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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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Government had no right to protect itself and defend your country. 1 have also pointed the
gentleman to the conduct of General Jackson when the State of South Carolina undertook
to nullify a law, and showed him how ••Old Hickory" had sworn that "the Union must and
shall lie preserved.'' and how he had found in the Constitution the power to make that oath
good. I also showed the gentleman that lu- was uttering the doctrines preached by Benedict
Arnold after he became a traitor, and read Arnold's proclamation in which he told the
people that they had no rights which had not been violated ; that their sons and brothers
were being dragged to the war under delusive promises; that freedom of speech had been
suppressed; that the freedom of the press had been interfered with; and that in that appeal
of the traitor Arnold after he had attempted to betray our country, was to be found (though
it was not so long as my hand), every argument that my friend and the great leaders of his
party are putting before our people now. 1 also read from a volume of authentic history, an
account (if the manner in which Andrew Jackson had suspended the habeas corpus; and not
only that, but had arrested and imprisoned the Judge who issued the writ. 1 also read from
the Congressional Debates parts of the proceedings on a bill introduced by Charles J. Enger-
soll. a Democrat from Philadelphia, to remit and refund the fine which had been imposed on
Jackson for thus suspending the habeas corpus and imprisoning the Judge, and the burning
words of Stephen A. Douglas in advocacy of that lull, and in defence of the constitutionality
of the course pursued by Jackson. And in this connection I told the gentleman what the
old men among my auditors know, and what the young men ought all to know from study.
that Stephen A. Douglas made his fame by defending the constitutionality of Andrew Jack-
son's suspension of the habeas corpus.

I have met the gentleman's propositions and interrogatories, and have replied to them all,
save, perhaps, one single question that escaped my notice, by reason of the expiration of my
time. I have answered the gentleman fully and broadly in reference to the Monroe Doctrine.



In reference to one of his propositions T put the question to him, whether it was transcenden-
talism, metaphysics, or nonsense, and L showed him why I could not get at, the sense of it. and
asked him to explain or modify it, that T might answer it. 1 have appealed to him night after
night to make good one assertion contained in another of his interrogatories, and he has
utterly failed to do it. Time and time and time again have I asked him to show me any one
law of the kind of which he says in one of his questions there are twenty-three on the statute
book. He is a lawyer; he has twice broughl to the place of our discussion his digest ; yet
he has utterly failed to find one such act. And T ask him now, in your presence, to point out
to-morrow night one law " having for its object the declared purposes of giving to the negro
all the rights, immunities, and privileges Which have hitherto been enjoyed by the white man
only." If he finds one law of the kind of which he asserts there are twenty-three, 1 will say
that I know nothing about the legislation of that Congress of which 1 have been a member.
Yet he tells you that he has been boring at me as though it were with an auger, and that all
he could get out of me was " wanes for the negro."

'!':. ■ gentleman is doing what the Southern leaders did before the rebellion; he is appealing
to tin/ passions of his party to destroy our country; he is appealing to your prejudice against
the negro : he is fomenting a prejudice against New England ; lie is fomenting prejudice against
the Government ;md against its' currency, in the hope of giving success to the Southern
rebellion; and in the course of this debate he has used as his authorities books gotten up by
the rebel chiefs to delude the Southern people, and by one of their agents in a foreign country
to poison the minds of European nations against us.

That is strong language, gentlemen, but when you read one of the gentleman's early
speeches, those of you who have read one of Fernando AVood's. will find that he quoted from
that speech or from ihe book from which Fernando got it (and if so. he curiously hit upon
just the same quotations that Fernando made) a lot of falsely alleged sayings of prominent
Northern supporters of the Administration and members of the Republican party; and that
he classed Wendell Phillips and Lloyd GTarrison in their early days as members of the Repub-
lican party, and ascribed to the Administration party the utterances of those men made
twenty years before the Republican party was organized, which was in 1854. I said to the
gentleman as soon as I could get the floor. "The alleged quotations which you have read from
Republican members of Congress are not authentic ; for when Mr. Wood had those extracts
read by the clerk in Congress, several gentlemen to whom they were ascribed arose in their
seats and denounced them as false, and asked Mr. Wood to say when or where or in whose
presence they had been uttered." Yes, the gentleman is going around among the working-
men of Philadelphia, on the eve of this great election, and employing the forgeries that the
Southern leaders used to " fire the Southern heart," in the hope of creating a fatal prejudice
against the Government.

Now. 1 come to the Globe, and will prove by it that .John Quincy Adams never uttered
the sentiments which the gentleman read and ascribed to him. Yet what the gentleman
read was, so far as it went, the very language of John Quincy Adams. So. as I remarked
the other night at Manayunk, the man quoted the very language of the Bible when he said
'•there is no God." but he omitted the words immediately preceding, which were. "The fool
hath said in his heart;" and thus by cutting off a clause of the sentence he made the book lie.
although he quoted its precise language, so far as he went. Thus, by altering a question
into an assertion (there is a great difference between putting a question and making an as-
sertion), and by omitting the words which I am going to read, he satisfied me for the time
that in some vagary, in some moment of fantasy, John Quincy Adams had argued in favor
of secession.

Do you know how my friend came to do this? He is too much of a gentleman to falsify
the record, lie has been my friend for years, and 1 know that he would no more concoct a
thine- of that kind than he would forge my name to a note. But when he adopted a bad
. he took the books of the promoters of that bad cause; and when he took Ihe book of
George McHenry— a traitor, though he was of Philadelphia birth, a nam who is to-day the
agent of the Confederate Government in Liverpool — he had the lie ready coined ; and he
would not have read it, had lie known it to be the forgery it is. Mark wlr.it I say; the gen-
tlemen is travelling around and peddling out to the Democracy of Philadelphia the forgeries
and the frauds got up by the leaders and the agents of the Confederacy with which we have
been at war for n larly four years.

Now. by converting one sentence of Mr. Adams which was a question into an affirmation,
and by omitting these words, the fraud is perpetrated : — "In the calm hours of self possession,
the righl ol'a State to nullify an act of Congress is too absurd for argument and too odious
for discussion. The ri'-dil of a State to secede from the Union is equally disowned by the
principles of the Declaration of Independence."

Yes, the author of thai paragraph was quoted by the gentleman to prove that a State had
a righl to secede! Mr. dudah 1'. Benjamin, in preparing a document to "tire the Southern
heart," made misquotations from twentj or thirty Northern men. His speech is contained in
this volume I The Congressional Globe). The late Brigadier-General Edward 1 >. Baker re-
plied to that speech, and pointed out the forgeries and the frauds, of which this alleged ex-



tract from John Quincy Adams was one. T made a comparison with the original, and proved
the version given by Senator Baker to be correct.

Now. I say. my country is at war. and 1 am for my country righi or wrong. If she is
wrong, I will try. when the war is over, to put her right. She is, however, at war for my rights.

She is at war for the richest heritage my children can have ; the memories of our early history
and the Revolutionary struggle for freedom. She is at war to maintain my rights and your
rights in the Southern States. We have the right, under the Constitution, to citizenship in
every Southern State. You were not all born in Pennsylvania, even though you will vote
here en next Tuesday. Some of you are natives of Southern States, some of Eastern States,
some of Western Slates. Bui the Constitution of the United States gh citizens of

each and every State the privileges and immunities of citizens in tie- several States. There-
fore I have a right to go as 1 did to Massachusetts, remain there four years, meanwhile becoming
u citizen, and then to return to my native State and in six months resume my citizenship here.
If. because wages are low here, or for any other reason, you or I wish to settle in Virginia, in
North Carolina, in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, or other State, we have the right
to do so. and tin' < lonstitution guarantees to us, in any State to which we may go, the rights
of citizens. And yet. in view of the fact that the war is for these greal rights of ours, my
friend rose in holy horror and confessed before the people of Spring Garden thai he has an
utter " repugnance to bayonets and knocking men's brains out." lie makes this declaration
that the Southern members of his party may he encouraged in their efforts to rob you of
citizenship in fifteen States of your country, and strike fifteen stars from its flag; and in
order to delude you to follow him, he tells you this is "a war for tin- negro." Was South
Carolina fighting for the negro when, on the L2th of April. 1 Mil. she tired on Fori Sumter'.-'
AVas the Confederacy preparing to fight for the negro, when its Secretary of War. on the
receipt of the news at Montgomery, Ala., that Sumter had fallen, proclaimed to the gaping
crowd that before the 1st of May ensuing "the stars and liars,'' the flag of that Confederacy,
would float over the proud Capitol of your country? Was it the Abolitionists that made
this war? It was the Southern traitors— the women-whippers and men stealer- of the South
— the people who do not believe that the laboring man oughi to have wag< s for his work.

Now. let us look at the question philosophically. In the South there are less than four
millions and a. half of people with African blood in their vein-. Among them are the sons
and daughters of those who claim to ho the besl white people of the South. I had occasion
tn tell the gentleman that we have within our lines the colored children of Jefferson Davis and
his brother, Joseph Davis, and that the mulatto daughter of General Roberl E. Lee has
frequently waited upon me at the Arlington House. 1 also had occasion to tell him that
eighty-one per cent, id' the free colored people of Louisiana have white blood in their veins,
and that seventy-eight per cent, of the free colored people of Alabama have white blood in
their veins. And that in the veins of more than one out of every ten slaves pining on planta-
tions there is white blood. I ask the gentleman by what process that blood was go1 there.

Mr. Northrop — I have not been there and 1 cannot answer.

Judge Kelley — The gentleman says he has not been there and cannot answer. I suppose
he thinks that white men went there and had their blood drawn from them, and then drew a
little out of each " darkey' 7 and pumped the white blood in ! 1 am sure that he thinks it was
done in that way. He is evidently a believer in the theories id' Dr. Sangrado.

These negroes (some of whom are as white as we are and in whom you cannot trace a spark
of negro blood) number in the aggregate four millions and a half. Of the white people of t he
country the whole number is about twenty-six millions. Yet the gentleman thinks the four
millions and a half of negroes so much more sacred and important than the twenty-six millions
of whites, that he insist upon it thai the war is for them ! Does your country belong to the
negroes alone? AVas it for the negroes alone that our sacred Constitution was made? Was
rt the negroes that boughl Florida from Spain, and Louisiana from France, and conquered
Texas and admitted her to the Union? No. my fellow-citizens, the negro had no voice in it
ail. It was we and our ancestors who did it ; and it is our property that the rebels are i rying
to get ; and the gentleman is trying to cheat yon into giving it to them by reading from those
books and pamphlets manufactured to "tire the Southern heart'' and embitter foreign nations
againsl our country.

The gentleman tells you that his theories are such as will keep Northern soldiers at home
hereafter. 1 have asked him night after night to explain that assertion. Do you mean. sir.
(addressing Mr. Northrop) to fighl tin' war to the end until our flag shall wave triumphantly
over every foot of our country, and that you Democrats will fight il 0u1 more vigorously than
we? Or do you mean that, when you get into power, you will surrender to those whom we
have driven from the day McClellan left the command of the army ? What do you mean
when you say. " My theories are such as will keep the Northern men from filling soldiers'
graves m the South hereafter?" What do you mean? Are you not'opposed to using the
negro soldier; are you not opposed to sending white soldiers to fight, and would you not
bring home those who have gone to the fronl ? My friends, are you ready to give up your
country and strike fifteen stars from your flag? That is the only way he can redeem his
promise. Is it not an agreeable proposition to you who have been lighting three years?



