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“I gave no opinion,” says Her Majesty's minister, when reporting the part he took in this council of Democratic leaders, “on the subject. I did not say whether or no I myself thought foreign intervention probable or advisable, but I listened with attention to the accounts given me of the plans and hopes of the conservative party. At the bottom. I thought I perceived a desire to put an end to the war, even at the risk of losing the Southern States altogether.” I am going to prove that his lordship was not mistaken, and that what they mean is to let the Southern States go. I ask my friend, what value the Monroe doctrine would have for us, after we had let the Southern States go 2 What interest we would have in the Monroe doctrine, with a foreign military Confederacy sweeping from the Potomac to the Rio Grande 2 “But,” continues his lordship, “it was plain that it was not thought prudent to avow this desire. Indeed, some hints of it, dropped before the election, were so ill received that a strong declaration in the contrary sense was deemed necessary by the Democratic leaders.” I pray you, my Democratic fellow-citizens, mark the course of your leaders when in secret council. It proves that they do not tell you what they believe; that they only tell you what they think will induce you to give them power and follow their fortunes. Lord Lyons says they were willing to make peace and let the South go; but, that on sounding the pulse of the people, and finding that such a doctrine was unpopular, they announced, as you know, that if you would put the Government in their hands, they would carry on the war more wigorously than we had done. It was when they had determined on this system of fraud and duplicity that they started the lies with which their addresses and papers thenceforth teemed; that the Government had embarrassed McClellan, and would not give him all the men it could ; that the Democrats were anxious to bring the war to a successful close, but the Government would not let them, because the war was a profitable thing for “shoddy” and other contractors, etc. You remember all this as well as I do, especially you who attended Democratic meetings or read the journals of that party. But let me finish with his Lordship's desatch. . - - pal At the present moment, therefore, the chiefs of the Conservative party call loudly for a more vigorous prosecution of the war, and reproach the Government with slackness as well as with want of success in its military measures. But they repudiate all idea of interfering with the institutions of the Southern people, or of waging a war of subjugation or extermination. They maintain that the object of the military operations should be to place the North in a position to demand an armistice with honor and effect. The armistice should, they hold, be followed by a convention,” (thus two years ago you find these Democratic leaders announcing just what should be the platform of the Chicago Convention—an armistice with a view to a convention)—“in which such change of the Constitution should be proposed as would give the South ample security on the subject of its slave property, and would enable the North and South to re-unite and live together in peace and harmony. The Conservatives profess to think that the South might be induced to take part in such a convention, and that a restoration of the Union would be the result. “The more sagacious members of the party must, however, look upon the proposal of a convention merely as 'a last experiment to test the possibility of re-union. They are, no doubt, well aware that the more probable consequence of an armistice would be the establishment of Southern independence, but they perceive that if the South is so utterly alienated that no possible concessions will induce it to return voluntarily to the Union, it is wiser to agree to separate than to prosecute a cruel and hopeless war.” Let me borrow the language of my friend's seventh interrogation, and ask whether you are “In favor of the non-intervention of foreign powers on this continent, known as the Monroe Doctrine,” or are you ready to crawl with the leaders of the Peace Democracy to the feet of the British lion, and ask its intervention with the affairs not only of the continent but of our own dear country, whose fathers fought that lion eight long years? Are you ready to see this country, which, united, can defy and conquer the world on land or sea, divided, that while England fights one-half of it, France, with its Austrian Emperor in Mexico, may fight the other half? If you are not, I beg you in the name of God and your country to abandon the Democratic leaders, who are treating with Lord Lyons and the titled representatives of other powers of the continent with reference to the division of our country by an armistice and the delusive promise of a convention, which they know can never be had. A people who, having rebelled and fought us for four years, and right on the eve of our final victory, have been granted all they asked, will not make terms with a people whom they would have so good reason to despise as fools, cowards, or traitors. If we withdraw our forces from Atlanta, from Petersburg, from the Shenandoah Valley, and old Farragut from the front of Mobile, and our fleet from the front of Charleston, and our forces from Louisiana, if we surrender to the Southern rebels the free State of West Virginia—if we surrender to them Kentucky, whose people, though they for a time occupied a position of neutrality, are now fighting grandly for the old flag—if we surrender Andrew Johnson and the people of East Tennessee to the lords of the lash—could they have respect for