William D. (William Darrah) Kelley.

Speeches of Hon. William D. Kelley. Replies of the Hon. William D. Kelley to George Northrop, Esq., in the joint debate in the Fourth Congressional District online

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In these efforts to apprehend criminals they often practise deception. Now, here are a body
of men guilty of treason, the highest crime, and who are trying to murder freedom in the
person of the greatest nation that ever existed. They burned our Chambersburg; they fought
us for three days at our Gettysburg. Yet the gentleman has no word in condemnation of
these men ; but he is horrified that a man in the service of the United Stales should tell a lie
in order to detect conspiracies against the life of the nation. He may well assure you that
he does not argue for the Confederacy, because if he did not so assure you, I am quite con-
fident that every one of you would hold him guilty of doing it. I cannot, for my life, escape
the conviction that he is defending that cause, and none other.

Now let me say a word on the question of the wages of the people of the North. He tells
you. working women, that the "rentless hut and hog and hominy of the slave" are more to
him than the wages you are getting to-day are to you.

Mr. Northrop — No, sir, not to me.

Judge Kelley — The gentleman said that the hog and hominy of the slave are more to him
(the slave) than the wages of the working women are to them.

Mr. Northrop was understood to dispute the correctness of this statement of his language.

Judge Kelley — -I so understood the gentleman, and I so noted his remark. If you will
allow me time till the reporter can refer to his notes, I am willing they shall he the test. The
gentleman has said as I understood (and I have no doubt, my friends, that your recollection
agrees with mine), that the slave's hut without rent and his hog and hominy are more than
the sewing woman's wages. I deny it. The slave's hut without rent and his hog and hominy
are no wages at all. The slave men and women of the South year by year pay, and more
than pay, for all the clothing and food and medical attendance they receive by the children
born to them. Take the value of the annual increase of slaves, and you will find that it far
more than pays for all the hog and hominy and jail-clothes given to the slaves. They do not
get a ceut iu the shape of wages : and the increase of their families more than pays for all
the support they get. My God! has it come to this, that a man who is aspiring to Congress
shall come here and tell our working women that their condition is more deplorable, than that
of those poor slaves of the South — that the slave's hut with hog and hominy is better for
him or her than your wages are for you? Which of you will exchange your apartments for
the slave's floorless hut, your apparel for her jail-clothes, with never a bonnet, and your fare
for her "hog and hominy?" Which of you wishes for a master to sell your daughters for
prostitution and your sons to lives of unpaid labor? He says he did not threaten you with
the almshouse. I say that he did intimate that the slaves of the South are better off than
you. because the Almshouse stares you all in the face, while the master is bound to support
his slave in his old age. I have not the notes of the gentleman's remarks; but [ am willing
to go before this or the next audience upon the notes as they were taken by the gentleman at
the table. He did not threaten each one of you, perhaps, with the Almshouse ; but he was
arguing in favor of the superiority of slavery when he suggested , that the Almshouse gapes
before the poor man who is dependent on his wages, in case of sickness. I say that the gentle-
man does but fairly speak out the honest opinions of the Democratic leaders. That is why
they are willing to destroy our country; that is why they wish the South to succeed — be-
cause they believe that if we will yield now, we never shall stand up for our rights again, and
that there will be an aristocracy established of which they may be members.

But on the question of wages I want to show you something. There are four millions of
slaves in the South. They have had no money with which to patronize anything or anybody.
They are not skilled in any of the delicate manufacturing arts of the North. Their earnings
have gone to about three hundred and fifty thousand slave owners. The slaves have lived iu
their huts. They are described in South Carolina as eating without knives or forks or spoons,
and without tables. Their clothes are coarser than those we give to the felon in the peniten-
tiary or the pauper in the almshouse. Their food is aptly described as "hog and hominy,"
with blessed little hog in it ! Her.' are four millions of people. We took the Japanese all
over the country ; we entertained them at the Continental, in Philadelphia ; at Willard's, in
Washington; and at the Fifth Avenue, or some other leading hotel, in New York. We ex-
pended almost a million of dollars in bringing them here, entertaining them, and sending
them home. Why did we make that immense expenditure? It was to open trade with Japan
— one of the most exclusive and distant countries of the world. Yet, here are four millions
of people, lying just along our border; and for these nothing has ever been bought from
us but the coarsest clothing, and, sometimes, when the corn crop was short, a little corn
from the Northwest. This war, begun by the traitors to establish a Southern Confederacy and
resisted by the loyal masses to maintain the Constitution, has made those negroes free. Now,
counting eight of them to a family, there would be five hundred thousand homes. They live now
in slave huts without latches or hinges to the doors, without window sashes or panes, without a
wooden floor — without any furniture, save what the head of the family can make with the rough
tools at his command. Give these people wages, give them a chance to grow cotton on their own

