a manufacturing district. The South does not produce manufactured articles; and, therefore, it will be to your interest to cut loose from New England, your rival, and go with your customers, the South." That is the argument they wish to make, and that is what they want to do. They want to have a new deal and crowd out freedom-loving, wages-paying, Bible-reading New England, and bring the laborers of Pennsylvania and the other Middle States under the iron heel of the slave driver, and into competition with the system of unpaid labor that prevails in the South. That is why this gentleman, whose alma mater is in the bosom of New England, goes round exciting prejudices, on the one hand, against the negro, and on the other, against New England, that furnished more men for the Revolutionary War than all the Southern States together. New England, the land that poured out (save the blood of one Pennsylvania negro who was assaulted in Baltimore on the 18th of April, 1861) the first blood that was shed in this rebellion—that of the soldiers of her 6th Massachusetts regiment, who were attacked on the 19th of April, 1861, in the city of Baltimore.
Workingmen, this is a question for you to consider. What we are after is, as I have said, not the corpse, but the grand estate our Revolutionary fathers left us. The gentleman does not want hundreds of thousands of Northern soldiers to hold the South in subjugation. Then let him and the Democratic part^ say to the South, "We are going to fight this through, and you may as well succumb now as hereafter," and the South would succumb. Their only hope is in the election of the Democratic ticket, and the attainment of such a peace as the gentleman prays for. I answer him that we do not want to hold the people of the South in subjugation. The people of the South are constantly escaping to us for protection. Take up a paper of any day and read the account from which of our armies you will, and you will learn how many deserters are coming into our lines, taking the oath of allegiance, and being sent North. You will learn how many are taking up arms and aiding us to fight' the despots of the South; and in the paper of this evening I read a speech made by Jefferson Davis, made at Macon Georgia, on the 24th of September, in which he says, "We want our soldiers in the field, and we want the sick and wounded to return home. It is not proper for me to speak of the number of men in the field, but this I will say, that two-thirds of our men are absent, some sick, some wounded, but most of them absent ivithout leave."
Two-thirds of their army are " absent without leave," and yet the gentleman says that the wTar is to be interminable, and he does not want Northern soldiers to hold the South in subjection for centuries. "Some sick, some wounded, but most of them absent without leave I" Aye! absent in the Northern States, seeking the protection of the flag they worshipped in childhood, and devoting themselves to the restoration of the Constitution of their lathers, and the unity of the broadest, richest, grandest country God ever gave to any people. And it is for this dying Confederacy that the gentleman pleads with you, men of the Twenty-fourth W^ard, that you will hand over the graves of your sons and brothers who have died in this war, to an alien government, so that when you desire to visit those graves you shall be obliged to do it in a foreign land, and while doing it have a foreign flag flouted in your face, and be insulted by being told that just when you had your enemies whipped, you became panic and terror stricken, and made a cowardly peace. It is for this that the gentleman pleads. Am I not right? His closing argument last night was that we should pause and hold an interview with Confederate commissioners. He considers theirs a government which we should recognize; and he said that when we should have come to terms, the armies could be withdrawn. That was his language. I say, never withdraw an army from our own territory while there is an enemy arrayed against that army; and least of all, in the very hour of victory and conquest, surrender and withdraw our armies! Whose country is it on which those armies stand? Ours—ours by the right of inheritance—ours by our duty to posterity—ours by our duty to mankind at large. And do not pause when Davis almost weeps over the sad story of defeat, that now stares him in the face; do not pause, and parley, and withdraw your armies, and surrender into slavery two hundred thousand men, who to-night are under arms fighting your battles; do not force Maryland and Missouri, whose people have abolished slavery, to reestablish it; do not strike from the flag of your country the star of West Virginia, and do it all in compliance with the demand of those who have frightened the soul out of the leaders of the Democratic party. I did not mean last evening to challenge the courage of individual members of that party. I merely meant to say that the leaders had made a wretchedly cowardly platform, which, for peace, would surrender an empire.
"Withdraw your armies when you come to terms!" Withdraw your armies! Where to? For what? In order that Sherman may have to retake Atlanta? In order that Grant shall have to do again what McOlellan never could do—put a cordon around Richmond and Petersburg?
