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Ohio in the war: her statemen, her generals, and soldiers online

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of Ohio, and with a view to avoid the possibility of conflict or disturbance of tlie public tran-
quillity; they do not do this, nor does Mr. Vallandigham desire it, at any sacrifice of their dignity
and self-respect.

"The idea that such a pledge as that asked from the undersigned would secure the public
safety sufficiently to compensate for any mistake of the President in discharging Mr. Vallandig-
ham, is, in their opinion, a mere evasion of the grave questions involved in this discussion, and
of a direct answer to their demand. And this is made especially apparent by the fact that this
pledge is asked in a communication which concludes with an intimation of a disposition on the
part of the President to repeat the acts complained of.

"The undersigned, therefore, having fully discharged the duty enjoined upon them, leave
the responsibility with fhe President.

The effort of the President to commit these gentlemen to the support of the
army and the war thus failed. It was well understood that this happened, not
entirely because they disliked his "evasion of the grave questions involved" in
the treatment of Mr. Vallandigham, but also and mainly because of the fact
that, in the temper then prevalent in their party, they were unwilling to give
any countenance to the war. v



164 Ohio in the War.

Mr. Vallandigham passed through the Confederacy, from Chattanooga to
Eichmond, and thence to Wilmington. Here he took passage on a blockade-
runner, which, escaping capture, landed him safely at the British port of Nas-
sau, whence he made his way under the British flag to Canada, taking up his
quarters on the Canada side at the Niagara Falls. He arrived at Niagara on
the 15th of July, and on the same day issued the following address, acceptin?
the nomination which had been conferred upon him while he was in the
Confederacy :

"Niagara Falls, Canada West, July 15,1863.

"Arrested and confined for three weeks in the United States, a prisoner of state; banished
thence to the Confederate States, and tliere held^as an alien enemy and prisoner of war, though
on parol, fairly and honorably dealt with and given leave to depart, an act possible only by run-
ning the blockade at the hazard of being fired upon by ships flying the flag of my own country
I found myself first a freeman when on British soil. And to-day, under the protection of the
British flag, I am here to enjoy and in part to exercise the privileges and rights which usarpera
insolently deny rae at home. The shallow contrivance of the weak despots at Washington and
their advisers has been defeated. Nay, it has been turned against them, and I, who for two
years was maligned as in secret league with the Confederates, having refused when in their midst,
under circumstances the most favorable, either to identify myself with their cause, or even so
much as to remain, preferring rather exile in a foreign land, return now with allegiance to my
own State and Government unbroken in word, thought, or deed, and with every declaration and
pledge to you while at home, and before I was stolen away, made good in spirit and to the very
letter.

" Six weeks ago, when just going into banishment because an audacious but most cowardly des-
potism caused it, I addressed you as a fellow-citizen. To-day, and from the very place then selected
by me, but after wearisome and most perilous journeyings for more than four thousaud miles by
land and upon sea, still in exile, though almost in sight of my native State, I greet you as your
representative. Grateful, certainly I am, for the confidence in my integrity and patriotism, im-
plied by the unanimous nomination as candidate for Governor of Ohio, which you gave me while
I was yet in the Confederate States. It was not misplaced ; it shall never be abused. But this
is the last of all considerations in times like these. I ask no personal sympathy for the pei-sonal
wrong. No; it is the cause of constitutional liberty and private right cruelly outraged beyond
example on a free country, by the President and his servants, which gives public significance lo
the action of your convention. Yours was, indeed, an act of justice to a citizen who, for his devo-
tion to the rights of the States and the liberties of the people, had been marked for destruction
by the hand of arbitrary power. But it was much more. It was an example of courage worthy
of the heroic ages o£ the world ; and it was a spectacle and a rebuke to the usurping tyrants who,
having broken up the Union, would now strike down the Constitution, subvert your present Gov-
ernment, and establish a formal and proclaimed despotism in its stead. You are the restorere
and defenders of constitutional liberty, and by that proud title history will salute you.

