Letter from a Kentucky Union man.
[from the Lexington (Ky.) Statesman.]
Lexington, Ky Aug. 15, 1861.
--I arrived in this city on last Monday, after several weeks' absence on a visit to the State of Virginia
When my return was known, I was invited by a large number of my fellow- citizens to address them upon the subject of the war. I declined to do so at first, because I was no candidate and did not intend to be, and I did not wish to thrust my humble opinion upon the community; however, I finally consented to speak, and, in my humble way, candidly gave my opinion as to the result of the existing war and the course Kentucky
The positions I assumed on the occasion have been greatly misrepresented, and I wish through the columns of your paper to define them.
I do not favor the immediate secession of the State
, nor am I for joining the North
in the prosecution of this war of subjugation.--I stand now just where I stood for months, and where the Union party once stood, and where I believe the people of the State
now stand — in favor of the neutrality of our State.
I do not mean a fictitious, a delusive and a fraudulent neutrality; but I mean a real, actual, and bona fide
I am not for a neutrality that furnished men and money to wage a hopeless war upon the South
I am not for neutrality that permits the organization and encampment of troops in our midst — to establish here, as it has been elsewhere, a military despotism.
I am not for a neutrality that permits, by means of a military force, the complete blockade of our entire Southern frontier; cutting off the Southern
market, and subjecting our products — begs, cattle, mules, hemp, wheat and corn — to the supply of the North
alone, at their own prices, and for the purpose of subjugating the South
I am not for a neutrality that permits the organization of troops in our midst, to interfere with the affairs of a neighboring State, by transporting arms to the disaffected portion of the people, thereby necessarily involving us in war with our neighbors, and in war among ourselves, I am for a neutrality that furnishes no men and money; I am for a neutrality that forbids the organization of troops in our State--that will banish the last soldier from our State not authorized by law for the defence of the State
--a neutrality that will avert the revolting scenes of oppression that have followed the military occupation of other States.
I am for a neutrality that will keep us at peace at home and with our neighboring States--that will keep open our Southern markets and enable us to sell our products to those who wish to buy, either North or South.
This was the neutrality that reached the State
from Secession when it seemed inevitable, and in my opinion it is the only policy that can rescue the State
now from the other equally fatal extreme.
The proposition then was to engage in the war for the South
preferred peace, refused to do it — and Secession failed.
The proposition now is to engage in the war for the North
I, for one, say — never.
I am for peace; and if we must fight, let us fight those who disturb our peace by violating our neutrality.
I am not only for the peace of this State, but I am for the peace of all the States.
I am for stopping the war. I once thought that the Government
could suppress the rebellion — I was anxious that it should be done, because I believed then and believe now that the Government
under the old Union was the best that was ever devised, and better than any that will follow it; but I have become satisfied by recent events and what I have lately seen, that it is utterly impossible to maintain the Union
by prosecuting the war. The question is — shall the war be stopped before or after a hundred thousand men have been killed.
I am for stopping the war before another life is lost or another dollar spent — it is a war almost exclusively by the North
against the South
That is, the soldiers on one side are from the Southern States
, and on the other, almost entirely from the Northern States
cannot subjugate the South
, and it is fol continue the attempt; and it would be worse than madness for Kentucky
to be induced or driven into a contest so unnatural — so bloody and so hopeless.
Thousands have already been killed, and the war thus far began; and thousands and tens of thousands will yet fall long before a single State is subjugated.
The great loss on both sides will, day by day, increase, and exasperate the hospitality between the two sections, until the difficulties, at first small, will become inseparable; and from the sources of eternal strife — with the death of each man that in this war is killed, the hope of reconciliation and reconstruction growsless.
I say, stop the war, and let us have peace, and leave to Providence
and to time to restore, if it be possible, the Union
of all the States.
, for the utterance by a private citizen of such sentiments as these, I have been much abused from irresponsible sources.
I suppose I should not complain; it is but a foretaste of that intolerance, and that all of us must suffer when the military occupation by the State
is completed which has been begun by the establishment of two camps in this State.
R. W. Hanson