country to the very verge of destruction.
Once more, I come before you, to offer again an earnest prayer, and beg you to listen to a warning.
Our country is not only at this time torn by one of the bloodiest wars that has ever ravaged the face of the earth; but, if we turn our faces to our own loyal States, how is it there?
You find the community divided into political parties, strongly arrayed, and using with regard to each other terms of reproach and defiance.
It is said by those who support more particularly the Administration, that we, who differ honestly, patriotically, sincerely, from them with regard to the line of duty, are men of treasonable purposes and enemies to our country. [ “ Hear, hear.” ] On the other hand, the Democratic organization look upon this Administration as hostile to their rights and liberties; they look upon their opponents as men who would do them wrong in regard to their most sacred franchises.
I need not call your attention to the tone of the press, or to the tone of public feeling, to show you how, at this moment, parties are thus exasperated, and stand in defiant attitudes to each other.
A few years ago, we were told that sectional strife.
waged in words like these, would do no harm to our country; but you have seen the sad and bloody results.
Let us be admonished now in time, and take care that this irritation, this feeling which is growing up in our midst, shall not also ripen into civil troubles that shall carry the evils of war into our own homes.
Upon one point, all are agreed, and that is this: Until we have a united North, we can have no successful war. Until we have a united, harmonious North, we can have no beneficent peace.
How shall we gain harmony?
How shall the unity of all be obtained?
Is it to be coerced?
I appeal to you, my Republican friends, when you say to us that the nation's life and existence hang upon harmony and concord here, if you yourselves, in your serious moments, believe that this is to be produced by seizing our persons, by infringing upon our rights, by insulting our homes, and by depriving us of those cherished principles for which our fathers fought, and to which we have always sworn allegiance.
After some variations on this theme, he continues his appeal to Republicans in these words:
We only ask that you shall give to us that which you claim for yourselves, and that which every freeman, and every man who respects himself, will have, freedom of speech, the right to exercise all the franchises conferred by the Constitution upon American citizens.
[Great applause.] Can you safely deny us these?
Will you not trample upon your own rights if you refuse to listen?
Do you not create revolution when you say that our persons may be rightfully seized, our property confiscated, our homes entered(? Are you not exposing yourselves, your own interests, to as great a peril as that with which you threaten us?
Remember this, that the bloody, and treasonable, and revolutionary, doctrine of public necessity can be proclaimed by a mob as well as by a government.
[Applause.] * * *
To-day, the great masses of conservatives who still battle for time-honored principles of government, amid denunciation, contumely, and abuse, are the only barriers that stand between this Government and its own destruction.
If we should acquiesce in the doctrine that, in times of war, Constitutions are suspended, and laws have lost their force, then we should accept a doctrine that the very right by which this Government administers its power has lost its virtue, and we would be brought down to the level of rebellion itself, having an existence only by virtue of material power.
When men accept despotism, they may have a choice as to who the despot shall be. The struggle then will not be, Shall we have constitutional liberty?
But, having accepted the doctrine that the Constitution has lost its force, every instinct of personal ambition, every instinct of personal security, will lead men to put themselves under the protection of that power which they suppose most competent to guard their persons.
Near the close of his address, the Governor
We stand to-day amid new-made graves, in a land filled with mourning; upon a soil saturated with the blood of the fiercest conflict of which history gives us an account.
We can, if we will, avert all these calamities, and evoke a blessing.
If we will do what?
Hold that Constitution, and] liberties, and laws, are suspended?--shrink back from the assertion of right?
Will that restore them?
Or shall we do as our fathers did, under circumstances of like trial, when they combated against the powers of a crown?
They did not say that liberty was suspended; that men might be deprived of the right of trial by jury; that they might be torn from their homes by midnight intruders?
[Tremendous and continued applause.] If you would save your country, and your liberties, begin right; begin at the hearth-stones, which are ever meant to be the foundations of American institutions; begin in your family circle; declare that your privileges shall be held sacred; and, having once proclaimed