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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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>ur wives and daughters demands it ; and if you intend to make this organization of any
practical value, you will do one of two things — either take steps to work the political regene-
ration of the party with which we are affiliated, up to this standard, or, relying upon ourselves,
iletermine at once our plan id' action.

" It might be asked now, shall men be coerced to go to war. in a mere crusade to free negroes,
ind territorial aggrandizement ? Shall our people lie taxed to carry forward a war of eman-
cipation, miscegenation, confiscation, or extermination?"

No : but it shall, Mr. Commander, and will be carried on to defend and maintain the great
nation known as the United States.

But still again : —

" It would lie the happiest day of my life, if I could stand up with any considerable portion
Df my fellow-men and say, not another dollar — not another man for this nefarious war. But
:he views and suggestions of exiled Yallandigham will be of greater consequence to you than



my own. He soys to yon, " the only issue now is p< ace or war." Vallandigham, like bis emi-
nent disciple my friend, has an " American repugnance to bayonets and knocking out people's
brains," and he says that " the only issue now is peace or war.") "To the former he is com-
mitted, and cannot, will not retract. He tells us not to commit ourselves to men ; as well as
he loves, and much as he admires the little hero McClellan, he would have the Chicago Con-
vention act with untrammelled freedom. He reasons that the spring campaign will be more
disastrous to the Federal armies than those heretofore made. That by July, the increased
call for troops, the certainty of a prolonged war, the rottenness of the financial system, de-
fection of border State troops, the spread and adoption of the principles of this organization,
will all tend to bring conservative men to one, mind."

The commander must have forgotten that we had not McClellan still at the head of the
army when he supposed that the spring campaign would be so disastrous, and would drag-
along so slowly, lb' did not remember that we had put "real" soldiers at the head of the
army. He did not know that Sherman was going right down to Atlanta to take possession
of the Southern railroad system. He did not know that Grant was going to hem in Lee's
army and the citizens of Petersburg and Richmond, and then let Sheridan go down the Val-
ley, cutting off their last railroad communications, so that in a little while they must surren-
der just as was done to Grant at Vicksburg and to Banks (who is still not in a gunboat) at
Tort Hudson.

Gentlemen : these peace Democrats are just as much mistaken when they say that we
cannot conquer and repossess our own country, as they were in supposing that Grant and
Sherman and Sheridan would not move our columns onward, or Farragut bring his guns into
play.

In the gentleman's clamor against New England, he cites the Hartford Convention as an
objectionable part of her record.

Do you not know, sir [addressing Mr. Northrop], that in the speech you made this evening
you elaborated and approved the doctrines of the Hartford Convention? Do you not know
that the men concerned in that movement were the peace men of 1812? Do you not know
that they clamored for peace, and urged against the then Democratic Administration every
charge that you and the Democratic leaders urge against Abraham Liucoln to-night? Do
you not know that in that very portion of their report that you read was embodied the spirit
of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798, which were indorsed by the Cincinnati Demo-
cratic platform of L856, and were reaffirmed by the Democratic (.'(invention of 1860? It is
wonderful that you have failed to perceive all this. At the Chicago Convention, Mr. Long,
of Ohio, again offered those resolutions, and they were rejected. V 'hy were they rejected?
Because by those resolutions the right of a State that believes her constitutional rights to
have been infringed is limited to nullifying the unconstitutional act. Mark you. in 17!).^
Virginia and Kentucky adopted resolutions defining the jurisdiction of the National Govern-
ment over the States; and the Kentucky resolutions set forth that if the United States
Government should infringe the reserved rights of a State, that State might nullify the objec-
tionable act until its constitutionality could be tried in the Supreme Court. Mr. Alexander
Long (whom we voted in Congress to lie an unworthy member, and whom we would have
expelled, but that the Democratic members sustained him. for praying God that we might
never conquer the South 1 introduced those resolutions at Chicago as an addition to the plat-
form, and the members of the Convention rejected them on the ground that they believed in
the doctrine of secession, while the old States Rights resolutions of Kentucky and Virginia
limited the remedial right of a State to the nullifying' of an act until the Supreme Court
could pass on its constitutionality. Those resolutions were not broad enough for the Chicago
Convention; they did not assert the right of the South to secede, but did limit the remedial
right of a State to the nullification of an unconstitutional law. The members of that Con-
vention knew that the Federal ( iovernineut had violated no constitutional right of the Southern
Slates, and therefore they would not adopt those resolutions.

bet me now turn to the passage which was read the other evening by my distinguished
friend from Dwight's History of the Hartford Convention. D is in these words: —

'• That acts of Congress in violation of the Constitution are absolutely void, is an undeniable
position. It does not. however, consist with the respect and forbearance due from a Con-
federate Stale towards the General Government, to Hy to open resistance upon every infraction
of the Constitution. The mode and energy of the opposition should always conform to the
nature of the violation, the intention id' its authors, the extent of the injury inflicted, the
determination manifested to persisl in it. and the danger of delay. Hut in cases of deliberate,
dangerous, and palpable infractions of the Constitution, affecting- the sovereignty id' a State
and liberties of the people, it is not only the right, but the duty, of such a State to interpose
its authority for their protection, in the manner host calculated to secure that end. When
emergencies occur which are either beyond the reach of the judicial tribunals, or too pressing
to admit of the delay incidenl to their forms. States, which have no common umpire, must be
their own judges and execute their own decisions."

It so happens, however, that the States of this Union have a common umpire. My friend
has made to-night, and throughout this discussion, so far as he has argued logically, just the



argument contained in the passage I have just read. He tells yon thai the Southern Stales
went out of the Union because the Northern people said ugly things to them ; and he read
portions of what had been said. Jle asked you whether you would no1 strike a person who
called yon a liar, implying that the Southern States were righl in the course they have taken,
because sumo persons in the North have applied offensive epithets, not, however, sucl
" mudsills of society." to them. He contends furiously far " free speech ;" while his whole
argument in justification of the South and its wicked war is founded on the fact that certain
men in New England during a long period of time have thoughl for themselves, and have
said what they thought. He does not point you to a single ad of violence on the part of
New England, or of any one of the States of New England. His whole complaint is thai
some of her clergymen and other citizens will think, and will say what they think, and that
therefore the Smith has. to say the least, a thorough palliation, if not a sufficienl vindication
of her absolute right to £'0 out and make war on us who remain. Is it nol SO?

When the gentleman denounced the Hartford Convention and its address, he was denounc-
ing his own doctrines. That assemblage of New England gentlemen who, self-appointed,
without authority and without power, met and prepared an address, which the gentleman
professes to condemn, agreed with him more largely than he is willing to let you know. Did
not the gentleman a night or two ago close his speech by denunciations of conscription ?
Did he not contend that the National Government, by assuming the righl to conscripl and to
manage the militia of the States, is converting the State militia into a standing army? Lei
me return to the address of the Hartford Convention. 1 will read from page 358, while he
read from page 361 of the same volume; there is bu1 one leaf between the two extracts. The
book is Dwight's Hartford Convention.

"The power of dividing the militia of the States into classes, and obliging such classes to
furnish by contract or draft, able-bodied men to serve for one or more years for the defence
of the frontier, is not delegated to Congress. If a claim to draft the militia for one year for
such general object be admissible, no limitation can be assigned to it, but the discretion of
those who make the law. Thus, with a power in Congress to authorize such a draft or con-
scription, and in the Executive to decide conclusively upon the existence and continual]
tlii' emergency, the whole militia may be converted into a standing army, disposable at the
will of the President of the United States.

"The power of compelling the militia, and other citizens of the United States, by a for
draft or conscription, to serve in the regular armies as proposed in a late official letter of the
Secretary of War, is not delegated to Congress by the Constitution, and the exercise of it
would not be less dangerous to their liberties, than hostile to the sovereignty of the States.
The effort to deduce this power from the right of raising armies, is a flagrant attempl to per-
vert the sense of the clause in the Constitution which confers thai right, and is incompatible
with other provisions iu that instrument. The armies id' the United States have always
raised by contract, never by conscription, and nothing now can be wanting to a Governmenl
possessing the power thus claimed to enable it to usurp the entire control of the militia, in
derogation of the authority of the State, and to convert it by impressmenl into a standing
army."

Are not these identically the suggestions of the gentleman? They are; and 1 beg him nol
to tell me, an old Democrat, that it is the Democratic party which stands on the doctrines of
Benedid Arnold, of the Peace men of 1812, and the Peace men of the war with Mexico. A
true Democrat denounces Arnold as a traitor, regards most of the doctrines of the Hartford
Convention as dangerous, and believes that the war with Mexico was a just war. I learned
all these things in the Democratic party, and 1 proclaimed them all through L 844, and at
later periods when, long after 1 had come from New England, 1 stumped this State in the
cause of the Democratic party. But. oh. God! what would the spirit of Thomas Jefferson
think, if it could hear these Peace men proclaiming, in his name and in the name of I lemocracy,
the treasonable sentiments of Arnold, the doctrines of the Hartford Convention, and the
clamors of the Peace men of the .Mexican War?

Here is the book which the gentleman introduced; here is the report from which hi' read.
Now, who made that report ? Is New England responsible for it '.' Did it emanate from any
Legislature of New England ? Was it made by any official body? No: certain gentlemen
who had been elected to different Legislatures, and who held the tenets id' the modern 1'
Democracy — who were opposed to the war— who were aiding our enemies by embarrassing
the Government — appointed a meeting at Hartford, just as Judge Black and Fernando A\ ood,
and a number of peace men appointed a meeting the other day. at the New York Hotel, in
the city of New York. They were merely private citizens (though very distinguished
and they adopted an d published a report. But even they (and the gentleman knows it as
well as I do), opposed as they were to the war. did not ask that the war should be .-topped.
They said that New England's frontier was not protected; that an adequate navy was not
provided; that their fishermen and commercial marine were neglected : that their coast and
their seaports had no defence, and they asked that New England mighl be permitted to raise
her own taxes and carry on the war. so far as the coast and limits of New England extended,
at her own cost and at her own risk. That is what they asked. They did not ask that the



flag should be stricken and furled, and an armistice granted, and that we should try to coax
our enemy into consenting " on some terms or other," to let us go without looking at that
ugly thing, a bayonet, which it is so un-American to use. Even the members of the Hartford
Convention did not so far forgel what was due to their manhood as to do that. But the
gentleman has assumed all their doctrines, and he must stand by them.

Let me pause to ask what the sentiment of New England really was in regard to the con-
stitutional questions involved in the extract which the gentleman read? The book which T
hold in my hand (Elliott's Debates, vol. iv.) contains the answer of every New England Stale
to the Virginia resolutions of 1798. There is the answer of Connecticut, of Massachusetts,
of New Hampshire, of Vermont, of Rhode Island. They are all there. 1 commend them to
the gentleman, and I ask him to find in one of them any declaration which does not say that
the Union is supreme, which does nut repudiate the doctrines both of the Virginia and Ken-
tucky resolutions of 1798, and of the Hartford Convention — which does not put those States
thoroughly upon the doctrine of the supremacy of the General Government. And, sir, no
one of these States has failed to fill its quota, and to fill it promptly, under any call during
this war.

Thus, I have shown, that when the gentleman went to New England to find all that was,
in his judgment, vile — all that he might hope would inflame your passions — he found in the
saddest page of her history his own doctrines; when he pointed to the most damning fact in
her whole record, he held up before you the conduct and opinions of men who, did they still
live, and hold the opinions they theu did, would rally around him and cheer him for the
speeches he is making to-night.

Now, sir, I pass to another point. I am, sir, in favor of maintaining the Monroe Doctrine.
But what is the use of talking about the Monroe Doctrine, while between our armies and
Mexico, or Central America, lies a proud military Confederacy. We cannot attempt to carry
out the Monroe Doctrine until we get Jeff. Davis and his army out of the way. And what
is the use of fighting Europe aboul an abstraction which cannot become practical until we
shall have repossessed our country? I turn, sir. and ask you, whether you are in favor of
the Monroe Doctrine; and if you say you are, I ask you to explain how the United States
Government can enforce the Monroe Doctrine if it permits an alien Confederacy to extend
from the Sabine, ay, from the Del Norte to the Potomac. It is my devotion to the Monroe
Doctrine that makes me want to see this foreign government that has been set up on our
soil kicked into the Gulf. No foreign or stranger power must flout a flag alongside of ours,
on the American continent, whether it be the stars and bars of Jeff. Davis, or the lily of
France, or the eagle of Austria; and I tell you. my friends, that when we have finished the
war in which we are now engaged, the Monroe doctrine must be enforced. When that is to
be done, the 127th regiment of U. S. colored troops, that I saw march through the city to-
day, with others like it, will be of special value. They are composed of just the kind of men
to walk across Central America, for the enforcement of the Monroe doctrine. We of the
white race cannot go there. That is a tropical country; it is malarious; and its malaria is
fatal to our race. Do you know that so fatal a region is that to the white man, that to con-
struct the railroad across the Isthmus cost seven thousand human lives? Men took the job
of working upon it. Their names appeared on the pay-roll for one, two, or three days, and
then they disappeared forever — victims to the Chagres fever, as travellers call it. Our
enterprising but heartless men, instead of taking negro laborers to make that railroad, be-
cause they are opposed to giving the negro wages for his work, pressed on and hired white
men until they had laid along the line of that short road the bones of seven thousand human
beings. We who are born in the North — -we whose skins are white, and who thrive in the
cold regions of the world — we who, in the North, live long, carry our teeth well, get many
children, cannot live and propagate in that tropical and malarious region. Our race runs out
there. But in that region the negro lives long; he carries a head as white as the driven
snow, because no snow comes there to chill him ; his family is numerous, and he dies with his
teeth firmly set in his head. And when we shall have "crushed out" this rebellion, these
black' soldiers of ours will take the American flag in their hands, and sweep across that to us
pestilent region, and drive the Austrian cousin of the august Emperor of France into the
ocean or on to a "gunboat," and maintain, in the name of the American people, the Monroe
doctrine. But they, with the other soldiers of our army, must- first annihilate the army of
Jefferson Davis, which enjoys in so eminent a degree the sympathy of my friend, because the
New England people made feces at the Southern people and called them ugly names. Yes,
I am in favor of the Monroe doctrine, of preventing all foreign interference in this country,
and so are you, my honest Democratic fellow citizens; and you will overwhelm your
leaders with indignant contempt, when you come to fairly and fully understand what they
have been and are now doing.

Now let us turn to the letter of Lord Lyons to Earl Russell, respecting mediation. It is
an official communication from the English Minister to lbs Government. It is dated Wash-
ington. November 17th, 1862 — two years ago the coming 17th of November.

Lord Lyons writes: —

" In his despatches of the 17th and 24th ultimo, and of the 17th instant, Mr. Stuart reported



to your lordship the result of the elections for members of Congress and State officers, which
have recently taken place in several of the most important States of the Union. Without
repeating the details, it will be sufficient for me to observe that the successes of the Demo-
cratic, or (as it now styles itself) the conservative party, lias been so great as to main 1
change in public feeling, among the most rapid and the most complete that lias ever been
witnessed in this country.

" On my arrival at New York, on the 8th instant, I found the conservative leaders exulting
in the crowning success achieved by the party in the State.' They appeared to rejoice, above
all, in the conviction that personal liberty and freedom of speech had been secured for the
principal State of the Union. They believed that the Government must at once desisl from
exercising in the State of New York the extraordinary (and as they regarded them) illegal
and unconstitutional powers which it had assumed. They were confident that at all events
after the 1st of January next, on which day the newly-elected Governor would come into
office, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus could not be practically maintained."

