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This is an infamous lie, known to be such by the immeasurable villains who concoct it. In the North every man is put in peril of his life who does not sustain their murderous onslaught upon the South. The South can scarcely afford to be more merciful to tories and traitors in her own borders. Give all such wretches fair warning before executing upon them the justice they deserve; convince them that they are in more peril by being traitors than by being honest men, and, our word for it, they will learn in a short time discretion, the only virtue of which their base nature is capable."
The above is a beautiful illustration of the more enlarged freedom for which this war was professedly inaugurated. But enough of this sickening recital.
MR. BOTTS RETIRES FROM THE CONTEST IN DESPAIR.
Finding that I was powerless to prevent my own state from throwing herself into the arms of her destroyers, I quietly retired to the country, with a firm determination to stand aside and take no part in a war that the people had no agency in making, and which, let it result as it might, was assuredly to end in their absolute ruin, but to leave it altogether to those who had brought it on, or approved it, to conduct it to an issue.
I certainly knew full well that my own prospects in life might have been greatly advanced, at least for the moment, if I had followed the fashion and taken service in the cause of those whom I had all my life opposed; but if I had been capable of adopting for myself, or of recommending to others the adoption of a policy of such unutterable wrong, perfidy, and treason as in my inmost heart I felt this ia be, and with such results as I believed and knew would follow, it would have been only from motives of selfishness, ambition, or fear, for which I should have scorned and despised myself in all future life.
When I voted for “honest John Bell," as they called him, and the platform of “ The Union, the Constitution, and the Enforcement of the Laws,” which implied nothing, unless we who voted for it meant thereby to declare to the world our unalterable devotion to the Union, our veneration for the Constitution, and our firm determination to uphold and sustain the Executive authority of the Federal government in enforcing the laws fully, faithfully, and impartially, every where and upon all alike, upon which pledge alone this state was carried for “John Bell ;" for the people of Virginia cared no more for “ John Bell,” except as the representative of a principle, than they did for “John Doe" or “ Richard Roe,” and which platform of principles “honest John Bell" not only accepted but sought to stand upon, but which he kicked from under him as soon as he found it would not conduct him to station, power, and emolument, and gave aid and comfort to the extent of his power to those whom he had just previously denounced as traitors and enemies to mankind, and who had also just before denounced him as a most selfish and corrupt Abolitionist, from which charges I had often defended him, I say when I voted for that platform I was too intensely honest and in earnest to permit myself to take a step in the opposite direction, and take up arms against the government for an honest effort to carry out the principles we ourselves had not only laid down for him, but required at the hands of our own candidate only at the dictation of the most reckless and corrupt portion of Democracy. How others brought their minds to do it may not be for me to know, or, know
ing, it may not be for me to say; but for myself I can and do say, that as an honest, conscientious, virtuous man, I could not do it, even if my life had paid the penalty; and I am even free to say that, so far did I feel myself committed to this great and overpowering principle, that if Virginia had not so foolishly thrown herself into the contest, then any service that I could have rendered to the Federal gorernment would have been at its disposal for the enforcement of the law in any state North or South, East or West, that was in open rebellion against its authority, while no position under the government would at any time have been desirable or acceptable for a less patriotic purpose; and I am by no means satisfied, and never bave been, that the position Virginia had chosen, or been compelled to assume, relieved me of the obligation of a superior duty to the United States government; but in this matter alone have I allowed my feelings to control my judgment.
THE SOUTH NO CAUSE FOR COMPLAINT.
It may well be asked here, what complaint has the South to prefer against the government of the United States ? There has not been a moment of time from the 4th of March, 1801, to the 4th of March, 1861, that the legislation or law-making power of the government has not been under the control of the Southern Democracy. During that period there have been but eight out of the sixty years that the Federal Executive has not been of their own selection (except once, when we elected, and they seduced or bought our man up, and then refused to pay the stipulated wages); and during those eight years (I mean, of course, during the administrations of Mr. Adams, General Taylor, and Mr. Fillmore) they had the absolute and entire control of one or both of the two houses of Congress. What subject of legislation is it that they have rîot controlled ? Bank, Tariff, Internal Improvement, Distribution has each in turn been put up or pulled down precisely as they have chosen to direct, while the subjects of war, acquisition, and slavery have been under their exclusive control and management, except only as to the late efforts to extend the latter into territory to which neither the climate or the soil was adapted, and from which they themselves had triumphantly excluded it, not only in 1787, through the instrumentality of the great high-priest and apostle of Democracy (Mr. Jefferson), but at a much more recent period, to wit, in 1820, when by solemn compact, forced upon the North, it was forever excluded; so that if the South has any cause of complaint, it has only been against Southern Democracy, that they ought, years and years ago, to have driven in shame and confusion from their confidence and service.
They have not only put up a bank in its weakness, but pulled it down in its power; put up and pulled down the tariff at pleasure; put up and pulled down internal improvements at will; put up and pulled down the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands as they desired; but they have elevated the question of slavery far above and beyond all other questions and subjects, and now they have destroyed the institution in the Border States, at least, and materially crippled it in all; and, lastly, to close the scene, they have--as far as they could accomplish it, destroyed a Union and a government the like of which the wisdom of centuries had not been able to achieve, and have left for the South a wreck from which the mind revolts with horror. What more is left for the Democracy to accomplish? Their task is finished, their mission is ended, and yet the people whom they have ruined are still wedded to Democracy.
But this is not the most, nor yet the worst that has been done by and in the name of the Democracy.
They have turned the fair and sunny fields of the South into one general camp-ground and grave-yard; they have covered the land with mourning; they have laid waste the country, and made desolate the happy homes of thousands upon thousands; they have filled the South with helpless orphans, and mourning widows and mothers; they have arrayed in deadly strife citizens, neighbors, and friends, where nothing but peace, friendship, plenty, and contentment were known before; they have excited father against son, and son against father, and brother against brother; they have sacrificed a million of lives, and made cripples of nearly as many more for life; they have filled the air of Heaven with the groans of the wounded and the lamentations of the dying; they have impoverished and ruined the entire South, and brought nothing but desolation, hunger, and want upon the people; they will have cost the nation more than ten thousand millions of dollars from first to last; they have made promises, predictions, and calculations, not one of which have been or will be fulfilled; they have undertaken to do what they will not be able to accomplish, and what will prove to be a lamentable and disgraceful failure, that will involve all in one common whirlpool of degradation and ruin. And all this for what? Why, that the leading politicians of the Southern Democracy might perpetuate their own power and appropriate the spoils of office to their own exclusive use.
It is no exaggeration to say that, if an army from the lower regions, with Lucifer himself at its head, had been turned loose with the most demoniac passions against the Southern people, they could not have done much more mischief than has been done by these Southern leaders in the