Eleven States of the Union
are now armed and in open rebellion against National authority; they have paralyzed the business of the nation, have involved us in civil war, and are now exerting their combined energies to rob us of the blessings of a free Government.
The greatness of their crime has no parallel in the history of human Governments.
At this critical juncture our liberties are still further imperilled by the utterance of seditious language; by a traitorous Press, which excuses or justifies the rebellion; by secret organizations, which propose to resist the execution of the laws of this State by force; by the public exhibition of “peace flags,” falsely so-called; and by an effort to redress grievances, regardless of the forms and officers of the law.
The very existence of our Government, the future prosperity of this entire nation, and the hopes of universal freedom, demand that these outrages be suppressed.
The Constitution guarantees liberty of speech and of the Press, but holds the person and the Press responsible for the evils which result from this liberty.
It guarantees the protection of property, but it regards no property as sacred which is used to subvert governmental authority.
It guarantees the person from unreasonable seizure, but it protects no individual from arrest and punishment who gives aid and comfort to the enemies of our country.
It provides by law for the punishment of offences, but allows no grievance to be redressed by violence.
I, therefore, call upon the citizens of this State to support and uphold the authority and dignity of the Government
, and to abstain from every act which can tend to encourage and strengthen this conspiracy; and I call upon the officers of the law to be active, diligent, and fearless in arresting and in instituting legal proceedings for the punishment of those who disturb the public peace, of those who are guilty of sedition and treason, and of those who are engaged in combinations to obstruct the execution of the laws, so that peace may again be restored to our distracted country, and the liberties of the people be preserved.
Given under my hand and the seal of this State, at Hartford
, this, the 31st day of August, A. D. 1861.