Speech of Governor Vance.We publish below a condensation of the speech, we may say without exaggeration the great speech, of Gov. Vance, of North Carolina, delivered at Wilkesboro', N. C., on the 22d ult. It will be well repay reading, and should be circulated throughout the Confederacy.
The Foll of Secession from the Confederacy.A who have been afflicted as you have been afflicted; a people who suffer as you suffer; a people whose gallant boys have been slaughtered as your sons have fallen on the battle field; whose darlings now languish in Northern prisons; wives whose husbands are wasting in far distant camps weary months of listless inactivity, while the weeds choke the scanty harvest, and the children pine for the presence and support of their natural protector; old men, who in fever anxiety await intelligence which each succeeding mail may bring of the slaughter of the pride and support of their declining years — all are liable to reach out, with the spirit of a drowning man, to grasp any passing straw, which for the moment may keep their heads above the roaring flood, losing sight meanwhile of the firm, though perhaps distant shore which calm, determined and persistent effort will assuredly enable them to attain. In consequence of this continued suffering which experience had not prepared the people to endure with the fortitude possessed by some nations who have been nurtured to the shock of arms, a certain discontent has pervaded and a funeral a gloom hung over the community, engendering, if we credit a wide rumor throughout the State, a notion that we must have Convention that we must secede from the Southern Confederacy; that we must repudiate the whole and go back and do our first work over again. Now permit me to ask you what it was that got you into this scape? Why, you all know that it was the fact of your secession in the first instance. [Applause.] Suppose you were sick of typhoid fever, and had been close to death's door; and, becoming convalescent, the physician should gravely inform you that the only plan to effect your entire recovery would be to take another spell of the informal fever? Would you not think he was a fool? [Laughter.] Or suppose a surgeon should say to a soldier with a ball in his leg: "My dear fellow, I don't see how it is possible for you to obtain relief unless I call for a musket and put another one in the other leg." That would be curious surgery, would it not? Would a system bated on the same principle be less absurd when applied to the healing of the body politic? Secession was tried after it had been considered for a period of forty years, and the whole country understood it as completely as an abstraction could be understood. We were promised it should be peaceable. What is the result? Why it has been everything else. It has involved us in a war us, has no parallel upon the pages of history. Do you expect to find a remedy by a repetition of the dose that brought you to bed? Our destinies, fellow citizens, have now been cast in another Government; and although, as you all know, I regretted to go out of the former Government, and was one of the last to lay it down, and did lay it down with the same mournful feelings with which I followed my dear father to the grave, I never expected, and do not now expect, to see it resurrected again. Our Convention, composed of delegates fresh from the people, by the most solemnities that can bind an honorable people to a cause, have pledged their all to its support. May God aid us in the fulfilment of this obligation in the future as in the past, to the letter. The act was a deliberate expression of public sentiment — though it may have been wrong. The Government we selected is ours, as much so as are our own children. The spirit of patriotism is akin to the love of our offspring, which God has implanted in us — the highest, holiest sentiment of humanity. A man should love his home if for nothing else but because it is his and shelters him; he should love his wife if for no other reason than because she is his wife; he should love his State because it is his — a part, as it were, of his being, he should love his country, right or wrong — when in the midst of clashing events he cannot take time to examine all aspects of the question — because in its destiny are involved the welfare of State, community, home, wife, children, self. But if you have no other reason to give for defending it, say you do so because it is your country. Now, gentlemen, I desire to present to you all the various aspects of this question. You have placed me in a position that enables me to gather from sources of information beyond the reach of the public generally, facts which are necessary to a solution of the difficulties and problems which agitate your minds; and if you will only have charity enough to believe that I am honest in what I say, possibly you may, on retiring, be able to quote the passage of Scripture: "it was good for me to be here." Now, what is it you desire above all other present earthly good? [Voices--"peace, " "peace," "we all want peace."] I know you do. Everybody wants peace. Peace, blessed peace! Why, the man who does not desire peace is unworthy of existence. Peace! It is one of the highest and holiest attributes of Deity, so much so, that our blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ, was called the Prince of Peace. The great Apostle Paul said of the highest character of peace, the peace of God that "it pass all understanding." Now, if you really want peace his great blessing to repose upon our bleeding country, your sons to return from the battle field and take their position again in the family circle, commerce and agriculture to resume their beneficent away, the sword beaten into the plowshare and industry again to stretch her wand over the was beaten fields till they bloom as a garden I suppose, at reasonable men, you are writing to take the best plan to obtain this consummation so devoutly wished. Which is the best plan?
A Convention — its Purposes and Results — the position of a neutral State.A Convention is proposed by some. I have no denunciation to make to those who are moving this question. They are as sound men, no doubt, as I am — as you are — as anybody. They are my friends; but I think it is wrong. Suppose you call a Convention without any design it shall put the State out of the Confederacy. You merely call it with the hope that it may be able to make some proposition for peace, or accomplish some result in the direction of peace, that the Legislature or the Executive are unable to bring about. Suppose you call a Convention for this purpose. You elect your delegates, and the first thing they do on taking their scars is to swear, on the Holy Evangelists, to support the Constitution of the Confederacy. Now, having done that, we take it for granted that they, as honorable men, will keep that oath. What does that Constitution say? Why, in article 1, section 9, it reads as follows: "No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation." And in article 2, section 11, it says: ‘"The President shall have power by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senate concur."’ Now you see that the Constitution your delegates have sworn to support, expressly provides that the power to declare war and to make peace shall be vested in the President and Senate of the Confederacy; and the moment one of your delegates makes a proposition or proffers a treaty of any kind to the enemies of his country, he is a traitor by the law and has foresworn himself. [Applause.] That is so, not because I say it, but because it is written in the Constitution we have all agreed to support. If you do not intend to instruct your delegates to take your State out of the Confederacy, you see from this aspect of the question, your Convention assembled can do nothing more towards realizing the end in view than your Legislature or your Governor can accomplish. It can't turn a wheel. Well, suppose you go a little further and say you will instruct your delegates to take the State out of the Confederacy, because when it is out it is relieved from the obligation of the Constitution, and rests upon a separate and independent basic. Supporting also, that it is not your design to join the United States Government again, but only to go out as an independent sovereignty, for the purpose of securing peace to yourself, and possibly effecting the same desirable end for all parties. Well, you pass an ordinance of secession — take another dose of this political Morehouse tea — and nothing I know of is more bitter unless it is a boneset decoction-- [laughter]--and set up for yourselves.--Is that going to give you peace? Will that restore your sons and fathers to their homes? Will that hush the cry of the orphan and dry the widow's tears? Will that fill your land with plenty and prosperity? So far from it, I can assure you, my fellow citizens, it will involve you in a new war, a bloodier conflict than that you now deplore. "But," you may say, ‘"Mr. Davis and his Government will not dare to make war on a seceding State, because the right of secession is recognized in the Constitution of the Confederacy."’ So it is, my friends; but you see by that time you have thrown off that Constitution, you have gotten from under its obligations and sworn you would have nothing to do with it. Do you expect the Confederacy to be bound by a document you refuse to recognize as effecting yourselves? So soon as you announce to the world you are a sovereign and independent nation, as a matter of course the Confederacy has the right of declaring war against you for sufficient cause, equally with the right she holds of declaring war against England, France, or Holland. This right is inherent in all sovereignties. But what would Uncle Abraham say to it — that old gentleman whose personal pulchritude has been the subject of so much remark? [laughter,] and who, they say, can tell more bad jokes than I can. [Laughter.] How would be receive the intelligence that North Carolina had seceded from the Confederacy and set up for herself? He would put his thumb up to his nose and make certain gyrations and evolutions with his finger, and say, "Wall, ole North Carolina. I'm tarnation glad see yer come outer Jeff Davis's little consarn, I ; but yer don't mean for to say yer sia't in the Union agin, and under the protection of the best gov't the world ever saw. Bin fitin yer too long to let you sneak out that way" [Continued laughter and applauce]--Why, of course, if such aproceeding on the part of North Carolina would secure her independence, it would only be necessary for one State to secede at a time, to get herself acknowledged, and after all were out, turn round and form such a Confederacy as best pleased them. Old Abraham is fighting us not because we are a part of the Southern Confederacy, but because we are in rebellion to the Old Union, and so long as we refused obedience to him he would continue to fight us. The idea that Lincoln would recognize us or abate his claim to allegiance and obedience, is preposterous. Well, would the Southern Confederacy recognize your independence and make a treaty of peace with you? This is entirely owing to contingencies. If you went out of the Confederacy and declared yourself independent, you would have to announce and enforce your position of neutrality with reference to the other belligerents, or there would be occasion for war. How could you preserve your neutrality when once