annihilate the last vestige of freedom. While peace and prosperity have blessed us in the Government of the United States, the following may be enumerated as some of the fruits of secession: It was urged forward by members of Congress, who were sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, and were themselves supported by the Government. It was effected without consultation with all the States interested in the Slavery question, and without exhausting peaceable remedies. It has plunged the country into civil war, paralyzed our commerce, interfered with the whole trade and business of our country, lessened the value of our property, destroyed many of the pursuits of life, and bids fair to involve the whole nation in irretrievable bankruptcy and ruin. It has changed the entire relations of States, and adopted constitutions without submitting them to a vote of the people, and where such a vote has been authorized, it has been upon the condition prescribed by Senator Mason, of Virginia, that those who voted the Union ticket “must leave the State.” It has advocated a constitutional monarchy, a King and a Dictator, and is, through The Richmond Press, at this moment, recommending to the Convention in Virginia a restriction of the right of suffrage, and “in severing connection with the Yankees to abolish every vestige of resemblance to the institutions of that detested race.” It has formed military leagues, passed military bills, and opened the door for oppressive taxation, without consulting the people, and then, in mockery of a free election, has required them, by their votes, to sanction its usurpations under the penalties of moral proscription or at the point of the bayonet. It has offered a premium for crime, in directing the discharge of volunteers from criminal prosecutions, and in recommending the Judges not to hold their courts. It has stained our statute-book with the repudiation of Northern debts, and has greatly violated the Constitution by attempting, through its unlawful extension, to destroy the right of suffrage. It has called upon the people in the State of Georgia, and may soon require the people of Tennessee, to contribute all their surplus cotton, corn, wheat, bacon, beef, &c., to the support of pretended Governments, alike destitute of money and credit. It has attempted to destroy the accountability of public servants to the people by secret legislation, and has set the obligation of an oath at defiance. It has passed laws declaring it treason to say or do any thing in the favor of the Government of the United States, and such a law is now before, and we apprehend will soon be passed, by the Legislature of Tennessee. It has attempted to destroy, and we fear soon utterly prostrate, the freedom of speech and of the press. It has involved the Southern States in a war whose success is hopeless, and which must ultimately lead to the ruin of the people. Its bigoted, overbearing, and intolerant spirit has already subjected the people of East Tennessee to many petty grievances; our people have been insulted; our flags have been fired upon and torn down; our houses have been rudely entered; our families subjected to insult; our peaceable meetings interrupted; our women and children shot at by a merciless soldiery; our towns pillaged; our citizens robbed, and some of them assassinated and murdered. No effort has been spared to deter the Union men of East Tennessee from the expression of. their free thoughts. The penalties of treason have been threatened against them, and murder and assassination have been openly encouraged by leading secession journals. As secession has been thus overbearing and intolerant, while in the minority in East Tennessee, nothing better can be expected of the pretended majority than wild, unconstitutional, and oppressive legislation; an utter contempt and disregard of law; a determination to force every Union man in the State to swear to the support of a constitution he abhors, to yield his money and property to aid a cause he detests, and to become the object of scorn and derision, as well as the victim of intolerable and relentless oppression. In view of these considerations, and of the fact that the people of East Tennessee have declared their fidelity to the Union by a majority of about 20,000 votes, therefore, we do resolve and declare: 1. That we do earnestly desire the restoration of peace to our whole country, and most especially that our own section of the State of Tennessee should not be involved in civil war. 2. That the action of our State Legislature in passing the so-called “Declaration of Independence,” and in forming the “Military league” with the Confederate States, and in adopting other acts looking to a separation of the State of Tennessee from the Government of the United States, is unconstitutional and illegal, and, therefore, not binding upon us, as loyal citizens. 3. That in order to avert a conflict with our brethren in other parts of the State, and desiring that every Constitutional means shall be resorted to for the preservation of peace, we do, therefore, constitute and appoint O. P. Temple, of Knox, John Netherland, of Hawkins, and James P. McDowell, of Greene, Commissioners, whose duty it shall be to prepare a memorial, and cause the same to be presented to the General Assembly of Tennessee, now in session, asking its consent that the counties composing East Tennessee and such
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.