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Doc. 145.-address to the people of Missouri.

The following address, reported and adopted in the Missouri State Convention on July 31st, derives additional interest from the fact that the Chairman of the Committee, and probably its sole author, was Judge Hamilton R. Gamble, who was on the same day elected by the Convention Governor of the State, in place of the traitor Claib. Jackson:

To the People of the State of Missouri:--

Your delegates assembled in Convention propose to address you upon the present condition of affairs within our State.

Since the adjournment of this Convention in March last, the most startling events have rushed upon us with such rapidity that the nation stands astonished at the condition of anarchy and strife to which, in so brief a period, it has been reduced.

When the Convention adjourned, although the muttering of the storm was heard, it seemed to be distant, and it was hoped that some quiet [447] but powerful force might be applied by a beneficent Providence, to avert its fury, and preserve our country from threatened ruin. That hope has not been realized. The storm, in all its fury, has burst upon the country — the armed hosts of different sections have met each other in bloody conflict, and the grave has already received the remains of thousands of slaughtered citizens. Reason inflamed to madness demands that the stream of blood shall flow broader and deeper; and the whole energies of a people, but a few months since prosperous and happy, are now directed to the collection of larger hosts and the preparation of increased and more destructive engines of death.

Your delegates enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that neither by their action, nor their failure to act,have they in any degree contributed to the ferocious war spirit which now prevails so generally over the whole land. We have sought peace, we have entreated those who were about to engage in war to withhold their hands from the strife, and in this course we know that we but expressed the wishes and feelings of the State. Our entreaties have been unheeded; and now, while war is raging in other parts of our common country, we have felt that our first and highest duty is to preserve, if possible, our own State from its ravages. The danger is imminent, and demands prompt and decisive measures of prevention.

We have assembled in Jefferson under circumstances widely different from those that existed when the Convention adjourned its session at St. Louis.

We find high officers of the State Government engaged in actual hostilities with the forces of the United States, and blood has been spilt upon the soil of Missouri. Many of our citizens have yielded obedience to an ill-judged call of the Governor, and have assembled in arms for the purpose of repelling the invasion of the State by armed bands of lawless invaders, as the troops of the United States are designated by the Governor in his proclamation of the 17th day of June last.

We find that troops from the State of Arkansas have come into Missouri for the purpose of sustaining the action of our Governor in his contest with the United States, and this at the request of our Executive.

We find no person present, or likely soon to be present, at the seat of Government, to exercise the ordinary functions of the Executive Department, or to maintain the internal peace of the State.

We find that throughout the State there is imminent danger of civil war in its worst form, in which neighbor shall seek the life of neighbor, and bonds of society will be dissolved, and universal anarchy shall reign. If it be possible to find a remedy for existing evils, and to avert the threatened horrors of anarchy, it is manifestly the duty of your delegates, assembled in Convention, to provide such a remedy; and, in order to determine upon the remedy, it is necessary to trace very briefly the origin and progress of the evils that now afflict the State.

It is not necessary that any lengthy reference should be made to the action of those States which have seceded from the Union. We cannot remedy or recall that secession. They have acted for themselves, and must abide the consequences of their own action. So far as you have expressed your wishes, you have declared your determination not to leave the Union, and your wishes have been expressed by this Convention.

Any action of any officer of the State in conflict with your will thus expressed is an action in plain opposition to the principle of our Government, which recognizes the people as the source of political power, and their will as the rule of conduct for all their officers. It would have been but a reasonable compliance with your will, that after you had, through this Convention, expressed your determination to remain in the Union, your Executive and Legislative officers should not only have refrained from any opposition to your will, but should have exerted all their powers to carry your will into effect.

We have been enabled to ascertain by some correspondence of different public officers, accidentally made public, that several of these officers not only entertained and expressed opinions and wishes against the continuance of Missouri in the Union, but actually engaged in schemes to withdraw her from the Union, contrary to your known wishes.