'• My theories are such as will keep all Northern soldiers from filling Southern graves here-
after!" How. sir? What are your theories? Explain them here; for I have not been able
to induce yon to announce them elsewhere. 1 know thai yon are opposed to the use of the negro
soldier. I know that you have denounced it. and denounced the legislation by which it has
been dene, and sneered at me for the part which 1 have taken in that legislation. Now, if you
will not let the negro soldier fight, and if you will not let the white soldier fight, tell these people
that you are for the Confederacy and its independence, and that you will hail with joy the
•• stars and bars" when first they float over our capitol. So help me God, 1 never will. 1 am
for war to the bitter end. as the only sure means of achieving peace. And if the Democratic
party had not made their infamous peace platform at Chicago, and pledged an armistice in
case they should come into power, the vigorous blows that Sherman and Sheridan have given
the traitors, and the tightness with which Grant is drawing his patent Yicksburg- cord around
them, would have crushed the rebellion before to-day. Even as it is, the men of Georgia are
seeking terms of peace; and Sherman is treating with them as to the means of getting to
Washington. The rebellion is crumbling. Its only hope is in the oratory id' men who pledge
themselves that when they get into power, " no Northern man shall go to fill a soldier's grave
in the South." If I had twenty sons and brothers, I had rather see the last of them die muti-
lated upon the battle-field than that, after three years of such glorious war as we have had, our
armies should fall back, and we beg pardon of the men who fired on Fort Sumter for having
been so bold as to defend our country and our rights.

The gentleman has sometimes said that those who talk of going to the war ought to go.
He has never challenged me directly that 1 did not go. I am a little over fifty, and never
was very strong; but, being here, I do remember one night when I said to many of you,
" Come, boys, let's go !" And with my rifle and knapsack I went, and had the honor of at
least a crack or two at the rebels. I am over age. and physically disabled ; but I have pleaded
with my best friends, and with every brave boy that I love, to go; and the great cross of my
life is that 1 am not able to go myself, and have not a son large enough to go. Many of von.
my neighbors, know my little fellow, and that I am so anxious that he shall go, if his country
ever calls him, that (though he is now hardly knee-high to a bumble-bee) I have enrolled him
in the Courtland Saunders Cadets.

What! no Northern man fill a soldier's grave? Ho you [addressing Mr. Northrop] abhor
the graves and the memories of the men who, during eight years, fought to achieve our freedom
from British despotism? Do you regret that our fathers fought the war of 1812? Do you
despise the men who during this war have gone out to die for our country, that here, where
we are together soliciting votes, you tell these men that you will surrender their country, their
flag, their Constitution, their honor, rather than let another man fill a soldier's grave ? There
are some things worse than death. I .would rather die than have history record the fact that
I sold my birthright for a mess of pottage; and he who sells his country for a cowardly peace
is mean beside the man who sells his birthright for so small a consideration.

The gentleman talks of "our rights as Pennsylvanians." What are our rights? They are
such as the Constitution guarantees us ; and I challenge him again to-night to point to a single
right invaded by Abraham Lincoln. I have been challenging him time and time again.
To-night, when he professed to answer, what catalogue of wrongs did he present? He sub-
stantially read the first article of the amendments to the Constitution, and added that Mr. Lincoln
had "interfered with the freedom of religion." I ask him when, where, and how? I ask you,
my Democratic fellow-citizens, whether you have ever heard of Abraham Lincoln interfering
with the religion of any man. 1 ask you whether, in assigning chaplaius to hospitals and
regiments and the regular army, he has not regarded every denomination. Do you even know
exactly what his religion is? Then, again, the gentleman says that Mr. Lincoln has interfered
with "the freedom of speech and of the press," and •'the right of the people peaceably to
assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances," etc. Why did not the
gentleman simply say that Mr. Lincoln has violated the first article of the amendments of the
Constitution, and then specify the manner in which he has done it? "And," said he. "he has
established unusual punishments, such as banishment." He has banished but one man, Clement
L. Vallaudigham. Did he do that illegally or unconstitutionally? Let us look at the <|ties-
tion. What were the facts? In a time id'' war. a Major-General commanding a department
had made a proper military order, and Clement L. Yallandigham urged the people to disre-
gard that order. He set himself np against the act of Congress which provided punishment
for those who interfered with enlistments ; he set himself up in opposition to the' commander-
in-chief of a department, and urged the people to insubordination and resistance to the general
commanding the army. He was arrested, and a military commission inquired into his case.
The President did not send him to prison; General Burnside did not send him to prison. He
was taken before a military commission, attended by counsel, and had a hearing. He had
witnesses in his behalf, and he cross-examined the witnesses against him. There was a regular
finding- of the court, and he was adjudged guilty. Was he hurried off then? No; he sued
out a habeas corpus from Judge Leavitt, a judge appointed either by Franklin Pierce or James
Buchanan (I forget which) as district judge of the United States for that district. He had
a hearing before Judge Leavitt, who decided that his arrest was legal, that the commission



before -which he had been tried was legal* and handed him over to the punishment to which
the commission had adjudged him. Now, the President, more lenient than the commission,
instead of confining him, sent him to the friends whose wicked cause he had been sustaining.
That was his punishment. There is the whole case, and 1 challenge the gentleman to poinl
to a more constitutional act than that.

It won't do for a man who claims to be a patriot to come here, and slander and revile and
vilify the Government and all its officers when it. is in the agony of a greal war. It is not
patriotic, it is not wise; and you. my fellow citizens of the Twenty-fourth Ward, whose -ens
and brothers, and kinsmen and friends are under arms in this great war, will not sustain any
man in such a course. It has been the custom of the gentleman on each occasion to assure
the audience that he was not arguing in favor of the rebellion; and ['have reminded our
hearers that it was not necessary for me to give them any such assurance. 1 speak DQJ con-
victions plainly, and 1 do not need to tell my auditors on which side 1 stand.

The gentleman, to frighten you from the further prosecution of the war in which we are
engaged, speaks of it as interminable. It only promised to lie interminable when we hail a
general who would not let our armies advance, who pul them in a position where they could
do nothing, and ordered them to retreat just when they were winning a victory, as was the
case at Malvern Hill. From the time Granl has had command of our armies, their march
has been victorious. Sherman holds the whole system of Southern railroads. There never will
be another raid up the Valley. Grant is. as I have -aid, drawing his patent Vicksburg cord
around Petersburg and Richmond; so that Jeff Davis, the first distinguished rat to desert
the falling house of the Confederacy, has gone to Macon. 'lake away from the rebels, as 1
have said, the hope that McClellan, and the peace party may triumph, and they would "cave
in" before the November election.

As 1 have had occasion to say elsewhere, the war began upon the banks of the Susque-
hanna. It was between there and Baltimore that the bridges were burned. The first time
1 saw the rebel flag it was floating over the little village of Havre de Grace, on the south
bank of the Susquehanna; and then Ben Butler was sending troops down the bay and around
by way of Annapolis, to protect our < lapital. Maryland was against us. Kentucky was against
us. Tennessee, all but the eastern part and including the Government and the power of the
State, was against us. Missouri hung quivering in the balance, until Lyon determined ii for
us. We had not a foot of land in North Carolina. South Carolina. Florida, Louisiana, Texas,
Mississippi and Arkansas — not a foot. Does not our flan now float proudly over parts of all
those Stales? Do not the rebels proclaim that the lives of men are now invaluable to them ?
Have they not gathered into their armies their boys of fourteen and their men of sixty ? So
that, although J am not liable to draft or military duty here. 1 would have nearly ten years of
it before me, if I were in the Confederacy. It does not make any matter whether a man has
hair on his head or teeth in his mouth, if he is between the ages of fourteen and sixty, and within
the bounds of the Confederacy, he must be a soldier. Yet the gentleman tells you that the
war will be interminable. Oh. no ! come out and say as I do, and induce your party leaders
to say — that the war shall be fought for the supremacy of the Constitution over every inch
of your country, and you will crush the rebellion, and there need be no more "Northern
soldiers buried in Southern graves." It wants but that one gun to burst their Confederacy
into thin air. Your sympathy is their last strong fortification.

The gentleman has reiterated to you his assertion of Saturday night, that the slave's house
and his clothes and food are better pay than the sewing women of Philadelphia get. He
phrased it differently on a previous evening, at Manayunk ; he then said the slave's " rentless
hut, with his hog and hominy, and clothes." Now, gentlemen, what is his rentless hut ? It
is a hut without glass in the windows, without hinges to the doors, with a (day floor, and with
but one apartment. That is the slave's hut. What is his food ? Turn to Stroud's Laws of the
Slave States and see. You men who have been in the South as soldiers, know that it is coarse


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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 16 of 20)