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HON. JAMES HARLAN, OF IOWA,



SERV^iOE OF THE ]m:ilitia^- ;

. ■ . — // -l_"^

SPEECH





DELIVERED



In the United States Senate, July 11, 1862.



The Senate baving under consideration the bill to amend
the act calling fortU the militia to execute the laws of the
Union, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions —

Mr. HARLAN said : Mr. President, I
think there can be no doubt but that the Pres-
id€:nt has the power, under existing laws, to
call out more troops ; and he is, probably, act-
ing in pursuance of that authority in the inti-
mations given to the Governors of the States that
more would be accepted. One object, I believe,
in passing this bill, is to enable him to call
them out for a longer period than the law now
authorizes, should he deem it necessary. If this
bill should become a law it will also be an inti-
mation to the President that in the opinion of
Congress a change of policy is desirable in the
particulars that have been referred to by the
Senators who have spoken this morning. Nor
do I think that such an intimation by Congress
ought to be or would be considered by the Pres-
ident offensive or undesirable. None who un-
derstand the frankness of his nature could
■entertain such an opinion. If, in the opinion
of Congress, any change of policy, however
small or great, is desirable, I have no doubt
he would be gratified with a clear, unequivocal
expression of that opinion. Hence, if the
President has the power to do all that is con-
templated by the proposed amendments, their
adoption can do no harm, and may do goad.
It divides the responsibility ; and should he
find it necessary to follow this intimation, he
will have the support of Congress. And, on
the other hand, if existing laws do not, as
some suppose, confer on him this power, it is
clearly granted by the provisions of this bill
and pending amendments. The people, also,
have a right to know that the President's pol-
icy is approved by their immediate representa-
tives iiwthe national legislature. I therefore
differ in opinion with the Senator from Penn
sylvania, [Mr. Cowan, J if I understand cor-
rectly the views presented by him this morning
Off this point ; and still more radically in rela-
tion to the relative rights of the Government
and the people of the rebellious States. If I
u'aderstood him correctly in the expression of
bis views on this subject a few days since, they
^ire quite similar to if not identically the same
ks those entertained by Jefferson Davis, and so
frequently expressed by him and his associate



conspirators on this floor during the last Con-
gress. If I understood his speech correctly,
he believes that when the people within the
limits of any State, with considerable or
practical unanimity, are opposed to the Gov-
ernment of the United States, and desire to
release themselves from its restraints, they have
a right to dissolve the Union Jind to organize a
new Government for themselves.

_ Mr. CO WAN. I stated, as I remember most
distinctly, that at the outset of this rebellion we
had a right to take one of two courses : we had
the right to assume that these States were out
of the Union, and we could, by virtue of our
power as a nation, make war upon them ; could
make conquest of them, and subjugate them.
But I desire to say this: that what I suppose
was taken to resemble secession was the fact
that I asserted : proceeding as we did upon the
ground that we would not make conquest and
subjugation, if, at the end of that time, it was
found that there were no loyal people there, I
said there was an end of it, unless we fell back
upon our rights anas a nation to make conquest
and subjugation ; and that was the whole of it.
I say so still, and am prepared to stand upon it
anywhere. I think it is unexceptionable.

Mr. HARLAN. I did not use the name of
the rebel chief in this connection for the pur-
pose of forming an offensive association of
names, and had no intention of giving offence.
I alluded to what appeared to me to be simi-
larity of argument, and not similarity of char-
acter. And I suppose it possible for the rebel
Davis to entertain correct opinions on the the-
ory of government, while his conduct has been
so disastrous to the interests of the nation, and
especially to his own section of the country.
Abating any offensive features of the allusion,
I will reiterate that the Senator, as I under-
stood him, repeated the arguments of the rebel
Senators who occupied seats on the other side
of the Chaniber about a year since. They main-
tained that the people of a State had the right'
to dissolve their connection with this Govern-
ment, and either remain as an independent
State, assuming a distinct nationality, or to af-
filiate with other States for that purpose ; that
the people of a State of the Union may, at their
own election, renounce their allegiance to the
Federal Government without consultation with






thepeople of any other State, or of all the remain-
ing States combined ; that the continuance of
the Union depended on the volition or caprice
of the people of each of its parts. I understood
the Senator to lay down the same premises.
He said that when this war broke out, every-
body supposed that a large part of the people
of the rebellious districts were loyal ; that the
war was prosecuted on our part to enable these
loyal people to organize and maintain their
State governments under the Constitution, as
heretofore ; but that if there were no loyal peo
pie in any one of these States, it was the end
of the controversy; that all just Governments
^ derived their powers from the consent of the
\ governed. Now, Mr. President, as it seems to
^~^me, the only conclusion that can be derived
from this process of reasoning is, that if the
people of a State, with substantial unanimity,
desire to secede, they have the right to do so.
Nor do I understand the Senator to have op-
posed this doctrine this morning. He would
not have advised" the people of any State to se-
cede; he does not think it was best for them to
secede ; he thinks it a great calamity that they
should attempt to secede; he did not, and per-
haps does not still, believe that the people of
any one of these States did, with anything like
unanimity, give their voluntary assent to any
act of secession ; but, nevertheless, if they did,
in fact, with ordinary unanimity, desire to dis-
solve the Union, and are still disloyal, and de-
liberately resist the authority of the Govern-
sntnt of the United States, I understand him to
maintain that we have no constitutional au-
thority to put them down. I disagree with him.
If every inhabitant of any one of the States of
the Union desired to secede, I do not admit
they have the right to dissolve the Union. I
maintain that the provision in the Constitution
which says, " the citizens of each State shall be
entitled to all the privileges and immunities of
citizens of the several States,'' is in direct con-
flict with that assumption. I claim, as a citi-
zen of the United States from the State of Iowa,
that I have a right to the protection of the Uni-i
ted States in South Carolina, in Georgia, in I
Louisiana, and that it is the duty of this Gov-j
ernment to afford me the same protection in j
any other State of the Union that I can claim [
of this Government in the State in which I hap-
pen to reside. Whenever interest, pleasure, or t
curiosity induces me to enter another State of'
the Union, the National Governmenthas pledged '
me its protection. This is an unconditional |
obligation. It does not depend on the ])eople|
of the particular locality. I am no less a citi-|
zen of the United States in South Carolina than !
in Iowa, and my right to claim protection of I
person and property, and rt dress of grievances, I
is as complete in any other State as in that of!
my domicil. Tliis view, however, pertains not!
alone to the individual rights of each citizen.!
It is equally applicable to the people of the na- 1



tion in the aggregate. The people of the whole
country have the right, in common, to navigate
the waters of every part, to carry oa commerce,
and to use either land or water in making a
common defence against a foreign enemy. The
rivers, harbors, inlets, bays, and forts in Louis-
iana, Georgia, or in South Carolina, are as
much the property of the people of Iowa as of
the people of the States named. We are taxed
to improve the one and to construct the other,
and have a right to demand that, they shall be
held for the common good. T.'^e harbors at
New Orleans, Charleston, or New York have
not been improved and fortified for the people
of those localities alone ; they are seaports for
the people of the interior as much as for those
of the coast. And in practice it may be quite
as important for the welfare of the people whom
I represent in part that a foreign enemy should
be met and repelled at New Orleans as at Keo-
kuk or Dubuque.

Nor do I admit the truth of the Senator's
corollary that harmonious opposition to the
authority of the United States by the people of
the rebel States would render it impossible for
us to crush the rebellion. I know it is fre-
quently asserted that six or eight million peo-
ple, fighting for a specific purpose, can never
be overcome. These assertions, I think, are
made without reflection, and usually by popu-
lar orators from the hustings; but when made
seriously, in a grave, deliberative body, per-
haps the public welfare may require a serious
answer. At least members of Congress ought
to try it by the light of history before adopting
it as a controlling fact in legislating for the
perpetuity of a great nation ; and they need
not travel back very far on the page of history
to discover how surprisingly naked the false-
hood stands. Ireland was crushed, Scotland was
overthrown, and all their people were merged
with the English in a common nationality. The
English themselves have been more than once j
completely overrun, and were finally subju- l
gated, and their whole feudal system com- |
pletely changed. Poland has been conquered,
divided, and her nationality wiped out, so that
sheno longer has a place among the family of
nations.

Mr. COWAN. Allow me to ask the gentle-
man whether it was not the dissensions of Po- '
land, the very fact that she was not united, that
caused her overthrow ? •

Mr. HAllLAN. I will answer by asking 1
where is Hungary, a more recent case of re-
bellion ? There were many million people
practically united, a martial people, highly cul-
tivated, struggling against a despotic powel
for their independence, who, within the mem
ory of these boys acting as pages, have bee
crushed by the superior military power of their
enemies.

Mr. COWAN, If the gentleman will allow
me, I will refer to Hungary as one of the



(



strongest examples against his theory. I will
ask him whether there were not in Hungirj
three or four distinct races of men ; that they
have never been able to unite them in one
solid compact body; and whether it was not
by means of their dissensions that the Aus-
trians were enabled to overcome them ; whether
they do not divide and conquer them always ?

Mr. LANE, of Kansas. If the Senator from
Iowa will permit me, I wish to say but a single
word. The Senator from Pennsylvania is op-
posing a proposition upon this floor that he
well knows will divide and array four million
people against six million in these rebellious
States.

Mr. HARLAN. Although what the Senator
from Pennsylvania says may be technically
true, that the inhabitants of Hungary, many
ages back, may have originated in different
nationalities, he knows very well that in that
struggle they were practically united. The Aus-
trians never were able to organize a loyal army
in Hungary from her own people until they had
crushed out the armies led by the Magyars, and
scattered their leaders as fugitives over the face
of the earth. Nor was there any division of the
armed inhabitants of Poland to obstruct the
success of her armies in fighting for a nation-
ality then as old and as firmly established as
the other nations of Europe. Poland was
crushed because her enemies were able to wield
superior physical power.

But, sir, the history of the world is full of
illustrations. Where is Mexico? Ten million
people practically united, a large part of them
of Castilian origin, imperious and martial in
spirit and habits, accustomed to the use of arms,
as a profession and for amusement, from child-
hood, inhabiting a country far more difficult
than the rebel States, and led by a gallant and
successful general, whose successes had secured
him the title of the Napoleon of America, were i
crushed by your own arms, when your entire ,
population did not equal the present population i
of the loyal States of the Union. You sent 1
your armies and munitions of war a thousand [
miles by sea to invade their homes, and fought |
them many hundreds of miles south of New
Orleans, and yet, in two short years, you com-
pletely crushed her armies, and scattered them
in guerrilla bands to prey on their own people
like a cloud of locusts. Her nationality was ,
so crushed that your generals were compelled !
to organize for them a provisional government j
with which to make treaties of peace and amity, !
your own government dictating the terms. But, i
sir, I need not repeat minor examples. I will ;
ask the Senator, if France, within his own
memory, was not crushed by the opposing,
Powers of Europe ? In civilization and refine-
ment, in a knowledge of the arts and sciences,
in the martial spirit of her people, in the cour-
age, experience, skill, and renown of her field :
marshals, France has no superior ; and yet, 1



while under the leadership of Napoleon the
Great, France was crushed. The Emperor of
the French was carried by his captors to an
island in the deep sea, where he lived the cap-
tive of jealous kings, and died a prisoner of
State. France, standing at the head of the
nations, was compelled to receive a ruler dic-
tated by her conquerors !

Is it necessary to consume more time in refu-
tation of the assumption, that if the people of
the rebel States are united they cannot be con-
quered ? If Ireland could be crushed, if Scot-
land could be crushed, if England could be
crushed, if Poland could be crushed, if Hunga-
ry could be crushed, if Mexico could be crush-
ed, and if France herself could be crushed,
why may not twenty-four loyal States crush out
the rebellion in ten States ? If the people of
thetwenty-four loyal States admit their inability,
it will be a mournful confession of inferiority
which will make their memory a stench in the
nostrils of their own posterity.