or confidence in us? Why, when we have done thus much they will make us pay for every slave they have lost, and assume their war debt, too. They would threaten us with the dreaded “bayonet” if we did not do all this, and do it promptly—and they would have the right to make these demands, for such a surrender would be a confession that we have been wrong in defending our country, and they right in assailing it. Certain it is that they will never come into council with us after we have granted them an armistice, and begged their pardon for having defended our nationality and flag. Gentlemen, I may be very prosy; but I cannot help that My wish is to make a chain of argument, and weave it together with facts which you all know, and which none of you can dispute. I must, therefore, still pursue my own method rather than that suggested by my competitor. Now for the first resolution of the Chicago platform. It reads thus:— “Resolved, That in the future, as in 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.” I reiterate what I have already said, that, in order to understand this declaration, you must refer to what the Democratic party has done in the past. Designing men and their dupes contend that this resolution is a pledge that the party will support the Union. Gentlemen, did you ever see a three-sided sign, which, as you walk one way, exhibits one name, and as you walk another way, displays another, and, when you stand in front of it, shows still another. I have often seen such; there used to be several of them in this city. This resolution is like one of those signs. To the Southern man it reads “the right of secession;” to the unsuspecting Northern Democrat, who goes with the party because he has always belonged to it, it reads “the Union;” and when you are right in front of it, as my friend and the Chicago managers are, it reads “State Sovereignty.” To a simple, unsuspecting man, this declaration is, on its face, a pledge of fidelity to the Union. Coupled as it is with the words, “as in the past,” it is a pledge to every Southern States rights man that the party adheres to the doctrines which induced Buchanan and his cabinet to allow the Southern rebels to construct fortifications around our forts, make prisoners of our regular army, rob us of our arms, and go out of the Union, without an effort at resistance on the part of the administration. “But,” says my friend, “what could Mr. Buchanan have done o’ Why, he could have sent the arms all North instead of sending them all South; he could have armed all the forts in front of Southern cities, instead of leaving them without armament; he could have put Twiggs and Canby, with their armies, north of the slave States, and had them ready to threaten to descend upon the insurgents, instead of putting them where they could be taken prisoners without any trouble. Indeed, Twiggs handed his troops over of his own accord. Mr. Buchanan could have sent into Congress Jackson's proclamation to the Nullifiers, adding a little postscript, saying, “I say ditto to General Jackson”—just as, in the English Parliament, a member, unable to compose a speech, but desirous to make a “splurge,” followed one of Mr. Burke's eloquent addresses with the words “I say ditto to Mr. Burke l’” If James Buchanan could not find in the Constitution anything to justify him in maintaining the Union, he could have taken General Jackson's proclamation to the people of South Carolina, and sent it into Congress, saying, “I believe every doctrine expressed in this great state paper, and will act under like circumstances as General Jackson would have acted,” instead of sending a message which conveyed a threat to the poor Union people of the South that if they dared to stand up to the country and their rights he would abandon them to the tender mercies of their man stealing and woman-whipping neighbors. That is what he could have done; and had he done this, or asserted a determination to do it, there would not have been war. But for the course of certain Northern men who pledged themselves to sustain the South in secession and to let her go in peace—but for the course of Mr. Buchanan's Administration in arming and fortifying the rebels, in depriving us of soldiers and giving them a navy—they never would have undertaken the work of breaking up the Union. If we had had a patriot in the Presidential chair, instead of James Buchanan, this war would not have desolated our homes and burdened us with taxes. No man who will take up the plank of the Chicago platform, which I have read, and study it in the light of history, and ask who is to construe the Constitution, if McClellan be elected, will doubt its meaning, if the Democracy get into power. They will take their own view of it—won’t they 7 Well, what is Mr. Pendleton's view 7 Mr. Pendleton was in Congress during the whole of Buchanan's Administration. He made a speech defending James Buchanan's message and denying the right of the Federal Government to coerce a State. He is as fully committed to secession as Jefferson Davis himself; and in proof of this I refer you to the columns of the Globe throughout the eight years that he has been in Congress. He is an open and avowed secessionist; he does not deny it. The convention that nominated him dare not ask him for a formal acceptance of the nomination. The convention appointed a committee to apprise the candidates of their nomination; and that committee have never yet addressed a line to Mr. Pendleton, because they know what his answer would be—that he would reply “that he accepts the platform which is perfectly consistent with his entire Congressional record.” That would be his answer, and the men of that Convention, who are playing