Message of the (Union) Governor of Kentucky.
We have received a copy of the message of Gov. Robinson
the Union Governor
The first part is devoted to a brief review of the origin of the rebellion, the course Kentucky
has pursued, and the aid she has rendered to the national Government.
He approves of the grant made by Congress for the establishment of agricultural colleges, and recommends the Legislature to take steps to comply with the conditions of the grant.
The second half of the message is devoted to the slavery question, in relation to the President
's proclamation of emancipation.
It is from this portion that we make the following extracts, showing what that unhappy State has suffered at the hands of Yankee
What She has a right to complain of.
She has a right to complain that her neutrality has been denounced in the Halls of Congress as either treasonable or cowardly or both.
This is a most unkind return to those patriotic and loyal men, who, perfectly understanding the difficulties in their path, adopted the only line of policy that could stem the tide of Southern sympathy, and in so doing keep safely to her moorings a great State which, if it had been lost to the Union
, would greatly have weakened the national strength, if it had not, indeed, changed the whole character of the war. But this, perhaps is an ephemeral wrong which eventually may recall upon its perpetrators, and be visited upon them with contemporaneous and historic contempt.
She has a right to complain, that since the occupancy of her country by the Federal
troops the rights of property have not been duly respected.
Under the specious plea of "military necessity." farms have been laid waste, provisions have been seized, forage has been collected, and, instead of being bought in open market, where the supply would have been ample and the competition fair, commissaries have gone with teams and soldiers, taking grain and other commodities from the farmers at whatever price the commissaries choose to affix to them, and utterly regardless whether the farmers could spare them or not, and, instead of prompt payment, leaving in its stead cumbrous certificates which have to pass through many hands before they are properly audited, and then to pass into the general vortex of Governmental claims — In consequence of this oppressive and inexcusable, because unnecessary conduct many of our farmers have been deprived of the means of subsisting their own stock during the present winter, and the direct and consequential losses to them have been ruinous in the extreme.
Yet even this might have and has been borne as one of the unpleasant concomitants that follow the marches or encampments of troops; but still it is a matter of wonder to Kentuckians why a different rule prevails on the opposite side of the river.
Why is it that all supplies are bought and paid for in Ohio
, the Government
coming in as any other purchaser while the same things are unceremoniously seized in Kentucky
lost any of her equality with other loyal states; and, if not who is responsible for making a disparaging difference with her?
The State and her laws Controlled by no Abolitionists.
Since the commencement of this civil war there has suddenly grown up a theory outside of and above the Constitution
and a new doctrine has been introduced into practical exhibition — that military necessity
is not to be measured by constitutional
limits, but must be the judge of the extract of its powers.
As an offshoot from this political heresy there have appeared among us not only anti slavery propagandists but men who have actually presumed to override our own State laws and turn regiments brought here ostensibly for our protection into cities of refuge for runaway slaves.
To such an extent has this been carried that not only have our citizens been driven from the camps where they have traced their property into the possession of soldiers, but the civil officers
have been prevented from serving any process for their recovery.
This high-handed and iniquitous conduct is daily and honily weakening the cause of the Union
and paralyzing the efforts to suppress the rebellion.
And in addition to all this it is putting the State
to imminent peril.
It is asking too much of the citizen to expect him to fold his arms in quiet submission when his property is taken from him in his very presence, and to be rudely thrust aside at the point of the bayonet when he attempt to reclaim it. Your State laws are already ample for redress of offences against the property of the citizen, as the same have been ordinarily committed; but I suggest to you the propriety of other and more stringent laws against the infamous practice of abolition soldiers in this particular, and to do this effectually there should be a solemn affirmation of the great truth that in all free Governments the military is and must be subject to the civil authority, and by proper legislation give it a practical meaning by providing for its maintenance at all hazards.
It is but just to add that this accusation does not apply indiscriminately to all the regiments that have been quartered in Kentucky
The commanders of many of them oppose the practice so far as they can do so consistently with what they believe to be their duty as subject to the rules and articles of war and the proclamation of the President
of the United States
, issued on the 22d of September last.
Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.
As an operative edict in the Southern
rebellious States, it can have no other effect than to strengthen them in their rebellion, and give a tolerable pretext to their cause.
He might with as much reason have issued a proclamation to them to lay down their arms.
Both equally expose him to a contemptuous rejection of his scheme.
But he makes a distinction between slavery in the rebel States and slavery in the loyal States, and proposes to the latter compensated emancipation as an equivalent for their surrender of the institution itself.
It is probable that this proposition was intended especially for Kentucky
; but how vain is an offer when there is no power to accept it, even if there was a disposition to do so. Kentucky
's Constitution fixes the institution as part of her settled policy, and the question is a concluded one, only to be re-opened by the call of a Convention and the adoption of a new Constitution.
This could not, owing to the provisions of the instrument be effected until many years have elapsed — a period before the arrival of which, it is to be hoped, this wretched war will have been brought to a close.
But even if there were no constitutional impediment in the way, his proposition would be and ought to be promptly rejected.
understands her own interests too well to be thankful for gratuitous advice as to the made in which she should manage them; and when she wants the assistance of any outside administration of her affairs, she claims the privilege of originating the suggestion.
I would, therefore suggest the propriety of your passing a resolution, by way of response to the President
's proposition, that Kentucky rejects it;
and at the same time, in behalf of her own unquestioned rights as an independent power in the control of her own State polity protests against any interference with it as unwarranted by the Constitution of the United States.
A Dim Ray of light for the Future.
But by far the most alarming aspect in which the proclamation presents itself is its usurpations of the powers of the Government
upon the specious pretext that the President
"sincerely believes it to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution
upon military necessity." If military necessity is not to be measured by constitutional limits we are no longer a free people.
The sword has become paramount, and the civil authority subordinate.--The monstrous doctrine has already received an indignant rebuke from the people themselves.
The great States of New York, Ohio, Indians
, New Jersey, and Illinois
in their recent elections have put their veto upon it; and later returns indicate that Connecticut
and other paris of New England
will soon add their emphatic condemnation.
Indeed, it is apparent that the people are aroused to the sense of the danger that threatens their constitutional liberties, and will, in good time, come to the rescue.
Until that day — which is unquestionably near at hand — arrives, it becomes Kentucky
to maintain the position she has hitherto occupied.--Let her not abate one lot or little of her opposition to Succession or Abolition; but let her poise herself upon the great truth that man is capable of self-government, and that God designs this country for a great a free, and a happy people, and shape her policy to that great and in the meantime the Legislature would do well to follow the example of our Kentucky
fathers, and place upon her records a process against the proclamation and reaffirm the great principles of American hearty--State and National.