it. (Three cheers were given for the Seventh Regiment, during which Mr.
R. sat down.)
fellow-citizens:--This is not the time for many words.
Speech should be like the crisis, short, sharp, and decisive.
What little I have to say will be shortly said.
I am an Irishman--(Cheers for O'Gorman
)--and I am proud of it. I am also an American citizen, and I am proud of that.
(Renewed applause.) For twelve years I have lived in the United States
, twelve happy years, protected by its laws, under the shadow of its constitution.
When I assumed the rights of citizenship, I assumed, too, the duties of a citizen.
When I was invested with the rights which the wise and liberal constitution of America
gave to adopted citizens, I swore that I would support the Constitution
, and I will keep my oath.
(Tremendous cheering, and a voice, “You would not be an Irishman if you did not.” ) This land of mine, as well as of yours, is in great danger.
I have been asked what side I would take; and I am here.
(Cheers.) No greater peril ever assailed any nation.
Were all the armies and all the fleets of Europe
bound for our shores to invade us, it would not be half so terrible a disaster as that we have to face now. Civil war is before us. We are threatened not with subjugation, but disintegration, utter dissolution.
The nation is crumbling beneath our feet, and we are called to save it. Irish born citizens, will you refuse? ( “No, no.” ) This quarrel is none of our making: no matter.
I do not look to the past.
I do not stop to ask by whose means this disaster was brought about.
A time will come when history will hold the men who have caused it to a heavy account; but for us, we live and act in the present.
Our duty is to obey, and our duty is to stand by the Constitution
and the laws.
(Applause.) I saw to-day the officers of the Sixty-ninth Irish regiment, and they are ready.
(Cheers for Col. Corcoran
.) Fellow-citizens, if there be any men in these United States
, who look to this war with any feeling of exultation, I take no part with them.
I look to it with grief, with heartfelt grief.
It is, after all, a fratricidal war; it is a war that nothing but inevitable necessity can excuse, and the moment that inevitable necessity ceases, the moment peace can be attained — for peace is the only legitimate end of any war.--I pray to God that it may cease and we be brothers and friends again.
Some of the gentlemen who preceded me to-day have said that traitors have sprung from Virginia
O, fellow-citizens, when you passed that statue — the statue of the Father
of his Country — and saw that serene, calm face, and that hand raised, as it were, in benediction over this people, forget not that Washington
was a son of Virginia
The South has been deceived, cruelly deceived, by demagogues; they have had false news from this side, and that has deceived them.
They did not know, we did not know it ourselves, what a fund of loyalty, what stern hearty allegiance there was all through this land for the Constitution
and the Union
Fellow-citizens, the cloud that lowers over us now will pass away.
There may be storm; it may be fierce and disastrous, but trust me that storm was needed to clear and purify the political atmosphere.
We are passing through an inevitable political and national crisis.
We could not go on as we were going on. A sea of corruption was swelling all around us, and threatened to engulph honor, reputation, and the good name of the nation and of individuals.
That stagnant water stirs, but trust me, it is an angel that has touched the waters. ( “Good.,” and applause.) An angel hand has touched them and turned the foetid stream into a healing balm.
That angel is patriotism, that walks the land in majesty and power.
(Applause.) And were nothing else gained by this terrible struggle than the consciousness that we have a nation and a national spirit to support it, I would still say that this ordeal that we are going through will not be all in vain.
(Cheers.) For me, fellow-citizens, as far as one man can speak I recognize but one duty.
I will keep my oath, I will stand as far as in me lies by the Constitution
and the laws.
is not the President
of my choice; no matter, he is the President
chosen under the Constitution
and the laws.
The government that sits in Washington
is not of my choice, but it is de facto
and de jure
the government, and I recognize none other.
That flag is my flag, and I recognize none other but one.
and applause.) Why, what other flag could we have?
It has been set by the hands of American science over the frozen seas of the North
; it is unrolled where by the banks of the Amazon
the primeval forests weave their tangled hair.
All through the infant struggles of the republic under its consecrated folds men poured out their life blood with a liberal joy to save this country. ( “And will again.” ) All through the Mexican
war it was a sign of glory and of hope.
Fellow-citizens, all through Europe
, when down-trodden men look up and seek for some sign of hope, where do they look but to that flag, the flag of our Union?
(Great applause.) I deprecate this war; I do hope that it will cease, but it is war. That flag must not be allowed to trail in the dust, not though the hand that held it down is a brother's. I have done.
(Voices “Go on, go on.” ) All I can say is, that, with all the men that honestly go out to fight this fight, my sympathies go with them.
I trust it will be fought out in an honorable and chivalrous manner, as becomes men that are fighting to-day with those that may be their friends to-morrow.
But if there cannot be peace, if war must be, then for the Constitution
and the Union
I am, and may God defend the right.
He said he had a difficult task to perform in addressing them after the eloquent speaker who had just left the stand.
Yet, as a citizen, and as an American, and as one whose father fought at Lexington
, he was before them that day to do his duty.
He would call their attention to a few facts to illustrate the principle involved in this great question.
The Government of the United States
was based on the principle that all power is inherent in the people; that at any time the people can alter, amend, or, if they pleased, totally abrogate the Government
But while this right was recognized, it was still their duty to observe the sacredness of contracts.
The people of Great Britain
, of France
, and other nations of the world, with whom we have made treaties through our lawful counsellors, recognize the people living on the continent, within certain jurisdictions, as a nation.
And though the people here might, if they pleased, change the character of the Government
, yet the Government
of these countries would hold them responsible within those districts, to fulfil their contracts and treaties — to live up to the contracts they had made.
So was it with the people of those States.
The Federal Government was nothing more than the executor of the contracts entered into by the thirty-four