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Col. Greene's Speech before the McClellan Club of Ward Eleven, Boston, October 28, 1864 online

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COL. GREENE'S SPEECH

BEFORE THE McCLELLAN CLUB OF WARD ELEVEN, BOS-
TON, OCTOBER 28, 1864.



PRINTED BY VOTE OF THE CLUB.



Col. Greene said politicians who admitted but a short
time since that our military successes for the past year were
not equal to the expectations of the country, now turn upon
those who think those successes have not surpassed anticipa-
tion and do not indicate a speedy and triumphant termination
of the -war, and denounce them as copperheads, and traitors;
and these " copperheads, " thus denounced, might soon expect
to be proscribed by Judge Advocate General Holt, and his
witness, the Rebel spy, Miss Mary Ann Pitman, as conspirators
meriting imprisonment and death. But although he was dis-
posed to look upon the progress of our armies in as favorable
a light as the facts would possibly justify, he thought we gained
nothing, by ignoring truth to natter hope ; nor could he consider
that man useful to his country who should induce a halt in exer-
tion to sustain our heroic soldiers in the field, by claiming
advantages not realized, merely to aid partisan purposes. He
considered that citizen the best friend of his country who pro-
claimed its true condition, fully represented the dangers sur-
rounding it, and thus apprised the people of the necessity of
adopting measures adequate to their protection and the main-
tenance of their Government in its struggle for life. Now, he
asked, what is the truth? We have been two years in reaching
Atlanta, — it has cost forty thousand men and the principal
portion of the territory we held in Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Missouri. We hold no more land in Virginia now than we
held in 1863, though we have sacrificed more than one hundred
thousand men to gain additional foothold there. Our army has
been defeated in its Florida expedition to conquer Presidential
votes for Mr. Lincoln ; in Louisiana, a like disaster has been
experienced. The Federal force has been repulsed in Arkansas,



the State overrun by Rebels, and a few posts only are left to
the Government. The Rebels hold a large portion of Mis-
souri, seriously threaten the remainder of the State, and the
people of St. Louis are congratulating themselves that Fre-
mont's fortifications will save their city from captivity. All we
held in Texas has been abandoned by our troops, except a small
garrison at Point Isabel. To these reverses we may add the
failure at Charleston, the raid upon Maryland and Washing-
ton, and the destruction of hundreds of vessels and millions of
property upon the ocean. A " Veteran Observer," in the New
York Times thus summed up the result of the Spring campaigns :

"What have they been doing this Spring? Four expedi-
tions, and what looks to me four failures. An expedition from
Jacksonville marches into Florida, and is driven back with fbss.
General Sherman marches from Vicksburo- and having gone
120 miles in his grand strategy, marches back again! Gen.
Smith starts a cavalry expedition (from Memphis !) to join
Sherman, and they march back again. The cavalry under
Kilpatrick start off to Richmond, and after destroying some
mills, and canal locks, find themselves comfortably at Fort
Monroe. Thomas makes a tremendous movement on Dalton,
captures Tunnel Hill and inarches back again ! Now we have
the telegraphic reporters (those most enlightened of all living
generals) announcing that these are only a series of raids !
Well, what was this object? What was to be got? They
march back again. Who commands the American army?
Why, obviously, General Scatteration ; and these are his per-
formances. He marched out five armies in five different direc-
tions, — not one of them strong enough to accomplish any
definite object."

To counterbalance this we have Sherman's brilliant campaign,
— one of the most remarkable in the annals of war, — the re-
sults of which depend upon his ability to maintain his commu-
nication over land of five hundred miles infested with guerrillas ;
Farragut's splended victory in the harbor of Mobile ; the capture
of the Alabama ; Sheridan's gallant dashes and conquests in the
Shenandoah Valley, and Grant's advance towards Richmond.
These successes are gratifying and encouraging, and prove
what our armies and navy are capable of achieving, and their