After the adjournment of your Convention, which had expressed your purpose to remain in the Union, Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, in a letter addressed to David Walker, President of the Arkansas Convention, dated April 19, 1861, says: “From the beginning, my own conviction has been that the interest, duty, and honor of every slaveholding State demand their separation from the non-slaveholding States.” Again, he says: “I have been, from the beginning, in favor of decided and prompt action on the part of the Southern States, but the majority of the people of Missouri, up to the present time, have differed with me.” Here we have the declaration of his opinion and wishes, and the open confession that a majority of the people did not agree with him.

But he proceeds: “What their future action (meaning the future action of the people) may be, no man with certainty can predict or foretell; but my impression is, judging from the indications hourly occurring, that Missouri will be ready for secession in less than thirty days, and will secede if Arkansas will only get out of the way and give her a free passage.”

It will presently be seen, by an extract from another letter, what the Governor means by being ready for secession; but it is very remarkable that he should undertake not only to say that she would be ready to secede in thirty days, but further, that she will secede, when in fact your Convention, at that time, stood adjourned [448] to the 3d Monday of December next. His declaration, that the State would secede is made, doubtless, upon some plan of his own, independent of the Convention.

Nine days after this letter to the President of the Arkansas Convention, he wrote another, addressed to J. W. Tucker, Esq., the editor of a secession newspaper in St. Louis. This letter is dated April 28, 1861. The writer says: “I do not think Missouri should secede to-day or to-morrow, but I do not think it good policy that I should so openly declare. I want a little time to arm the State, and I am assuming every responsibility to do it with all possible despatch.”

Again he says: “We should keep our own counsels. Everybody in the State is in favor of arming the State, then let it be done. All are opposed to furnishing Mr. Lincoln with soldiers. Time will settle the balance. Nothing should be said about the time or the manner in which Missouri should go out. That she ought to go, and will go, at the proper time, I have no doubt. She ought to have gone last winter, when she could have seized the public arms and public property, and defended herself.”

Here we have the fixed mind and purpose of the Governor, that Missouri shall leave the Union. He wants time — a little time to arm the State. He thinks secrecy should be preserved by the parties with whom he acts in keeping their counsels. He suggests that nothing should be said about the time or the manner in which Missouri should go out; manifestly implying that the time and manner of going out, which he and those with whom he acted, proposed to adopt, were some other time and manner than such as were to be fixed by the people through their Convention. It was no doubt to be a time and manner to be fixed by the Governor and the General Assembly, or by the Governor and a military body to be provided with arms during the little time needed by the Governor for that purpose.

There have been no specific disclosures made to the public of the details of this plan, but the Governor expresses his strong conviction that at the proper time the State will go out.

This correspondence of the Governor occurred at a time when there was no interference by soldiers of the United States with any of the citizens, or with the peace of the State. The event which produced exasperation through the State, the capture of Camp Jackson, did not take place until the 10th of May. Yet, the evidence is conclusive that there was at the time of this correspondence a secret plan for taking Missouri out of the Union without any assent of the people through their Convention.

An address to the people of Missouri was issued by Thomas C. Reynolds, the Lieutenant-Governor, in which he declares that in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia his efforts have been directed unceasingly, to the best of his limited ability, to the promotion of our interests, indissolubly connected with the vindication of our speedy union with the Confederate States. Here is the second executive officer of Missouri avowedly engaged in travelling through States which he must regard while Missouri continues in the Union as foreign States, and those States endeavoring, as he says, to promote the interests of our State.

The mode of promoting our interests is disclosed in another passage of the address, in which he gives the people assurance that the people of the Confederate States, though engaged in a war with a powerful foe, would not hesitate still further to tax their energies and resources at the proper time, and on a proper occasion in aid of Missouri. The mode of promoting our interests, then, was by obtaining military aid, and this while Missouri continued in the Union. The result of the joint action of the first and second executive officers of the State has been that a body of military forces of Arkansas has actually invaded Missouri, to carry out the schemes of your own officer, who ought to have conformed to your will, as you had made it known at elections, and had expressed it by your delegates in Convention.