announced? The only railroad communication between the armies of Gen. Lee and of Gen. Johnston, between Virginia and the remainder of the Confederacy, is through North Carolina. You do not suppose we could, as a neutral State, permit the Government at Richmond to communicate across our territory with its Southwestern armies. Gen. Lee sends some of his veterans down here, takes possession of the railroads — the very arteries of the Confederacy — and flogs anybody who interferes with him, and so you have two wars instead of one! There is another consideration involved. A great portion of the provisions that feed Gen. Lee's army are obtained in North Carolina. As a neutral State could not sell them, and he would be forced to have them, it is not difficult to foresee how speedily North Carolina would become the seat of war. Moreover, his troops would says: ‘"These fellows have basely abandoned us, left us to our fate, and don't deserve our mercy."’ Old Abe would send his troops here also, because we would no longer be neutral; and so, if you will pardon the expression, we would catch the devil on all sides. Suppose your State should to-morrow seceed from the Confederacy, what would be come of your soldiers in the army? Some would runaway and come home, no doubt; but the mass of them who have followed that old battle flag through smoke and fire, into the presence of death, and waved its bloody folds upon the heights of an hundred fields of triumph, amid the cheers of victory that thrill an applauding world — do you suppose that they would trample it under foot and crawl upon their ballies and eat dirt in that sort of style? [Great applause.] Who then would you have to defend North Carolina? A few old men and some militia officers.
A picture of the old State in Lincoln's hands.Suppose, as the last alternative for obtaining peace, your Convention, should take the State out of the Confederacy and put it into the arms of Lincoln. Just so soon as you entered into the old Union and swore to support that Government, just so soon would you have imposed on you your share of the debt, taxes, burthens of the United States. Instead of the Confederate tax collector coming around to gather up Confederate currency, (of which it must be confessed there is no great lack in the land,) the Federal agent comes among you demanding "greenbacks" and gold to assist in carrying on the war.--Instead of getting your sons back to the plow and fireside, they would be drafted and sent into the service of Uncle Sam, to fight alongside of his negro troops in exterminating the white men, women and children of the South. Is there anything very desirable about such a peace as that? Extend your suppositions into the domains of absurdity, and conceive of the North Carolina soldiers basely deserting their comrades in arms, in obedience to the proclamation of your Governor. Why gentlemen, they would not come home in peace to you. They would have to fight with their new friends, and would just cross from the Southern to the Northern side of the Rappahannock, and their rifles would be pointed at the bosoms of the brave men who have fought by their sides through the fierce fire of a three years war. Would that give you peace? To think of these glorious North Carolina regiments--you have seen them in the first flush of martial enthusiasm — you know them now unflinching, though sustained but by honor and duty; many of them filled with your sons — these regiments that have followed the Southern Cross over so many fields already made classic by their prowess, astonishing the world and raising the nations on tiptoe in admiration of their heroic achievements — shall they be asked to fraternize with the miserable scoundrels who have slaughtered our people, devastated our homes, and even inflicted the crowning outrage which demons from hell pale at, on our mothers and sisters; shall they be asked to join these wretches in desolating the homes of the very men by whose sides they have so long fought and suffered? I know you would not think of the proposition. I think I can assure you to day, with all can dor and all honesty — as a dying man to dying man — in the presence of God--that any step of this kind you take will only involve you in a deeper and bloodier war. The calamities of war affect our people to a terrible degree; streams of tears are running down the checks of many a poor woman; cries for bread come from many a suffering child. But let us trust that the God of battles, who gave to our ancestors through seven long years a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, will yet lead us into the land where grows the fruitage of liberty, richer than the clusters of Eschol, and through which flow the milk and honey of independence and nationality. [Applause.] I have not, fellow-citizens, enumerated all the consequences which would follow inconsiderate action on your part. What would become of the currency should you abandon the cause of the Southern Confederacy? It is bad enough already; but every Bank in the State is filled with it, and would be broken and worthless to-morrow in such an event,--Widowns, soldiers' families and orphan children have no other kind. Commercial and financial ruin, compared to which the present suffering on account of the depreciation of the currency, would be insignificance itself, would overwhelm you. What would become of the gallant soldiers who have been maimed and insulated, in the service — those one -legged and one-armed boys, incapacitated for labor? Having once submitted ourselves to the enemy, you might see one of them come up, his cheeks wan with suffering, his rags furthering in the breeze, his wasted form supported on crutches, and ask the Government for sup- port. The reply would be: ‘"You infamous rebel, have you the impudence to ask support from a Government you have been fighting to destroy? No. You will get no pension; but we will tax as heavily as we can your little potato patch to pension the man who maimed you for life, desolated your home, burned your house, insulted your mother."’ Could you endure such a spectacle? Let us not cease to remember that we all consented to this war — Old Line Whige as well as Secessionists. We consented after it appeared inevitable, and we must all stand up to it — every man, woman, and child through out the length and breadth of the Southern Confederacy. We must forget, if possible, for awhile the causes that led originally to this rupture, and each man take upon his shoulder the fell measure of burden and responsibility, regardless of consequences. [Applause.] But suppose, fellow-citizens, we could forget all these considerations of honor, glory, decency, and resolve that we would see what terms we could get from the United States. --What does the enemy offer you? You are all well aware that when a man sets out to make a bargain he makes everything just as alluring as he possibly can, he presents his goods in the best possible light, and says the most flattering things to induce you to accept his offer. Well, the same policy pertains to diplomacy. When an ambassador or diplomatist is trying to get another to acquiesce in certain measures, he clothes his proposition in the most plausible language he can, and presents the most advantageous terms he can possibly offer to induce negotiations. Possibly some of you know men who would do better by a friend than they promised to do, but I do not think the majority of you ever heard of them. Can any of you put your finger on a man who has done more for you than he bargained? If it is so hard to find one in the circle of your acquaintance, who in the name of Heaven can tell me of a Yankee who ever gave you more than he agreed to? [Applause.] The difficulty is to make him stand up to his bargain. [Voices--"That's so."]
What Lincoln offers to those who submit.Now, what does Mr. Lincoln promise the State of North Carolina? In what language does he clothe his gracious terms of pardon and amnesty? He says if one tenth of the people of any State will take an oath to support — what? The Constitution? Nay, take an oath to support his proclamation abolishing slavery, his proclamation inciting the slaves of your State to burn your home and murder you and your families! If you swore to support this proclamation you would perjure yourself; for it is in direct violation of the Constitution, as you would know. Old Abe has perjured himself, and he wishes to put you in the same category of villainy. Not only must you swear to endure his infamous document — so pronounced by the civilized world — but you must also take an oath to support all the acts of Congress which have been passed — abolishing slavery, confiscating your property, placing you in subjection to one tenth of the community, and publicly executing your glorious chieftains and every officer from a Colonel up to Gen. Lee. When the U. S. Congress last met, Lincoln was called upon by the pressure of public sentiment, to propose some terms of peace to the "rebels"of the South--to advance the greatest inducements that could be possibly proffered to secure their return to the Union; and after long consideration, amid all the pressure of the peace element in the North, in and out of Congress, the best proposition that could be offered, was to support one tenth of the Southern community who would swear to assist in the confiscation of the property of the remaining nine tenths, set free the negroes, and hang every man whose bravery has elevated him above certain rank, every man whom you have seen fit to place in cival office.--What ! Deliver up to the maliguity of an unrestrained foe at whose deeds now, in the face of our immense armies, and checked by fear of retaliation, humanity is livid with horror, the glorious heroes whom our sons have followed through so many trying scenes, and who have made for us a record of glory, as resplendent as history's ample page "rich with sports of time, " has ever enrolled! [Prolonged applause] Let no man say this is a . Do not say old Abe is joking; that he will certainly do better than that. I pledge you my existence he would not do half so well. Do you not see how artful he is even while offering us so little. He wants to breed this very civil war which I am here to-day to warn you against. He wants to set up a government within the Government of North Carolina, composed of one-tenth of her population. Our voting population is about 100,000. They want to set up a Government of 10,000 perjured scoundrels who are unworthy to lick the dust off the feet of the poorest soldier in our army; and to support it with the bayonet, and to set the people to slaughtering each other. You are not fools enough to fall into that trap. You do not need any warning upon that subject, although I have given it. What is to become of your negroes?--There were four millions of them in the Southern Confederacy at the commencement of the war. They are all to be turned loose upon us if we consent to the only terms Mr. Lincoln offers us. They cannot go to the North. I would almost be willing to send them to Massachusetts. [Laughter.] I think they would elevate the tone of its society very much. [Laughter.] Indeed, I think every darkey sent from this country for robbing hen roosts and stealing hogs would be a missionary to that depraved and God-forsaken country. [Continued laughter] But they would not receive them; for they are so determined on shutting out anything which might improve their moral condition, and thereby disturb their swindling "calculations," they have, in common with every Northern State, passed laws prohibiting free negroes from settling within their limits.--Let us see what would be done with these millions of blacks, as already indicated by the acts of the enemy; and I will only cite to you one case, of which there are hundreds of illustrations, all pointing to the same dreadful result, in the little village of Beaufort, S.C., situated in the sea island cotton districts, from which the inhabitants were expelled, the land has been recently laid off into lots of twenty acres and put up for sale. I read the account of the sales as published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The correspondent says: ‘ "The sale commenced on Tuesday, and bids fair to extend to the space of several days to come. The South Carolina colored man stands a far better chance than the wealthy Wall street man. The interest exhibited by the colored men in the sales make them extremely enlivening, and produces such a competition in the bidding that some of our Northern auctioneers, who pride themselves on collecting crowds, and then exciting them, would be half induced to close their establishments could they witness one of these land sales at Beaufort. Notwithstanding the inducements offered to the white troops, the colored men are the principal buyers. In fact, they have the reputation of carrying more money in their pockets than the white men can easily count — the hours given to the task not mentioned. It is said by some that Beaufort is destined to become a second Jamaica. No one can deny that the indications point to a fulfillment of the prophecy. The colored men have been for some time extensive owners of property in the place, and it is believed the result of the sales in progress will give them about the entire possession of its. This will certainly change the complexion of that once delightful inland watering place. The houses, as a general thing, bring more than their assessed value. One building, valued at $750, was knocked off at $953; another, valued at $1000, went for $1,200." ’ Your lands confiscated and sold to your own slaves ! Now you see what is in store for you. This is but the beginning of what would be the end. If they do this in the green tree, what will they not do in the dry? If they do this at the very moment they have the impudence to proffer you terms of peace, what will they not do when our vast armies are disbanded, when the battle-flag is laid low in the dust, and the gallant men who have for three years stood as a wall of fire between you and destruction, no longer periodically send a thrill of guilty awe through the enemy who listens for their avenging tread across his fields, but melt away before the unimpeded rush of the greedy conquerors? I tell you, my fellow-citizens, if we could consent to this thing we would deserve the fate of doggy; but we would not get even that, for dogs are allowed to sleep under the master's floor and to eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table. [Cheers.] You would get nothing. [A voice, "kicks,"] Yes, you would get kicks, and until you would wish you had died a man rather than live to become a dog. [Applause.]
The old order of things and the new.There is only one more proposition to consider under this head. It is a favorite idea with a great many, that possibly the old order of things could be restored, that our rights under that Constitution could be guaranteed to us, and everything move on peace fully as before the war. My friends, there are a great many desirable things, but the question, not what may be wished, but what may be obtained, is the one reasonable men may consider. It is desirable to have a lovely wife and plenty of pretty children, but every man can't have them. I tell you now candidly, there is no more possibility of reconstructing the old Union and reinstating things as they were four years ago, than exists for you to gather up the scattered bones of your sons who have fallen in this struggle, from one end of the country to the other, re-clothe them with flesh, fill their veins with the blood they have so generously shed, and their lungs with the same breath with which they breathed out their last prayer for their country's triumph and independence. [Immense applause.] The old Union was not merely a physical juxtaposition, a constitutional agreement; it was a moral Union. The cement of confidence was what held it together so-long. The tendrils of affection which grew from a common soil of national memories of past glory wreathed its tall columns with a beauty passing fair. Does this confidence exist now? It has gone forever. It has disappeared beneath the fiery hoofs of war that have trampled our felt fields into desolation. It is lost in the smoke of burning cities, and will be talked of no more by the hearthstones that now lie heaped with chaired rafters and the cinders of the family altar. The bloody hands that have dug up the bones of our ancestors and searched the sacred dusts in their bellish have buried it where plummet can never sound nor the trump of resurrection awaken it into renewed existence. [Cheers.] It has finally gone forever. Posted out by the members of the Congress of the United States who have recorded the deliberate of exterminating the people of the South and supplanting them by a better race--God save the mark!