Mark you, Democrats, Lord Lyons informed his Government that the Democratic leaders
believed that Horatio Seymour would bring on a collision between the State of New York
and the General Government, rather than permit the Government to do that which I have
shown you General Jackson did. and by vindicating the constitutionality of which Douglas
made his fame. And they talk about being Democrats and patriots.

His Lordship continues: — ■

" On the following morning, however, intelligence arrived from Washington which dashed
the rising hopes of the Conservatives. It was announced that General McClellan had been
dismissed from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and ordered to repair to his bome ;
that he had, in fact, been removed altogether from active service. The General had been
regarded as the representative of conservative principles in /he army."

"The General had been regarded as the representative of conservative principles in the
army," — when "conservative principles" meant opposition to the suspension of the habeas
corpus and similar exertions of constitutional power! Was he cheating the Democratic
leaders, or was he cheating the Government and the country? We looked upon him as the
head of our army — as one who was striving to lead it to victory; but the Democratic peace.
leaders who were in confidential relations with him looked upon him as their '■representative"
in the army !

Again, his Lordship says : "Support of him had been made one of the articles of the Con-
servative electoral programme. J lis dismissal was taken as a sign that the President had
thrown himself entirely into the arms of the extreme radical party, and that the attempt to
carry out the policy of that party would be persisted in. The irritation of the Consi natives
at New York was certainly very great; it seemed, however, to be not unmixed with conster-
nation and despondency."

I do not wonder at it ; for they sawthat when he was removed, it was probable that his place
would be filled by a General who would represent the United States and not the Democratic
Peace party. In such a change they fouud full cause for their " consternation and despon-
dency."

But again : " Several of the leaders of the Democratic party sought interviews with me,
both before and after the arrival of the intelligence of General McClellan's dismissal. The
subject uppermost in their minds, while they were speaking to me, was naturally that of foi
mediation between the North and South."

Here we see the leaders of the Democratic party creeping to the feet of the British minister,
to talk of foreign mediation. Are you, sir, and are these your political brethren in favor of
the Monroe doctrine ?

But to his Lordship again : "Many of them seemed to think that this mediation must come
at last, but they appeared to be very much afraid of its coming too soon. It was evident that
they apprehended that a premature proposal of foreign intervention would afford the Radical
party a means of reviving the violent war spirit, and of thus defeating the peaceful plans of
the Conservatives."

Gentlemen, do you not agree with me in thinking that if the citizens of this country, espe-
cially the honest Democrats, had known that the Democratic leaders were with Lord Lyons,
trying to get his Government to straighten us up, by dividing our country, it would have
" revived the radical spirit" a little, and possibly at the cost of some of those leaders?

" They," says his Lordship, " appeared to regard the present moment as peculiarly unfavor-
able for such an offer, and indeed to hold that it would be essential to the success of any
proposal from abroad, that it should be deferred until the control of the Executive Govern-
ment should be in the hands of the Conservative party."

They pledged themselves to Lord Lyons that when the Government should come into their
hands Great Britain should have her way about dividing our country; but they thought it
would not be judicious to make the proposition at that time. " Wait," said they. " till the
Government comes into the hands of the Conservative party" — the party of my friend here
and of General McClellan, and of that eminent conservative. George H. Pendleton, who has
never voted a man or a dollar for the prosecution of this war.



" I gave no opinion," say? Tier Majesty's minister, when reporting the part he took in this
council of Democratic leaders, " on the subject. I did not say whether or no I myself thought
foreign intervention probable or advisable, but I listened with attentions the accounts given
me of the plans and hopes of the conservative party. At the bottom Ithought I perceived a
desire to put an < nd to the war, evt n at the risk of losing the Southern States altogether."

I am going to prove thai his lordship was not mistaken, and that what they mean is to let
the Southern States go. I ask my friend, what value the Monroe doctrine would have for us,


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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 6 of 20)