a double game, are afraid to draw that answer forth. When did Voorhees— when did either of the Woods—when did Alexander Long, of Ohio–when did the Democratic representative from Berks County, Mr. Ancona, or the representative from the Democratic county of Northampton, Mr. Johnson, or from Montgomery and Lehigh, Mr. Stiles, or any other of the leading Democratic members from this State, ever vote for a dollar or a man to sustain this war? They are for peace. They believe in the right of the Southern States to secede and carry with them our patrimony. They know how the Democratic party preserved the Union in the past. I now, as my time is nearly expended, pass to the third plank of the Chicago platform; but let me first remind you that I have read you an article from the Constitution of the Sons of Liberty or the Knights of the Golden Circle, and extracts from a speech of the Grand Commander of the order. I now proceed to show that one object of the Chicago platform was to indorse and encourage the arming of people to assail us at the polls contemplated by the order. The third resolution reads thus:— . “Resolved, That the direct interference of the military authority of the United States in the recent elections held in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Delaware was a shameful violation of the Constitution, and the repetition of such acts in the approaching election will be held as revolutionary, and resisted with all the means and power under our control.” Who perpetrated the acts thus denounced in Maryland—who issued the order of October, 1861, which I read to you on the last evening of this discussion—but the very man whom they have placed on their platform 2 Geo. B. McClellan, in October, 1861, ordered his troops to arrest any man of a certain description who might show himself at the polls. Yet the Convention denounces such acts as “revolutionary,” and “a shameful violation of the Constitution,” and pledges the Democratic party to resist a repetition of them “with all the means and power under their control,” and are going around denouncing the suspension of the habeas corpus, and talking in vague and unmeaning terms about the unconstitutional acts, the tyranny, and the oppression of Abraham Lincoln. Do they point out one tyrannical or unconstitutional act 2 No, not one. They are trying to inflame the passions and extinguish the patriotism of the people, so as to induce them to make a scene of riot and carnage on election day; and they demand that all troops shall be removed from the Northern States, that they may execute their fiendish purpose with impunity. As Lord Lyons could write to his Government, on the 17th of November, 1862, what the Chicago platform of 1864 was to be, so the Sons of Liberty, who pledge themselves to lay down their lives, and began buying arms, understood what the platform was to be, and they understand what the game is to be. The object of these conspirators is to surrender half of our country to a foreign Confederacy, and then they hope to carry one State after another into that Confederacy, so that free, intelligent, wages-paying New England, with its undying hatred of human slavery, shall be left out of the new organization. I am against the whole scheme. I am heir to the honors and glories of every Revolutionary battle that was fought in the Southern States. They are heirlooms belonging to me and my posterity. My forefathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and all its honors belong to me in common with the people of this country. Bunker Hill and Lexington belong to me and to you; and while I am unwilling to let them take Eutaw or Camden out of the Union, I am also unwilling to let them, by denunciation or chicanery, put Bunker Hill or Lexington from under the flag of my country. They are all ours. The men of the South and the men of New England tracked with their blood the snows of Valley Forge with our Pennsylvania fathers. It is all, all our country; and we have but to stand by President Lincoln and the war, and our children will inherit it all. The gentleman said the other night that all wars end by negotiations, treaty, and compromise. Yes, all international wars do, but it is not true of civil wars. If it were so, every rebellion that ever has occurred would have ended in the division of one country into two. But rebellions are generally put down. Texas achieved her independence of Mexico; but Ireland has never been able to achieve her independence of England. Poor Kossuth could not achieve the independence of Hungary. Hungary was put down. Poland has never been able to achieve her independence of Russia. Insurrections and rebellions are put down. People love their country. They may complain of their institutions. I gave Poland my sympathy in the days of my youth. I gave Hungary my sympathy; and one of the proudest tes: timonials of my life is an autograph letter from Louis Kossuth, thanking me for what I had done for Hungary. I had argued her cause as my friend tells us Abraham Lincoln argued the cause of Texas, when her people and our friends who had gone there were striking for freedom against Mexican despotism and misrule. I ask you to give Abraham Lincoln credit for the good words my friend read to you, and remember that they were uttered in favor of the Texan people enjoying a free American constitution, instead of being recommitted to the despotism of distant and misgoverned Mexico. Yes, rebellions are generally, put down; and this one will be put down. The Chicago Convention pronounced our war a failure. They lied in the throat when they said so. No nation has ever conquered so much territory in the same time. Members of the Democratic party have told us on the