previous next

[355] kindred at the very moment when she was striving to be an apostle of peace. Nature herself revolted at the thought, and her conduct in this matter had so much of love to God, and love to man, in it, that it will meet the sanction of an approving world. So far from being denounced for this action, it is everywhere looked upon as an act of purest patriotism, resulting from imperious necessity, and the highest instincts of self-preservation — respected by the very Administration that alone could have complained of it, and will, we doubt not, be ratified by it; if not in terms, at least by its future action. That act did not take her out of the Union.

Kentucky, in so grave a matter as this, passes by mere legal technicalities and a discussion of theoretical difficulties of Government, poises herself upon her right to do what the necessities of her condition imperatively demanded of her, and relies upon the good sense and magnanimity of her sister States, seeing that there is no parallel in her condition and theirs to do her justice.

In all things she is as loyal as ever to the constitutional administration of the Government. She will follow the Stars and Stripes to the utmost regions of the earth, and defend them from foreign insult. She refuses allegiance with any who would destroy the Union. All she asks is permission to keep out of this unnatural strife. When called to take part in it, she believes there is more honor in the breach than in the observance of any supposed duty to perform it.

Feeling that she is clearly right in this, and has announced her intention to refrain from aggression upon others, she must protest against her soil being made the theatre of military operations by any belligerent. The war must not be transferred, by the warring sections, from their own to her borders. Such unfriendly action cannot be viewed with indifference by Kentucky.

Having thus referred to this subject in its general aspects, we would invite your individual attention to its direct bearings upon yourselves.

It is not now a question of party politics, although it may be the interest of some to make it so. The day of mere party platforms has, we trust, gone forever. It has passed from being a mere struggle for place that may gratify personal ambition, to one for the present and future welfare of a whole people, for the safety of homes and firesides. Whatever divisions have heretofore existed should now cease. In times past, in our elections, the questions which divided men related to mere party differences, and the members of all the parties rivalled each other in their expression of devotion to the Union, and were equally clamorous for their rights, in the Union and not out of it. Now these party differences are passed away and forgotten. The direct question is Union or no Union--Government or no Government — Neutrality or no Neutrality. Before this grand and commanding question every thing else gives way.

All can see that such a state of things cannot continue without war, and that such a war was unnecessary. It resulted from the ambition of men, rather than from the wrongs done the people. There was a remedy for every thing, already provided by the Constitution, which, with wise foresight, provided against the trials to which it might be subjected. There were countervailing powers to check encroachments, whether by a President or by Congress; and it so happened that at this dangerous crisis, when a sectional President had been elected, there was a majority in opposition to him in both houses of Congress, by which ho could have been controlled, and the people protected. It was the duty of the opposition to have stood to their posts till the danger of encroachment had passed away. But Senators and Representatives, following the example of their States, vacated their seats and placed a President who would have been in a minority at the head of a triumphant majority. It was a great wrong for which they must answer to posterity. Kentucky remained true to herself, contending with all her might for what were considered to be the rights of the people, and although one after another of the States that should have been by her side ungenerously deserted her, leaving her almost alone in the field, yet she did not surrender her rights under the Constitution, and never will surrender them. She will appear again in the Congress of the United States, not leaving conceded the least item of power to the Government that had not heretofore been granted, and retaining every power she had reserved. She will insist upon her constitutional rights in the Union, and not out of it.

Kentucky is grieved to think that any thing should have been done by her sister States that has made it necessary for her to assume the position she now occupies. It is not one of submission as it has been insultingly called — it is one of the most exalted patriotism. But if she had no higher or holier motive; if she were not earnestly for peace among her brethren; the great law of self-protection points out her course and she has no alternative. Already one section declares that there will be no war at home, but that it shall be in Kentucky and Virginia. Already the cannon and bayonets of another section are visible on our most exposed border Let these hostile armies meet on our soil and it will matter but little to us which may succeed, for destruction to us will be the inevitable result. Our fields will be laid waste, our houses and cities will be burned, our people Will be slain, and this goodly land be re-baptized “the land of blood.” And even the institution, to preserve or control which this wretched war was undertaken, will be exterminated in the general ruin. Such is the evil that others will bring upon us, no matter which side we take, if this is to be the battle-field.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (5)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: