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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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alter we had let the Southern Stales go ? What interest we would have in the Monroe doc-
trine, with a foreign military Confederacy sweeping from the Potomac to the Rio Grande .

'• Hut," continues his lordship, " it was plain that it was not thought prudent to avow this
/nth,',!, some hints of it, dropp*. d before the election, wt reso ill receivedthat a strong
declaration in the contrary sense was deemed necessary by the Democratic leaders."

I pray you, my Democratic fellow-citizens, mark the course of your leaders when in secret
council. D proves that they do not tell you what they believe ; that they only tell you what
they think will induce you to give them power and follow their fortunes. Lord Lyons says
they were willing to make peace and let the South go; but, that on sounding the pulse of
the people, and finding that such a doctrine was unpopular, they announced, as you know,
that if you would put the Government in their hands, they would carry on the war more vig-
orously than we had done. D was when they had determined on this system of fraud and
duplicity that they started the lies with which their addresses and papers thenceforth teemed ;
that the Government had embarrassed McClellan, and would not give him all the men it
could ; that the Democrats were anxious to bring the war to a successful close, but the Gov-
ernment would not let them, because the war was a profitable thing for " shoddy" and other
contractors, etc. You remember all this as well as I do, especially you who attended Demo-
cratic meetings or read the journals of that party. But let me finish w 7 ith his Lordship's des-
patch.

"At. the present moment, therefore, the chiefs of the Conservative party call loudly for a
more vigorous prosecution of the war, and reproach the Government with slackness as well
as witli want of success in its military measures. But they repudiate all idea of interfering
with the institutions of the Southern people, or of waging a war of subjugation or extermina-
tion. They maintain that the object of the military operations should be to place the North
in a position to demand an armistice with honor and effect. The armistice should, they hold,
be followed by a convention," (thus two years ago you find these Democratic leaders an-
nouncing just what should be the platform of the Chicago Convention — an armistice with a
view to a convention) — " in which such change of the Constitution should be proposed as
would give the South ample security on the subject of its slave property, and would enable
the North and South tore-unite and live together in peace and harmony. The Conservatives
profess to think that the South might be induced to take part in such a convention, and that
a restoration of the Union would be the result.

■ ''The more sagacious members of the party must, however, look upon the proposal of a
convention merely as a last experiment to test the possibility of re-union. They are, no
doubt, well aware that the more probable consequence of an armistice would be the estab-
lishment of Southern independence, lint they perceive that if the South is so utterly alienated
that no possible concessions will induce it to return voluntarily to the Union, it is wiser to
agree to separate than to prosecute a cruel and hopeless war."

Le1 me borrow the language of my friend's seventh interrogation, and ask whether you are
'•In favor of the non-intervention of foreign powers on this continent, known as the .Monroe
Doctrine," or are you ready to crawl with the leaders of the Peace Democracy to the feet of
the British lion, and ask its intervention with the affairs not only of the continent but of our
own dear country, whose fathers fought that lion eight long years? A.re you ready to see
this country, which, united, can defy ami conquer the world on land or sea. divided, that while
nd fights one-half of it. Prance, with its Austrian Emperor in Mexico, may Bgh1 the
oilier hair? If you are not, I beg yea in the name of God and your country to abandon the
Democratic leaders, who are treating with Lord Lyons and the titled representatives of other
powers of the continent with reference to the division of our country by an armistice and the
delusive promise of a convention, which they know can never be had. A people who, having
rebelled and fought us for four years, and right on the eve of our final victory, have been
d all they asked, will no1 make terms with a people whom they would have so good
reason to despise as fools, cowards, or traitors, [fwe withdraw our forces from Atlanta, from
Petersburg, from the Shenandoah Valley, and old Farragut from the front id' Mobile, and our
fleet from the front of Charleston, and our forces from Louisiana, if we surrender to the
Southern rebels the free State of West Virginia — if we surrender to them Kentucky, whose
people, though they for a time occupied a position of neutrality, are new fighting grandly for
the old Bag— if we surrender Andrew Johnson and the people of East Tennessee to the
lords of the lash — could they have respect lor or confidence in us? Why, when we have done
thus much they will make us pay for every slave they have lot. and assume their war debt,
too. They would threaten us with the dreaded "bayonet" if we did not do all this, and do it
promptly — and they would have the right to make these demands, for such a surrender would



be a confession that we have been wrong in defending our country, and they righl in assailing
it. Certain it is that they will never come into council with us after we have granted them
an armistice, and begged their pardon for havin I our d itionality and

Gentlemen, I may be very prosy: but I cannot help thai ! My wish is to make a chain of
argument, and weave it together with facts which yon all know,. and which none of you can
dispute. I must, therefore, still pursue my own method rather than that suggested I
competitor.

Now for the first resolution of the Chicago platform, it read- thus: —

'• Resolved, That in the future, as in the past, we will adhere with unswerving fidelity to the
Union under the Constitution, as the only solid foundation of our strength, security, ami
happiness as a people, and as a framework of government equally conducive to the wi
and prosperity of all the States, both Northern and Southern."

T reiterate what 1 have already said, that, iu order to understand this declaration, you i
refer to what the Democratic party has done in tin 1 past. Designing men and their dupes
contend that this resolution is a pledge that the party will support the Union. Gentl
did you ever see a three-sided sign, which, as you walk one way. exhibits one name, and as
you walk another way. displays another, and, when yen stand in front of it, shows still ano
1 have often seen such; there used to lie several of them in this city. This resolution is like
one of those signs. To the Southern man it reads " the right of secession ;" to the unsus-
pec in - Northern Democrat, who goes with the party because he has always belonged to it. it
reads "the Union;" and when you are right in front of it, as my friend am! the I "
managers are, it reads "State Sovereignty."

To 11 simple, unsuspecting man, this declaration is. on its face, a pledge of fidelity to the
Union. Coupled as it is with the words, " as in the past," it is a pledge to every Southern
States rights man that the party adheres to the doctrines which induced Buchanan ami his
cabinet to allow the Southern rebels to construct fortifications around our foils, make prisoners
of our regular army, rob us of our arms, and go out of the Union, without an resist-

ance on the part of the administration.

" but," says my friend. " what could Mr. Buchanan have done'.'" "Why, he could have
sent the arms all North instead of sending them all South; he could have armed all the forts
in front of Southern cities, instead of leaving them without armament; he could have
Twiggs and Canby, with their armies, north, of the slave States, and had them ready to
threaten to descend upon the insurgents, instead of putting them where they could be taken
prisoners without any trouble. Indeed, Twiggs handed his troops over of his own accord.
Mr. Buchanan could have sent into Congress Jackson's proclamation I o the N ullifiers, adding
a little postscript, saying, " 1 say ditto to General .Jackson" — just as, in the English Parliament,
a member, unable to compose a speech, but desirous to make a " splurge," foil of M r.

Burke's eloquent addresses with the word- " I say ditto to Mr. Burke!" If James Buchanan
could not find in the Constitution anything to justify him in maintaining tin 1 Union, he could
have taken General Jackson's proclamation to the people of South Carolina, and sent it into
Congress, saying, " \ believe every doctrine expressed in this great state paper, and v
under like circumstances as General Jackson would h I." instead of sending a message

which conveyed a threat to the poor Union people of the South that if they d ired to stand
up to the country and their rights he would abandon them to the tender mere ir man

stealing and woman-whipping neighbors. That is what he could have done: and had hi
this, or asserted a determination to do it, there would not have been war. But for the c<
of certain Northern men who pledged themselves to sustain the South in secession am! to Id her
go in peace— but for the course of Mr. Buchanan's Administration in arming and for-
the rebels, in depriving us of soldiers and giving them a navy -they never would have under-
taken the work of breaking up the Union. It we had had a patriot in the Presidential chair,
instead of James Buchanan, this war would not have desolated our homes and burdened us
with taxes. No man who will take up the plank id' the Chicago platform, which T have read.
and study it in the light of history, and ask who is to construe the Constitution, if McClellan
be elected, will doubt its meaning, if the Democracy get into power. They will take their
own view of it— won't they'.' Well, what is Mr. Pendleton's view? Mr. Pendleton was in
Congress during- the whole of Buchanan's Administration, lie made a speech defending
James Buchanan's message and denying the right of the Federal Government to coi
State. He is as fully committed to secession as Jefferson Davis himself; and in proof of this
I refer you to the columns of the Globe throughout the eight years that he has been in Con-
gress. He is an open and avowed secessionist; he does not deny it. The convention that
nominated him dan' not ask him for a formal acceptance of the nomination. The convention
appointed a committee to apprise the candidates of their nomination; and that committee
have never yet addressed a. line to Mr. Pendleton, because thej know what his answer would
be—that he would reply " that he accepts the platform which is perfectly consistent with his
entire Congressional record." That would be his answer, and the men of that Convention.
who are playing a double game, are afraid to draw that answer forth. When did Yoorhees —
when did either of the AVoods— when did Alexander Long, of Ohio — when did the Demo
representative from Berks County, Mr. Ancona, or the representative from the Democratic



county of Northampton, "Sir. Johnson, or from Montgomery and Lehigh, Mr. Stiles, or any
other of the leading Democratic members from this State-, ever vote for a dollar or a man to
sustain this war? They are for peace. They believe in the right of the Southern States to
secede and carry with them our patrimony. They know how the Democratic party preserved
the Union in the past.

I now, as my time is nearly expended, pass to the third plank of the Chicago platform : but
let me first remind you that I have read you an article from the Constitution of the Sons of
Liberty or the Knights of the Golden Circle, and extracts from a speech of the Grand Com-
mander of the order. 1 now proceed to show that one object of the Chicago platform was to
indorse and encourage the arming of people to assail us at the polls contemplated by the
order. The third resolution reads thus: —

•• Resolved, That the direct interference of the military authority of the United States in the
recent, elections held in Kentucky, Maryland. Missouri, and Delaware was a shameful violation
of the Constitution, and the repetition of such acts in the approaching election will be held
as revolutionary, and resisted with all the means and power under our control."

Who perpetrated the acts thus denounced in Maryland— who issued the order of 'October,
1861, which 1 read to you on the last evening of this discussion— but the very man whom
they have placed on their platform? Geo. B. McClellan, in October, 1861, ordered his troops
to arrest any man of a certain description who might show himself at the polls. Yet the
( 'on vent ion denounces such acts as "revolutionary." and "a shameful violation of the Consti-
tution." and pledges the Democratic party to resist a repetition of them "with all the means
and power under their control," and are going around denouncing the suspension of the habeas
corpus, and talking in vague and unmeaning terms about the unconstitutional acts, the tyranny,
and the oppression of Abraham Lincoln. Do they point out one tyrannical or unconstitutional
act? No, not one. They are trying to inflame the passions and extinguish the patriotism of
the people, so as to induce them to make a scene of riot and carnage on election day;, and
they demand that all troops shall be removed from the Northern States, that they may execute
their fiendish purpose with impunity. As Lord Lyons could write to his Government, on the
17th of November. 1862, what the Chicago platform of 1864 was to be, so the Sons of Liberty,
who pledge themselves to lay down their lives, and began buying arms, understood what the
platform was to be. and they understand what the game is to be.

The object of these conspirators is to surrender half of our country to a foreign Confederacy,
and then they hope to carry one State after another into that Confederacy, so that free, intelli-
gent, wages-paying New England, with its undying hatred of human slavery, shall be left out
of the new organization. I am against the whole scheme. I am heir to the honors and
glories of every Revolutionary battle that was fought in the Southern States. They are
ioms belonging to me and my posterity. My forefathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary
War, and all its honors belong to me in common with the people of this country. Bunker
Hill and Lexington belong to me ami to you ; and while I am unwilling to let them take Lutaw
or Camden out id' the Union. I am also unwilling to let them, by denunciation or chicanery,
put Bunker Hill or Lexington from under the flag of my country. They are all ours. The men
of (he South and the men of New England tracked with their blood the snows of Valley
Forge with our Pennsylvania fathers. It is all, all our country, and we have but to stand by
President Lincoln and the war, and our children will inherit it all.

