Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Democratic Address at last.

(From the N. Y. Post)

After a month’s labor Vallandigham (whose name is blessed, they tell us, south of the Potomac) has persuaded thirteen other members of Congress to join him in his Sisyphean labor of rolling the “Democratic” stone to the top of the hill.  He has succeeded in getting the National Intelligencer to publish two columns of antiquated political gabble which he calls a “Democratic Address.”  Three Representatives from Illinois, five from Ohio, two from Indiana and two from Pennsylvania, assist in the ungracious service, but strange to say, Powell of Kentucky, whom his colleagues recently tried to expel from the Senate for treason, Starke of Oregon who is about to be expelled for the same reason, and Wood of New York, whose newspapers [sic] was stopped because its chief supporters had enlisted in the secession ranks, though all good ‘Democrats,’ do not sign the document.  Their names are perhaps reserved from the motives of prudence, “to be annexed to the pamphlet,” or private edition of the address which is announced.

Other “Democratic” names would have been added, also, but for the military exigencies which now control the country.  Their bearers are engaged in the Southern army, fighting the soldiers of the Union, and have neither time nor opportunity to join their colleagues in this agreeable duty.  Mr. Jefferson Davis, President of the rebel Confederacy, is one of these “Democrats” who would have been delighted to put his name at the head of the list.  Messrs. Mason and Slidell, who are now abroad engaged in a painful effort to get the monarchies of the old world to make war on the republic, will be dreadfully chagrined not to have been able to co-operate with their old friends.  The eleven ‘Democratic’ Governors of States in open rebellion, who are furnishing Beauregard with ammunition and men, and urging Johnston and Lee to kill our brave brothers on the Peninsula with torpedoes and infernal machines, if they cannot be met in fair and manly battle, would doubtless have taken part in conclaves by which the Address was prepared, but that the roads are obstructed and somewhat complicated.  Major-General Gustavus W. Smith was unhappily prevented from participating by the stubbornness of McDowell, and the gallant General Lovell was too much occupied by the inconsiderate movements of Captains Farragut and Porter at New Orleans.

A pensive tone of despondency pervades the address in consequence of the absence of these powerful coadjutors.  But the most delicate regard for their feelings is shown.  Not a word is said in denunciation of the hideous rebellion of which they are masters and leaders. – A stranger to public affairs, on reading it, would learn that the republic was in the midst of a gigantic effort to save its own life from destruction by parricidal hands, only by rebukes administered to the Government which is making the effort.  The plot to overthrow the republic is nothing, but the energy which strives to defeat the plot is tyranny and wrong.  An infamous revolt against the established order, which arrests the [prosperity] of thirty millions of people, which plunges them into an abyss of bankruptcy and ruin, which has robbed the nation [of] the flower of its youth, and desolated thousands of once happy homes, does not provoke a single phrase of reprobation but the few acts of a loyal administration which may have leaped the doubtful boundaries of the law in a strenuous endeavor to rescue the nation, are branded as despotism.  The men who have not only violated the Constitution, but who have taken up arms to annul the Constitution, are suffered to pass in silence or under the gentle pseudonym of fellow citizens while the defenders of the Constitution, in a time of unexampled embarrassment and peril, are sneeringly berated as enemies of the republic, who would undermine its liberties and overthrow the barriers of Constitutional government.

It is consistent with the other conduct of this squad of fourteen, that while they spare the sensibilities of their absent co-workers, and make no allowances for the extremities in which the government has been placed, they should refrain from all allusion to the noble men who are periling their lives on land and sea in their country’s defense.  They can indulge without stint in laudations of humdrum political parties at home, dwell with beaming complacency on the tap rooms won and the polls carried by assault, exhaust the vocabulary of rhetoric in recounting the sixty years of Democratic electioneering triumphs, but for the glorious deeds of the rebel Democrats of the land – at Mill Spring, Carthage, Henry, Donelson, Pea Ridge, Hilton Head, Pulaski, Roanoke, Newbern, New Orleans, Shiloh and Williamsburg – they find no tongue Ellsworth and Baker, and Winthrop and Lyon, Wallace and Peabody, and a hundred others, might dwindle into utter forgetfulness for all that they say, and the armies of Halleck and McClellan, Banks, Hunter, Curtis, Fremont, Butler and McDowell, now drawing the last folds over the face of dying Rebellion, might perish where they stand, without a voice of sympathy or cheer from these model representatives of Democracy.  Their eyes are so intently fixed upon the reconstruction of the battered machinery which formerly carried them into political power that they cannot see the tremendous conflict which is waged under their very eyebrows.

This self chosen committee talk volubly of the constitution, of the rights of the States, of popular supremacy, of economy and reform of national banks and of protective tariffs, which were in former years the shibboleths of party organization but they use the words as a blind for the defense of human slavery.  The sum and substance of their address is, without all disguise that slavery shall forever rule the Republic.  All their babble of constitutional obligation and State rights has this meaning and no more unwarned by the events of the war, they fondly imagine that the people will go back to the times and issues which preceded the war they dream that our stupendous civil struggle has no significance, that our losses, our expenditures, our trials and our sorrows have taught us nothing and that slavery which has been the cause of them all, may yet go forth conquering and to conquer, just as it did before six hundred thousand patriots took up arms to repel and punish its insolent pretensions.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 17, 1862, p. 1

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