obliged to him. Louisville
is in no danger.
She is already fortified by the strong arms of her brave and patriotic citizens.
They are and true to the Union
She has no fears of our own Government.
She knows that the United States Government is hers
, and she loves it for its blessings, and relies upon it for her protection.
If assailed by the seceded States, and hard pushed, she knows where to find defenders, and she will have them.
Her people will not tolerate the enormous expense necessary to her fortification, nor will she, in any event, fortify against her own Government.
As her representative here, I'll lend myself to no such atrocious purpose.
I will not fight, nor prepare to fight, against my own Government, nor countenance the schemes of those who do. Never!
No, sir, let those who would fight the United States
, and like the work, go at it. I will not aid them in their treasonable projects, but will resist them to the last.
But I wish to sum up, Mr. Speaker.
Permit me to tell you, sir, what I think of this whole atrocious scheme of secession.
I speak for myself only, and am alone responsible for what I say; and I thank God that I may still speak what I think on Kentucky
Yes, sir, good, brave old Kentucky
, my mother, “my own native land,” is still free.
There is no reign of terror here.
We still have free speech, a free press, and, as yet, we are free men. Kentucky
is true and loyal to the Government
She still rests her head in peace and security upon the fond breast of her mother — the Union
; and there may she rest forever.
She has called upon her gallant sons to rally around her, and beat off the Vandals who would tear her away from her earliest and holiest associations, and bear her to certain destruction.
is in a false position.
I felt it from the first.
Yet, she having assumed a neutral attitude, I felt it to be my duty to stand by her, and I have faithfully done so. I am willing still to stand by the position of Kentucky
, if we can do so in peace and security.
But the position is an awkward one, and may be more awkward yet before our difficulties are ended.
The Union is threatened; the Government
is threatened by those who have not one well-grounded complaint to make against it — by those who have controlled its destinies for years.
I denounce the effort, and those who make it. I say it is wrong — infamous; and if successful it must entail ruin upon us and ours.
We see the work of mischief going on, and quietly sit by with folded arms while it is done.
has as much interest in the Union
as any other State.
She loves it as devotedly and shares its benefits and blessings in common with her sister States.
She owes it her allegiance and her aid. Her people work for the Union
; they talk for it; they pray for its preservation; yet they stand idly by, and let others, who have no more interest in it than themselves, defend it, and save it if they can. It is in a death struggle for existence, yet we have not a hand to raise in its defence.
You say that it is the best government that ever existed on earth — it has ever protected and never oppressed you. But we are told that this is a fratricidal war — a wicked
Well, who began it?
Who caused it?
Who attempted to break up the Government
Who set the will of the people at defiance, and overturned the “best government on earth” ? Let recently passed events, and those which are daily being enacted, answer.
I say the laws should be enforced if we have any. If we have a government let it be maintained and obeyed.
And if a wicked, factious minority, without cause, undertakes to override the will of the majority, and rob us of our constitutional and vested rights, let that factious and wicked minority be put down — peaceably if we can, but forcibly if we must.
If you don't, they will put you down as certain as fate.
Make your election.
Don't stand passively by and see your own laws violated; your own Government destroyed, and your liberties swallowed up in tyranny, for fear of a “fratricidal war.”
If your fellow-citizen turns out to rob and murder you and yours, stop
him. If you have to hang him why stop him in that
way. But when he commits a murder and you would execute the law on him, he says, “O none of that — no coercion; I am your brother; you must not hurt me;” and for fear of hurting your “brother,” as he calls himself, you would permit him to go on in his work of crime.
Let the will of the sovereign people be respected and obeyed.
Let the laws of the land be enforced on all alike.
If they are obeyed peaceably, so much the better; but, let them be obeyed
. Then you will have peace and security at home, and power and respectability abroad.
Unless you do this, you will have neither.
But the position of Kentucky
will soon be more awkward than it is now. Secessionists will not allow you to maintain your armed neutrality one moment longer than they can help it. You will see it. They will destroy it when they can, and in any way they can. They have constantly denounced it, and have only submitted
to it till they could do better.
They will soon get up another programme of disunion, and make, or try
to make, you play your part.
The old game, in a new form of bloodshed and sensations, will be reenacted for your destruction.
You know not what may come; you may be overpowered by these men at home, or from abroad, and that is threatened now. What would you do then?
Yield up your liberties into the hands of these broken-down, disappointed, and disgraced politicians?
submit to the sway of anarchy and the reign of terror now existing in all the seceded States?
If not, what will you do?
Why, you will call on your Government to do its duty and take care of you. That is what you will do, and you will not call in vain.
And will it not be a little embarrassing to call on a