The first copy of the Louisville Courier
, published at Bowling Green
, contains a lengthy and able letter from the Hon. John C. Breckinridge
After reviewing the action of the Kentucky Legislature
, and giving a general glance at the despotic proceedings of the Lincoln Government
, from its inception to the present time, he concludes as follows:
I would speak of these things with the simple solemnity which their magnitude demands, yet it is difficult to restrain the expression of a just indignation, while we smart under such enormities.
has thousands of soldiers on our soil, nearly all from the North
, and most of them foreigners, whom he employs as his instruments to do these things.
But few Kentuckians have enlisted under his standard, for we are not yet accustomed to his peculiar form of liberty.
I will not pursue the disgraceful subject,--Has Kentucky
passed out of the control of her own people?
Shall hirelings of the pen, recently imported from the North
, sitting in grand security at the Capital
, force public opinion to approve these usurpations, and point out victims?
Shall Mr. Lincoln
, through his German mercenaries, imprison or exile the children of the men who laid the foundations of the Commonwealth
, and compel our noble people to exhaust themselves in furnishing the money to destroy their own freedom?
Never, while Kentucky
remains the Kentucky
of old — never, while thousands of her gallant sons have the will and the nerve to make the State
sing to the music of their rifles!
The Constitution of the United States
, which these invaders unconstitutionally swear every citizen whom they unconstitutionally seize, to support, has been wholly abolished.
It is as much forgotten as if it lay away back in the twilight of history.
The facts I have enumerated show that the very rights most carefully reserved by it to States and to individuals, have been most conspicuously violated.--And this destruction has been accomplished not by the President
alone, but by the Congress
also, and with the approval of the Northern States
They have deliberately made the contest a constitutional struggle between so many millions on one side and so many on the other--one party fighting for subjugation, the other in self-defence and for independence.
Whatever may be the future relations of the two Confederacies, the idea of a restoration of the Union
under the old Constitution is wholly visionary and delusive.
If the North
should conquer the South
, (which it will perceive to be impossible after a few hundred millions more shall be expended and a few hundred thousands lives lost,) the character of the Government
would be radically changed.--It would probably not take the form even of a mixed Government, but would soon end in a military despotism.
It must soon become apparent to all thoughtful men that the last hope of constitutional liberty lies in the early recognition of these great truths — in an honorable peace and friendly intercourse.
You declared your purpose not to engage in the war to subdue the South
, and that you would be neutral and mediate in the interests of peace when an opportunity should offer.--This is the recorded will of the State
as expressed by the people.
But those who assume to represent you have violated that will.--They have attempted to burden you with enormous taxes to prosecute a war you abhor, and to sustain a Government which has trampled under foot every safeguard of a Constitution which was the only bond of your political connection with it, while they have allowed that Government to cut you off from the only avenues of trade which would enable you to pay these taxes.
They have invited a military force of that Government to take possession of the State
, and practically supersede the State Government
, and they have seen, with complacency, these foreign soldiers seize, imprison, and pursue hundreds of your fellow-citizens — fugitives, without a crime — over the plains and mountains of Kentucky
In a word, they have attempted, without consulting you, and against your recorded wishes, to place you in active hostility to your Southern brethren, and to fix your political destiny with the North
For those who, denied by the Legislature the protection due to the humblest citizen, have been delivered over to the tender mercies of foreign mercenaries, and hunted like partridges on the mountains, what remains but imprisonment, exile, or resistance?
As one of them, I intend to resist.
I will avoid conflict with Kentuckians, except in necessary self-defence; but I will unite with my fellow-citizens to resist the invaders who have driven us from our homes.
To this course we are impelled by the highest sense of duty and the irresistible instincts of manhood.
To defend your birthright and mine, which is more precious than domestic ease, or property, or life, I exchange, with proud satisfaction, a term of six years in the Senate of the United States for the musket of a soldier.
This letter is written at the first moment since my expulsion from home that I could place my feet upon the soil of Kentucky
.--I have not been able to see or communicate with my friend and colleague, Gov. Powell
, nor do I know, what course he will think it proper to take.
But this you and I know — that his conduct will be controlled by pure motives Your fellow-citizen,
John C. Breckinridge
Bowling Green, Ky.,
Oct. 8, 1861.
In this address, Mr. Breckinridge
returns to the people of Kentucky
the commission of Senator
in the Congress of the United States, with which they had honored him. He does not censure the Kentucky Legislature
as the cause of any of the evils to the State
which have arisen indirectly through the medium of that body.
They are not he says, free.