96. a National motto.
The heel of the old flag-staff shall Bruise the Rattlesnake's head!
Across the front of the stand of the National Union Ratification Meeting, held in Baltimore
in June, 1864, for the purpose of ratifying the nominations of the candidates for the Presideny and Vice-Presidency of the United States
, was displayed the above thoroughly national
motto, conceived by Mr. W. W. Carter
of that city, in March, 1862, and which he afterward had inscribed upon a handsome silken Union flag, which he presented to President Lincoln
in the following August, accompanied by a letter requesting:
That the flag might be deposited in the War Department, in order that the motto might be incorporated into the national faith during the present struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution and the Laws, and the perpetuity of our nationality.
The letter then continues:
The motto is national, symbolic, and prophetic.
The Heel of the Old Flag-Staff represents the Federal Government; the Rattlesnake's Head represents the Rebellion inaugurated by South Carolina, the symbol of whose sovereignty is that vicious reptile; and the declaration of enmity between the heel and head is prophetic of the absolute power and inflexible determination of the Federal Government to crush out the Rebellion at any and every cost commensurate with the life of the nation.
Let the motto then be inscribed upon the flaunting banners of our advancing armies; let it be spread before the public eye, and thundered into the public ear at all the loyal gatherings of the people; let it stimulate the heart of the nation all over the land, and finally, let it be the battle-cry for the Union until the flag of our country shall again be planted upon every mountain-top, and its musical flutterings again be borne upon every passing breeze.
O'er all the cities and forts once more,
The sentiment, with its accompanying remarks, have been most heartily endorsed by a large number of the Governors of the loyal States, to whom they have been submitted, as well as by Hon. Edward Everett, Hon. Daniel S. Dickinson, Hon, Joseph Holt, and Commodores Porter, Dahlgren, and others.
The Stars and Stripes we shall restore.