floor of Congress and through their newspapers, that we never can conquer an agricultural people of twelve millions, living on their own soil. Are we not doing it rapidly, thoroughly 7 I first saw the rebel stars and bars across the Susquehanna, floating over most of the houses of the little town of Havre de Grace. At that time, Ben. Butler, whom my friend so loathes, had to take his troops down the Susquehanna, and around by Annapolis, to get them to Washington to defend the Capital. We have meanwhile conquered Maryland, and her people are freer, happier, and more prosperous than they ever were before. A Republican or an Abolitionist is no longer in danger there, but may think and speak freely. I have discussed the issues of the day and maintained the right of every laborer to wages in the lower counties of Maryland, to audiences in which whites and blacks, slaves and slave owners, were mingled like the squares of a checker-board; and the man who speaks most of freedom, and shows most plainly the curse of slavery, is most welcome in that region as an orator. We hold West Virginia, and it is a free State, no longer held, as England holds Ireland, or Austria holds Hungary, by the slave-driving aristocrats of East Virginia. It is a free State, and the people govern themselves. They know by terrible experience the despotism from which they have escaped. Why, under the law of the old State, when men and women were selling at $2000 per head, they were by law assessed as worth only three hundred dollars, and when you could sell a babe in the hour of its birth, if the doctor pronounced it healthy, for $100, the dealers in human flesh being the ruling power of the State, would not allow it to be taxed at all until it came to be twelve years of age. The brutal aristocracy controlling the State taxed the pig of the farmer in West Virginia; they taxed his horses, his plough; they taxed his industry in every shape; but by statute they reduced their slave property to less than one-sixth of its value before they allowed the assessor to come near it. There stands West Virginia, a free State to-day—as the gentleman would say, a “sovereign State” —with her three Union members of Congress and her two Union Senators. I know that the gentleman does not like it, because it proves that the Administration and its friends are reconstructing the Union. It was for this reason that the delegates from West Virginia were refused seats in the Chicago Convention. Let me ask my Democratic hearers whether, if half the people of a State, covering half its territory, want to come back into the Union, we must say, “No, you must wait till those traitors who have involved us all in war, are ready to come with you.” The people of West Virginia wanted to come in. They had a territory nearly as large as half our State, much larger than Maryland, and we welcomed them. They rejoice in their subjugation, and are devoted to Union and freedom. Kentucky had as duly elected members of the last House, Green, Clay, Smith, William H. Randall, and Julian Anderson, and they voted with me every time. If I voted for the twenty-three acts which the gentleman has referred to, I did it in company with these three Kentuckians, and the members from Maryland (except my competitor's friend, Mr. Harris) and the members from West Virginia, and the majority of members from Missouri. - . .* But I deny that there are any such acts on the statute book. We passed acts touching the negro, but none of the kind described by the gentleman's question. . We have also conquered Missouri, though the rebels are again threatening her borders. We have a pretty broad foothold in Arkansas. We have ransacked the residence of Jeff. Davis, and found there the letter of Franklin Pierce, declaring that if the South should secede and a war begin, it would not be confined to the South, but would extend to our own cities. our own towns, our own villages. You remember that letter, for it has been published broadcast. It corresponded with the tenor of Mr. Buchanan's message, and assured the Southern States that they could go out without fear of resistance. . Vicksburg is in Mississippi, and we took it with a garrison of thirty-odd thousand men. We have a lodgment there that enables us to protect the freedom of the Mississippi for a thousand miles. We have opened that river. This and the conquest of all the territory along either side of that river for that immense distance is a work the like of which was never achieved by any nation in a war of less than four years. We hold the commercial frontiers of Louisiana, and command the commerce of the Gulf. We ean march through Florida any day we want to. We are teaching the loyal people on the coast of South Carolina and the Sea Islands to read the Lord's Prayer and the Constitution of the United States, to do which they were never permitted before. We hold so much of North Carolina that those of her people who resist the rebel conscription, and the deserters from their army can rally to the number of seventeen hundred and drive Jeff Davis's minions from their front. Our flag, if we could get it to them, would float over their citadel, and it will not be long till we give it to them. We hold Norfolk, and have got back the navy yard where were burned many of those magnificent vessels which Toucey surrendered to the embryo Confederacy. We have made the American flag the proudest in the world, and have taught England and France that if we can do so much during a civil war, we shall, when we are again one people, be invincible
Speech of Hon. William D. Kelley in the
DELIVERED IN THE HALL OF THE SPRING GARDEN INSTITUTE, ON . THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 29, 1864.
