charity of the Government
on which they are now making war. For long years they were fed from its table, and clothed from its wardrobe, and had their brows garlanded by its honors.
They are the ungrateful sons of a fond mother, who dandled them upon her knee, who lavished upon them the gushing love of her noble and devoted nature, and who nurtured them from the very bosom of her life; and now, in the frenzied excesses of a licentious and baffled ambition, they are stabbing at that bosom with the ferocity with which the tiger springs upon his prey.
The President of the United States
is heroically and patriotically struggling to baffle the machinations of these most wicked men. I have unbounded gratification in knowing that he has the courage to look traitors in the face, and that, in discharging the duties of his great office, he takes no counsel of his fears.
He is entitled to the zealous support of the whole country, and may I not add without offence, that he will receive the support of all who justly appreciate the boundless blessings of our free institutions?
If this rebellion succeeds, it will involve necessarily the destruction of our nationality, the division of our territory, the permanent disruption of the Republic
It must rapidly dry up the sources of our material prosperity, and year by year we shall grow more and more impoverished, more and more revolutionary, enfeebled, and debased.
Each returning election will bring with it grounds for new civil commotions, and traitors, prepared to strike at the country that has rejected their claims to power, will spring up on every side.
Disunion once begun will go on and on indefinitely, and under the influence of the fatal doctrine of secession, not only will States secede from States, but counties will secede from States also, and towns and cities from counties, until universal anarchy will be consummated in each individual who can make good his position by force of arms, claiming the right to defy the power of the Government
Thus we should have brought back to us the days of the robber barons with their moated castles and marauding retainers.
This doctrine when analyzed is simply a declaration that no physical force shall ever be employed in executing the laws or upholding the Government
— and a Government into whose practical administration such a principle has been introduced, could no more continue to exist than a man could live with an angered cobra in his bosom.
If you would know what are the legitimate fruits of secession, look at Virginia
, which have so lately given themselves up to the embraces of this monster.
There the schools are deserted; the courts of justice closed; public and private credit destroyed; commerce annihilated; debts repudiated; confiscations and spoliations everywhere prevailing; every cheek blanched with fear, and every heart frozen with despair; and all over that desolated land the hand of infuriated passion and crime is waving, with a vulture's scream for blood, the sword of civil war. And this is the Pandemonium which some would have transferred to Kentucky
But I am not here to discuss this proposition to-night.
I wish solemnly to declare before you and the world, that I am for this Union without conditions, one and indivisible, now and forever.
I am for its preservation at any and every cost of blood and treasure against all its assailants.
I know no neutrality between my country and its foes, whether they be foreign or domestic; no neutrality between that glorious flag which now floats over us, and the ingrates and traitors who would trample it in the dust.
My prayer is for victory, complete, enduring, and overwhelming, to the armies of the republic over all its enemies.
I am against any and every compromise that may be proposed to be made under the guns of the rebels, while, at the same time, I am decidedly in favor of affording every reasonable guarantee for the safety of Southern institutions, which the honest convictions of the people — not the conspirators — of the South
may demand, whenever they shall lay down their arms, but not until then
. The arbitrament of the sword has been defiantly thrust into the face of the Government
and country, and there is no honorable escape from it. All guarantees and all attempts at adjustment by amendments to the Constitution
, are now scornfully rejected, and the leaders of the rebellion openly proclaim that they are fighting for their independence.
In this contemptuous rejection of guarantees, and in this avowal of the objects of the rebellion now so audaciously made, we have a complete exposure of that fraud which, through the slavery agitation, has been practised upon the public credulity for the last fifteen or twenty years. In the light of this revelation, we feel as one awakened from the suffocating tortures of a nightmare, and realize what a baseless dream our apprehensions have been, and of what a traitorous swindle we have been made the victims.
They are fighting for their independence!
Independence of what?
Independence of those laws which they themselves have aided in enacting; independence of that Constitution which their fathers framed and to which they are parties, and subject by inheritance; independence of that beneficent Government on whose treasury and honors they have grown strong and illustrious.
When a man commits a robbery on the highway, or a murder in the dark, he thereby declares his independence of the laws under which he lives, and of the society of which he is a member.
Should he, when arraigned, avow and justify the offence, he thereby becomes the advocate of the independence he has thus declared; and, if he resists, by force of arms, the officer, when dragging him to the prison, the penitentiary, or the gallows, he is thereby fighting for the independence he has thus declared and advocated; and such is the condition of the conspirators of the South
at this moment.
It is no longer