But, sir, the people of the rebel States are
not united. The amendments now pending
have been offered on the assumption that there
are nearly four million people within the limits
of those States who are loyal. la all the States
tolerating slavery there are said to be four mil-
lion slaves. Excluding Delaware, Maryland,
Western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Missouri, probably the negroes are equal to
three-sevenths of the entire population. Prob-
ably two-sevenths of the whole population and
of our race, within the limits of these States, are
loyal ; or, in the aggregate, five-seventhsjof the
whole population, black and white. This is not
an extravagant estimate. We all know from
concurrent history, that a large number of the
soldiers in the rebel armies are serving by com-
pulsion ; and hundreds of thousands of non-com-
batants are compelled by these armed conscripts
to submit to the rebel authority, to avoid person-
al violence and the confiscation of their proper-
ty. The folly of our own Government and com-
manding generals in the field has exercised no
small share of itifluence in producing this re-
sult. We have carefully protected the property
of rebels ia both loyal and disloyal States, and
have spurned the assistance of the loyal por-
tions of communities under the civil control of
rebel leaders. The object of this bill is to in-
augurate a different policy ; to secure the or-
ganization of the loyal people in the disloyal
districts, under the flag of the Union, and make
it the interest of all loyal people to aid in es-
tablishing the supremacy of the Constitution
and the laws f thus adopting in practice the
adage, " divide and conquer," used in its high-
est and most honorable sense.

This policy is demanded by the highest and
most sacred considerations of humanity. It
would shorten the struggle, and consequently
save hundreds of millions of treasure and tens
of thousands of valuable lives. What could be



}



greater folly than to fight the whole population
of the rebel districts, when only about two-
sevenths are your re-il enemies ? What but
madness or real disloyalty at heart could in-
duce any commanding general to compel the
five sevenths, or less, as the case may be, to
acquiesce in and indirectly support the rebel-
lion ? Is it not a duty that we owe to ourselves,
as well as to them, to avail ourselves of this
proffered aid?

I know some of the Representatives and
Senators from slaveholding States object to the
arming of colored people, and I will consider
these objections presently.

We have seen, when examined in the light
of history, no sane man could reasonably doubt
the ability of the twenty-four loyal States to
crush the rebellion in ten States, if the people
of the ten were acting as a unit ; we have seen
also that nothing but the most stupid blind-
ness, if not criminality on our part, can. secure
unanimity in the rebel districts ; hence, that
we can crush the rebellion speedily if we act
wisely. If any one doubts the correctness ot
this conclusion, let us judge of our ability in
the future by what we have achieved during
the past year. It is little more than a year
since the war was commenced by the rebels
at Fort Sumter, near Charleston. Since then
political animosities in all the free States, on
which the leaders of the rebellion counted
so largely for succor, have been substantially
buried ; and although we commenced almost
without an army and without a navy, whatever
there was of rebellious feeling in Delaware has
been suppressed : whatever rebellion existed in
Maryland has been destroyed; the rebellion in
one-third of Virginia, the western part of Vir-
ginia, has been entirely put down, so that I be-
lieve there is hardly a guerrilla left to annoy
the peaceful inhabitants ; the rebellion in Ken-
tucky has been crushed out, the rebel armies
within her limits have melted away into guer-
rilla bands, and these are rapidly disappearing.
Tennessee is under the control of the old flag.
The rebellion has been crushed in Missouri.
Although overwhelmed from Arkansas to Iowa
but a few months since with rebel armies, which
controlled the whole country, now her own
home guards are able to furnish ample protec-
tion to the peaceful pursuits of life. Whatever
of rebellion existed in the Territories has been
suppressed : large rebel armies have been driven
out of New Mexico. The Mississippi river has
been opt^ned from Cairo to its mouth ; nearly
every fortification on either bank has been cap
tured and is now garrisoned by loyal troops.
All the great cities of the South threatened or
controlled by the rebellion have been captured
and are in your possession. St. Louis, Balti
more, Alexandria, Wheeling, Norfolk, Le.xing-
ton, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and a
host of towns of minor importance, are all in
your posBeseion. Two cities of some political



