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[331] Government to aid you in your extremity which you would not help when it was assailed by treasonable foes? I think it would. But you would get the help; no doubt of that. The Constitution of the United States pledges every State, and all the people of the United States, to put down insurrections and rebellion, and secure to all within its limits a republican form of government. And, unless the State shall disregard — as some would have us do ours — its constitutional pledges and obligations, it will receive the protection of the General Government. I hope we shall never need it. It would be the last resort, but when the Union men of Kentucky are driven to that necessity, the appeal will be made. Mark that.

The truth is, our duty at first was to stand by our Government, and protect and defend it. If fit to live under, it was entitled to our respect and confidence and allegiance. If unfit, it should have been abandoned at once, and another formed more perfect. But while we owe our allegiance to it, let us acknowledge it like true men, and not turn our backs upon its greatest peril. We should not do this if we desire its preservation. We should stand by it like men, or pull it down at once. But we should not stand by and see others pull it down over our heads against our will, to the destruction of our liberties, and say:

We oppose you. We love the Government. It is the Government of our fathers; bought with their blood, and bequeathed to us. It is the best Government on earth, and in its destruction we see ruin to us and ours; but as you and we live in slave States, go on and do as you please. We will not resist you. Ruin us if you will.

And so never lift a hand to save us and our children the blessings of liberty. In my heart I do not approve of this course, and what I do not approve, no power on earth shall make me say. I am for the old Constitution of Washington and his compeers. For the old flag, the Stars and Stripes. God bless them; and I am against all factions that would take them from me. It matters not who they are or whence they come. Whether they come from England, France, Massachusetts, or South Carolina. If they would destroy the Government of our fathers, I am against them. No matter what may be the pretext. No, sir, I am for the Union, and I am willing to defend it by any and all proper means. Our Government is the best in the world. It has answered well all the ends for which governments are made. We all know this. It has oppressed no man, nor has it burdened us a feather's weight. It has brought us nothing but blessings. Under it we have been happy, prosperous, and free. What more can we ask. All that Government can do, our Government has done for us. We have been free, as no nation was ever free before; we have prospered as no nation ever prospered before, and we have rested in peace and security. Yet all this would not do. Mr. Lincoln was elected, and corrupt politicians lost their places. They had controlled the Government in their own way for years. When they lost their power, they declared that the Government was corrupt and oppressive, and that they would destroy it. They robbed it of its arms and munitions of war, sending them South; they involved the Government in a debt of nearly a hundred millions of dollars; robbed the treasury; and thus leaving the Government impoverished and distracted they commenced the atrocious business of secession. They had lost the offices, and they thought it necessary to create new ones for the benefit of the defunct politicians, and they did it.

This is the grand secret of the whole affair. Had they retained their grip upon the offices, you had never heard of secession. All our losses, all our troubles and suffering, are the legitimate results of secession. We must bear all, we must submit to all this in silence, that those disappointed politicians may be presidents, ministers, and high officials. Their day was ended by the election of Lincoln. They knew this, and seceded — made new offices and filled them.

Now behold the result of secession. Distress and ruin stare men in the face; strong men, honest and industrious men, cannot get bread for their wives and children; the widow and the orphan, helpelss and destitute, are starving; in all the large cities the suffering is intense; work is not to be obtained, and those who live by their labor get no money; property of every description has depreciated until it is almost worthless; in the seceded States, Union men are driven penniless from their homes, or ranged; and all this, Mr. Senator from McCracken, that peaceable secession may go on, and that politicians may fill offices. And after you gentlemen bring all these calamities upon us, you falsely say that “Lincoln did it,” and that we Union men are abolitionists and aid him. But I tell you that Lincoln has not done it. He was elected President by your help. You ran a candidate for the Presidency that the Democratic party might be divided, and Lincoln elected. That was your purpose, and you accomplished it; and now you have elected Lincoln thus, you must break up the Government because he is elected. Nothing can satisfy you but secession. You will accept no compromise. To talk of compromise irritates secession gentlemen — it irritates them to talk of the rights of anybody but themselves — they are indeed a very irritable set of people. If you speak of enforcing the laws of the land, why it's coercion, and at this word they forth — with go into spasms. They can't stand it at all. It is subjugation of the South by the North. If they threaten to hang you when they get the power — because you are true to the old Constitution and the old flag of Washington — and you get arms to defend yourself, why, it irritates them, and they won't stand it.

The Union men of Kentucky, seeing the condition

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