shall stand for the benefit of mankind — for the benefit of our posterity — for the benefit of those who may seek the blessings of liberty from foreign shores, I leave you to decide.
With you, with the people themselves, it is to determine this great question, and I cannot doubt what will be the determination.
We will stand by our Constitution and our laws, and we will enforce our Constitution and our laws (Applause.)
and brethren, in the cause of human liberty I never felt more at a loss for words, I never felt more the poverty of human language, than at this moment.
But what need that I should say any thing to you, when the occasion speaks trumpet-tongued to every American heart?
While armed rebellion is upon us, and while responsive echoes come from every loyal heart — while blood of loyal citizens has been shed in the Monumental City
for no other crime than because they were on their way to defend the capital of the republic from lawless invasion — what need of words, then, while events like these are around us?
There is but one sentiment abroad, and there is no need of appeal, for every heart beats responsive to the demands of the Constitution
and the liberties which that Constitution secures and protects.
We live and have been living in an age of revolution.
has rocked to and fro and surged under the tread of armed men, fighting for what?
To beat down oppressive Governments that warred upon human rights and trampled their people under foot.
Here on this continent, where liberty is in the possession of the Government
, where human rights are respected, where the laws and the Constitution
are made by the people — here on this continent we find treason and rebellion rampant.
What is the spectacle presented to us to-day?
Armed rebellion aiming to overthrow and tread under foot the Constitution
and Government of the country.
For what purpose?
To vindicate human rights?
No! Human rights are safe with the Government
This is a Government of the people, and cannot overthrow the liberties it fosters and protects, for our liberties rest in the hearts of the people, and the people themselves are the rulers of the nation.
And now what our duty is in this emergency, is the only question asked, and in considering that we need no arguments and no party appeals.
I, fellow-citizens, helped to put this Government into power; but God destroy me at once if I would not, the moment the Administration proved hostile to the Constitution
, desert it and make way with it. We ask but one thing of the Administration — that it protect the Government
committed to its care.
We demand that of them; and if they do not perform that duty, we will put off from them.
(Cheers.) Why, the Government
of the country is but the agent of the people; and if the Government
cannot defend the liberties of the people, the people will prove able to take care of their own liberties.
(Applause.) The capital of our country is in danger.
(Cries of “No.” ) Yes, in a danger that I fear we do not sufficiently appreciate — which I fear that the Government
does not properly appreciate or understand.
What is the state of the case to-day?
, the mother of statesmen, and the mother of traitors too. (Cheers.) Virginia
has long been pretending to be holding back in this crisis, and standing aloof from the contest, for the purpose of restoring peace.
But what is the fact as now manifested?
She stands forth at the head of this great rebellion.
Twenty-five hundred men appeared yesterday at Harper's Ferry
, not to find muskets which Floyd
had intended for their use, thank God, but to take possession of the useless armory.
And where did they come from?
They came from Richmond
And with what purpose?
To arn themselves, and to arm some fifteen thousand other Secessionists, and then to take the capital of Washington
on the rear.
(Cheers.) Need I call upon you to go to the rescue?
(Cries of “We will.” ) That is the talk; that is the duty of American freemen.
We are not to stand here urging action, while the Constitution
is in danger, and the capital of the republic threatened with flames.
If we consider our liberties worth preserving — if we have any veneration for the Constitution
— if the memory of Washington
is still enthroned in our hearts as the founder of our liberties — let us be up and doing.
(Cheers.) Let me give you this piece of information: I understand since I came here that General Scott
has sent word to this city that the capital is in danger, and that volunteers are wanted, orders or no orders.
(Enthusiastic cries of “We will all go, every man of us.” ) Now, I have another piece of information to give you, that the steamer Baltic
will be at the wharf tomorrow morning to take as many volunteers as may choose to go. (Loud cheers.) The people have resolved that the Government
shall be preserved, and they must and shall preserve it.
At this time the speaker was interrupted by many voices crying out--“At what time will the Baltic
--At 10 o'clock, I learn, from the foot of Canal street. (Three cheers were given for General Scott
, and three for the Baltic
.) Fellow-citizens, I believe that we have a Government at Washington
on which we can rely, and worthy of preserving.
If the Government
proves false to the country, why, we will drive them from their places, and put men in their places who will take care of the Government
Thousands will rise and rush to the rescue of the capital, and to keep it from the possession of the rebels who have made piracy their watchword, and who commenced their present work with plunder, and who have adopted as a basis of their action and of their power, plunder and arson, and with the weapons stolen from the Government
have aimed an assassin blow at the heart of the republic.
What we want is, that a terrible blow be struck, and that it will be felt by those who have strongly provoked it. They have already ascertained that they cannot longer trust to one great hope they had in their enterprise.
They had counted confidently on the divisions of the North
They believed that they would be perfectly safe in marching an army to Washington
, and that in doing so they would receive support from this city.
This reliance of theirs only shows them now how little they understood what the American
heart is made of, whether that heart beats in the city of New York
or in the Western
It shows they know nothing of liberty, or the impulses of liberty.
It shows that they know nothing of the attachment of the people to the Government
— to that Government under which we have grown great, and mighty, and prosperous — a Government which gave to the South
itself its only title to consideration among the nations of the earth.
I have nothing further to say but what I have already announced, that the Baltic
sails to-morrow; and I trust that you will all rush to the rescue, and preserve the capital, and prevent its falling into the hands of the barbarians--(laughter