consequence and of less commercial importance,
I Richmond and Charleston, only remain in the
I possession of the rebels. The entire coast from
I the Rio Grande to the Potomac, and all its de-
1 fences, are in your possession, and are defended
j by strong garrisons. The rebel fleets have been
swej)t from the sea. Not a rebel ship, I believe,
remains afloat to excite the cupidity of sailor or
marine. Nearly every armed rebel boat has been
captured, sunk, or destroyed. The rebels, I be-
lieve, have scarcely one gun or man afloat on
river, harbor, lake, or ocean. While your gallant
Navy has thus effectually destroyed every ves-
tige of rebellion within reach of its guns, your
Array has not been idle, as is demonstrated in
the general results mentioned. Not to partic-
ularize hundreds of great successes, yet of minor
importance, I might mention the capture of two
large rebel armies, with all their guns, supplies,
and equipments — one at Fort Henry, the other
at Donelson. They have crushed, routed, and
dispersed another at Pea Ridge ; so that what
remains of the rebel forces west of the Missis-
sippi is a greater curse to their own friends than
annoyance to the Union troops. They have
crushed and scattered another, far more gigan-
tic in its proportions, at Corinth, so that noth-
ing much superior to a guerrilla warfare is now
carried on in either Louisiana or Mississippi.
Your troops have secured a firm lodgment
within the limits of every one of the rebel States.
And even in front of Richmond, where the en-
emy have concentrated all their forces, appa-
rently for a last desperate effort, and where I
doubt not, on account of this concentration,
they outnumbered ovxr own gallant army move
than two to one, after a series of pitched bat-
tles, extending over a period of seven or eight
days, the Union flag is still floating in triumph,
the army rests in a more secure position than
when the first gun was fired by the enemy, its
columns unbroken, undaunted in spirit, buoy-
ant and confident; its flanks fully protected by
a fleet of gunboats, and its communication with
its supplies perfectly secure. If properly rein-
forced and supported by the Government and
people, of which I have no doubt, this gallant,
unconquered, and unconquerable army of the
Potomac will be able, notwithstanding the check
which it has received, to accomplish the object
of the campaign in the course of the next thirty
days.

Then I inquire, in all candor, for the cause
of the despondence which has been manifested
in this Chamber. After this review of their
achievements, are we not content with it as the
fruits of their toil and exposure for but a single
lyear? The armies of Rome, during her most
I palmy days, never accomplished half so much
I in so short a period. It is true many men
I have fallen in the field of battle ; some have
j been killed and many wounded, and many
I more have fallen on account of exposure and
sickness incident to camp life. And still oth-



ers have been uselessly sacrificed by drudgery
from which it seems to be the purpose of the
Seaate to relieve them iu the future, and which
may be set down as the fruits of the folly, big-
otry, or inexperience of generals, who are, ia
the main, officers of great ability and merit.
But all these losses, when added together, are
comparatively trivial ; they have not diminish-
ed the probabilities of our speedy triumph in
the least ; nor has the physical power and
strength of the nation been diminished on ac-
count of the war one iota. I do not doubt but
that an enumeration of the population of the
United States, if taken to-day, would show our
increase during the past year, notwithstanding
those losses, to have been as great as it hay
been during any other year of the existence of
this nation. The Almighty never inflicts on a
people two great calamities at the same time.
When they are cursed with a war that is sweep-
ing away its thousands, He never has, I think
I ma,y say without irreverence He never will,
afflict them at the same time with pestilence
and famine. I know that the rebels have been
counting on the destruction of our armies by
plagues and fevers. I have not. I have known
that the people of the whole country would be
more vigorous and healthy during the contin
uance of this civil war than they have been for
an age past. It is in the order of Providence
that it should be so ; and if Senators will but
look around them they will find that it has
been so sinee the war commenced. You have
had no cholera, you have had no yellow fever,
you have had no plagues or famine to sweep
away your people. The Almighty has visited
us with one great curse during the past year —
civil war. This has carried off its thousands.
None have died with cholera, plague, or yellow
fever ; and the ordinary diseases of the country
have been of a milder type than usual. We


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Online LibraryJames HarlanService of the militia (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 5)