« ZurückWeiter »
change of counsellors. We need a return to the policy on which the loyal States first rallied so unanimously to the suppression of the rebellion. We must go back to the principles embodied in the resolution adopted by the Congress of the United States, not far from the fourth day of July, 1861, and worthy to have been adopted on that hallowed anniversary itself, — adopted in the Senate on the motion of Andrew Johnson, and adopted in the House of Representatives on the motion of the lamented Crittenden. That terrible repulse at Bull Run had then just taught us wisdom. Would to Heaven that we had not so soon forgotten that lesson! If we had never departed from that resolution,
ease had never recanted vows made in pain," I firmly believe that union and peace would have been our blessed portion at this moment. You all remember that resolution. It embodied the simple policy of a vigorous prosecution of the war for no purpose of subjugation or aggression, in no spirit of revenge or hatred, with no disposition to destroy or impair the constitutional rights of any State or any section, but for the sole end of vindicating the Constitution and re-establishing the Union. That was the policy which would have divided the South, and which ought to have satisfied and united the North. Let me rather
that was and is still the policy, which steadily pursued, under the lead of men against whom the whole Southern heart, and mind, and soul have not become hopelessly imbittered and poisoned, under the lead of men, too, who are not ashamed to avow that readiness for reconciliation which is the highest ornament of the Christian character, and without which we cannot rely on the blessing of God, - this, I say, is the policy which, thus pursued, will again, if any thing earthly ever will, unite both North and South in the bonds of constitutional fellowship, and exhibit our country and its flag once more in the face of all the world, with
a star for every State, and a State for every star." And what a glorious day that will be, my countrymen, for us and for all mankind! If to yearn for it, and pant for it, and pray for it, be a subject for reproach, as exhibiting too great a willingness for peace, I am the guiltiest man alive. And how can we hasten that day more effectively than by supporting the candidate who is the very impersonation of the policy I have described ? Our noble candidate has enforced and illustrated it a thousand-fold better than any one else can do, in his memorable despatch from Harrison's Landing, in his brilliant oration at West Point, and still more recently in his admirable letter accepting the nomination we are assembled to ratify. These are the true platforms for the hour; and not for the hour only, but for all time. We need no other, and some of us, certainly, can recognize no other. I rejoice to see so many of their noble sentiments and golden sentences emblazoned on the countless banners and illuminations around me.
Let us cherish them in all our memories and write them on all our hearts.
Yes, my friends, if anybody is disposed to cavil with you about your platform, tell him that General McClellan has made his own platform, and that it is broad enough and comprehensive enough for every patriot in the land to stand upon. Tell him that you should as soon think of holding General McClellan responsible for not taking Richmond, when he was so rashly interfered with, and so cruelly stripped of his troops on the right hand and on the left, as you should think of holding him responsible for any equivocal or any unequivocal words of Chicago Conventions, or of any other conventions, which malicious partisans may attempt to pervert to his injury. Tell him that you should as soon think of the brave Army of the Potomac having been frightened from following their gallant leader to the field by the Quaker guns on the roadside, as of his supporters for the Presidency being scared from their position by any paper pellets of the brain, wise or otherwise, which ever came from the midnight sessions of a Resolution Committee in the hurly-burly of a National Convention.
