Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention
:--I feel greatly oppressed by the circumstances under which I now stand before you. After a life spent in labor, I had hoped that I would be permitted to pass its evening in retirement.
I have never coveted public office, never desired public station.
I have been content to discharge my duties as a private citizen, and I hoped such would be my lot during the remainder of my life.
Circumstances seemed to make it a duty for me, when the convention was first elected, to agree to serve as one of its members, because the condition of the State
and country at large seemed to demand that every citizen of the State
should throw aside his own preferences, choice, and even his own scheme of life, if necessary, in order to serve the country.
In accordance with what I regarded as an obligation every citizen owes to the community of which he is a member, I allowed myself to be chosen as a member of this body.
I came here and endeavored, as far as I could, to serve the best interests of the State
, and you now have chosen to put upon me a still more onerous and still more distasteful duty — a duty from which I shrink.
Nothing but the manner in which it has been pressed upon me ever would have induced me to yield my personal objections to it. The members of this body, in the present distracted state of the country, have come to me since it was clearly manifest that the office of Provisional Governor
would be made, and have urged that I should allow myself to fill that position.
Nor was it the action of any political party--men of all parties have united in it. Those who have belonged to the parties that have all departed in the midst of the present difficulties and trials of the country have united in making this application to me. They have represented that my long residence in the State
and the familiar acquaintance of the people with me would insure a higher degree of confidence, and better secure the interests, the peace, and order in the community than would be consequent on the selection of any other person.
God knows there is nothing now that I would not give within the limits of any thing reasonable, in order to escape being appointed.
But when it was said to me by those repesenting the people of the State
that I could contribute, by assuming this public trust, to secure the peace of Missouri
, in which I have lived for more than forty years, that I might secure the peace of those who are the children of fathers with whom I was intimate, I thought it my duty to serve.
It is, therefore, an entire yielding up; it is the yielding of all my own schemes, of all my own individual wishes and purposes, when I undertake to assume this office.
I could give you, gentlemen of the convention, no better idea of my devotion to what I believe to be the interest of the State
, than I do now, if you could only understand the reluctance with which I accept the election with which you were pleased to honor me. But yet, gentlemen, with all that has been said of the good result to be accomplished by me, it is utterly impossible that any one man can pacify the troubled waters of the State
; that any one man can still the commotion now running throughout our borders.
No man can do it. You, as you go forth to mingle with your fellow-citizens throughout the land, look back upon this election as an experiment that is about to be tried to endeavor to pacify this community, and restore peace and harmony to the State
It is an experiment by those whose interests are with your interests, and who are bound to do all in their power to effect this pacification of the State
It may be we have not adopted the best plan or the best mode of securing the object which we desire; but we have done what seemed to us in our maturest judgment best calculated to accomplish it. And now, gentlemen, when you go forth to mingle with your fellow-citizens, it must depend upon you what shall be the result of this experiment.
If you desire the peace of the State
--if you earnestly desire it — then give this experiment a fair trial; give it a full opportunity of developing all its powers of restoring peace.
I ask you — I have a right to ask of every member of this convention — that he and I should so act together as will redound to the common good of our State.
I feel that I have a right to ask, when you have by your voice placed me in such a position, that you shall unite with me your efforts and voice, instead of endeavoring to prevent the result we all desire.
Unite all your efforts so that the good which is desired may be accomplished; and with the blessing of that Providence
which rules over all affairs, public and private, we may accomplish the end for which we have labored, and which shall cause all the inhabitants of the State
Gentlemen of the convention, what is it that we are now threatened with?
We apprehend that we may soon be in that condition of anarchy, in which a man when he goes to bed with his family at night does not know whether he shall ever rise again, or whether his house shall remain intact until morning.
This is the kind of danger, not merely a war between different divisions of the State
, but a war between neighbors, so that when a man meets those with whom he has associated from childhood, he begins to feel that they are his enemies.
We must avoid that.
It is terrible.
The scenes of the French
revolution may be enacted in every quarter of our State, if we do not succeed in avoiding that kind of war. We can do it if we are in earnest, and endeavor with all our power.
