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OF LEADING MEN OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
THE AMERICAN UNION
BY THEIR WORDS AND ACTS
ANTECEDENT AND SUBSEQUENT TO THE REBELLION.
THOMAS JEFFERSON MILES,
PUBLISHED BY J. WALTER & CO.,
19 CITY HALL SQUARE.
MAKVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
July 8, 1937
NOT" BY THE PUBLISHERS.
EVENTS of the past few years have demonstrated the existence of an organized effort to make important changes in the Government of the United States; not in the legitimate manner provided by the Constitution, but insidiously, stealthily at first, growing bolder by degrees, and at length when circumstances seemed to warrant immunity from personal danger, unblushingly avowed, by the less cautious aiders and abettors of the treasonable work.
In the accompanying pages, the author, in a clear, logical, and eloquent manner, has grouped numerous startling proofs, and from these argued the case with unusual ability and fairness, and shown that the charge of "conspiracy' is justly applied. But while clear proof is given of a cherished purpose, long entertained, to subvert the Constitution by perverting and destroying its plainest provisions, it does not appear that the design has ever been openly announced with a view of bringing it distinctly and boldly to the notice of the public. On the contrary, when charged with aiming at the subversion of the Government, the answer has been that their purpose was not to destroy, but to save it.
Meantime, a large portion of the people, not understanding the questions at issue, have been unable to discriminate between the real friends of liberty and law, and the secret enemies of both. The crime planned and attempted, has been greater in magnitude and in its contemplated resutt; than they were prepared to believe possible. Hence, when the charge has been made and repeated, many have regarded it as one of those extravagant accusations which frequently arise from partisan asperity. But the people are becoming hourly more enlightened upon those subjects which enable them to appreciate the contemplated wrong, and they have resolved to know the whole truth of the matter. A severe inquisition will probe this question to the heart. The real conspirators will be known, and will receive the merited rewards of their deeds.
Most respectfully, but earnestly, we urge upon every champion of the Constitution, every friend of civil liberty, to lend his indivdiual influence zealously in the circulation of this most valuable document. Nothing to be compared with it for immediate and important effect has yet appeared. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND copies, at least, should be in the hands of the people before the 8th of November. Contributions to this object may be sent to the publishers, and all funds furnished for this purpose, will be immediately used in the gratuitous distribution of the pamphlet.
J. W. & CO. NEW YORK, October, 10, 1864.
“TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.”
At no other period since the morning of liberty dawned upon this favored land, has it been so manifestly the duty of the people to discard partisan bias, and all those potent influences which distract and mislead the judgment; in order that calmness, soberness, solemnity, and earnestness, may characterize reflection, discussion, and action ; for by these influences alone can our country be saved from certain, speedy, and irretrievable ruin. In the halcyon days of the Republic, those good old days of “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence," the political questions which engaged the attention of the people were multifarious. Questions of revenue, of finance, the improvement of harbors and rivers'; the distribution of the proceeds of public lands among the States, and the occupation of those lands by the sturdy pioneer.
My fellow-countrymen, these questions, and many others of like import, were once regarded as possessing vital interest for the people of our common country. Alas! They no longer possess an interest for you.
As when a great calamity casts its gloomy shadow over our individual household, all minor evils are forgotten in the anxiety occasioned by the one overwhelming affliction, so this unspeakable calamity which has visited our national household has driven from our minds all thought of those legitimate governmental questions, whose very discussion was the best indication of peace, contentment, happiness, and prosperity, such as no other people under the broad canopy of heaven were ever permitted to enjoy. No, my countrymen-no! one question alone is worthy of your deliberation now. It is a question that freemen are asking one of another with kindling eye and throbbing heart, WHAT CAN BE DONE TO
RESCUE FROM THE GRASP OF DESPOTIC POWER THE PRICELESS JEWEL
OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY? This is the vital question, that towers in colossal proportions above all others. You, citizens of America, upon the solemn responsibility which you owe, not alone to yourselves, but to latest posterity, must answer on the eighth of November next.
Let me adjure you to remember that upon the response which you shall make, is involved all that can make life desirable to an American citizen.
Let us, then, Freemen of America, resolve by all the inspiring memories of the past, by all the imperilled interests of the present; by all our anxious hopes in the future, that the Constitution, the laws, and the Union of these States shall be maintained and defended against treason, in every form, whether it be arrayed under the flaunting banner of Southern secession, or under the atrocious and contemptible, because insidious and cowardly black flag of Northern Abolitionism.'