3

title to national honor and gratitude ; but they are not such .
advantages as justify confidence in a speedy reduction of the
Rebellion or an immediate end of the war. Gen. Grant's late
order to " let the Shenandoah Valley remain a barren waste,"
is proof that the Lieut. General does not believe hostilities near
their close, although he said a few weeks ago if he could have
the reinforcements he has since received he would take Rich-
mond and subdue the Rebellion in a month. This is the pres-
ent position, gained at, the cost of the lives of hundreds of
thousands of as brave men as ever faced a foe and thousands
of millions of dollars. We have lost much more territory
than we have subdued during twelve months, and what we
have taken at terrible sacrifice requires a standing army of
more than half a million of men and one thousand lives daily
to hold ; to supply the loss by casualty and disease would re-
quire a draft of thirty or forty thdusand men every month. This
picture does not glow with very strong encouragement, although
it evinces the power and resources of the people and what
their strength would be capable of accomplishing if wisely
directed at Washington. Mr. Greeley said, in 1862, " give us
six months fair trial of the emancipation policy ; and if it does
not bring the traitors to their marrow-bones, we will own that
it is a failure, and unite in urmn2: the Government to make the
best attainable peace." In the same year Mr. Raymond, the
present chairman of the National Republican committee, said : —

" President Lincoln has now in his hands every thing which
he can possibly require for the completion of the great work
that devolves upon him. He has a more powerful army under
his command than any monarch of Europe. The finances of
the country are on a safe basis, and he has all the money he
will require: He has a navy adequate to any service that may
be demanded of it. With these abundant and overflowing re-
sources at his command, — sustained #nd stimulated to the most
vigorous efforts by the fervid patriotism of the people, and by
every motive which can animate a loyal heart, he can make no
excuse to his conscience or his country if he fails to push this
war to a speedy and successful end."



4

Mr. Greeley lias had three times the period he required for a
trial of his emancipation policy to secure a peace by bringing
the Rebels to their marrow-bones ; his panacea has proved a
worthless quack medicine, recommended by a mountebank who
is too great a trickster to acknowledge its impotency, and with-
out sufficient integrity to fulfil his promise'in case of its failure.
Mr. Lincoln has failed to bring the war to the speedy close the
Chairman of the Republican Committee said, two years ago, he
was bound, by every motive which could animate a loyal heart,
to bring it in consideration of the power the Nation had put into
his hands to accomplish that end, and we are now asked to con-
tinue this Executive bankrupt in business four years longer,
.after he has squandered four thousand millions of the Nation's
treasure and half a million of the precious lives of its noble
sons in prosecuting a war he is incompetent to conduct
wisely ! And why has he lb sadly failed, when, by the
showing of his own partisans, he had at his disposal all the
means requisite to success? Because he abandoned the path
of the Constitution, disregarded his • oath of office, and sur-
rendered his power and his conscience into the control of a
desperate band of radicals and fanatics willing to sacrifice the
fairest portion of our land to gratify their sectional hates, and to
imbrue their hands in the blood of millions of their white
countrymen for power to dictate domestic laws to Southern
States. This disregard of legal obligation and of moral right
has naturally led to gross acts of oppression and persecution in
the Free States, and hence that steady union among loyal men
in their opposition to the wicked- and unjustifiable rebellion
manifested when sedition first raised its parricidal arm, has
been broken by the necessity for resisting outrages upon the
security of property and persons in the faithful States. Since
Mr. Lincoln has byeen in qffice one hundred and fifty-five news-
papers and editors have been meddled with, fifty-two have been
mobbed by crowds who helped elect Lincoln on the platform of
free speech and press. Forty-three out of the one hundred and
fifty-five newspapers were suppressed by the direct order of Mr.



