those who subsequently administered it, and it must make laws for itself.
The Government has been like a strong swimmer suddenly precipitated into the sea, and like that swimmer it has unhesitatingly and most justifiably seized upon any and every instrumentality with which it could subdue the treacherous currents and waves by which it has found itself surrounded.
All that was irregular or illegal in the action of the President
has been fully approbated by the country, and will no doubt be approbated by Congress, on the broad and incontestable principle that laws and usages of administration designed to preserve the existence of the nation should not be suffered to become the instruments of its death.
So, for the future I do not hesitate to say that any and every required to save the Republic
from the perils that beset it not only may, but ought to be, taken by the Administration, promptly and fearlessly.
Within so brief a period no such gigantic power has ever been placed at the disposal of any government as that which has rallied to the support of this within the last few months, through those volunteers who have poured alike from hill and valley, city and villarge, throughout the loyal States.
All classes and all pursuits have been animated by the same lofty and quenchless enthusiasm.
While, however, I would make no invidious distinctions, where all have so nobly done their duty, I cannot refrain from remarking how conspicuous the hard-handed tillers of the soil of the North and West have made themselves in swelling the ranks of our army.
We honor commerce with its busy marts, and the workshop with its patient toil and exhaustless ingenuity, but still we would be unfaithful to the truth of history did we not confess that the most heroic champions of human freedom and the most illustrious apostles of its principles have come from the broad fields of agriculture.
There seems to be something in the scenes of nature, in her wild and beautiful landscapes, in her cascades, and cataracts, and waving woodlands, and in the pure and exhilarating airs of her hills and mountains, that unbraces the fetters which man would rivet upon the spirit of his fellow-man.
It was at the handles of the plough and amid the breathing odors of its newly-opened furrows that the character of Cincinnatus
was formed, expanded, and matured.
It was not in the city full, but in the deep gorges and upon the snow-clad summits of the Alps
, amid the eagles and the thunders, that William Tell
laid the foundations of those altars to human liberty, against which the surging tides of European
despotism have beaten for centuries, but, thank God, have beaten in vain.
It was amid the primeval forests and mountains, the lakes and leaping streams of our own land; amid fields of waving grain; amid the songs of the reaper and the tinkling of the shepherd's bell that were nurtured those rare virtues which clustered star-like in the character of Washington
, and lifted him in moral stature a head and shoulders above even the demi-gods of ancient story.
There is one most striking and distinctive feature of your mission that should never be lost sight of. You are not about to invade the territory of a foreign enemy, nor is your purpose that of conquest or spoliation.
Should you occupy the South
, you will do so as friends and protectors, and your aim will be not to subjugate that betrayed and distracted country, but to deliver it from the remorseless military despotism by which it is trodden down.
Union men, who are your brethren, throng in those States, and will listen for the coming footsteps of your army, as the Scottish maiden of Lucknow
listened for the airs of her native measure land.
It is true, that amid the terrors and darkness which prevail there, they are silenced and are now unseen, but be assured that by the light of the stars you carry upon your banner you will find them all. It has been constantly asserted by the conspirators throughout the South
that this is a war of subjugation on the part of the Government
of the United States
, waged for the extermination of Southern institutions, and by vandals and miscreants, who, in the fury of their passions, spare neither age, nor sex, nor property.
Even one of the Confederate
generals has so far steeped himself in infamy as to publish, in choice Billingsgate, this base calumny, through an official proclamation.
In view of what Congress has recently so solemnly resolved, and in view of the continuous and consistent action of the Administration upon the subject, those who, through the press or in public speeches, persist in repeating the wretched slander, are giving utterance to what everybody, themselves included, knows to be absolutely and infamously false.
It will be the first and the highest duty of the American
army as it advances South, by its moderation and humanity, by its exemption from every excess and irregularity, and by its scrupulous observance of the rights of all, to show how foully both it and the Government
it represents have been traduced.
When, therefore, you enter the South
, press lightly upon her gardens and fields; guard sacredly her homes; protect, if need be, at the point of your bayonets, her institutions and her constitutional rights, for you will thereby not only respond fully to the spirit and objects of this war, but you will exert over alike the oppressed and the infatuated portion of her people, a power to which the most brilliant of your military successes might not attain.
But when you meet in battle array those atrocious conspirators who, at the head of armies, and through woes unutterable, are seeking the ruin of our common country, remember that since the sword flamed over the portals of Paradise until now, it has been drawn in no holier cause than that in which you are engaged.
Remember, too, the millions whose hearts are breaking under the anguish of this terrible crime, and then strike boldly, strike in the power of