General McClellan, I repeat, has made his own platform, which ought to be satisfactory to everybody. His letter of acceptance, especially, ought to be hailed with delight and with gratitude even by those who are too far committed in other directions to give him their support. It is worth an army with banners to the cause of the Union. It has the clarion ring 'to rally a nation to the rescue. It speaks, too, in trumpet-tones to our deluded brethren in rebellion, warning them that there is to be no cessation of hostilities upon any other basis than that of Union, but proclaiming to them that the door of reconciliation and peace is open on their resuming their allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the United States. And, certainly, my friends, that letter of acceptance has turned the flank of his revilers as handsomely as the gallant Sherman has turned the flank of Hood at Atlanta. It has taken away every pretext for those indecent and unjust insinuations against the patriotism and loyalty of all the opponents of the Administration, which have fallen from so many ruthless . partisan pens, and from so many reckless partisan tongues. It has destroyed every pretence for the imputation, that there is a party at the North, ready for a precipitate and ignominious abandonment of the great struggle in which we are engaged, and willing to entertain propositions incompatible with the restoration of the Constitution and the Union. The Union " the Union at all hazards" -- is as distinctly the whole import of George B. McClellan's letter of the 8th of September, as "the Union in any event” was of that farewell address of George Washington, whose promulgation is so nearly associated with the day on which we are assembled. “The Union, -it must be preserved " is as clearly the maxim of McClellan in 1864 as it was of Andrew Jackson in 1832. A Democratic President saved the Union then, and I believe a Democratic President can save the Union now. Let us rally, then, to the support of that great principle of unconditional Unionism, which is common to Washington, Jackson, and McClellan. Let us go for the flag, the whole flag, and nothing but the flag. Let us vindicate the rights of free opinion, of free speech, of a free press, and of free and unawed elections, even in a time of civil war, and show to all the world that we are, and still mean to be, a free people. Let us bring no railing accusations against the patriotism of others, and let us treat all which are brought against our own patriotism with the contempt and scorn which they deserve. Let us furnish all the men and all the money which are required for the aid of our gallant defenders in the field, and bear the welfare of our soldiers and sailors ever uppermost in our hearts. And as we throw out our McClellan banners to the breeze, let the word still and ever be, alike to friend and foe: - The Union is the one condition of peace. We ask no more. But the Union must be preserved at all hazards."
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1864.
A SPEECH MADE AT NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, OCTOBER 18, 1864.
FELLOW-CITIZENS, -I am deeply sensible to the kindness and the compliment of this reception. I thank you for this inspiring welcome to your city. I have come at your request to address you on the great subject which is uppermost in all our minds and in all our hearts. I am here for no purpose of declamation or display. I am here to appeal to no prejudices or passions. No arts of rhetoric can meet the exigencies of this hour. If I were ever capable of them, I abandon and discard them all to-night. I am here only from a deep sense of the duty which rests upon each one of us to contribute what we can, by word or by deed, for a suffering, bleeding country. Compelled by engagements or by my health to refuse a hundred other invitations, I could not resist the appeal which was made to me from New London. And if any word of mine may be thought worthy of being listened to or regarded, in Connecticut or elsewhere, there is no place from which it may more fitly go forth than from this old and honored home of my fathers. It is a time, I am aware, my friends, when the best and wisest and most patriotic men may differ, and do differ, widely from each other. I would cast no reproaches upon my opponents. I do not forget the reproaches which have been cast upon myself in some quarters; but I have no heart for bandying personalities at a period like this. I pass by all such matters as unworthy of a moment's consideration. Or rather, let me say, they pass by me like the idle wind. The air, indeed, is full of them. Arbitrary and arrogant assumptions of superior patriotism and loyalty; coarse and malicious misrepresentations
and imputations; opprobrious and insulting names and epithets, often applied by men who might well be conscious that nobody deserves them so much as themselves, the air is full of them. They come swarming up from stump and rostrum and press and platform. We meet them at every turn. Let us not retort them. Let us not resent them. Let no one by any means be tempted or provoked by them into acts of vengeance or violence. Let us simply overwhelm them with contempt, and pass on, unawed and unintimidated, to the declaration of our own honest opinions, and to the assertion and exercise of our rights as free
Let us imitate the example of our own noble candidate, whose quiet endurance of injustice and calumny has been one of the most beautiful illustrations of his character, and has won for him a respect which will outlive the ephemeral notoriety of his revilers. Our country calls at this moment for the best thoughts, the bravest counsels, the freest utterances, the most unhesitating devotion of every one of her sons. Let us compare our opinions with each other honestly, independently, fearlessly; and let no man shrink from following his own conscientious convictions, wherever they may lead him.
It may be a misfortune, fellow-citizens, that a new election of our national rulers should have come upon us precisely at this moment. We would all gladly keep our eyes steadily fixed upon our country's flag, as it waves and wavers upon yonder battlefields. We would willingly follow its gallant supporters, in the conflicts in which they are engaged, with undivided and uninterrupted sympathies. But it is not in our power to postpone the time appointed for our great political struggle. The Constitution of the United States has fixed that time unalterably, and nothing remains for us but to discharge our duties as intelligent and responsible citizens. A great, a tremendous responsibility, certainly, is upon us. When the votes of the people of the United States — your votes, men of New London, and mine among them
shall have once decided the question, — by what party and upon what principles and policy the National Government shall be administered for the next four years, – they will have determined, under God, the destinies of our country for unborn generations. No one in his senses can doubt that the results of the