--a better race! Can the pious mother pray that her children may be brought associate with the men who make the Word of God contraband of war? Will the son seek to give the brotherly kiss to the murderer of his father, the outraged of his sister, the slaughterer of his people, the desolater of his land? Not while too faintest spark of mankind glows in his bosom [Applause] There is another aspect of the question to which I wish to call your attention, and one which deserves much consideration. I desire you to mark my prediction. There never can be peace on the Continent of North America until the North and South are independent and distinct nations. There might be a temporary peace; such a peace as you have seen effected by overpowering a gallant man, putting manacles upon his limbs, and throwing him into a dungeon; such a peace as exists until he wrenches the bars, scales the walls, and strikes terror into the hearts of his enemies when they dream they are most secure. You would have such a peace as Poland has to-day. She has obtained peace again and again; but so clearly has God drawn a distinction between the Poles and the conquerors that they refuse to mix, and have retained their inherent nationality, though every quarter of a century demands for it a sacrifice of blood. For a while peace would reign in Warsaw, but some act of oppression — the whipping of delicate ladies on the bare back in the public streets, for instance — would cause the people to boil over in a fresh ebullition of indignation, and a torrent of blood to flow until "peace" was again restored. Just so with Ireland. It did not, like Scotland, hold out to the bitter end, but obtained "peace," and over since one of the noblest races on the face of the earth has been engaged, except when fighting their oppressors, in fattening suckling pigs for the delicate palates of their foreign masters, whilst their children cried for bread; and at length their magnificent country is being depopulated by the policy of the enlightened conquerors, who find that sheep are more valuable than men. Like the Yankees, they propose to supply a "better race." Do you suppose the chivalrous people of the South, whose distinct moral nationality has long since been recognized, would submit to see all their proud cities garrisoned with negro soldiers; to see the lands of their friends divided up and parcelled out among the foreign mercenaries? Do you suppose the blood of the Southern youth would run quietly in his veins when he saw a negro officer walking the streets and making his sister give way for him, or insulting her by his very presence? Do you suppose this kind of peace would long endure? No, insurrection after insurrection, revolution upon revolution, war after war would burst upon the country, and for year after year, century after century, as in European States, victims would be demanded and blood flow in torrents, compared to which a drop would have at first won independence and permanent peace. The only way to obtain continued peace — and I want no other — is to fight it out now;--[applause]--to fight it out now, whilst we have a Government, and great and glorious armies in the field. If we to not, we will leave war as an inheritance to our children's children. We will leave this terrible question for our little boys to settle when we have passed, and under circumstance far different and advantages far less than we now possess for asserting their rights, their race and nationality. If you think, fellow citizens, as a great many of you do, that proper efforts have not been made during his warfare to obtain he peace which you desire, why, there cannot be any earthly objection to such efforts being made. I have been a favor of them myself, and from time to time have so advised the President. If you think our Government should tender the olive branch of peace and let no occasion pass, why fellow citizens, as of course let it be done. But I beg you to recollect that there is a lawful and legal way pointed out be the Constitution of your country and any effort you make in this way will be right and paper. Other modes of procedure will only place you in a false position and do your country injury. No doubt many of you have read the writings of Solomon, and have included that Solomon knew a thing or two I think among the best things he ever said was this: "The King's name is a tower of strength." He simply meant that those who had law and order and authority on their side, which is old times was represented by the name of the King, had a moral force against their enemies and would generally prevail. Therefore, remember, in all your individual efforts to obtain relief, that the King's name on a tower of strength, and that if you proceed according to the established authority and order you carry with you this tower of strength, which will accomplish more for you then revolutionary or ill-considered plan that could possibly be devised amongst you. There is another consideration, fellow citizens. It is exceedingly important, before we take any great step of that sort, that we should base our action upon the right ground. We should not put ourselves in a false passion.