"Who saved your capital?" exclaimed the gentleman. Abraham Lincoln saved it by retaining McDowell, with forty thousand men, between Lee and Washington, when McOlellan insisted on the whole army being sent to the Peninsula, that Washington might be left entirely uncovered. Abraham Lincoln, by his firm adherence to McClellan's stipulation that 120,000 men were enough for the Peninsula campaign, and that he would leave at all times 40,000 men to cover the capital, saved it. The gentleman also sneered at General Pope. Who betrayed John Pope? Ah! it does not lie in the mouth of a McOlellan man to taunt John Pope with his defeat. Here are the proceedings on the trial of Fitz John Porter, and let me read you one of the many charges and specifications which nine officers, all West Pointers, found to be every one sustained fully by the evidence:—
"Specification First. In this, that the said Major-General Fitz John Porter, during the battle of Manassas, on Friday, the 29th of August, 1862, and while within sight of the field, and in full hearing of its artillery, did receive from Major-General John Pope, his superior and commanding officer, a lawful order to attack the enemy, in the following figures and letters, to wit:—
"'headquarters In The Field, Aug. 29,1862—4.30 P.M.—Major-General Porter: Your line of march brings you in on the enemy's right flank. I desire you to push forward into action at once on the enemy's flank, and, if possible, on his rear, keeping your right in communication with General Reynolds.
"'The enemy is massed in the woods in front of us, but can be shelled out as soon as you engage their flank. Keep heavy reserves, and use your batteries, keeping well closed to your right all the time. In case you are obliged to fall back, do so to your right and rear, so as to keep you in close communication with the right wing.
(Signed) "'JOHN POPE, Major-General Commanding.'
''Which said order the said Major-General Porter did then and there shamefully disobey, and did retreat from advancing forces of the enemy, without any attempt to engage them, or to aid the troops who were already fighting greatly superior numbers, and were relying on the flank attack he was thus ordered to make to secure a decisive victory and to capture the enemy's army—a result which must have followed from said flank attack, had it been made by the said General Porter in compliance with said order, which he so shamefully disobeyed. This, at or near Manassas, in the State of Virginia, on or about the 29th of August, 1862.
"Specification Second. In this, that the said Major-General Fitz John Porter, being with his army corps, on Friday, the 29th of August, 1862, between Manassas and the field of a battle then pending between the forces of the United States and those of the rebels, and within sound of the guns and in presence of the enemy, and knowing that a severe action of great consequence was being fought, and that the aid of his corps was greatly needed, did fail all day to bring it on the field, and did shamefully fall back and retreat from the advance of the enemy, without any attempt to give them battle, and without knowing the force from which he shamefully retreated. This, near Manassas Station, in the State of Virginia, on the 29th of August, 1862."
While thus betraying General Pope and his army, Fitz John Porter was telegraphing that he hoped McOlellan was pleased with what he was doing! I appeal to history to prove, this assertion. I stand ready to sustain it in any court of justice or council chamber of the world. Said I not truly that Abraham Lincoln by his firmness saved the capital? He had sworn "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution:" and in his annual message to Congress, of December, 1861, he had said, "The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means to that end must be employed." And slowly, but surely, he has used all "indispensable means," and if we sustain him at the coming election, and give him a Congress to stand by him, before that Congress shall begin its official term, you will find the whole of the rebellious States reconstructing and the lesson will have been taught for all time that the American people will not tolerate insurrection, rebellion, or treason, let who may be engaged in it.
The gentleman holds up to us the history of Italy. Why, sir, it was early in the Christian era that Italy was dismembered; and now, in the latter half of the nineteenth century she is reconstructing! Every month of her intervening history has been a record of war and blood. And if we allow the American republic to be dismembered, it may be another cycle of war before the work of reconstruction begins.
The rebellion is now falling. It needs but the grasp of Grant, and Sherman, and Butler, and Farragut, and their brave men, to crush the shell; and let us stand by them until they do it. Let us transmit unbroken to our posterity the heritage which we received from our ancestors. Let us proclaim to the world that the free institutions of America still cover the broad land of America, and.that henceforth as heretofore, the poor and the oppressed shall here find a welcome—shall here find wages for their labor—shall here find the honors of the land open to them—shall here find the children born of their loins on the soil, the possible candidates for the highest honor [that the American people can confer. In other words, my fellow-citizens, let us, before we part to-night, pledge ourselves in the eyes of the nations and the people of the world, in the presence of the God of our fathers and our God, that, rather than surrender, we will lay down our lives—that it is the determination, unshaken and irreversible, of each one of us, that we will maintain and transmit for all time, one Union, one Country, one Constitution, and one Flag for the people and land of America.