So far as I am concerned, I assure you that it shall be the very highest object — the sole aim
of every official act of mine — to make sure that the people of the State of Missouri
can worship their God together, each feeling that the man who sits in the same pew with him, because he differs with him on political questions, is not his enemy — that they may attend the same communion and go to the same heaven.
I wish for every citizen of the State of Missouri
that, when he meets his fellow-man, confidence in him may be restored, and confidence in the whole society restored, and that there shall be conversations upon other subjects than those of blood and slaughter; that there shall be something better than this endeavor to encourage hostility between persons who entertain different political opinions, and something more and better than a desire to produce injury to those who may differ from them.
Gentlemen, if you will unite with me, and carry home this purpose to carry it out faith-fully, much can be accomplished, much good can be done; and I am persuaded that each one of you will feel that it is his duty, his individual duty — for in this case it is the duty of every American citizen to do all he can for the welfare of the State
I have made no elaborate preparations for an address to you on this occasion, but I have come now to express to you my earnest desire that we shall be found cooperating for the same common good in which each one of us is equally interested; that, although differing as to modes and schemes, we shall be found united in the great work of pacification.
, the Lieut.-Governor
, on taking the official oath, remarked as follows:
Gentlemen of the Convention
, I appreciate highly the honor conferred upon me, by my election to the office of Lieutenant-Governor
of the State
When I reflect upon the embarrassments and difficulties which surround that position, I cannot but regret that your choice has not fallen upon another individual.
I concur with the gentleman who has been elected Governor, and who has just addressed you, in deprecating the state of things which now exist in the State of Missouri
We are in the midst of a civil war, and I can only say that I will unite my energies with him to do all that we can to mitigate its horrors and shorten its duration.
Gentlemen, it is scarcely necessary for me to say that my opinion as to the causes of our domestic difficulties has been sufficiently exemplified by my acts and words since I have been a member of this body.
It can scarcely be necessary for me to say that, in my opinion, our difficulties have been produced almost solely, if not entirely, by an effort upon the part of certain of our officers and citizens to dissolve our connection with the Federal Government
I believe, gentlemen, that to Missouri
union is peace, and disunion is war. I believe that today Missouri
could be as peaceful as Illinois
, if her citizens would have recognized their obligations to the Constitution
and laws of their country, and I am free to say that I know of no reason why they should not so act. Whatever might be said by citizens of other States, certainly Missourians have no right to complain of the general course of the Government
of the United States
I believe it to be a fact that there is no law of a general character upon your statutes that has been enacted since Missouri
came into the Union
, but had received the votes and support of the Representatives
of the people of this State.
Whatever we have asked from the Government
of the United States
has been given to us most cheerfully.
We asked a liberal land policy, and we got it; we asked grants for our railroads, and we got them; we asked for a fugitive slave law, and it was given to us; we asked that our peculiar views in reference to the finances of the country should be regarded, and even that was granted.
In short, I feel, I may safely say, that if the people of this State had had the whole control of the Federal Government
, if there had been but one.
State in the Union
, the very policy which has been adopted by the General Government
would have been adopted as best calculated to advance the interests of the State
It is true, gentlemen, that, owing to divisions among us, private and sometimes public rights have been violated; but I believe I cannot be mistaken as to the real cause of the troubles which are now upon us. I believe there is no need, and there never has been any need, of a civil war in this State.
I believe we should have had none, if the views of this Convention, as expressed in March last, had been carried out; and I believe if we will return to these views, civil war will cease within our borders.
It shall, therefore, gentlemen, be my duty, my pride, as well as my pleasure, to do all that I can for both the success and prevalence of those views in this State, while I have the honor to hold the position which you have conferred upon me. Notwithstanding the denunciations we sometimes hear against the Government
of the United States
and the assaults made upon it, I am free to admit that, when I reflect upon the history of this State, when I remember its humble origin, when I look upon the proud and exalted position that it occupied but a few months ago, my affections do cluster around the Government
of my country.
As a Missourian, I desire no change in the political relations that exist between this State and the Government
of the United States
, and least of all do I desire such a change as will throw her into the arms of those who have proved unfaithful to the high trust imposed upon them by a generous and a confiding people.
, I am ready to take the oath.
, Secretary of State
elect, followed in a few remarks of similar import as those of Messrs. Gamble