were cowardice; to-day shows the mistake.
She has been sleeping on her arms since ‘76, and the first cannon shot brings her to her feet with the war-cry of the Revolution on her lips.
[Loud cheers.] Any man who loves either liberty or manhood, must rejoice at such an hour.
Let me tell you the path by which 1, at least, have trod my way up to this conclusion.
I do not acknowledge the motto, in its full significance, “Our country, right or wrong.”
If you let it trespass on the domain of morals, it is knavish and atheistic.
But there is a full, broad sphere for loyalty; and no war-cry ever stirred a generous people that had not in it much of truth and right.
It is sublime, this rally of a great people to the defence of what they think their national honor I A “noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man from sleep, and shaking her invincible locks.”
Just now, we saw her “reposing, peaceful and motionless; but at the call of patriotism, she ruffles, as it were, her swelling plumage, collects her scattered elements of strength, and awakens her dormant thunders.”
But how do we justify this last appeal to the God of Battles?
Let me tell you how I do. I have always believed in the sincerity of Abraham Lincoln
You have heard me express my confidence in it every time I have spoken from this desk.
I only doubted sometimes whether he were really the head of the Government
To-day he is at any rate Commander-in-chief.
The delay in the action of Government has doubtless been necessity, but policy also.
Traitors within and without made it hesitate to move till it had tried the machine of the Government
just given it. But delay was wise, as it matured a public opinion definite, decisive, and ready to keep step to the music of the Government
The very postponement of another session of Congress till July 4, plainly invites discussion — evidently contemplates the ripening of public opinion in the interval.
Fairly to examine public affairs, and prepare a community wise to cooperate with the Government
, is the duty of every pulpit and every press.
Plain words, therefore, now, before the nation goes mad with excitement, is every man's duty.
Every public meeting in Athens
was opened with a curse on any one who should not speak what he really thought.
“I have never defiled my conscience from fear or favor to my superiors,” was part of the oath every Egyptian
soul was supposed to utter in the Judgment Hall
, before admission to Heaven.
Let us show to-day, a Christian spirit as sincere and fearless.
No mobs in this hour of victory, to silence those whom events have not converted.
We are strong enough to tolerate dissent.
That flag which floats over press or mansion at the bidding of a mob, disgraces both victor and victim.
All winter long I have acted with that party which cried for peace.
The anti-slavery enterprise to which I belong, started with peace written on its banner.
We imagined that the age of bullets was over; that the age of ideas had come; that thirty millions of people were able to take a great question, and decide it by the conflict of opinions; and, without letting the ship of State founder, lift four millions of men into Liberty and Justice.
We thought that if your statesmen would throw away personal ambition and party watch-words, and devote themselves to the great issue, this might be accomplished.
To a certain extent, it has been.
has answered to the call.
Year after year, event by event, has indicated the rising education of the people,--the readiness for a higher moral life, the patience that waits a neighbor's conversion.
has responded to the call of that peaceful, moral, intellectual agitation which the anti-slavery idea has initiated.
Our mistake, if any, has been that we counted too much on the intelligence of the masses, on the honesty and wisdom of statesmen as a class.
Perhaps we did not give weight enough to the fact we saw, that this nation is made up of different ages; not homogeneous, but a mixed mass of different centuries.
The North thinks — can
appreciate argument — it is the Nineteenth Century — hardly any struggle left in it but that between the working class and the money kings.
The South dreams — it
is the thirteenth and fourteenth century — baron and serf — noble and slave.
and Wat Tyler
loom over the horizon, and the serf rising calls for another Thierry
to record his struggle.
There the fagot still burns which the Doctors
of the Sorbonne called, ages ago, “the best light to guide the erring.”
There men are tortured for opinions, the only punishment the Jesuits were willing their pupils should look on. This is, perhaps, too flattering a picture of the South
Better call her, as Sumner
does, “the Barbarous States
Our struggle, therefore, is no struggle between different ideas, but between barbarism and civilization.
Such can only be settled by arms.
[Prolonged cheering.] The Government has waited until its best friends almost suspected its courage or its integrity; but the cannon shot against Fort Sumter
has opened the only door out of this hour.
There were but two. One was Compromise; the other was Battle.
The integrity of the North
closed the first; the generous forbearance of nineteen States closed the other.
The South opened this with cannon shot, and Lincoln
shows himself at the door.
[Prolonged and enthusiastic cheering.] The war, then, is not aggressive, but in self-defence, and Washington
has become the Thermopylae of Liberty and Justice.
[Applause.] Rather than surrender it, cover every square foot of it with a living body
, [loud cheers;] crowd it with a million of men, and empty every bank vault at the North to pay the cost
. [Renewed cheering.] Teach the world once for all, that North America
belongs to the Stars and Stripes, and under them