ground, as many are already doing,* lei them in any way produce or earn enough to enable them
to expend one dollar each per week, let them, 1 say, have, in addition to their hog and hominy,

* How capable of enjoying freedom the slaves are. and bow much their freedom would stimulate
Northern industry, and add to the resources of the country, may be inferred from the facts set forth in
the following extract from my remarks on the bill to establish a Bureau of Freeduien's Affairs in the
House of Representatives, February 2od, 1864.

" Gentlemen say that the bureau proposed by this bill is to be expensive to the government ; that if
the system could be made lucrative, they ' would love to do something for these poor blacks.' The blacks
do not ask you to give them an} thing but work and wages. They wish to pay liberally for all beyond this.
These men without a name, known as Tom, Joe, and Dick, have rented their one, five, ten, or twenty
acres, and have produced a large amount of cotton, on which they pay the government a duty of two cents
per pound. I find in Mr. Yeatman's report on the Condition of the Freedmen of the Mississippi the fol-
lowing statement on this subject : —

'• ' I visited quite a number of freedmen who were engaged in planting cotton on their own account.
"'Luke Johnson, colored, on the Albert Richardson place, will make five bales of cotton, and corn
sufficient for his family and stock, and has sold $300 worth of vegetables. He has paid all expenses
without aid. from the government, lie commenced work last May.

" ' Bill Gibson and Phil Ford, colored, commenced work last May, and will make nine bales of cotton.
They occasionally hire a woman or two, and have paid their hands in full, and found their own provisions.
" ' Solomon Richardson, colored, on the Sam Richardson place, will make ten bales of cotton. He has
had one hand to assist him, and has a good garden and corn.

" ' Richard Walton, colored, will make seven bales of cotton. He has only had assistance in gathering
it. He has no garden, but has provided for himself and paid for everything.

" ' Henry Johnson, colored, will make eight bales of cotton, doing all the work himself.
" ' Moses Wright, colored, will make five bales. He has had his wife and two women to aid him, and
all have paid their own way.

" 'Jacob, colored, on the Blackman place, has made seven bales of very fine cotton, the best I saw,
and equal to any ever grown in this section. He had some assistance.
" ' Jim Blue, colored, an old man, has made two bales of cotton.
" ' George, colored, aided by two women, has made eight bales of cotton.

" ' Milly, colored woman, whose husband was killed by the rebels, will make three bales of cotton.
She had two boys to aid her in picking, at fifty cents per day.

" ' Peter, colored, and his son have made two bales, and raised a crop of corn.
" 'Ned, colored, will make two and a half bales of cotton, besides his corn.
" ' Charles, colored, will make two bales of cotton, besides his corn.

" ' Sancho, colored, works part of the Ballard place. I was informed he would make eighty bales of cot-
ton. He works about twenty-seven men, women, and boys. I called to see him, but he was absent.

" 'Patrick, colored, on the Parron place, near Millikin's Bend, has made about twenty-seven bales of
eotton. He has six or seven persons to aid him.

" ' Bob, colored, will make nine or ten bales of cotton on the same place.
" ' Prince, colored, will make six or seven bales of cotton.'

" Adjutant General Thomas also tells us that he had leased fifteen plantations to freedmen, and that they
worked them well and judiciously, raising from four to one hundred and fifty bales of cotton, on every
pound of which the Government received a rent of two cents. I hold in my hand the account of sale of
part of the cotton made by a number of these poor freedmen. It is from the second report of Mr. Yeat-
man — that on the subject of Leasing Abandoned Plantations : — _

" ' Ample provision is made for such freedmen as desired to lease ground for themselves. Such as did
it last year were eminently successful. I annex a statement of a few account sales of cotton grown by the
colored lessees : the sales do not by any means include all grown by them ; besides there are many others
who leased plantations, or parts of plantations, for which no returns had yet been rendered.

Bales. Bales sold. Netting
Samuel Howard
Edward Maxwell
Twenty-two others .
Silas Stepheny
Robert Cookley
York Horton
Sancho Lynch
Henry Harris
Sol Richardson
Luke Johnson
Richard Walker
Ben Mingo
William Goodin
L. White

Whole number of bales raised .
Net proceeds of 101 bales sold

Average of 276 " at $240 .

~^f $90,479 80

*« Poor Contraband, having twelve bales of cotton as working capital, may yet hope to earn himself a
' local habitation and a name.' '

•• Under General Thomas' arrangements these people were hired at seven dollars a month tor an aDie-
bpdied man, and five dollars for a woman. Under the influences which originated this bill their wages

. 28

. 12

. 66

. 27


$1,401 35



790 43



504 84

. 75


6,897 43



2,251 69

. 10


1,642 13

. 11


2,061 ls>






580 61



1,023 94

. 28


5,838 60

. 367


$24,239 80

66,210 00

one dollar per week, and how much would the North get of it per annum? ft has been said thai
the negro is as imitative as the monkey ; and I tell you that there is a greal deal of human nature
in the negro race, especially those who are the children, and grand-children, and great-grand-chil-
dren of white people. Better the condition of these people, and give them monej to spend, and
they will begin to want whal the white folks have. They will not be content to live in huts with
earthen Boors; they will want wooden floors. And when they gel wooden floors, they will
want to follow the example of the white people, and have carpets on them. Now, what harm
would it do to the carpet-weavers of Manayunk and its vicinity to have live hundred thousand
new houses to carpet, even if the money did come from "niggers?" Would it hurt wages?
Then these people would want sashes and glass in their windows ; and what harm would it do
to the glass-makers of New Jersey thai live hundred thousand little houses required window
glass? The colored women, instead of wearing jail or almshouse garments, would want ueat
and respectable dresses; and they might even want these rotund skirts. 1 don't know what
you call them. I guarantee that they would want everything of the kind that they could gel ;
and I ask you, what harm it would do to have the women and the girls id' four millions id' people
added to your customers for muslins and the other goods which you manufacture? What
harm would it do to you to have the men and boys id' four millions of people wearing good
cloth clothes that you or others like you had woven? They would want knives, and forks,
and spoons. They would want all the comforts of lil'e. Again, in my district, along the
Wissahickon, there are greal paper manufactories. Now, among the eight millions of whites
in the South, there are nearly a million of adults who cannot read and write, and no one of
the four millions of blacks has been allowed to learn to read or to write, though occasionally
one would steal the knowledge. Pray, tell me what harm it would do to the paper-makers
along the Wissahickon to have five millions of new customers for school-books and newspa-
pers'.' 1 What harm would it do to the makers of printing presses and printing ink, to have
all the poor whites and all the blacks of the South buying Bibles, and Testaments, and hymn-
books? If. then. 1 say. the freed slaves should receive from agrh ulture. commerce, or labor
at wages, an average of a dollar a week over and above what they expended on matters pro-
duced in their neighborhood, the North would gel it nearly all for articles she produces.
There are more than four millions oi' them, and there are Bfty-two weeks in the year; so that
there would lie over two hundred millions of dollars to lie expended yearly by these now des-
titute people living along your borders, in stimulating the industry and the commerce of the
North. And I again ask you what harm it would do? J ask you whether, with two hundred
millions of dollars of additional custom thrown into the North, there would not he a better
chance of raising wages than there will lie if you should acknowledge the independence of
the Confederacy and agree to catch these poor men and women, and reduce them to slavery.
to labor without wages under a system by which the price of their children pays for their
poor food and clothing. 1 ask you whether, with these people free and seeking the advantages
of education, and a higher social life, there would not be a better chance for raising your
wages than there would with them in slavery. Let us, then, maintain the unity of our country
and the freedom of all its people, and it shall become so grand that the world will fear us —
so powerful that no traitos will dare to raise his rebellious voice. But if we allow the rebel
Stales to go in peace, and establish an armed Confederacy, with a standing army of half a
million of men, so that day by day, week by week, and year by year, we shall be surrendering
our sons and brothers to keep up our standing army, and the half of our earnings to fed
our soldiers and sailors, what better will we be than the poor people of Great Britain and

My fellow-citizens, I, too, am for peace ; but I am for peace when the last armed rebel shall
have laid dowu his rifle ; I am for peace when the last fortification constructed by the traitors
shall be surrendered to the government. 1 am for peace when the star-lit and heaven-illumined
flag of America shall float proudly, freely, and unassailed from one extremity of our country
to the other, and every man shall acknowledge it as the symbol of the power and supremacy
of the government of the United States.

have been raised to twenty-five dollars for a first-class, twenty dollars for a second-class, and fifteen dol-
lars for a third class m;in, and women of the same character, instead of being compelled to labor for five
dollars, now get eighteen, fourteen, and eleven dollars."

Reply of Hon. William D. Kelley to George
Northrop, Esq.



It is very fortunate, my fellow-citizens, that no question of veracity can be raised between
my distinguished competitor and myself. What statements we have made do not depend
upon the word of either of us. The witnesses are more than a hundred thousand to testify
to the incorrectness of his representations of my presentation of the case at previous meet-
ings. These good gentlemen (at the reporters' table) have noted every word. Four of my
addresses have been published in the Evening Bulletin. The fifth is in type for the issue of
to-morrow. Three of them have been published in pamphlet form, and distributed to the
number of ten thousand each. Then there are the people who have heard us. I invite you
to get the reports of what I have said, and see how utterly wanting in all the elements of fair
statement the gentleman's narration has been.

I have said at no time that " this was a war for the wages of the negro." I said that it
was a war growing out of the conflict of two orders of civilization, and that it was made by
the friends of the weaker and baser order ; that it was a war between, on the one hand, an
order of civilization which claims that the laborer ought to be owned by the capitalist, and,
on the other, our Northern system, which holds that every man, woman, and child is entitled
to, and may by law collect, wages for all the work he or she does. 1 said that the owners of
their laborers, finding that our free civilization was building us up into a great people in
contrast with them, had determined to violate the Constitution of our country, and rob us
and our posterity of more than half the territory which we inherited from our patriot sires or
purchased with our money, or our blood shed on the plains of Texas and Mexico. I have
pointed to the facts that South Carolina seceded seventy-six days before Abraham Lincoln
became President; that the Southern Confederacy was organized nearly a month before
James Buchanan ceased to be President, and that on the 12th of April, 1861, one month and
eight days after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated, " his Southern friends and political
brothers" had fired upon the flag and begun this war for the extension of slavery and the
extinction, so far as concerned the Southern States, of the right of the laboring man or
woman to wages, whether that man or woman be white or black. These are my positions ;
and you will find what 1 have said in print; and I beg you to read my remarks and say whether
or not I am a truthful man in giving you this statement. Thus I refer you to a hundred
thousand witnesses.

The gentleman told you (and he was excessively facetious ; he provoked the mirth of the
youngest boy in the hall by telling you) that I had said that I had looked over the Globe and
could not find John Quincy Adams's Jubilee Address, and that I would not have found it had
\ looked for it in Watts's Hymn Book. He will pardon me if I tell you that I said no such
thing. What I said was this : that inasmuch as he had misquoted that address I had brought,
the Globe to show the misquotation. Having the matter in question in the Globe, and not
owning a copy of the address. 1 had taken the pains to take this big volume into one of the
city libraries and compare what is here with the address ; and I preferred carrying to the
discussion my own book to taking a borrowed one that some friend might have got out of the
library for me. My expression, on the second night of our discussion at Manayunk, was, that
I regretted that I had not with me a volume of the Globe which I had had with me on the
first evening, that 1 might show the manner in which the language of Mr. Adams had been
garbled and misquoted. It may have been very funny that I should speak about the Globe in
that connection ; but was it not perfectly natural?