Lincoln and his department ; of the one hundred and fifty-five,
fifteen were denied transmission through the mails, twenty-two
editors arrested without being imprisoned, twenty were impris-
oned in military prisons, three out of forty-two editors were
banished. One was kept in prison until he became a maniac.
Individuals have been dragged from their families without in-
dictment, without warrant, without form of law, without being
confronted with witnesses against them, without being informed
of the nature of the charges against them, immured for weeks
and months in dungeons often a thousand miles from the State
in which they were seized, and finally turned loose without trial
or apology. I speak only of citizens of the loyal States, in
which the courts of justice have never been suspended, where
every crime, whether treason or other, could have been pun-
ished in due form of law. Ladies have been arrested for
wiping their mouths with pocket handkerchiefs after eating
oranges ! The Provost-Marshal thought it was a secret signal !
A citizen was seized, carried a thousand miles under guard,
immured for months in the vilest, filthiest dungeon in America,
and at length discharged, with information that he was seized
because he had been seen to draw his finger across his lip under
his nose ! The pretence was that this was suspected to be a
signal of some secret j^litical association. The fact was that
no such association existed, the act was perfectly innocent, and
the seizure w r as solely because the man was a prominent Demo-
crat, and his radical neighbors plotted to punish him in this way.
We know of a farmer, says the Journal of Commerce, an in-
nocent man, a good warm-hearted Democrat, seized in Michigan
and brought to New York, imprisoned for months in Fort La-
fayette, and finally discharged by General Dix. It appeared
on the examination of- his case, before Judge Pierrepont and
General Dix, that the charge aVainst him was having something
to do with a secession flag, and that the whole story grew out
of an old cotton shirt, which had been used to press and strain
blackberry juice, and which the malice of abolition neighbors
had transformed into a secession banner ! Children of thirteen



years old have been held by Abraham Lincoln's strong arm in
military prisons for months, extending to years, for pretended
suspicion of disloyalty ! If there be no other memory of the
Lincoln dynasty, we venture to say, continues the Journal, that
to the remotest generation he will be remembered for the seizure
of a poor hump-backed newsboy, who was conveyed by a file
of soldiers to Fort Lafayette, and received at the fortress by
Col. Burke, with all the solemnity which used to characterize
the gateway of the Castle of Vincennes, or the Tower of Lon-
don. And all this has been done not to restore the Union, not
to subdue rebellion against the Constitution, but to crush out
opposition to the negro-equality-emancipation-miscegenation-
confiscation-subjugation theory of Garrison, Sumner, Phillips,
Lovejoy, Wade, Boutwell, & Co. And, in trampling upon the
freedom of the whites, have these philanthropists improved the
condition of the blacks? Do not the Administration agents
themselves describe the condition of "contrabands" as one
of festering corruption and appalling mortality? Dying
by hundreds daily from destitution, — without shelter, without
food, without clothes, without pity? Gen. Banks says eighty
thousand have perished in Louisiana. Suppose the slaves were
all emancipated and placed under the moral training and tender
care even of Massachusetts, could we predict that vast improve-
ment in their condition which would justify rending this Union
asunder and filling its soil with the blood of its white children?
While, a few years ago, Massachusetts furnished a convict from
her free blacks out of every two hundred of her negro popula-
tion, there was not one in a thousand of the slaves of the South
in prison. In 1850 we had one white convict for every two
thousand five hundred and thirty-three of our white population,
showing: an ag-oreEcate at least of twelve times more vice among:
Massachusetts colored citizens than among its white inhabitants.
These are not facts flattering to Massachusetts philanthropy ;
further, about one quarter, in 1850, of the whole number of
slaves were church communicants. This exhibits a degree of
morality among slaves it would be hard for our abolition friends



to equal among their colored pupils or themselves, and presents
no reason to believe negro morality, under abolition supervision,
would attain a higher grade at the North than it reaches at the
South. But the wickedness or wisdom of slavery has nothing,
properly, to do with the duty of maintaining the Constitution and
restoring the Union. Our obligation is to enforce obedience to the
Constitution and the laws, and thereby restore the Union. The
sin of slavery must fall upon those who practise it, and the
North is no more responsible for its existence in South Carolina
than it is for idolatry in Hindostan.

But to gratify the mock philanthropy of abolitionists who insist
that " all " the negro prisoners of war — formerly slaves — shall
be surrendered by the confederates before a general exchange is
allowed, fifty or sixty thousand of our white soldiers in captivity
are left to sicken and die at the rate of one hundred a day ;
some regiments have lost half their number ; and when the rep-
resentatives of these suffering men send a delegation from their
body to represent their misery 'to the President and the dread-
ful mortality among them, he denies the delegation even a hear-
ing or an audience ! And this while the " Monarch of the
White House " goes forth daily in all the regal style of a king,
attended by a large cavalry escort at the expense of five or
six hundred dollars per diem taken from a depleted Treasury ;
the Washington Chronicle, — the Court organ, — in the mean
time* giving notice that those who have heretofore " wiped their
dirty boots " upon the carpets of the Executive, are now to be
excluded, and none admitted to what was once called "the
people's house" but " well-dressed men."