"I congratulate you upon your nominations. They whom you have placed upon the ticket
with me are gentlemen of character, ability, integrity, and tried fidelity to the Constitution, the
Union, and to liberty. Their moral and political courage, a quality always rare, and now
the most valuable of public virtues, is beyond question. Every way, all these were nominations
fit to be made. And even jealousy, I am sure, will now be hushed, if I especially rejoice with
you in the nomination of Mr. Pugh as your candidate for Lieutenant-Governor and President of
the Senate. A scholar and a gentleman, a soldier in a foreign war, and always a patriot; eminent
as a lawyer, and distinguished as an orator and a statesman, I hail his acceptance as an omen of
the return of the better and more virtuous days of the Republic.

' I indorse your noble platform ; elegant in style, admirable in sentiment. You present the
true issue, and commit yourselves to the great mission just now of the Democratic party— to restore
and make sure first the rights and liberties declared yours by your Constitutions. It is in viin



Vallandigham Campaign. 165

to invite the States and people of the South to return to a Union without a CJonatitution, and dis-
honored and polluted by repeated and most aggravated exactions of tyrannic powers. It is base
in yourselves, and treasonable to your posterity, to surrender these liberties and rights to the
A'eatures whom your own breath created and can destroy.

" Shall there be free speech, a, free press, peaceable assemblages of the people, and a free
ballot any longer in Ohio ? Shall the people hereafter, as hitherto, have the right to discuss and
condemn the principles and policy of the party — the ministry — the men who for the time con-
duct the Government ? To demand of their public, servants a reckoning of their stewardship,
and to place other men and another party in power at their supreme will and pleasure? Shall
Order 38 or the Constitution be thp supreme law of the land ? And shall the citizen any more
be arrested by an armed soldiery at midnight, dragged from wife and child at home to a military
prison ; thence to a mock military trial ; thence condemned and then banished as a felon for the
exercise of his rights? This is the issue, and nobly you have met it. It is the very question of
free, popular government itself. It is the whole question : upon the one side liberty, upon the
other despotism. The President, as the recognized head of his ^arty, accepts the issue. What-
ever he wills, that is law. Constitutions, State and Federal, are nothing; acts of legislation
nothing; the judiciary less than nothing. In time of war there is but one will supreme — his
will; but one law — military necessity — and he the sole judge. Military orders supersede the
Constitution, and military commissions usurp the place of the ordinary courts of justice in the
land. Nor are these mere idle claims. For two years and more, by arms, they have been
enforced. It was the mission of the weak but presumptuous Burnside — a name infamous for-
ever in the ears of all lovers of constitutional liberty — to try the experiment in Ohio, aided by a
judge whom I name not, because he has brought foul dishonor upon the judiciary of my country.
In your handfi now, men of Ohio, is the final issue of the experiment. The party of the Adnain-
istration have^cepted it. By pledging support to the President they haTe justified his outrages
upon liberty and the Constitution, and whoever gives his vote to the candidates of that party,
commits himself to every act of violence and wrong on the part of the Administration which he
upholds ; and thus, by the law of retaliation, which is the law of might, would forfeit his own
right to liberty, personal and political, whensoever other men and another party shall hold the
power. Much more do the candidates themselves. Sufier them not, I entreat you, to evade the
issue; and by the judgment of the people we will abide.

" And now, finally, let me ask, what is the pretext for all the monstrous acts and claims of
•arbitrary power, which you have so nobly denounced? ' Military necessity?' But if indeed all
these be demanded by military necessity, then, believe me, your liberties are gone, and tyranny
is perpetual. For if this civil war is to terminate only by the subjugation or submission of the
South to force and arms, the infant of to-day will not live to see the end of it. No, in another
way only can it be brought to a close. Traveling a thousand miles and more, through nearly
one-half of the Confederate States, and sojourning for a time at widely diflTerent points, I met
not one taan, woman, or child who was not resolved to perish rather than yield to the pressure
of arms, even in the most desperate extremity. And whatever may and must be^ the varying
fortune of the war, in all which I recognize the hand of Providence pointing visibly to the ulti-
mate issue of this great trial of the States and people of America ; they are better prepared now
every way to make good their inexorable purpose than at any period since the beginning of the
struggle. These may, indeed, be unwelcome truths, but they are addressed only to candid and
honest men. Neither, however, let me add, did I meet any one, whatever his opinions or his
station, political or private, who did not declare his readiness, when the mar shall have ceased, and
invading armiet been withdrawn, to consider and discuss the question of re-union. And who shall
doubt the issue of the argument? I return, therefore, with my opinions and convictions as to
war or peace, and my faith as to final results from sound policy and wise statesmanship, not <mly
unchanged but confirmed and strengthened. And may the God of heaven and earth so rule the
hearts and minds of Americans everywhere that with a Constitution maintained, a Union
restored, and liberty henceforth made secure, a grander and nobler destiny shall yet be ours than
that even which blessed our fathers in the first two ages of the republic.

«C. L. VALLANDIGHAM."



166 Ohio ix the Wae.

We have liad occasion to notice that Governor Tod's" faithful, zealous, and
generally able administration was occasionally marred by foibles, and once or
twice by serious mistakes. People laughed at some of his exaggerated and
undignified expressions — as when he announced to the Secretary of War that it
was well he did not know who was withholding certain supplies from the new
troops, since, if he did, he "would whip the fellow, though he were as strong as
Samson" — and it is always more unfortunate to an aspirant for public favor to
become ridiculous than to make even serious blunders. But there was also a
disposition to charge upon him responsibility for some needless expenses, some
unfounded alarms, some unwise vigor in the business of arrests. The dissatis-
faction was not general, nor was it very well founded; but it was suflScient to
break the force of what might otherwise have proved a spontaneous movement
for his renomination.

As the determination of the Democratic masses to nominate Mr. Yallandig-
' ham became evident, a growing sentiment began to a23pear in favor of casting
aside all personal considerations, and nominating the strongest candidate who
' could be found, to head the Union ticket. It appeared that Governor Tod was
' not generally held to be that man ; and it was thought questionable whether,
even if his ability were conceded, he would, under the peculiar circumstances,
be the most available candidate. These considerations were havijig some
weight, though Governor Tod still seemed to have the best prospects ; when the
managers of the two leading Eepublican newspapers of Cincinnati, apparentl}'
by a preconcerted plan, united in giving special prominence to a new candidate.
John Bi'ough had in times past been one of the most honored names among
the Ohio Democracy. The man had been founder and editor of their great
party organ, the Cincinnati Enquirer;* had achieved a remarkable financial repu-
tation as Auditor of State; bad been tendered foreign missions, and even a place
in the cabinet of a Democratic President. He was reckoned one of their best
stump speakers. He had been out of politics and engaged in managing rail-
Avays for nearly fifteen years, so that his fVxme had become almost traditional,
and his name called up associations with great campaigns and great leadci-s
whom the party had canonized.

He now appeared, almost unheralded, at Marietta, the home of his boy-
hood, to address an assemblage of supporters of the wai-. The Cincinnati news-
papers two days later — on the very day on which they published the report of
the Vallandigham Convention — spread his speech in full before their readers,
not forgetting to suggest that the great Democrat who now gave such heyrtj-
support to the Government in its trials would be an excellent man to put up
against the "Blue-light Convention and its convict candidate." f The speech
was an admirable popular effort, and its instant effect was to make Mr. Brough

* The paper had been in existence long before, but under Mr. Brough".^ proprietorship its
name was changed to that which it has ever since borne, and such other changes were made
as would seem to warrant the treatment of hira as its founder.

tThis was the phrase with which Hon. E. D. Mansfield headed an article in the Gazette od
the nomination of Mr. Vallandigham.



Vallandigham Campaign. 167

the most popular man in the State. The next day the Cincinnati Eepublican
papei-8 openly came out in advocacj' of his nomination ; the feeling spread like
wild-fire, and when, in the next week, the Union Convention assembled at Co-
lumbus, it was seen from the outset that Mr. Brough had a majority of the
delegates.

Governor Tod's friends, however, gave him an earnest support. The ballot
stood, for Brough, two hundred and twenty -six; for Tod, one hundred and /
eighty-thi'oe and half. The Governor behaved handsomely. He addressed the I
convention, giving a frank expression of his natural disappointment, and assur-
ances of his intention, nevertheless, tb do all in his power for the success of
the ticket.

The enthusiasm of the convention was greatly excited by the address from
the soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland, presented by Governor Dennison.
This document, which had no small influence, both upon the nominations and in
the subsequent canvass, _jv'as as follows:

"Tridite, Tenst., June.8th.

"Gentlemen: You have been selected by the representatives of a very large number of the
EoIdierR of Oliio, now serving with the Army of the Cumberland, to attend the Union Conven-
tion, called to assemble at Columbus on the 17th inst., for the nomination of Governor and other
State officers.

"We sincerely hope that neither the convention nor the people of Ohio, will deem this action
of her citizen-soldiery as formed upon any mere desire to participate, even in the remotest degree^
in party or political strifes at home, but solely from a most earnest wish that civil, State, and
political action may be so conducted as to contribute to the great object which all true patriots,
whether citizens or soldiers, must have at heart, the maintainance of the Government and the
re!<toration of the Union. With parties, as such, we have long since ceased to sympathize, and to-
day the Army of the Cumberland has but this platform of political principles : ' An unlimited use
of .ill the energies and all the resources of the Government for the prosecution of the war until the
rebellion is subjugated and the Union restored.' Though formerly divided by all the party dis-
tinctions of their time, we are to-day a ' band of brothers,' standing firmly and unitedly upon this
broad platform. We ask of each other ncTreason why we are so united, but we gratefully accept
the fact and let that suffice. We do not discuss whether slavery be right or wrong ; whether the
slaveholder or abolitionist is the primary cause of the rebellion ; it is enough for us that the
rebellion now exists, and that we are bound by the heritage of the past, and the hope of the
future, to put it down. We did not refuse to sustain the Government before the Administration
inaugurated the policy of emancipation. We will not desert it now that it has. The efficiency
and continued harmony of your army depend, in a great measure, upon the State Government at
home. It has pleased that Government to give us, while yet in the field, a voice at the polls.
While eminent civilians at home will doubtless be proposed to the convention as candidates for
the gubernatorial chair, from whom a choice might be made that would command our cordial
support ; still, if such choice can not be made.with harmony, we beg to suggest the propriety of
selection being made from among the many eminent public men Ohio now has in the field. Such
a candidate, while being thoroughly acquainted with every want of the soldier, would, at the
same time, possess equal ability to administer the domestic affairs of the State. For such a can-
didate we can safely pledge the undivided support of Ohio's one hvmdred thcmsand soldiers.

"Once more we call upon our friends at home to stand firmly by the Government and its
army. Mistakes in policy, if any such occur, are but the straw and foam tliat whirl and disap-
pear on the broad river of nationality, sweeping on majestically and undisturbed beneath them.
Under this Administration the American Union is to fall ingloriously, or be so firmly re-estab-
lished that the world in arms can not shake it henceforth, and, none but traitors can withhold
their ifupport. Whatever will aid in crushing traitors is orthodox with ua, regardless of what
old political text-books say. We ask you to unite on our simple platform.



168 Ohio in the War.

" The shifting scenes of National life are now changing with electric swiftness ; old ideas,
theories, and prejudices are being hurried into their graves. With the stern realities of the liv-
ing present we must grapple boldly and act earnestly, or history will write over our National tomb
that we of the North were unequal to the hour in which we lived. Let us labor on, then, patiently
and zealously, each in his separate sphere of action — you as citizens surrounded by the blessings
and the quiet of home, striving against traitor.'i there— we fighting less dangerous foes on the fields
which lie between them and the homes we love eo well. Over these fields of carnage now we
hope, by the blessing of God, to re-establish our noble form of American nationality, that shall
yet bless the world as no government before has done. This, with you, we hope to enjoy when
we have laid aside the character of soldiers and entered again the walks of peaceful life.
" With highest regard, gentlemen, we have the honor to remain,
" Very respectfully, your obedient servants,

" GEO. P. ESTE, Colonel 14th O. V. I.
" F. VAN DERVEER, Colonel 15th O. V. I.
" DUEBIN WARD, Lieutenant-Colonel 17th O. V. I.
"To Hon. Wm. Dennison, Brigadier-General J. D. Cox, Judge Stanley Matthews, Colonel
John M. Connell, Colonel James H. Godman."