During the discussion, a gentleman recently connected with the army attempted a diversion
in favor of my competitor, in the nature of a flank movement, which called forth the following
Philadelphia, October 3,1864.
My Dear Sir: My attention has been called to a letter bearing elate the 27th ult., which you have done me the honor to address to me through the public journals, in which you say:—
"Our acquaintance and all the relations that have ever existed between us are confined to two or three accidental meetings, at one of which you were pleased to refer to the lasting impression made upon you. when a poor boy, by the kindness of my father, who always took you by the hand, and gave you cheering, friendly words of encouragement and advice. You were pleased to acknowledge to the son the kind and valuable influences received by you from the father, and to proffer your friendly services whenever they would be acceptable."
You will pardon me, General, if I limit "the relations that have existed between us" to one casual meeting, which took place in the office and presence of my venerable and distinguished friend, Eli K. Price, Esq. 1 do not remember to have had a word of intercourse with you on any other occasion. On that occasion I mentioned that our fathers had been friends, and told you that, in the office of the prothonotary of the court of which I was a judge, your father had recognized me by my likeness to his early friend, my father. That was the only time I remember to have seen him, but I shall ever remember the pleasant words he spoke of my father, who died during my infancy.
The public will estimate the gratitude I owe you for this pleasant incident; but it was not to notice your personal allusion that I took my pen.
You then proceed to quote a few sentences from the report in The Press, of the 23d ult., of my remarks at the meeting in' Concert Hall the evening previous, and at the conclusion of the extract you say, "Now, my dear sir, this statement is simply false, and, on the part of your friend Mr. Edwin M. Stanton, maliciously false."
The extract you cite is as follows :—
"It got out that the President was determined to have the army moved, and it was found that General McClellan had no plan; and here I.may state that we owe the Peninsula campaign to those distinguished Senators, Latham, of California, and Eice, of Minnesota, and a brigadier in the column of Joseph Hooker. General McClellan's plan was concocted by others, and put into his hands. It was agreed on in a council of war. That plan was submitted to the President. It was submitted in the presence of Secretary Stanton. Stanton put them through a strict course of examination. One, General Blenker, owned that he did not understand the plan, but would sustain it, as he thought he had to obey the mandates of his chief. General Naglee was one of those present, and Stanton observed that he had but one star. 'STr,' said Mr. Stanton, 'you have no right here!' 'I am representing General Hooker,' said he. It was afterwards found out that General Naglee was absent without leave, and that Fighting Joe Hooker knew nothing of the council. [Applause.]"
The report from which you clip this extract does not purport to be verbatim—nor was it full. I have, however, no special exception to take to the passage you quote. It embodies a fair statement of my assertions as far as it goes. It refers to what occurred during the first week in March, 1862, and must follow in the report, which I have not read, my statement of the disappointment well-informed men had experienced in the last week of February.
I had told the audience of the hopes entertained by the President, the Secretary of "War, and leading members of Congress, of the success of General McClellan's proposed surprise of the rebels on the line of Brentsville. You doubtless remember that the success of that promised movement was said by the General to depend on the fact that it was to be a surprise. That no suspicion of his contemplated movement might be excited, he proposed that instead of constructing pontoons or hauling them thither he would collect in the canal canal boats, of which to construct a bridge across the Potomac. This he did at his leisure. All was now ready. "If anything was wanting he had nobody but himself to blame," as he himself had said. The morning of the eventful day arrived, and lo! a difficulty, and a difficulty which to the eminent engineer commanding the.army was insuperable. It had never occurred to him to measure the outlet-lock through which the boats he had provided were to pass, and now just at the critical moment, as they were some feet wider than the lock, they obstinately refused to pass through! Was it not vexatious? I also told the meeting of the puerile excuses for the failure which he offered in the presence of Hon. Benjamin Wade, of Ohio, and Andrew Johnson, then a Senator from Tennessee, and that he in their presence proposed to make another effort to surprise the rebels over a bridge which he thought could be built in ten days. Those who heard me will remember all this; and I am quite sure that General McClellan, infirm as his memory appears to be, can verify all my statements.