Now, my fellow-citizens, you have heard my competitor utter no one word to-night in favor
of the union of the States. He did utter one phrase that lie has never used before, and it
involves a principle that he has never before acknowledged. He spoke to-night "of peace
aud union." During the six discussions which we have previously had he has spoken of peace
only, and then of reconstruction ; that was, as I understood, peace and disunion with recon-
struction or union possibly to follow. The experience of six nights has brought him from
peace and future reconstruction to talk to you about" peace and union." He is making some
progress in patriotism.

You have, as I was saying-, heard him utter no word in behalf of the Union cause. You
have heard him utter no word of censure of the traitors who took their States out of
the Union and organized an armed confederacy to make war upon you, your country and
vour flag. You have heard him utter no word of condemnation of that Secretary of the
Navy who, while he saw that confederacy organizing, handed over to the rebels the twenty-
seven tinesi vessels of your navy, and sent" all the rest but the four smallest across the broadest
seas that would bear them from your country. You have heard him say not one word against
that President and that Secretary of "War who stripped the Northern arsenals of arms and
ammunition and gorged those of the South in the very hours in which Southern traitors were
preparing to go out of the Union and make war upon us and our Government. You have
heard him utter no word of condemnation of that President, that Secretary of War, and that
Administration, that kepi Twiggs in command of half your army at New Orleans after he had
written to them that he was a Slate rights man. and that if they left him in command of the
army, and Texas should retire from the Union, he would feel it to be his duty to surrender his
army to the authorities of that State, or to the authorities of any confederacy which she might
enter. No fact in history is better established than that General Twiggs did, in the month of
November preceding Abraham Lincoln's inauguration, notify the President, James Buchanan,
the Secretary of War. John B. Floyd, and Adjutant General Cooper, in the very terms which
I have repeated. Yet they allowed him to retain command until Texas did go out; and then,
as every one knows, he did, in pursuance of the notice which he had served on the adminis-
tration." surrender the whole of his army to the Confederate Government, and thereby give
them a stock of prisoners, so that the first they captured from us at Ball's Bluff and Bull's
Run were kept more than a year and until we could get enough to exchange them. Yet the
gentleman has no word of condemnation for any pari of this! no word of condemnation of
the men who burned Chambersburg— -no word of condemnation of the men who kept our
armies lighting for three days on our own soil around the quiet little village of Gettysburg,
and who announced thai if they were not stopped, they were going to sack your homes and
mine, and burn Philadelphia as they did afterward burn Chambersburg.

You have doubtless seen men at the street corners distributing bills stating what the price
of matches among other things used to be, and what it is now; and my distinguished friend
has brought you a newspaper, probably from the same press (for it is No. 1 of a paper that
has never been heard of before), to show you how much the laboring women are suffering under
our Government ; and in this connection he found it agreeable to sneer at greenbacks. That
has been his policy all the way through, lie has not uttered an argument that has not been
in defence of or apology for the rebellion. He has no word of encouragement for your sons
and lirother.s who are carrying the flag of our country forward to victory ami to the establish-
ment of a peace that shall never again be broken by traitors. J, on the other hand, met him
fairly, and have shown how the rebellion and the Confederacy had been organized, and that
Mr. Buchanan, in the beginning of December, 1860. sent a message to Congress announcing
that theie was no power in the Government to maintain itself, and that if the Union men of
the South should undertake to stand up for their Government, he would neither protect nor
aid them. 1 have also read the opinion written by the Democratic Attorney General and sent
to Congress with that message — an opinion concurring in Mr. Buchanan's doctrine that the

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Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Darrah) KelleySpeeches of Hon. William D. Kelley. Replies of the Hon. William D. Kelley to George Northrop, Esq., in the joint debate in the Fourth Congressional District → online text (page 15 of 20)