The following declaration of principles, reported by Senator Wade, was
adopted by acclamation :

" Resolved, That the calamities of the present rebellion have been brought npon this Nation
by the infamous doctrines of nullification and secession, promulgated by Calhoun and denounced
by General Jackson in 1832, and reiterated by the convention held in the city of Columbus on
the 11th instant. We denounce them as incompatible with the unity, integrity, power, and glory
of the American Republic.

" Resolved, That the war must go on with the utmost vigor, till the authority of the National
Government is re-established and the old flag floats again securely and triumphantly over every
State and .Territory of the Union.

"Resolved, That in the present exigencies of the Republic we lay aside personal preferences
and prejudices, and henceforth, till the war is ended, will draw no party line, but the great line
between those who sustain the Government and those who oppose it ; between those who rejoice
in the triumph of our arms and those who rejoice in the triumph of the enemy.

" Resolved, That immortal honor and gratitude are due to our brave and patriotic soldiers in
the field, and everlasting shame and disgrace to any citizen or party who withholds it ; that, .sym-
pathizing with the army in its hardships, and proud of its gallantry, the lovers of the Union
will stand by it, and will remember, aid, and support those who are disabled, and the families
of those who fall fighting for their country.

"Resolved, That confiding in the honesty, patriotism, and good sense of the President, we
pledge to him our support of his earnest efforts to put down the rebellion.

" Resolved, That the present Governor, David Tod, is an honest, able public servant, and
that his oflBcial conduct deserves and receives the approbation of all loyal people.

Mr. Brough signified his acceptance of the nomination, which he continued
to protest was unexpected and undcsired, in the following letter :

" Cleveland, Ohio, July 27, 1863.

"Gentlemen: On my return home last evening I found your favor of 17th instant, an-
nouncing my nomination, by the Union Convention, as a candidate for Governor of Ohio.

"You are fully aware, gentlemen, that this nomination has been made, not only without my
solicitation, but against my personal wishes. The circumstances attending it, and the manner of
its presentation, scarcely admit of discussion as to the course to be adopted. Personal considera-
tions must yield to the duty which every man owes to the State ; and therefore, while appreciating
alike the honors and responsibilities of the position, I assume the standard you present to me,
and, to the utmost of my ability, will bear it through the contest, whether to victory or defeat,
those who have chosen me must determine.



Vallandigham Campaign. 169

"I accept and fully approve the resolutions of the convention accompanjing your note.
My own position lias been so clearly defined that I consider it unnecessary to restate it on this
occasion. I have but one object in accepting the position your constituents have assigned me —
and that is to aid you and them in sustaining the government in the great work of suppressing
this most wicked rebellion, and restoring our country to Its former unity and glory.

" Very truly yours, JOHN BROUGH.

" Messrs. Wm. Deiinison, Pres't, John D. Caldwell, Seo'y, Union Convention of Ohio. "

The cainpaign which ensued will long be remembered in Ohio as one of the
most exciting ever known in her history. The meetings of both parties* were
unusually large — those of the Democrats being especially noticeable for unj)re-
cedented numbers and enthusiasm. The ablest speakers on both sides traversed
the State; and the newspapers gave almost as much space to the canvass as to
the great victories in the field, which soon came to inspire the party of the Gov-
ernment. The tone of the Democrats, in spite of this revolution in the prospects
of the war, was one of unabated defiance, and they proclaimed, on all hands,
their determination to form an army to conduct Mr. VaUandigham home in case
they should elect him. To the last they appeared confident of success, and the
vote showed that they polled their full strength. On the other side a fuller vote
was brought out than ever before at a gubernatorial election. Mr. Chase, then
Secretary of the Treasury, set the example of "going home to vote" — making
for that purpose his first visit to Ohio since the outbreak of the war. Large
numbers of clerks from the departments in Washington imitated his course, as
did thousands of citizens scattered east and west through other States, on
business or jjleasure.

The result was as signal as the struggle had been consj)icuous. One hun-



Online LibraryWhitelaw ReidOhio in the war: her statemen, her generals, and soldiers → online text (page 23 of 142)