Under this "moral" crusade urged by abolitionists in favor
of the negro, the country is debauched by immorality of the
most alarming and disgusting character, and defrauded in the
most infamous manner, — our finances are squandered to an
unparalleled degree, as I will prove by Administration testi-
mony. A Republican member of Congress — Mr. Dawes —
said on the floor of the House, that "in the first year of a
Republican Administration, which came into power upon pro-



8

fessions of reform and retrenchment, there is indubitable evi-
dence abroad in the land that somebody has plundered the public
Treasury wellnigh, in that single year, as much as the entire
current yearly expenses of the Government during the Admin-
istration which the people hurled from power because of its
corruption."

Mr. Van Wyck, another republican Member of Congress, in
the House, on the 23d of February, 1862, said : —

" With a single exception, when have one of these men (the
plunderers of the treasury) been court-martialed or punished?
To-day they have injured the Republic more than the South in
arms. Had they been arrested and placed under the gallows or
in Fort Lafayette, our army would have been stronger and our
people more united. No wonder that your soldiers and their
friends are dissatisfied. They cannot appreciate the patriotism
of stealing."

But for fear Dawes and Van Wyck may be objected to, I
will introduce Senator Hale to corroborate their testimony. He
is an eminent Republican of the- darkest abolition caste, and no
loyal leaguer will question his words. In speaking of the Mor-
gan frauds he said : — ,

"I declare upon my responsibility as a Senator, that the
liberties of this country are in greater danger to-day from the
corruptions and from the profligacy practised in the various de-
partments of the Government, than they are from the enemy in
the open field."

On the occasion of the resignation of Mr. Simmons, who re-
ceived $50,000, as counsel for a contractor, Senator Hale said :

" I have not the slightest doubt on earth that gentlemen who
are commonly considered as occupying higher positions than
members of Congress, — I mean members of the Cabinet, to be
plain, because Ifind that if you mean to be understood, you
must use plain language, — members of the Cabimet have pros-
tituted their places to the grossest favoritism for the purpose of
benefiting their friends in the bestowal of contracts."

On another occasion Senator Hale said : —

' ' I have heard that there have been cases where written con-
tracts have been made, executed according to the writing, and,



after it was thus done, an arbitrary increase in the amount to be
paid was ordered by the officer at the head of the department."

The reports by the various committees and commissions of
investigations have developed frauds of the most enormous char-
acter, and which have been allowed to pass unrebuked. The
bonuses which have oiled the palms and stultified the consciences
of Senators have been paid from the hard earnings of honest
industry, — the sweat of the poor man's brow. The parasites of
the Administration have twined themselves about it in every
possible manner, — the favorites of high officials have been
pampered to repletion with Government money in the form of
commissions, brokerage, &c. &c, until the people are oppressed
by enormous taxation and the pecuniary credit of the Nation is
sunk fifty per centum in its own market.

While the sycophants of Mr. Lincoln have been accus-
ing the Democrats of sympathy with the South, they have
been amassing fortunes by contraband trade, and furnish-
ing the Rebels with supplies to enable them to continue the
war, as the transactions exposed at the New York Custom
House and elsewhere prove ; and to correct these abuses
the Administration removes the Collector of New York and ap-
points a man in his place who was deprived of the sales of
Government property at auction on account of the enormous
amount he retained of the Government funds for commissions.
When one leech drops another is applied. The New York Times,
in its Washington correspondence, asserted that, owing to the
connivance of the Custom House officials, an enormous trade was
carried on from New York with the Rebels. A Rebel aoent, it
was added, was there lately purchasing material and machinery
for an iron-clad ram, and a large number of New York machinists
had engaged themselves in the Rebel service without any effort
being made to arrest them. It was furthermore stated that
evidence of these facts was in possession of the Congressional
committee appointed to investigate the affairs of the New York
Custom House. The Boston Transcript said : " The New York
Custom House has long furnished facilities to Rebel sympathisers



10

for supplying the South with articles of necessity and luxury.
The fact was as notorious in England as it was at Nassau, and
is alike disgraceful to the Treasury Department and to Collector
Barney. It is worthy of note that the information which has
led to the arrests that have been made has come through other
sources than those officers whose especial duty it was to guard
against treasonable practices on the part of shippers to Nassau.
So far as we have information, when the first arrests were made,
some weeks ago, many of the New York officials took much
more pains to whitewash the culprits, than to ferret out new
offenders, of whom there were scores."

