We are in the midst of revolution — not the revolution of the rhetorician, invoked to swell his periods, and to impress an audience; but the revolution of facts, the revolution of war. We have assembled to resist its wild career, and, if possible, to restore a distracted country once more to the authority of law and to the peace of orderly and constitutional government.
To such an effort we summon the assistance of all good men. To such an effort we bring our party predilections and political associations, and sacrifice them all in the presence of our countrymen upon the altar of our common country.
To such an effort we devote our energies and our means, all the while hoping and acting for the restoration of peace and the reunion of a severed confederacy; but still remembering that should the unhappy time arrive when final separation becomes inevitable, our affections and our efforts are due to the geographical section to which we belong — that our future is inseparable from the future of the North
(Cheers.) In the mean time the path of duty and honor conducts in but one direction — consists with but one course.
It brings us, one and all, to the support of the government, the maintenance of the constitution, and the execution of the laws.
(Applause.) Thousands are they who tread therein, and their motto is our country, and our whole country — in every event our country.
fellow-citizens :--Whoever attempts to address his fellow-citizens at this time should, in my judgment, well weigh and consider the words that he utters.
They should not be words of irritation or of anger, but words which indicate a settled purpose and determination.
Our first duty, my fellow-citizens, on this occasion, is to banish all thoughts of difference between ourselves.
(A voice, “Good.” ) We are to forget that we have had any controversy among ourselves.
(A voice, “They are forgotten.” ) We must come up as one united people.
(A voice, “So we will.” ) And for what should we be united?
My fellow-citizens, the great principle which lies at the foundation of our institutions is that the people are capable of self-government, that the majority of the people must rule.
(Cheers for the people.) That their will, constitutionally expressed, is the law of the land: that the minority must submit to the majority.
(Applause, and “That is so.” ) It is upon that principle, my fellow-citizens, that our whole institutions of liberty rest.
It is that principle, for which the flag of our country is the emblem, and it is upon that principle that we must take our stand.
That is the Fort Sumter
which we must defend.
(Applause.) We must resist to the death if necessary, all who would assail or attempt to destroy the principle of popular liberty.
(Applause.) It is that principle which our fathers through the Revolution maintained, through a war of seven years, which they established by the formation of the constitution under which we live.
It is that principle which has attracted to our shores thousands and millions of persons from foreign countries to come here, and they have sworn allegiance to this government, to this constitution.
They will never violate that oath — the millions who have come here from foreign lands.
(Cheers.) Yes, there are multitudes here who have taken that oath.
There are millions in this country who have taken that oath.
(A voice, “And will keep it, too.” ) They have taken it upon the Evangelists of Almighty God, they have taken it upon the cross, and they will stand by it. (A voice, “We will.” ) And do you suppose that it is less obligatory upon them than it is upon us, who have sucked in that obligation with our mothers' milk? ( “Good,” and applause.) Now, my friends, I am going to show you, before I sit down, that the war now is in defence of that principle.
The assault is upon that principle.
The batteries of the enemy are directed against the principle of popular government — the principle that the people shall rule by the majorities; and that I propose, in a very few words, to demonstrate to you before I take my seat.
Now, my friends, what are the facts?
We have lately had an election of President
of the United States
There were those among us — and I was of that number — that did not wish to see the Republican party prevail.
Every ward and every election district in this city signified its wish that the Republican party should not prevail.
Now, our fellow-citizens at the South
have, therefore, supposed that they could rely upon the city of New York
to sympathize with them in their rebellion. ( “No, never.” ) What was the principle?
We came up to say--“All your grievances can be redressed in the Union
and under the Constitution
and at the ballot-box.”
We gave a fair trial, and we were defeated ; and what then?
Did we justify anybody to go outside of the Constitution
--( “No” )--and to break up the Government
Have we not been defeated time and again?
I have been defeated; my party has been defeated time and again.
I have known what it was to be defeated when I advocated Henry Clay
of the United States
, and I have known what it was to shed scalding tears over that defeat.
But did we authorize him to rebel against my country? ( “No.” ) Has it not been our practice, my fellow-citizens, I submit to you, to have free discussion, free press, and an animated and free canvass?
But when the question was settled, the minority always submitted.
Is not that American law? ( “Yes, and it will be.” ) Have you not seen parties come here time and again at the polls, angry, severe, and anxious, and have you not seen them the next day, after the ballot was counted, shake hands?
(Laughter and applause.) That is American law. ( “Yes, it is.” ) That is American feeling. ( “That's so.” ) We say, “We got beat, and we, as the minority, yield.
At the next election we will try you again.”
(Applause.) That is our law; and now, when I went into this last canvass, and tried, as I did, according to the best of my ability, to defeat the election of Abraham Lincoln
,--( “And so did I,” )--believing that the success of that party would be injurious to the country, when it was over, and I was defeated, what remained but to give up, to submit to the majority of the people, and to sustain the President
who was elected by the majority, (applause;) and had I any thought that those people with whom I was acting were going to rebel against the Government
, I never would have acted with them for one moment. ( “No, nor I.
” ) The three hundred and twenty thousand men in the State of New York
, who came up and voted with the South
, never would have voted with her if they had supposed that these men were going to rebel against the Government
of the country. ( “That is so!”
Applause.) Now, my friends, what do we hear?
Why, when the election is over, they who have entered the contest and had the fight have had a fair chance at the ballot-box, have had a fair controversy in the canvass.
And what do they say?
Because we have not succeeded, we will break up this