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Doc. 205. Gen. Price's proclamation. November 1861.

The following is the proclamation from Gen. Price, issued at Neosho:

Fellow-citizens: In the month of June last, I was called to the command of a handful of Missourians, who nobly gave up home and comforts to espouse in that gloomy hour the cause of your bleeding country, struggling with the most heartless and cruel despotism known among civilized men. When peace and protection could no longer be enjoyed but at the price of honor and liberty, your chief magistrate called for fifty thousand men to drive the ruthless invaders from a soil made fruitful by your labors and consecrated by your homes. And to that call less than five thousand responded out of a male population exceeding two hundred thousand men. One in forty only stepped forward to defend with their persons and their lives the cause of constitutional liberty and human rights. Some allowances are to be made on the face of the want of military organization, a supposed want of arms, the necessary retreat of the army southwards, the blockade of the river, and the presence of an armed and organized foe. But nearly six months have now elapsed. Your crops have been tilled, your harvests have been reaped, your provision for winter has been made. The army of Missouri, organized and equipped, fought its way to the river. The foe is still in the field. The county bleeds and the people groan under the inflictions of a foe marked with all the characteristics of barbarous warfare.

And where now are the fifty thousand, to avenge our wrongs and our country? Had fifty thousand men flocked to our standard, with their shot guns in their hands, there would now be no Federal hirelings in the State to pollute our soil. Instead of ruined counties, starving families, and desolated districts, we should have a people blessed with protection and with stores to supply the want of the necessaries and comforts of life. Where are those fifty thousand [444] men? Are Missourians no longer true to themselves? Are they a timid, time-serving race, fit only for subjugation to a despot? Awake, my countrymen, to a sense of what constitutes the dignity of true greatness of a people! A few men have fought your battles. A few have dared the dangers of the battle-field. A few have borne the hardships of the camp,--the scorching of the sun of summer, the frosts of winter, the privations incident to our circumstances, fatigue, hunger and thirst, often without blankets, without shoes, with the cold, wet earth for a bed, the sky for a covering, and a stone for a pillow; glad only to meet the enemy in the field, where some paid the noblest devotion known among men on earth to the cause of your country and your rights, with their lives. But where one has been lost by battle, many have been lost by disease induced by privation. During all these trials we murmured not. We offered all we had on earth at the altar of our common country, our own beloved Missouri; and we only now ask our fellow citizens, our brethren, to come to us, and help maintain what we have gained, to win our glorious inheritance from the cruel hand of the spoiler and oppressor. Come to us, brave sons of the Missouri valley! Rally to our standard! I must have fifty thousand men. I call upon you, in the name of your country, for fifty thousand men. Do you stay at home to take care of us and your property? Millions of dollars have been lost because you staved at home. Do you stay at home for protection? More men have been murdered at home than I have lost in five successive battles. Do you stay at home to secure terms with the enemy? Then I warn you, the day may soon come, when you will be surrendered to the mercies of that enemy, and your substance given to the Hessians and the Jayhawkers.

I cannot, I will not, attribute such motives to you, my countrymen. But where are our Southern Rights friends? We must drive the oppressor from our land. I must have fifty thousand men. Now is the crisis of your fate; now is the golden opportunity to save the State; now is the time for your political salvation. The time of the enlistment of our brave bands is beginning to expire. Do not hold their patience beyond endurance. Do not longer sicken their hearts by hopes deferred. Boys and small property holders have in the main fought the battles for the protection of your property, and when they ask, where are the men for whom we are fighting, how can I explain, my fellow-citizens? I call upon you, by every consideration of interest, by every desire of safety, by every tie that binds you to home and country, delay no longer. Let the dead bury the dead. Leave your property to take care of itself. Come to the army of Missouri--not for a week, or a month, but to free your country.

Strike, till each armed foe expires!
Strike, for your country's altar fires!
Strike, for the green graves of your sires,
God and your native land!

The burning fires of patriotism lead us on just at the moment when all might forever be saved. Numbers give strength. Numbers intimidate the foe. Numbers save the necessity of often fighting battles. Numbers make our arms irresistible. Numbers command universal respect and insure confidence.

We must have fifty thousand men. Let the herdsman leave his folds, let the farmer leave his field, let the mechanic leave his shop, let the lawyer leave his office, till we restore the supremacy of the law. Let the aspirants to office and place know, that they will be weighed in the balance of patriotism, and may be found wanting. If there be any craven, cringing spirits, who have not the greatness of soul to respond to their country's call for help, let them stay at home, and let only the brave and true come out to join their brethren in the tented field. Come with supplies of clothing, and tents, if you can procure them.

Come with your guns of any description, that can be made to bring down a foe. If you have no arms, come without them. Bring cooking utensils and rations for a few weeks. Bring no horses to remain with the army, except those necessary for transportation. We must have fifty thousand men. Give me these men, and, by the help of God, I will drive the hireling thieves and marauders from the State. But if, Missourians, you fail now to rise in your strength and avail yourselves of this opportunity to work for honor and liberty, you cannot say we have not done all we could to save you.

You will be advised in time at what point to report for organization and active service. Leave your property at home. What if it all be taken? We have twenty million dollars worth of northern means in Missouri which cannot be recovered when we are once a free State, which will indemnify every citizen who may have lost a dollar by adhesion to the cause of your country. But, in the name of God and the attributes of manhood, let me appeal to you by considerations nobler and firmer than money. Are we a generation of drivelling, snivelling, degraded slaves; or are we men, who can maintain the rights bequeathed to us by our fathers? These rights cannot be surrendered. They are founded on principles, pure, and high, and sacred. Be yours the office to choose between the glory of a free country and a just government, or the bondage of your children. I, at least, will never see the chains fastened upon my country. I will ask for six and a half feet of Missouri soil on which to repose, for I will not live to see my people enslaved. Are you coming? Fifty thousand men of Missouri shall move to victory with the tread of a giant. Come on, my brave fifty thousand heroes — gallant, unconquerable southern men! We await your coming.

Sterling Price, Major-General Commanding.

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