Is it not amazing that so many of the honest yeomanry of the country can be so blinded by party prejudice, so trammelled by party discipline as still to array themselves under a banner that for thirty years has had emblazoned upon its folds, in characters so plain that none need misunderstand, those very doctrines of disunion and discord, which are now so falsely charged upon the Democracy of the country? Yet, so it is,—a lamentable fact. Although the rank and file of all political organizations are honest and well meaning, they are liable to be cajoled and misled by wily, selfish, and unscrupulous demagogues, made willing victims of their own destruction.
While history records some examples of voluntary surrender of liberty by the people, under the baleful teachings of artful, ambitious men, its pages will be searched in vain for a parallel to that self-stultification, moral blindness, prejudice, fanaticism, or by whatsoever name it may be called, through whose maddening influence a large portion of the free citizens of this enlightened and most favored land, are, at this very moment, deliberately riveting the manacles of despotism upon their own free limbs.
I most respectfully entreat every fair-minded and reasonable Republican to suspend for a brief season those partisan prejudices which blindfold him to the light of reason, and render him deaf to the voice of fair discussion. I care not to appeal to the passions of men. I prefer to address myself to their honest, sober reflections. Unless, indeed, it may be said,
“O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason !"
Words of wisdom seem to be lost amid the shrieking whirlwind of passion, the tread of marshalled hosts, the clash of glittering steel, the discordant bellowing of ponderous artillery, and the crackling embers of conflagrated cities; and when at length some dreary pause between,” and sympathizing Night has cast her dusky mantle over the horror of these scenes, hark ! another sound, more terrible than the din of battle, breaks upon the stillness of the midnight hour. Alas! for that wail of anguish whose woful cadence, rising from fields of carnage, is floated to every cottage and mountain-home throughout the broad area of this once bright and peerless, now bleeding and distracted land.
Let us then, in the first place, endeavor to brush away the cobwebs which the spider, Abolition, has woven about the eyelids of so many conservative and well-meaning men, in order that they may be enlightened in regard to some, at least, of the numerous heresies of the Republican creed : prominent among which, and perhaps the most mischievous, is that of confounding the Administration of the Government with the Gov: ernment itself. This is a cardinal error, and betrays a misapprehension of the trug theory of our governmental structure. A little reflection, unbiased by party zeal, would reveal the nakedness of this fallacy.
Republicans clamor for an unconditional support of the Government, meaning the Administration. Democrats contend for an unconditional support of the Government, meaning the Constitution and the laws.
Republicans argue that the Administration, for the time being, is the Governinent. Democrats deny the correctness of this proposition.
I hold as an axiom, that the Constitution of the United States, embodying in its provisions the WILL OF THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE is, per se, the Government of the United States. That Constitution provides for its own administration in the election by the people of agents, with power to those agents to appoint subordinates. The official titles of said principal agents, their terms of office, their duties and their salaries, being fixed and designated by the people in their Constitution. And whenever, and by whomsoever, addition to or subtraction from that fundamental law is attempted, in ever so minute a degree-save in the manner written and provided therein; or whenever or by whomsoever another law is attempted to be substituted for this supreme law, the person or persons so offending are guilty of, at least, moral treason to the Government of the United States.
How natural that the author of the “ Higher Law” doctrine, should also be the author of the following words, addressed to Lord Lyons in November, 1861:
My Lord, I can touch a bell on my right hand, and order the arrest of a citizen of Ohio; I can touch the bell again, and order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do so much ?”
I wonder if it did not occur to Lord Lyons, when these precious words were uttered, that it might have been better for those • citizens of Ohio and New York," had their forefathers been content to remain subjects of King George the Third. The Queen of England certainly cannot “ do so much.” There are bufew Despots in the world who would dare “do so much.” Perhaps the Empires of Japan and China, the dominions of the Sultan of Turkey, the King of Dahomey, and the United States of America ! are the only Governments within whose realms there can be done “ so much." What higher claim has any Despot ever advanced than the unconditional support of his subjects ? The difference between a Despotism and a Republic is in this : that while a Despot claims unconditional obedience from the people to his will; in a Republic like ours, the sovereign people demand unconditional obedience from their agent to their (the people's) will, as expressed in their written Constitution.
To admit that unconditional allegiance is due from the people to the Administration, of their own creation, is to admit that the people resign their sovereignty to the Administration ; and inasmuch as there has been no interregnum between the expiration of one Administration and the commencement of another, it follows, as a logical deduction (according to the theory of the Republicans) that ever since the election of General Washington, we have been merely the subjects of a long line of sovereign Administrations! Our familiar vaunt, “ the sovereign people," has been a shallow pretence—a delusion.
If the Republican theory be correct, then I admit I have no right, save by permission of my sovereign, to write this address, or, persisting in so