previous next
[145] of the Union? I answer as the patriotic Clay once answered, and as I know you will answer, “Never, never, never.”
Asked when I'd rend the scroll
     Our fathers' names are written o'er,
When I would see our flag unroll
     Its mingled Stars and Stripes no more
When, with worse than felon hand
     Or felon counsels, I would sever
The Union of this glorious land?
     I answer — never, never! never!!

Think ye that I could brook to see
     The banner I have loved so long
Borne piecemeal o'er the distant sea;
     Torn, trampled by a frenzied throng;
Divided, measured, parcelled out,
     Tamely surrendered up forever,
To gratify a soulless rout
     Of traitors? Never, never! never!!

Independent of the great recollections associated with it, the very country it embraces shows its necessity, and promises and secures its immortality. Its mighty mountains, ranging for hundreds of miles through continuous States; its noble bays, rivers, lakes, only to be prosperously or safely enjoyed under the protection of a common Government; commerce, with other nations, and among States, so vital to the welfare of all; differences of climate and soil and labor and productions, each best for itself, and all vital to the whole. The necessity of a power adequate to the protection of all, as well as of each — of a rank in the community of nations so high as to command respect, enforce rights and repel outrage, so important to all, demonstrates that God and nature intended us to be one.

But whilst these efforts are being made to preserve it, and citizens on all sides are being brought to a sense of reason and duty, what is to be done? Is civil war to commence? Certainly not, unless it be brought on by further outrages on the clearest constitutional rights. South Carolina has violently and most illegally, and, as loyalty says, traitorously, seized upon fortresses, the admitted property of the United States, bought and constructed with their money, and for their protection, and with her consent, and now threatens to seize the rest. But one other, Fort Sumter, is left. It stands protected by the national flag, and its defence, and the honor of the Nation, are, thank God, in the keeping of a faithful and gallant soldier.

The name of Anderson already enjoys an anticipated immortality. Is that fortress to be surrendered? Is he to be abandoned? Forbid it, patriotism! Is that flag that now floats so proudly over him and his command — the pledge of his country's confidence, support, and power, to succumb to the demands of an ungrateful, revolting State, or to be conquered by its superior accidental power? I say, no, no — a thousand times no. The fortress must at all hazards be defended — the power of the National Standard preserved, and the national fame maintained. This has been already sadly neglected, no doubt with good motives, but from misplaced confidence. It recently covered other spots that know it not now. Its place is supplied by one never known to the world, and never to be known.

The Stripes and the Stars have long achieved a glorious name. They have been significant of power wherever they have waved, and commanded the respect and wonder of the world. And yet, in a State that owes so much to it — whose sons have so nobly and so often fought under it — it has been torn down, and vainly sought to be disgraced and conquered. Vain thought! Hear how a native poet speaks of it:

Dread of the proud and beacon to the free,
A hope for other lands — shield of our own,
What hand profane has madly dared advance,
To your once sacred place, a banner strange,
Unknown at Bunker, Monmouth, Cowpens, York,
That Moultrie never reared, or Marion Saw?

If the cannon maintains the honor of our standard, and blood is shed in its defence, it will be because the United States cannot permit its surrender without indelible disgrace and foul abandonment of duty. I have now done, and in conclusion I ask you to do what I am sure you will cheerfully and devoutly do — fervently unite with me in invoking Heaven, in its mercy to us and our race, to interpose and keep us one people under the glorious Union our fathers gave us till time itself shall be no more.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
York (1)
J. P. Anderson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: