This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 so prosperous. Look to the history of the country and tell me, has the Government ever made war on the South? I boldly affirm it that the amendment to the Constitution, which affects Southern interests, has been made at the instance of Southern men. Was not the act of 1850 enacted at the instance of Southern men, and was it not framed and advocated by our own immortal statesman--Kentucky's noble and gallant Clay? The principle upon which all our Territories have been organized holds that people who owned slaves might take them there, and the Territories could be admitted as Slave States. Those acts thus providing are still in force. The South asked for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and it was done. What next? Even since the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, his party has given sanction to three new Territories under the same existing laws. All have the right to take their slaves there. What, then, is the cause of our difficulty? Look at it clearly. Is it the tariff? Was it not made as the South wanted it, and was it not South Carolina who changed it? Did not the General Government change the then existing value of silver and gold for the benefit of the South? We were told the other day that if Lincoln was elected his intention was to destroy Slavery. Did he not declare that the Fugitive Slave law should be enforced? How has it been done? Were not five slaves only lately taken from Chicago and delivered to their owners? He declares he will enforce the laws, and not interfere with Slavery. Then why this war? I will tell you why. Because Mr. Lincoln has been elected President of the country, and Mr. Davis could not be, and therefore a Southern Confederacy was to be formed by Southern demagogues, and now they are attempting to drag you on with them. That is the plain state of the case. Demagogues at the North and demagogues at the South have divided the country; they would strike the dagger to the hearts of their brothers; they inaugurated the civil war now raging, and wish to drag you on with them. I say, for my part, I am not to be forced. I will not be driven to desert my country and my country's flag, nor turn to strike my dagger at her heart, but ever stand forward to defend her glory and her honor. What are we to do with South Carolina and her seceded sisters? Do you mean to tell me they will come back? What if you give them over, will they ever come back? They have turned their backs on their country, and now they want you to march with them. In a just cause I will defend our State at every point and against every combination; but when she battles against the law and the Constitution, I have not the heart — I have not the courage to do it! I cannot do it — I will not do it! Never! strike at that flag of our country — follow Davis to tear down the Stars and Stripes, the eagle which has soared so high aloft as the emblem of so mighty a nation — give up that flag for the Palmetto — strike that eagle from his high place and coil around the stars the rattlesnake! The serpent stole into the garden of Eden and whispered treason to Heaven in the ear of Eve. And now the serpent would seduce us from our allegiance to our country. Were it possible for him to coil himself around the flag, I would tear him from the folds and crush him beneath my feet. The rattlesnake for the eagle! If you follow the serpent your fate will be as Adam's. Measureless woe, for all generations, has been that fate. Hell was created because of that treason to Heaven, and if we follow after the serpent our fate will be to sink into the hell of Secession. This is the fate which befalls you if you follow Davis. But you must take a position. One side advises us to go out, while some say remain in the Union. They tell us that we are bound to fight, no matter how we decide, Kentucky is always ready to fight. She was born to fight when necessary, and when the soil of Kentucky is stained with blood, and the spirit of her sons aroused, let her enemies tremble! But she should ever fight upon the right side. But why is the Union broken up? Is it not because Lincoln is President? How long is his rule to last? In the history of nations, what is four years? How soon will he be dragged down and another and a better man raised to his high place? The American people are powerful when they are aroused to action, but they should act calmly. Now they are wild with excitement and act without judgment. What would we do if invaded? We would fly from house to house and rush together, but would we be in any capacity to defend ourselves? Calmness and not excitement should characterize us. Seven States have seceded, and the General Government attempts to enforce the laws. The war commences and blood is shed, and forces are ready arrayed against each other in hostile action. If we move out, what is our fate? Who is to defend? How are you to defend yourself if you go out of the Union? If you do, you at once declare war against the Union--you oppose the Stars and Stripes. We have a million of white population resident in a State only separated by the Ohio River from Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, with a population of five millions. Through each State are numerous railroads, able to transport an army in a few days to our doors. What roads have we but those to Nashville and Lexington? And what can we do with them? In sixty days the North can pour an army of one hundred thousand men upon every part of us. What can we do? The State could raise perhaps sixty thousand men for her defence, but what can they do? Can they save your State and your city? From the heights beyond the river they can bombard your city and destroy it. They can cut off all communication with the South, and every foot of Kentucky soil eventually become desecrated by the invader. Can the South help you? She has got more than enough to do to defend herself, for the North can with her fleet cut off all communication with the outside world, and by the Mississippi River with Western States, and actually starve the South into subjection. One hope for Kentucky remains — stand still, with the Border States, and defy invasion from either side. My sympathies are wholly with the South, but I am not prepared to aid her in fighting against our Government. If we remain in the Union we are safe; if we go out we will be invaded; if we hold as we are we are safe, if we go out we will be overpowered. There is but one position to assume for honor and safety, and that position taken we can save the country. Another point: If an army invades us can we save, can we protect, our homes and families? When, in our city, the sentinel struts the streets, and we are powerless before him, who is to protect our families? Those who. have plenty of money can flee, but what is the poor man to do? He will have to fight. Think of it — who is to protect them then from brutality and shame, our
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.