has been no disagreement between Republicans, Bell
men, and Breckinridge
men, as regards the preservation of the Union of States.
Now, however, these measures are all laid aside — all these party questions are left out of consideration, and the great question comes up whether the Constitution
, as adopted by the old articles of Confederation and afterwards reaffirmed in the adoption of the Constitution of the United States
--I say now, when the great question arises, involving the preservation and existence of the Government
of the United States
, I am proud to meet this vast concourse of people, and hear them say they are willing to lay aside all party measures — all party considerations, and come up to join in one fraternal hug to sustain the bright Stars and broad Stripes of our glorious Union--all willing to unite, I repeat, in one fraternal hug — all willing to co-operate for the consummation of a sublime purpose, without regard to former party differences — that we are all determined to stand fast by the Union
of these States.
So far as I am concerned I am willing to say in this connection, that I am proud — I am gratified to stand here among you as one of the humble upholders and supporters of the Stars and Stripes that have been borne by Washington
through a seven years revolution — a bold and manly struggle for our independence — and separation from the mother country.
That is my flag — that flag was borne by Washington
Under it I want to live, and under no other.
It is that flag that has been borne in triumph by the Revolutionary fathers over every battle-field, when our brave men after toil and danger laid down and slept on the cold ground, with no covering but the inclement sky, and arose in the morning and renewed their march over the frozen ground, as the blood trickled from their feet — all to protect that banner, and bear it aloft triumphantly.
I repeat that I am proud to be in your midst — am amongst this vast number to uphold the flag that was borne by Washington
— the emblem of the Union of States.
(Applause.) I have intimated that I should make some allusion to myself.
I have indicated to you what were my opinions and my views from 1838 down to the moment I stand before you. With the facts in relation to the contest which took place recently in the State of Tennessee
, you are all familiar.
No longer ago than last February there was an extra session of the Legislature called.
There was then a law passed authorizing a Convention to be called.
The people of that State voted it down by a majority of sixty-four thousand.
In a very short time afterwards, another session of the Legislature was called.
This legislature went into secret session in a very short time.
While the Southern Confederacy, or its agents, had access to it, and were put in possession of the doings and proceedings of this secret session, the great mass of my own State were not permitted even to put their ears to the keyhole, or to look through a crevice in the doors, to ascertain what was being done.
A league with the Southern Confederacy has been formed, and the State
has been handed over to the Southern Confederacy, with Jeff. Davis
at its head.
We, the people of Tennessee
, have been handed over to this Confederacy, I say, like sheep in the shambles, bound hand and foot, to be disposed of as Jefferson Davis
and his cohorts may think proper.
This Ordinance was passed by the Convention
with a proviso that it should be submitted to the people.
The Governor was authorized to raise 55,000 men. Money was appropriated to enable him to carry out this diabolical and nefarious scheme, depriving the people of their rights, disposing of them as stock in the market — handing them over completely, body and soul, to the Southern Confederacy.
Now you may talk about slaves and slavery, but in most instances when a slave changes his master, even he has the privilege of choosing whom he desires for his next master; but in this instance, the sovereign people of a free State have not been allowed the power or privilege of choosing the master they desired to serve.
They have been given a master without their consent or advice.
No trouble was taken to ascertain what their desires were — they were at once handed over to this Southern Confederacy.
here gave a statement of the provisions of the Tennessee
secession ordinance, etc. The eastern portion of the State
, he said, had rejected the ordinance by a large majority, and would always remain firmly opposed to it. He referred to the refusal of Gov. Harris
to furnish arms to East Tennessee
, unless the people would agree to fight for the State Government
Speaking of the persecution of the Union
men in Tennessee
, he said:
But while this contest has been going on, a portion of our fellow-citizens have been standing up for the Constitution
and the Union
, and because they have dared to stand upon the great embattlement of constitutional liberties, exercising the freedom and the liberty of speech, a portion of our people have declared that we are traitors; they have said that our fate was to be the fate of traitors; and that hemp was growing, and that the day of our execution was approaching — that the time would come when those who dare stand by the Constitution
and the principles therein embraced, would expiate their deeds upon the gallows.
We have met all these things.
We have met them in open day. We have met them face to face — toe to toe — at least in one portion of the State
We have told them that the Constitution of the United States
defines treason, and that definition is, that treason against the United States
shall consist only in levying war against the General Government
of the United States
We have told them that the time would come