The young man availed himself of an opportunity to make a public address, in which he aligned himself in the strongest terms with those who had gone into rebellion.
But scarcely had this been done when Lincoln
issued his first call for troops, and among those nominated to command them was the old Missouri General.
It was announced that he had accepted the appointment.
The younger man was amazed.
He went in hot haste for an explanation.
“It's all true,” said the General
“The fact is, when I talked with you before, I did not think the Northern
people would fight for the Union
, but I now see that I was mistaken; and when the Northern
people, being the stronger and richer, do decide to go to war, they are almost certain to win. You had better take the Northern
“ But it is too late,” said the youngster.
“I have committed myself in that speech I made.”
“Oh! As for that matter,” was the reply, “it's of very little consequence if you have committed yourself.
It's easy to make a speech on the other side and take the first one back.
Nobody looks for consistency in times like these.”
Many Missourians, as well as many citizens of other border slave States, at the beginning of the trouble advocated a policy of neutrality.
They saw no necessity for taking sides.
I was at a meeting out in the interior of Missouri
, where many citizens had come together to consult as to the policy they had better pursue.
Among them was an old gentleman who seemed to be looked upon by his neighbors as a regular Nestor
He was called upon for his