I further said, in substance, that this fact, following the incident of the stove-pipe at Munson's Hill and the wooden guns at Manassas, had exhausted even the President's stock of patience; but that he had, in the kindness of his heart, determined to give General McClellan a chance to redeem himself from utter ridicule, and had given him ten days in which to propose a plausible plan of a campaign. It was then that I said he had no plan, and that when several of the promised ten days had passed he was still without a plan.
At this point of time, my dear General, you come upon the scene, and I reaffirm all that I said of you. Without attempting to reproduce the language of my address, I reaffirm this, not on the authority of one whom I am proud to call my friend, Hon. E. M. Stanton, but of one whose word you ought to accept, as he was a graduate of West Point, a brigadier-general of volunteers, and enjoyed, in an eminent degree, the confidence of General McClellan, then Commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States.
Indeed, my dear General, he was commanding a brigade under General Hooker in Lower Maryland, which I think was your position when you received a communication from a Democratic Senator, Mr. Latham, of California, which, though I cannot give you its precise language, let you know that General McClellan was in danger of removal because he had stipulated to submit a plan of campaign within a certain number of days, and would be removed if he did not, and requested you to hasten to Washington. I am quite sure, my dear General, that you will not deny this, nor that, in pursuance of that communication, you did hasten to Washington, and were chagrined at finding that Mr. Latham had left for New York.
Nor further, that you found a letter from him awaiting you, in which he regretted that duties in connection with the Pacific Mail service imperiously demanded his presence in New York on that day. It, however, referred you to another Democratic senator, Mr. Eice, of Minnesota, and told you to confer freely with him, as you would have done with the writer, as he understood the delicacy of the General's situation, and might be conferred with frankly and safely. Now, I say again, that I am sure you will contradict none of these statements, and ask you how my valued and honored friend, the Secretary of War, could have given me these facts, which were meant to be so confidential? My other assertions of how you proposed the plan of the Peninsula Campaign, and, as politicians say, "packed" a council of war, are all equally true and well known to you. You cannot escape by artfully suggesting that each of the twelve generals who attended that council was entitled to but one star. Eleven of them commanded divisions. It was called as a council of division commanders, yet Henry M. Naglee, commander of a brigade, was there on the flimsy pretence that it was not as easy to summon his division commander, General Hooker, as it was to communicate with him. Now, my dear General, let me ask you, in all candor, were you not reported as absent without leave on the day on which that council met, or are the records in error?
Perhaps I have, by this time, excited your curiosity as to the source from which I derived such minute and accurate information. If so, I will gratify you. All this information came to me, not, as you assume, from Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, but from you, Henry M. Naglee, late Brigadier General of U. S. Yolunteers. On the night of the 29th of March, 1862, you went in the cars from Broad and Prime Street to Washington. Do you not remember the buoyancy with which you related all this, and how you exulted in the success of the artifice in which you had been so prominent an actor? My dear General, your campaign had not then been tested, but now that the result is before us, do you not cower before the ghosts of the brave thousands who were slowly murdered by the malaria of the Chickahominy?
The gentlemen to whom you addressed your conversation on the night of the 29th of March, 1862, were Messrs. George H. Moore and George W. Hacker, of this city, and if you revealed your secrets so publicly that others could not avoid hearing them, you must not wonder that they have published them freely. I refer you, and any who may doubt my statement, to Messrs. Moore and Hacker, both of whom are well known in this city.
But, sir, you have boasted to others also of the success Messrs. Latham, Rice, and yourself had in constraining the President to retain Gen. McClellan in command. You know Gen. Gilman Marston, and, doubtless, remember the fact that you and he travelled some time later from Fortress Monroe to Washington together, he being at the time in command of a regiment of New Hampshire volunteers. Do you not remember how fully you detailed to him all the facts I have recited? I do not doubt that you then spoke the truth ; the collateral facts prove that you did. But if error there be, it is you who are responsible. Gen. Marston is a brave and truthful man. I know him well, and cheerfully refer any of our military friends to him for proof that you are yourself the author of the story you wantonly ascribe to the Secretary of War, and denounce as "maliciously false."
Yery respectfully, WM. D. KELLEY.
To Henry M. Naglee, late Brigadier General U. S. Yolunteers.