The substitute principal question.Now, if one of you should undertake to address a State Convention, what reason would you give to justify a separation from the Southern Confederacy? You had a great deal said about the tendency of the military authorities to overslaugh the city; about the flagrant violations of faith on the part of the Confederate Government in conscribing the principals of substitutes, &c.--Could you answer to God for the peace you had broken on this ground? You say it is a great outrage. It may be so. But who pronounces upon a violation of law? Your Judges. It is not for you to say, it is not for me to say, it is not for the Legislature to say, a Convention cannot determine; it is for the Courts to decide. There being no Supreme Court of the Confederacy, so much the better for you, the interpretation of the laws of Congress is left to your own Judges — men of your own choice, if it is a violation of rights let your Judges say so, and not a single solitary man who has put in a substitute shall be carried from the of North Carolina, if your Governor help it. [Applause.] But if it is decided to be according to law he shall go, if I can compel him. But let us how much consistency there would be in proposed action on this substitute question. Why, gentlemen, as early as two years ago the conscript law came along and seized the poor fellow who had nine little children — the eldest hardly able to pull the youngest out of the fire — living on rented land in a leaky cabin. He had no money, and he was forced to go. Did anybody propose to raise a revolution for him? Not a single solitary man thought of such thing. But his neighbor, on whose land this poor conscript was living, had his pockets stuffed with money, bought his carcass out of danger, and put in a substitute. Two years has rolled around, meanwhile the poor conscript worn down with anxiety thinking about his wife and helpless little on, has nevertheless fought, and bled and suffered to protect, among others at home, his rich neighbor, who, in the interim, has dressed in purple and line linen, fared sumptuously every day, and made so much money by speculating that he don't know what to do with it Congress says the exigencies of the hour demand more men, and it is about time for this man to take his place alongside of his poor tenant and help to drive back the foe. "But," say some, "it is a violation of law, we will kick up a fuss and plunges ourselves into danger for the benefit of the man who buys him self out of danger" [Laughter.] My remarks are not intended to apply to all principle of substitutes, for many of them have been compelled, one-tenth perhaps, to act by force of circumstances. But you know that nine of them are either speculators, or original secessionists who helped to bring on the war and are now trying to get themselves out of it by hock or crook. [Applause] I heard of a gentleman who, to get rid of a beggar's importunity, at length gave him two quarters. About one o'clock in the morning he was aroused by a great banging at his door. On going to see the occasion of the unseasonable visit, he found the fellow at the door. "You gave me two quarters this morning." "Well, are you not satisfied ? " "No, I ain't; one of em was a slick quarter, and I come here to collect the other five cents." [Great laughter.] That fellow had rather a small soul, and I was going to say he was the meanest man I ever heard of; but I happen to know some fellows who were so red hot for the war that had you thrown them into a branch they would have fizzed, [laughter] now that fighting by proxy is played out, say to some Convention man, "old fellow, you have been right all the time; turn down the sheet quick, we want to get in bed with you."--[Cheers and laughter.] I know some men who were the most furious war men at the start, who were for giving the man and last dollar. [provided they happen to be the one final individual, and the dollar came out of the pocket of any other man,) and now it is amusing, when the question begins to come home to see the whites of their eyes up and the palm of their hands begin to and their knees beat the long roll on the appearance of the enrolling officer. "We can It is a violation of faith. The agreement was to fight entirely by proxy. It will never do. We must go out! [Laughter and applause.] it is not a legal outrage, let the men who put in substitutes go to the war, and be thankful they have not been shot during the last two years. [Good, hit em again.]
The military law Overriding the Civil law.There is a great deal said about the danger of the military authorities overcoming the civil. Well, I acknowledge all that. There is danger. But there was never yet a war where the same danger did not arise, and especially a war like ours, that taxes the whole energies of the people, that permeates every strata of society, and is the sole business of the day. We may forget, in the midst of the pomp and circumstance of the war, that we have civil rights and constitutional liberties. I have striven against this danger as much as any man in the country. We must all strive against it. But if we undertake to go out of the Southern Confederacy on this ... to get these rights, I think it would be the part of prudence, to say the least, while we are simmering and frying, and the under side done pretty brown, to look over into the coals and estimate their temperature.