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[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

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