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[496] latter to the popular forum, where — especially in Ohio — it was continued with decided frankness as well as remarkable pertinacity and vehemence. And one natural consequence of such discussion was to render the Democratic party more decidedly, openly, palpably, anti-War than it had hitherto been.

Perhaps the very darkest days that the Republic ever saw were the ten which just preceded the 4th of July, 1863--when our oft-beaten Army of the Potomac was moving northward to cover Washington and Baltimore — when Milroy's demolition at Winchester seemed to have filled the bitter cup held to our lips at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville — when tidings of the displacement of Hooker by Meade, just on the eve of a great, decisive battle, were received with a painful surprise by many sad, sinking hearts — when Grant was held at bay by Vicksburg and Banks by Port Hudson; while Rosecrans had for half a year stood still in Middle Tennessee. At this hour of national peril and depression, when the early appearance of Lee's victory-crowned legions in the streets of Philadelphia and New York was confidently, exultingly anticipated by thousands, our leading Democratic statesmen and orators were preparing orations and addresses for the approaching anniversary of our National Independence, which were in due time delivered to applauding, enthusiastic thousands, though the speakers were generally as chary as the Ohio Democratic State Committee of admitting the existence in our country of a gigantic Rebellion, and insisting on the duty of aiding in its suppression. Not the Rebel chiefs conspiring, nor the Rebel armies advancing at their behest, to overthrow the Government and sever finally the Union, but the directors and chief functionaries of that Government, were regarded and reprobated by those orators as public enemies to be combated, resisted, and overcome.

Ex-President Franklin Pierce1 was the orator at a great Democratic mass meeting held at Concord, N. H.; and, in his carefully prepared oration, amid the ringing acclaim of thousands, he said:

The Declaration of Independence laid the foundation of our political greatness in the two fundamental ideas of the absolute independence of the American people, and of the sovereignty of their respective States. Under that standard, our wise and her<*> forefathers fought the battle of the Revolution; under that, they conquered. In this spirit, they established the Union; having the conservative thought ever present to their minds, of the original sovereignty and independence of the several States, all with their diverse institutions, interests, opinions, and habits, to be maintained intact and secure, by the reciprocal stipulations and mutual compromises of the Constitution. They were master builders, who reared up the grand structure of the Union--that august temple beneath whose dome three generations have enjoyed such blessings of civil liberty as were never before vouchsafed by Providence to man — that temple before whose altars you and I have not only howed with devout and grateful hearts, but where, with patriotic vows and sacrifices, we have

1 See his letter to Jeff. Davis, Vol. I., p. 512.

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