--We might be glad enough to get back into the pan, hot as it is. [Applause and merriment.] Seward boasted to Lord Lyons that he could touch a bell at his table and arrest any man in the United States, and no man dare inquire why or wherefore. He has arrested editors in almost every town in the North for a simple expression of opinion. He arrested Vallandigham, tried him by a military court, in open violation of the Constitution, and banished him. I hardly think we could find much protection for civil liberty in the dominion of Abraham the First. There is talk of the writ of habeas corpus being suspended in the Southern States. I understand it has already been suspended by Congress; but the suspension of this writ may not be in contravention of the Constitution; for the courts have decided that Congress can suspend the writ within certain limits. I regret to see the suspension of the writ. It is evidence of wrong existing somewhere, either of a desire upon the part of the Government to assume more authority than be longs to it, or of a state of affairs in some parts of the country that argues ill. But in the name of common sense, if we are a law abiding people, if we regard the King's name as a tower of strength, we must not make a commotion because a law has been enacted which our jurists announce as within the limits of the Constitution of the country that we have sworn to support. We ought to be willing to stand up to our own Constitution and our own laws. If they are improper, if they are hard upon us, let us instruct our Representatives to repeal them and give us better ones. But are they doing any better in Mr. Lincoln's country? Poor old Kentucky, that we used to regard as a most chivalrous and independent State, undertook to be neutral. She declared she would take no part in the quarrel. But Mr. Lincoln soon thrashed neutrality out of Kentucky, made her furnish her quota of men, and subjected her to her share of all the burden of the Government. Some time ago the election for Governor of the State came off. Two candidates were in the field — both Union men — but one of them opposed to the abolition policy of Lincoln's Administration. An individual by the name of Burnside--Gen. Burnside--A. E. Burnside — I had the honor of making his acquaintance down at Newbern, though I hadn't much time to exchange compliments with him. I had an engagement about that time, and had to cut the interview rather short. [Laughter.] Well, Gen. A. E. Burnside, aforesaid, was in Kentucky about the time of the election, and proclaimed martial law over the entire State. Now, there is a great difference between the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in certain cases and the extension of martial law over a State. The former takes cognizance of a certain class of high crimes, but does not otherwise interfere with the civil functions of the community. When martial law is proclaimed all civil laws are suspended; a citizen can do nothing without the consent of the military; he can scarcely skin a potato or take a chew of tobacco without the permission of the provost-marshal. [Here Gov. V. read the order of Burnside in Kentucky, permitting no person to vote who had uttered disloyal language, and requiring all voters first to make oath that they were "unconditionally for the Union and the suppression of the rebellion."] From this you may judge whether your rights would be better protected in the Northern Government than here. If every man who has used any abusive language towards Jeff Davis and the Confederate Government was subjected to this test, how many men in Willies county would now be out of jail? Why, instead of addressing you were as freemen, I would be talking to you through the bars and addressing you as my suffering fellow-citizens in jail. (Laughter) The taking of the above oath is equivalent to waring you are for the Union, happen why may. Though stripped of home, property, wife, children, friends, liberty, character, amputation — even though your legs and arms are cut off by the Government, and there is only enough of your body left to retain the oath, you are still for the Union. --We understand what sort of men held the pulls in Kentucky. Not only is this villainous oath the condition of exercising the right of citizenship. but a refusal to take it is the signal for arrest and incarceration in prison. This is the course perused by the Government of the United States, in a State which they claim as in the Union and do not admit to have ever been in rebellion. It is probable a State that has resisted the Lincoln Government so desperately as has North Carolina, would fare much better in the old Union than does Kentucky?--Hardly. The of Kentucky deluded her with the idea that she could stand off with folded arms and see the United States and the Southern Confederacy first it out — as if one could remain in a Government and excuse himself from all the burdens thereof; as if a man could remain neutral whilst war, desolating, furious, involving the life of a great people on one side, and the division of a great territory on the other, was raging and surging before his door, and expect to escape the common fate and the destruction incident to such universal commotion. They are reaping the reward of their folly. Let their example be deeply pondered. There is great complaint made about the impressment of property. Well, impressment is a very hard thing to bear, and it is frequently executed by men who have neither sense, discretion nor honesty; and are only kept out of jail and the lunatic asylum by the assistance of impudence, brass buttons and a little brief authority. [Voices, that's so.] But what are the evils of impressment here compared with the system of the enemy in Kentucky and elsewhere. As witness this:
Headq'rs 23d army corps,
General Orders, No. 14.
For the information and guidance of officers in impressing property, it is hereby directed that, whenever its impressment may become necessary for troops of the Twenty third army corps, it will be taken exclusively from rebels and rebel sympathizers; and so long as the property needed is to be found belonging or pertaining to either of the above named classes, no man of undoubted loyalty will be molested.
Among rebel sympathizers will be classed those persons in Kentucky nominally Union men but opposed to the Government and to the prosecution of the war, whose acts and words alike the speedy and proper termination of the rebellion.
Property will only be taken by the proper stuff officers, who will in every case give receipts for it. Appropriate blank receipts will be furnished by the Chief Commissary and Quartermaster at those headquarters.
Lexington, Ky., July 29, 1863.
Geo. B. Darank, A. A. G.