The evidence of Pardon Worsley, before a military commis-
sion in Washington, upon the trial of Messrs. Johnson and
Sutton, charged with selling goods to blockade-runners, is very
significant.

It appears from the testimony of this witness, produced on
the part of the Government, that he, with his wife, was engaged
about the 1st of April last, and sent out by the Government as
a principal in the nefarious business to which the accused mer-
chants are charged with being accessaries. This man, the Gov-
ernment's witness, swore that, —

' « He sold goods to Mosby and his officers under the direction
and with the knowledge of the Government, and he always in-
formed the Government of what he did. Witness's wife was
also in the same business, and he was compensated by the
Government. Witness had made money by selling goods, but
had not divided proceeds with the Government. Witness gave
bonds to the Government, and they took his honor for the
faithful performance of his duties."

If Worsley, the Government's agent and its witness in this
trial, was allowed to sell goods to Mosby and his officers,
" under the direction and with the knowledge of the Govern-
ment," it follows that the Government is the principal in this
contraband trade, and it appears that Worsley was a paid agent
for the prosecution of the illegal traffic with the enemy.

Ao-ain, we are accused of conferring with Rebels, but the
only conference with the Rebels has been held by the Republi-



11

cans ; while the friends of the Administration were affirming
that Democrats were in council with Confederates at Niagara,
Horace Greeley was there as the authorized agent of the Presi-
dent in confidential communication with them, and Messrs.
Gilmore and Jacques in Richmond as bearers of the President's
views to Jeff. Davis, offering to submit the question of the
Union to the ballot box, not the cartridge box, if the South
would abolish slavery, and to enter into an armistice and call a
convention for the adjustment of all difficulties.

On the 27th of January, 1863, Mr. Conway, of Kansas,
made a speech in Congress, and deliberately proposed that the
Avar should terminate at once and the President be authorized
to open negotiations for recognizing the Confederate States.
Where at that time was the terrible outpouring of indignation ?

It is not surprising that the Confederates should desire Lin-
coln's election, and that the Richmond Enquirer declares if it
had a million of votes, Abraham Lincoln should receive them
all ; and avows that, whether in the light of peace or war, it
prefers Lincoln to McClellan.

Again, who are now the most zealous Republicans, the men
who accuse Democrats of sympathy with the South ? Dickinson
of New York, who was so enraptured with Southern institutions
that he expressed his regret upon the floor of the United States
Senate, that he w r as not born in Virginia; John Cochrane of
New York, who went to Richmond when the Rebellion first broke
out, and told them there that where Virginia led, he would follow ;
John W. Forney, who, for years and years was the most obse-
quious devotee to Southern politicians to be found in Washing-
ton, the confidential and bosom friend of Breckenridge, Keitt,
Brooks, and the whole class of Southern ultraists ; Gen. Butler,
who voted in favor of Jeff. Davis's nomination for the presidency
twenty or thirty times, in the Charleston convention ; Andrew
Johnson, who wanted Massachusetts severed from the main land
and towed into the ocean, where she could be purified by wind
and water until she was fit to be again attached to the continent ;
Holt and Stanton, who were " hand and glove " with Southern-



12



ers ; the traitor Gantt, who recommended the hanging of every
Yankee caught by the Rebels ; Hahn, the traitor who served as a
Rebel official in New Orleans, and thousands of such men. It is
men of this kidney who talk about the influence of old associa-
tions between the Democrats of the North and the South ; arid
such are the men who would be the first to lick the dust from
Southern feet, if ever that section of the country should be


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Online LibraryWilliam Batchelder GreeneCol. Greene's Speech before the McClellan Club of Ward Eleven, Boston, October 28, 1864 → online text (page 1 of 3)