Still further to execute the purpose of severing the connection of Missouri with the United States, the General Assembly was called, and when assembled sat in secret session, and enacted laws which had for their object the placing in the hands of the Governor large sums of money to be expended in his discretion for military purposes, and a law for the organization of a military force which was to be sustained by extraordinary taxation, and to be absolutely subject to the orders of the Governor, to act aginst all opposers, including the United States. By these acts, schools are closed, and the demands of humanity for the support of lunatics are denied, and the money raised for the purposes of education and benevolence may swell the fund to be expended in war.

Without referring more particularly to the provisions of these several acts, which are most extraordinary and extremely dangerous as precedents, it is sufficient to say that they display the same purpose to engage in a conflict with the General Government, and to break the connection of Missouri with the United States which had before been manifested by Gov. Jackson. The conduct of these officers of the Legislative and Executive Departments has produced evils and dangers of vast magnitude, and your delegates in Convention have addressed themselves to the important and delicate duty of attempting to free the State from these evils.

The high executive officers have fled from the Government and from the State, leaving us without the officers to discharge the ordinary necessary executive functions. But, more than this, they are actually engaged in carrying on a war with the State, supported by troops from States in the Southern Confederacy.; so that the State, while earnestly desirous to keep out of the war, has become the scene of conflict without any action of the people assuming such [449] hostility. Any remedy for our present evil, to be adequate, must be one which shall vacate the offices held by the officers who have thus brought our trouble upon us.

Your delegates desire that you shall by election fill these offices, by process of your own choice, and for this purpose they have directed, by ordinance, that an election shall be held on the first Monday in November. This time, rather than one nearer at hand, was selected, so as to conform to the spirit of the provision in the Constitution, which requires three months notice to be given of an election to fill a vacancy in the office of Governor. But, in the mean time, much damage might happen to the State by keeping the present incumbents in office, not only by leaving necessary executive duties unperformed, while they prosecute their war measures, but by continuing and increasing the internal social strife which threatens the peace of the whole Sate.

Your delegates judged it necessary that, in order to preserve the peace, and in order to arrest invasions of the State, these executive offices should be vacated at once, and be filled by persons selected by your delegates, until you could fill them by election. They have, therefore, made such selection as they trust will be found to be judicious in preserving the peace of the State. The office of Secretary of State has not been mentioned before, and it is sufficient to say that Benjamin F. Massey, the present incumbent, has abandoned the seat of government, and has followed the fortunes of the Governor, taking with him the Seal of State as an instrument of evil. He may be employed by the Governor in action deeply injurious to the State; and he has been dealt with by your delegates in the same manner as the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.

In regard to the members of the General Assembly, it is only necessary to say that by the enactment of the law called the Military bill, which violates the Constitution, and places the entire military strength of the State at the almost unlimited control of the Executive, and imposes onerous burdens upon the citizens for the support of an army, and by the passage of general appropriation acts which give to the Executive the command of large funds to be expended at his discretion for military purposes, thus uniting the control of the purse and the sword in the same hands, they have displayed their willingness to sustain the war policy of the Executive, and place the destinies of the State in the hands of the Governor.

The offices of the members of the General Assembly have therefore been vacated and a new election ordered, so that you may have an opportunity of choosing such Legislative Representatives as may carry out your own views of policy.

In order that the schemes of those who seek to take Missouri out of the Union may not further be aided by the late secret legislation of the General Assembly, your delegates have by ordinance amended the Military law, and such other acts as were doubtless passed for the purpose of disturbing the relations of the State with the Federal Government.

These are the measures adopted by your delegates in Convention for the purpose of restoring peace to our disturbed State, and enabling you to select officers for yourselves to declare and carry into effect your views of the true policy of the State. They are measures which seem to be imperatively demanded by the present alarming condition of public affairs, and your delegates have determined to submit them to you for your approval or disapproval, that they may have the authority of your sanction, if you find them to be adapted to secure the peace and welfare of the State.

