previous next
[433] votes in favor of the Union at the election. After that, this portion of the State, East Tennessee, called a convention, and the convention published an address, in which they sum up some of the grievances which we have been bearing in that portion of the country. They say:

The Memphis Appeal, a prominent disunion paper, published a false account of our proceedings, under the head ‘The Traitors in Council,’ and styled us, who represented every county but two in East Tennessee, ‘the little batch of disaffected traitors who hover around the noxious atmosphere of Andrew Johnson's home.’ Our meeting was telegraphed to the New Orleans Delta, and it was falsely said that we had passed a resolution recommending submission if seventy thousand votes were not cast against secession. The despatch added that ‘the Southern Rights men are determined to hold possession of the State, though they should be in a minority.’

They had fifty-five thousand men and $5,000,000 to sustain them, the State authorities with them, and made the declaration that they intended to hold the State though they should be in a minority. This shows the advance of tyranny and usurpation. By way of showing the Senate some of the wrongs borne and submitted to by that people who are loyal to the Government — who have been deprived of the arms furnished by the Government for their protection — withheld by this little man Harris, the Governor of the State--I will read a few paragraphs from the address:

It has passed laws declaring it treason to say or do any thing in favor of the Government of the United States or against the Confederate States; and such a law is now before, and we apprehend will soon be passed by, the Legislature of Tennessee.

It has involved the Southern States in a war whose success is hopeless, and which must ultimately lead to the ruin of the people.

Its bigoted, overbearing, and intolerant spirit has already subjected the people of East Tennessee to many petty grievances; our people have been insulted; our flags have been fired upon and torn down; our houses have been rudely entered; our families have been subjected to insult; our peaceable meetings interrupted; our women and children shot at by a merciless soldiery; our towns pillaged; our citizens robbed, and some of them assassinated and murdered.

No effort has been spared to deter the Union men of East Tennessee from the expression of their free thoughts. The penalties of treason have been threatened against them, and murder and assassination have been openly encouraged by leading secession journals. As secession has been thus overbearing and intolerant while in the minority in East Tennessee, nothing better can be expected of the pretended majority than wild, unconstitutional, and oppressive legislation; an utter contempt and disregard of law, a determination to force every Union man in the State to swear to the support of a constitution he abhors, to yield his money and property to aid a cause he detests, and to become the object of scorn and derision, as well as the victim of intolerable and relentless oppression.

These are some of the wrongs that we are enduring in that section of Tennessee; not near all of them, but a few which I have presented that the country may know what we are submitting to. Since I left my home, having only one way to leave the State, through two or three passes coming out through Cumberland Gap, I have been advised that they had even sent their armies to blockade these passes in the mountains, as they say, to prevent Johnson from returning with arms and munitions to place in the hands of the people to vindicate their rights, repel invasion, and put down domestic insurrection and rebellion. Yes, sir, there they stand in arms, environing a population of three hundred and twenty-five thousand loyal, brave, patriotic, and unsubdued people; but yet powerless, and not in a condition to vindicate their rights. Hence I come to the Government, and I do not ask it as a suppliant, but I demand it as a Constitutional right, that you give us protection, give us arms, and munitions; and if they cannot be got there in any other way, to fake them there with an invading army, and deliver the people from the oppression to which they are now subjected. We claim to be the State. The other divisions may have seceded and gone off; and if this Government will stand by and permit those portions of the State to go off, and not enforce the laws and protect the loyal citizens there, we cannot help it; but we still claim to be the State, and if two-thirds have fallen off, or have been sunk by an earthquake, it does not change our relation to this Government. If the Government will let them go and not give us protection, the fault is not ours; but if you give us protection we intend to stand as a State, as a part of this Confederacy, holding to the Stars and Stripes, the flag of our country. We demand it according to law ; we demand it upon the guarantees of the Constitution. You are bound to guarantee to us a republican form of government, and we ask it as a Constitutional right. We do not ask you to interfere as a party, as your feelings or prejudices may be one way or another in reference to the parties of the country; but we ask you to interfere as a Government, according to the Constitution. Of course we want your sympathy, and your regard, and your respect; but we ask your interference on Constitutional grounds.

The amendments to the Constitution, which constitute the Bill of Rights, declare that “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Our people are denied this right secured to

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (7)
United States (United States) (2)
Cumberland Gap (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Andrew Johnson (2)
Isham G. Harris (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: