Speech of John G. Davis.to the Indiana State (Democratic) Convention, at Indianapolis, January 8th, 1862.
In our edition of Wednesday last, we published an interesting account of the proceedings of the Indiana State Convention, held at Indianapolis on the 8th instant. Hon. John G. Davis, in the absence of the Committee on Resolutions, was called upon to address the Convention, which he did in the following spirited manner: He said he felt honored by being thus invited by his fellow-citizens, but if he was unequal to the task of doing justice to the subject, perhaps the inability might arise because of his recent visit to Richmond, Va., by way of Hopkinsville, Kentucky (Laughter.) if he had known beforehand that he was about to take that trip, he would have been happy to have been bearers of dispatch from Democrats of the North to their friends in the South. [Cheers and laughter] If he had made that trip, he probably would have it in his power to state that his old personal friend. Jeff Davis, was in good health, and sent his kind regards to his many friends in Indiana, whose names, perhaps, he would not be prudent to mention, for he did not want them hung. The worthy President of the Convention might be one, and we could not spare to valuable a spoke from the wheel, of Democracy. He (Mr. Davis) had been abused by the press — his life threatened by the black abolition party. He defied them. There were but two parties in the country — the conservative and the abolitionists. The battle now being waged was between the friends of the Constitution and the Union on the one side, and the abolitionists on the other. Threats could not intimidate him. He intended to speak his sentiments. They might burn his property, might take him to the block — he would ascend the scaffold with a firm step — but in defiance of them all he would express his opinions on matters relative to the good of the country. He was charged with being a Secessionist because, forsooth, he was not all Abolitionist. The standard by which the Republicans judged a man was this: If you were a friend of Old Abe and his Administration you were a good Union man, but if you sought to maintain the Constitution and the Union you were a Secessionist. The Southern men were much to blame in this controversy. They had done many things which had tendered to bring upon the country this dire calamity. But the blame did not all rest with them. The ground taken by the Abolition party of the North was the corner-stone of all our difficulties. If they had let this slavery question alone the sun would to-day have arisen upon a free, prosperous and united people. This party, last winter in Congress, could have settled our difficulties if they had been disposed. They weighed the Chicago platform and the Union one against the other, and concluded to take the Chicago platform, and let the Union slide! Every one of the peace propositions coming from the South was voted down by a solid Republican vote in both branches of Congress. In view of the dangers which stared us then in the face, with civil war in prospect, these Republicans came up and voted solidly against compromise, against agreement with brothers. Dissolution of the Union was the consequence, and all the dire calamities of dissolution are now upon us. He had said in some of his speeches during the summer that this war would cost $300,000,000 per annum. For that he had been branded as a demagogue. He now believed it would cost more than $1,000,000,000 per annum. Who pays the Government this money? It comes out of the hard earnings of the taxpayers. The interest alone on this sum would, at ten per cent, be $70,000,000 per annum. After exhausting all other resources of the Government, there would remain of this immense sum ($1,000,000,000) $119,000,000 to be raised by direct taxation. Indiana's share of this would be some $7,000,000, to be raised, he repeated, by direct taxation. How is it to be paid, looking at the depreciation of property?--of the value of horses, corn, wheat lands? Does not this thing, with this enormous depreciation of property, look like coming down with a crushing weight upon us? He had predicted war with England when our troubles began. For this he had been denounced as a demagogue. If it had not been for the cowardice of those controlling the Government we would now be involved in a war with England. The capture of Mason and Slidell had been endorsed by the Republicans everywhere. Yet in face of this, in force of a solemn voice in Congress endorsing Commander Wilkes, when the British lion roared, the miserable, crouching, corrupt. Administration quailed — backed down. He was no advocate of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, but the surrender of Mason and Slidell was more humiliating than would be such recognition. These Abolitionists are brave at a distance; brave about hanging honest men and mobbing printing present but when the British lion roared, they grounded. What did these Abolitionists recommend? What did Cameron's report, before modified by the President, recommend? The arming of the slaves for the slaughter of their master! And yet this man was retained by Lincoln in his Cabinet. Oh! for one hour of General Jackson at Washington. [Tremendous applause] Wouldn't there be a rattling of day bones among the pickers and stealers and plunderers of the people there congregated. Not one of the money poured into the public treasury by the people, goes to defray the expenses of the war. It is stolen by the cormorants at Washington. Would Jackson have tolerated these thieves? Would Jackson for one hour permit a man to remains member of his Cabinet who had recommended the rising of the slave to his master's throat? John Cochrane, who holds a commission under the Secretary of War, had avowed like atrocious sentiments. Neither he nor Cameron, nor any other malgnant abolitionist, was remove by the President; and all these things proved conclusively that the ultimate intention of the republican party was the liberation of the slaves of the South. He predicted the success of the Democracy if the right kind of platform was adopted. He would vote for no platform endorsing this Administration. He would vote for no platform which would pledge the people to an unconditional prosecution of this war. He never intended to endorse anything which came out of that miserable Nazareth, this Republican Administration. You might talk to him about the honesty of Abe Lincoln — about his conversation on the slavery question. He was as corrupt as those who surround him, and unfortunately, the smallest load in the puddle! He was — although at the time he might be politic — as corrupt as Simon Cameron, who ought to have been hung when he was a little boy. They might talk about hanging him (Davis) for expressing these sentiments, but let them first go and hang the editors of their own papers who had said the same thing. He would lay down his life for the restoration of peace and prosperity to the country. He would lay it down on this spot. But he did not believe the Union could be preserved by coercion — by force. He was for preserving the Union by propositions of peace. He stood in this respect on Andrew Jackson's ground. But they said there was no body to compromise South. Lincoln had said a majority of the people there were Union men, if the Crittenden compromise had been adopted there would to-day have been no such thing as secession in the South. Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina had all voted to stay in the Union, but after the rejection of the Crittenden compromise their votes were reversed. That all the border States are not loyal to-day was owing solely to the action of the Black Republican party. He (Davis) had been charged with being a member of a secret society — of the M. P. S. --by lying Republican editors. There was not one word of truth in the charges brought against him in this connection. He never was a member of a secret political association. There was no secret political association among the Democracy of Indiana. Yet this charge came from men whose garments were dripping with the corruptions of Know Nothingism. If there were secret political organizations in Indiana they existed among the Abolition Republicans themselves. But these gentry raised the cry of he party! Was there a Democrat in Indiana that was not a Union man? No one, No party! Do the acts of these men come up to their Siren song of no party? How many Democrats' heads had been brought to the block by this Administration to make way for plundering parozine? We must have nothing but a Union party, they say! is not the Democratic party a good enough Union party? If this Government is to be saved from irretrievable wreck, the Democratic party must do it. From the moment of the defeat of the Democratic party, you could date the downfall of our country, its institutions, the Constitution and the Union. Democrats had warned the country of the ruin which would overtake the land in the event of the triumph of a sectional party. All of their predictions were now using fulfilled. The policy of this Administration its ultimate object, was to liberate the slaves. Gen. Halleck, in Missouri, makes a proclamation prohibiting fugitive slaves from entering his lines. Immediately Lovejoy, the intimate friend of the President, and the prince of Abolitionists in Congress, set on foot a movement to remove him — Lovejoy, who ran 29 miles from Bull Run without stopping to catch his breath. Gen. McClellan, too, because he is an old fashioned Democrat, a Union man, he was to be superceded. And who do you think was to be his successor? --Nathaniel P. Banks, who said, not more than three years ago, "Let the Union slide. " If the Administration should declare against the emancipation of the negro every Republican press, from Chicago to Boston, would denounce it.