F HONOGRAPHIC REPORT BY D. WOLF E BROWN.
My FELLow-CITIZENs: I think that the course which this discussion has thus far taken has been very judicious; that it is much better that, before entering into the minutiae of the discussion, the matters merely personal, we should have examined broadly the history of parties as they have been connected with this rebellion, and settled clearly what has been the course of the leaders of those parties, those whom they have respectively exalted to high and potential stations. I think that we have pretty well determined these questions, as well as the relaitons that my competitor and myself respectively have borne, now bear, and will in the event of election bear to the great issues of the day and the great interests of the American people. You understand now that I am for the war; that I regard it as the only way to enduring peace; that I will support it by every word I may utter and every vote I may give; that I will not consent to its suspension until those who have arrayed themselves in arms against your Government, your rights, and your interests have all laid down their arms and acknowledged the supremacy of the Constitution of our country throughout its broad limits. You have also learned that my distinguished competitor is the apologist for the rebellion; that he finds in the fact that the people of New England will think and will utter their thoughts a justification of the rebellion on the part of the Southern people; that he believes that the war has been conducted unconstitutionally, and ought to be arrested, so as to give the rebels time to consider whether they will lay down their arms; and that he believes the Government has not acted wisely in international affairs, and condemns its course in regard to the Monroe doctrine, about which it has not acted at all, and the Trent case.
His argument touching the Trent affair did not strike me as possessing the same originality with which it may have struck you. I had heard it before. I had the honor of replying to it on the floor of Congress, on the 7th of January, 1862, when it was uttered by the gentleman's great prototype, Clement L. Wallandigham, of Ohio. He, too, thought that we ought to have gone to war with England about the Trent case. He, too, taunted the supporters of the Administration with the fact that Congress had adopted a resolution of thanks to Commodore Wilkes, and that the Secretary of the Navy had written him a letter of qualified commendation, and yet that the prisoners whom he had arrested had been surrendered. I have no doubt that my friend put his argument as powerfully as Wallandigham did, but, as I say, it did not impress me so much, because it was not so novel as when I heard it from the lips of that eminent McClellan Democrat. I have here a copy of the brief speech which I made on that occasion, the first of my Congressional efforts, and I propose to answer my friend as I answered his friend Mr. Wallandigham. On the 7th of January, 1862, I said:—
“I voted in common with the whole House for the thanks to Captain Wilkes. I know that since then the four persons he captured have been surrendered, yet I do not regret that vote. It was well cast, and I do not mean to say that the surrender was not well made. Captain Wilkes was an experienced officer of our navy—a service deeply disgraced by a want of devotion to their country on the part of many of its officers. He saw what he believed to be his duty, and he paused not to consider whether it involved personal consequences, but, as he understood it, performed that duty; he performed it in a manner creditable alike to his head and his heart; firmly, thoroughly, but in a manner marked by humanity and consideration for the feelings and interests of innocent passengers on board the Trent and the necessities of an age of steam navigation. Congress, without qualification, indorsed that act. Not so with the Administration.” (My friend said that the Administration had approved the act.) “While the Secretary of the Navy approved the act, he admonished the actor that it must not be considered a precedent for the surrender of another vessel under like circumstances. The Administration saw that Captain Wilkes's act of humanity might be taken advantage of by such a power as England, and it marked at once its discriminating appreciation of the eonduct of its officer, and of the nation with which it had to do, by the just qualification of its approval. As a member of the American Congress I do, from the bottom of my heart, thank Captain Wilkes for his gallant and humane conduct.