My Friends: I have come down here from the quiet of the country to see what was the difficulty — to learn what all this trouble was concerning the Draft. Let me assure you that I am your friend. [Uproarious cheering.] You have been my friends--[cries of “Yes,” “Yes,” “That's so:” ‘We are, and will be again’]--and now I assure you, my fellow citizens, that I am here to show you a test of my friendship. [Cheers.] I wish to inform you that I have sent my Adjutant-General to Washington to confer with the authorities there, and to have this Draft suspended and stopped. [Vociferous cheers.] I now ask you, as good citizens, to wait for his return; and I assure you that I will do all that I can to see that there is no inequality, and no wrong done any one. I wish you to take good care of all property as good citizens, and see that every person is safe. The safe-keeping of property and persons rests with you; and I charge you to disturb neither. It is your duty to maintain the good order of the city; and I know you will do it. I wish you now to separate as good citizens, and you can assemble again whenever you wish to do so. I ask you to leave all to me now, and I will see to your rights. Wait until my Adjutant returns from Washington, and you shall be satisfied. Listen to me, and see that no harm is done to either persons or property, but retire peaceably.The most objectionable feature of this brief address was not its initial salutation, but its underlying assumption that order and obedience to law were suspended on the stoppage of the Draft. True, he did not in terms say, “It would be right to riot, and burn buildings, and hunt negroes, and slaughter officers, if the Draft were to go on; but I will have it stopped and given up; so go home and keep the peace;” but, to the minds of the rioters, his speech amounted exactly to that. Hence, there was great danger that tranquillity thus attained would be broken whenever the attempt to enforce the Draft should be renewed. And it was already well understood — indeed, it had been proposed to prominent Republicans the day before — that, if they would promise that the Draft should be arrested, the riots should thereupon be stopped. The riots continued during the fourth day (Thursday); but were then mainly restricted to isolated robberies and assaults on unprotected negroes, many of whom were most inhumanly abused, and two or three murdered. The only continuously embodied force of rioters held the eastern upper part of the city, where many large tenement houses are densely crowded with the poorest of our foreign-born population, and where Col. O'Brien, who had been in command of a volunteer military force, had been followed to his home on Tuesday, and there beaten to death by the rioters, under circumstances of shocking barbarity. Here, especially in and near 21st-st., eastward of Third Avenue, a determined stand was made, during the evening of Thursday, by the rioters, against
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.