“  and wicked rebellion that the world has seen, and believing, as we do, that the only hope of saving this country and preserving this Government is by the power of the sword, we are for the most vigorous prosecution of the war until the Constitution and the laws shall be enforced and obeyed in all parts of the United States; and to that end we oppose any armistice, or intervention, or mediation, or proposition for peace, from any quarter, so long as there shall be found a rebel in arms against the Government; and we ignore all party names, lines, and issues, and recognize but two parties in this war — patriots and traitors.” The motive of such strange conduct is obvious. The Republican party was founded to destroy slavery and the equality of the States, and Lincoln was selected as the instrument to accomplish this object. The Union was a barrier to the consummation of this policy, because the Constitution, which was its bond, recognized and protected slavery and the sovereignty of the States. The Union must, therefore, be sacrificed, and to insure its destruction, war was determined on. The mass of the Northern people were not privy to, and sympathized in no such design. They loved the Union and wished to preserve it. To rally the people to the support of the war, its object was proclaimed to be “a restoration of the Union,” as if that which implied voluntary assent, of which agreement was an indispensable element and condition, could be preserved by coercion. It is absurd to pretend that a government, really desirous of restoring the Union, would adopt such measures as the confiscation of private property, the emancipation of slaves, systematic efforts to invite them to insurrection, forcible abduction from their homes and compulsory enlistment in the army, the division of a sovereign State without its consent, and a proclamation that one tenth of the population of a State, and that tenth under military rule, should control the will of the remaining nine tenths. The only relation possible between the two sections under such a policy is that of conqueror and conquered, superior and dependent. Rest assured, fellow-citizens, that although restoration may still be used as a war cry by the Government, it is only to delude and betray. Fanaticism has summoned to its aid cupidity and vengeance; and nothing short of your utter subjugation, the destruction of your State governments, the destruction of your social and political fabric, your personal and public degradation and ruin, will satisfy the demands of the North. Can there be a man so vile, so debased, so unworthy of liberty as to accept peace on such humiliating terms? It would hardly be fair to assert that all the Northern people participate in these designs. On the contrary, there exists a powerful political party. which openly condemns them. The Administration has, however, been able thus far, by its enormous patronage and its lavish expenditures, to seduce, or by its legions of “Hessian” mercenaries, to overawe the masses, to control the elections, and to establish an arbitrary despotism. It cannot be possible that this state of things can continue. The people of the United States, accustomed to freedom, cannot consent to be ruined and enslaved, in order to ruin and enslave us. Moral, like physical, epidemics, have their allotted periods, and must sooner or later be exhausted and disappear. When reason returns, our enemies will probably reflect, that a people like ours, who have exhibited such capabilities, and extemporized such resources, can never be subdued; that a vast expanse of territory, with such a population, cannot be governed as an obedient colony. Victory would not be conquest. The inextinguishable quarrel would be transmitted “from bleeding sire to son,” and the struggle would be renewed between generations yet unborn. To impoverish us would only be to dry up some of the springs of Northern prosperity — to destroy Southern wealth is to reduce Northern profits, while the restoration of peace would necessarily reestablish some commercial intercourse. It may not be amiss, in this connection, to say that at one time it was the wish and expectation many at the South to form a treaty of amity and friendship with the Northern States, by which both peoples might derive the benefits of commercial intercourse and move on side by side in the arts of peace and civilization. History has confirmed the lesson taught by divine authority, that each nation, as well as each individual, should seek their happiness in the prosperity of others, and not in the injury or ruin of a neighbor. The general welfare of all is the highest dictate of moral duty and economic policy, while a heritage of triumphant wrong is the greatest curse that can befall a nation. Until some evidence is given of a change of policy on the part of the Government, and some assurance is received, that efforts at negotiation will not be spurned, the Congress are of opinion that any direct overtures for peace would compromise our self-respect, be fruitless of good, and intepreted by the enemy as an indication of weakness. We can only repeat the desire of the people for peace, and our readiness to accept terms, consistent with the honor and integrity and independence of the States, and compatible with the safety of our domestic institutions. Not content with rejecting all proposals for a peaceful settlement of the controversy, a cruel war of invasion was commenced, which, in its progress, has been marked by a brutality and disregard of the rules of civilized warfare, as stand out in unexampled barbarity in the history of modern wars. Accompanied by every act of cruelty and rapine, the conduct of the enemy has been destitute of that forbearance and magnanimity which civilization and Christianity have introduced to mitigate the asperities of war. The atrocities are too incredible for narration. Instead of a regular war our resistance of the unholy efforts to crush out our national existence
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.