The gentleman said the other night that all wars end by negotiations, treaty, and compro-
mise. Yes, all international wars do. but it is not true of civil wars. If it were so, every
rebellion that ever has occurred would have ended in the division of one country into two.
But rebellions are generally put down. Texas achieved her independence of Mexico ; but Ire-
land has never been aide to achieve her independence of England. Poor Kossuth could not
achieve the independence of Hungary. Hungary was put down. Poland has never been
able to achieve her independence of Russia. Insurrections and rebellions are put down.
1* tople love their country. They may complain of their institutions. 1 gave Poland my sym-
pathy in the davs of in v youth. I gave 1 1 ungary my synipat by ; and one of the proudest, tes-
timonials of my life is an autograph letter from Louis Kossuth, thanking me for what 1 had
done for Hungary. 1 had argued her cause as my friend tells us Abraham Lincoln argued
tic cause of Texas, when her people and our friends who had gone there were striking for free-
dom against Mexican despotism and misrule. I ask you to give Abraham Lincoln credit
for the good words my friend read to you. and remember that they were uttered in favor of the
Texan people enjoying a free American constitution, instead of being recommitted to the des-
potism of distant and misgoverned Mexico.

Yes, rebellions are generally put down ; and this one will be put down. The Chicago Con-
vention pronounced our war a failure. They lied in the throat when they said so. No nation
his ever conquered so much territory in the same time. Members of the Democratic party
have told us on the floor of Congress and through their newspapers, that we never can con-
quer an agricultural people of twelve millions, living on their own soil. Are we not doing it
rapidly, thoroughly ? 1 first saw t lie rebel stars and bars across the Susquehanna, floating
over most of the houses of the little town of Havre de Grace. At that time, Ben. Butler,
win uu my friend so loathes, had to take his troops down the Susquehanna, and around by An-



napolis, to get them to "Washington to defend the Capital. We have meanwhile conquered
Maryland, and her people are freer, happier, and more prosperous t ban they ever were before.
A Republican or an Abolitionist is no longer in danger there, bu1 may think and speak freely.
I have discussed the issues of the day and maintained the right of every laborer to wages in
the lower counties of Maryland, to audiences in which whites and blacks, slaves and slave

owners, were mingled like the squares of a checker-board ; and the man who speaks -I ol

freedom, and shows most plainly the curse of slavery, is most welcome in that region as an
orator. We hold West Virginia, aud it is a free State, no longer held, as England holds
Ireland, or Austria holds Hungary, by the slave-driving aristocrats of East Virginia. It is a
free State, and the people govern themselves. They knew by terrible experience the despot-
ism from which they have escaped. Why, under the law of the old State, when men and
women were selling at $2000 per head, they were by law assessed as worth only three hundred
dollars, and when you could sell a babe in the hour of its birth, if the doctor pronounced it
healthy, for $100. the dealers in human flesh b^jng the ruling power of the State, would nol allow
it to be taxed at all until it came to be twelve years of age. The brutal aristocracy control-
ling the State taxed the pig of the farmer in West Virginia ; they taxed his horses, his plough :
they taxed his industry in every shape ; but by statute they reduced their -lave property to
less than one-sixth of its value before they allowed the assessor to come near it. There
stands West Virginia, a free State to-day — as the gentleman would say, a "sovereign State"
—with her three Union members of Congress and her two Union Senators. I know that
gentleman does not like it. because it proves that the Administration and its friends are re-
constructing the Union. It was for this reason that the delegates from West Virginia were
refused seats in the Chicago Convention.

Let me ask my Democratic hearers whether, if half the people of a State, covering half its
territory, want to come back into the Union, we must say, "No, you must, wait till those trai-
tors who have involved us all in war. arc ready to come with you." The people of West
Virginia wanted to come in. They had a territory nearly as large as half our State, much
larger than Maryland, and we welcomed them. Thej rejoice in their subjugation, and are
devoted to Union and freedom. Kentucky had as duly elected members of the lasl House.
Green, Clay. Smith, William II. Randall, and Julian Anderson, and they voted with me every
time. If I voted for the twenty-three acts which the gentleman has referred to, 1 did
company with these three Kentuckians, and the members from Maryland (except my compe-
titor's friend, Mr. Harris) and the members from West Virginia, and' the majority of members
from Missouri.

But I deny that there are any such acts on the statute book. "We passed acts touching the
negro, but none of the kind described by the gentleman's question.

We have also conquered Missouri, though the rebels are again threatening her borders
We have a pretty broad foothold in Arkansas. We have ransacked the residence of Jeff
Davis, and found there the letter of Franklin Pierce, declaring that if the Smith should secede
and a war begin, it would not be confined to the South, but would extend to our own
our own towns, our own villages. You remember that letter, for it has been published
broadcast. It corresponded with the tenor of Mr. Buchanan's message, and assured the
Southern States (hat they could go out without fear of resistance.

Vicksburg is in Mississippi, and we took it with a garrison of thirty-odd thousand men.
We have a lodgment there that enables us to protect the freedom of the Mississippi for a
thousand miles. We have opened that river. This and the conquest of ail tic territory
along either side of that river for that immense distance is a work the like of which was
never achieved by any nation in a war of less than four years. We hold tic comm
frontiers of Louisiana, and command the commerce of the Gulf. We can march through
Florida any day we want to. We are teaching the loyal people on the coasl of South Caro-
lina and the Sea Islands to read the Lord's Prayer ami the Constitution of the United 8
to do which they were never permitted before. We hold so much of North Carolina that
those of her people who resist the rebel conscription, and the deserters from their army can
rally to the number of seventeen hundred and drive Jell' Davis's minions from their
Our flag, if we could get it to them, would float over their citadel, ami it will not be long
give it to them. We hold Norfolk, and have got back the navy yard where were burned many
of those magnificent vessels which Toucey surrendered to the embryo < !onfederacy. We have
made the American flag the proudest in the world, and have taught England and' \ ■
if we can do so much during a civil war, we shall, when we are ... people, be invil

against the world united. Our failure is a proud one surely 1



Speech of Hon. William D. Kelley in the
Northrop-Kelley Debate.

DELIVERED IN THE HALL OF THE SPRING GARDEN INSTITUTE, ON
THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 29, 1864.



PHONOGRAPHIC REPORT BY D. WOLFE BROWN.



My Fellow-Citizens: I think that the course which this discussion lias thus far taken has
been very judicious ; that it is much better that, before entering' into the minutiae of the dis-
cussion, the matters merely personal, we should have examined broadly the history of parties
as they have been connected with this rebellion, and settled clearly what has been the course
of the leaders of those parties, those whom they have respectively exalted to high and
potential stations. I think that we have pretty well determined these questions, as well as
the relaitons that my competitor and myself respectively have borne, now bear, and will in
the event of election bear to the great issues of the day and the great interests of the
American people. You understand now that I am for the war; that J regard it as the only
way to enduring peace; that I will support it by every word I may utter and every vote i may
give; that I will not consent to its suspension until those who have arrayed themselves in
arms against your Government, your rights, and your interests have all laid down their arms
and acknowledged the supremacy of the Constitution of our country throughout its broad
limits. You have also learned that my distinguished competitor is the apologist for the
rebellion; that he finds in the fact that the people of New England will think and will utter
their thoughts a justification of the rebellion on the part of the Southern people ; that he
believes that the war has been conducted unconstitutionally, and ought to be arrested, so as
to give the rebels time to consider whether they will lay down their arms; and that he believes
I ti ( rovernment has not acted wisely in international affairs, and condemns its course in regard
to the Monroe doctrine, about which it has not acted at all, and the Trent case.

His argument touching the Trent, affair did not strike me as possessing the same originality
with which it may have struck you. I had heard it before. I had the honor of replying to
it on the floor of Congress, on the Tfh of January, 18G2, when it was uttered by the gentle-


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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 7 of 20)