There are some who question the power ot the Convention to adopt these measures. A very brief examination of this question of power, will show that the power exists beyond doubt. It is one of the fundamental principles of our Government, that all political power resides in the people; and it is established beyond question, that a Convention of Delegates of the people, when regularly called and assembled, possesses all the political power which the people themselves possess, and stands in the place of the assemblage of all the people in one vast mass. If there be no limitation upon the power of the Convention, made in the call of the body, then the body is possessed of unlimited political power.

If it be a State Convention, then there is a limitation upon it, imposed by the Constitution of the United States. If we state the position of the opponents of the powers now exercised by this Convention in the strongest form, it is this: The Convention was called by an act of the General Assembly for specific purposes declared in the act, and, therefore, the people in electing delegates under that act intended to limit the Convention to the subjects therein specified, and this action taken by the Convention, in vacating State offices, is not within the scope of the subjects thus submitted to the Convention.

It is very well understood by all that a Convention of the people does not derive any power from any act of the Legislature. All its power is directly the power of the people, and is not dependent upon any act of the ordinary functionaries of the State. It cannot be claimed, in the present case, that we are to look at the act of Assembly referred to for any other purpose than to find whether there is any limitation imposed by the people upon the powers of the Convention, by electing the Convention under the act. If it be examined with that view, and if it be conceded that any of its provisions were designed to limit the powers of the Convention, it will be seen that all the Convention has done comes clearly within the scope of the powers designed to be exercised. The 5th section of the act provides that the Convention, when assembled, shall proceed to consider the then [450] existing relations between the Government of the United States, the people and governments of the different States, and the government and people of the State of Missouri, and to adopt such measures for vindicating the sovereignty of the State and the protection of its institutions as shall appear to them to be demanded. The measures to be adopted are to be such as the Convention shall judge to be demanded in order to vindicate the sovereignty of the State and protect its institutions; those measures are left to the judgment of the Convention, and may reach any officer or any class of persons. Let us take the case, then, of an armed invasion of the State by troops from Arkansas, neither invited nor headed by the Governor of Missouri. The vindication of the sovereignty of the State may demand that such invasion be repelled by force, and every person can see that, while the forces of Missouri may be employed in repelling the invasion, it is perfectly obvious that the vindication of our sovereignty requires that the Governor, who is, by the Constitution, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the State, must be removed from that office when he is actually engaged in leading or inciting the invasion. To consider the relations existing between the people and Government of Arkansas and the people and Government of Missouri, and to adopt measures to vindicate our sovereignty, imperatively demands in the case supposed, and which actually exists, that the commander in the State of Missouri be removed from his office. This case is stated merely as an illustration of the principles upon which the Convention has felt itself bound to act. Other cases equally strong and equally demanding like interposition of the Convention, might be stated as actually existing, but that now stated is sufficient to put you in possession of the principles upon which the action of the Convention rests. It is clearly an action demanded by the duty of vindicating the sovereignty of the State, and it applies to the other persons removed from office by the Convention upon the ground that they are all involved in the same scheme for assailing the sovereignty of the State.

In relation to the members of the General Assembly, the Convention are aware that all the members did not participate in the action which is regarded as an attempt to destroy the institutions of the State by destroying her connection with the Union, and thus overturning the institutions which she has as one of the United States. But no distinction could be made among the members on account of their individual opinions. The body was necessarily located collectively.

And now, having stated the necessity for the action of the Convention, and the principles which have governed the action, your delegates submit the whole for your consideration and calm judgment. They have felt their own position and that of the State to be peculiar. They have looked over Missouri and beheld the dangers that threaten her. They desire to avert them. They desire to restore peace to all her citizens. They have adopted the measures which, in their judgment, gave the highest promise of peace and security to all her citizens. If the measures adopted should have the desired effect, your delegates will feel that gratification which always attends the success of well-intended effort. If the measures should fail to restore peace, your delegates will find consolation in the fact that they have done what they could.

The report of the Committee was agreed to.

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