several States unimpaired.
I believe, in point of fact, if this war continues, the dignity and equality of the States will not be preserved unimpaired.
I believe the prosecution of this war for twelve months will be the grave of constitutional liberty on this continent.
That is my humble judgment.
I believe it is no remedy for the existing difficulties.
I believe, when you array ten or twelve millions on one side and nineteen or twenty millions on the other, it is a war of subjugation, and it will terminate in a conquest of one or the other, and equally disastrous to both.
I am well aware I stand alone in uttering these opinions.
They are my opinions, and I am responsible for them here in my place, and under the Constitution
of my country I have a right to utter them in my place.
I know that the rampant spirit of passion is abroad in the land, and I know there are many here and elsewhere who have staked their all upon inflaming it, and keeping it inflamed to the frenzy point.
The day is not yet, but it draws nigh, when a terrible accountability will be rendered to those who are plunging the country into the vortex of ruin, under the pretext of maintaining the Constitution
and the laws.
Peace, peace, sir, is what we want for the restoration of the Federal Government
, and the preservation of constitutional liberty.
, (rep.) of Ohio
— I thank God, sir, that the speech of the Senator
does not represent the voice of the people of Kentucky
have always been friends, in most cases voting together.
But if the Senator
speaks the voice of Kentucky
, then Ohio
are enemies, and I know that they are friends.
I know that the words now spoken by the Senator
do not meet with a response from the people of his own State.
He says the President
of the United States
brought on this war, by his proclamation of April last.
I ask, who fired on our flag in Charleston
Would the Senator
have us bear the shame and ignomy and not resent it?
Who assaulted Fort Sumter
and fired on one of the distinguished citizens of his own State, even after he had raised a flag of truce, and fired on him while the buildings were burning over his head?
Is this no act of war?
Who stole the mint at New Orleans?
Who captured the army in Texas
and betrayed the country there?
Who committed act after act of war against this country, and in violation of the Constitution
organized a new government, denying the authority of the old one, and attempted to subvert the government by force?
And yet nothing is said of this by the Senator
, but the President
is held up as the man who has brought this war upon us. The fact is, the people of this nation have forborne with the disunionists of the Southern States
too much and too long.
The honorable Senator
says we refused to grant any terms of compromise.
Our fathers made a compromise which we are now willing to stand upon.
We do not propose to change this compromise of the Constitution
; it is the only compromise we can stand upon, and the Senator
and the disunionists of the Southern States
have no right to come to me and say, you have involved the country in a civil war because you would not do what he wished you to do, because we did not change the Constitution
and engraft new provisions upon it, and especially in the face of the public voice of the last election.
No, Mr. President
, it is the Southern
disunionists who are traitors to their country, and they must, and I believe in God they will be subdued.
And yet this war is not prosecuted for the purpose of subduing these men, but for compelling them to obey the laws and make them loyal subjects.
There is no Senator
here but what is subject to the laws, just the same as we would have these men subject to the Constitution
and the laws; and all this clap-trap about subjugation, I think, had better be dismissed from the Senate.
These persons must be subjugated to obedience to the Constitution
, and when that is accomplished, then this resolution declares the war shall cease.
As to the technical criticisms on the language of this resolution, I think it is literally true; therefore I shall vote for it. This war is not prosecuted with any idea of interfering with the institutions of the Southern States
If it was, it could not have my assent.
It is prosecuted with a view to maintain the Constitution
and the laws.
But the Senator
now seeks to justify those who seek to subvert the Government
, and charges the President
with subverting the Constitution
and causing a civil war. In regard to the amendment of the Senator
, any slave who is used by his master actively in the prosecution of this war ought to be freed.
The people whom the Senator
now defends have turned pirates, declared so by the law of nations, and burn ships and capture white men, and, I am told, they actually make their prisoners of war work on their intrenchments.
But you say, because we say to these men, if you use your slaves to prosecute this war — this unholy war against the Government
— they shall be forfeited, that that is an act of injustice.
I say it is an act of justice.
One word further, in regard to a personal allusion to myself.
I did say, and now repeat, that the very safety of this Government — the very existence of civil liberty and civilization itself — depends upon the result of this war. I believe if the Southern States
are now able to draw a line across the continent, we shall have two Confederacies, warring with each other.
I believe every thing depends upon subduing the disunionists, as pointed out by this resolution.
All this difficulty has been brought about by men who, because they could not rule, are determined to ruin.
I say we have been forbearing long enough.
I, for one am for this war — for its active, vigilant, determined prosecution.
Whether I may live or die, or whether my property may go, makes no