Page images

“ Daily News,” the “Morning Star,” the “Spectator," and the “Nonconformists.” If my memory be not utterly at fault I believe the “ Times” was rather inclined to bring discredit upon the American government, but only succeeded in bringing discredit


itself. However let us hope for better times to come.

I cannot tell you with what pleasure I listened to the ingenuous speech of Earl Russell. I know there was at one time a good deal of feeling in our country in regard to some sentiments which had fallen from his lips and which seemed to me if not hostile to, at least equivocal about our position. I do not wonder that there was a good deal of misconception and misapprehension on the subject at so great a distance. It was a very mixed up question for a long time, until President Lincoln sent forth his immortal proclamation of emancipation and then the pulse of England beat to the music of that jubilee bell. Earl Russell cannot exalt himself more than he has done this day by making a manly confession of his mistake. I am sure that he who in his place in the cabinet agitated the question of emancipation for the West Indies never could have entertained a sentiment of hostility to the emancipation of the slaves in America. Russell and Reform--the words are synonymous--and having championed the old Reform through Parliament with great courage and fidelity, I expect to see him soon with another Reform bill furthering still more the work on behalf of the rights of men and the glory and prosperity of England.

Now, in parting, thanking you again for this marked ovation, let me say, we must not allow ourselves to be dividedEngland from America, America from England. By every consideration under heaven let us resolve to keep the peace. If we have old grudges let them be thrown to the winds.

Let there be peace-a true and just peace-peace by forbearance-peace by generous concession-for the sake of the cause of mankind, and that together England and America may lead the nations of the world to freedom and glory. There is your country's flag, there is mine. Let them be blended.

“Then let us haste these bonds to knit,

And in the work be handy,
That we may blend 'God Save the Queen'
With ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.""}}

1 A verse from a song written by Mr. George Thompson.



OHN PARKER HALE, an American statesman, was born in Rochester,

New Hampshire, March 31, 1806, and was educated at Dartmouth College. After studying law and being admitted to the bar in 1830, he entered the legislature of his native State in 1832. He was United States district attorney for New Hampshire, 1834-41, and a Democratic representative in Congress 1843-45. He was nominated for re-election, but having announced that he should not vote for the annexation of Texas his name was dropped. A coalition of Whigs and Independent Democrats subsequently made him speaker of the House, and in 1847 he was chosen senator. He was an earnest opponent of slavery extension and was for that reason the presidential candidate of the Free-Soil party in 1852. Leaving the Senate in 1853, he returned to it in 1855 and was as conspicuous as formerly in his opposition to the slave power, a theme upon which he often spoke. He possessed a pleasing voice and cordial manners, and his speeches exhibited both wit and pathos. He remained in the Senate until 1865, when he received the appointment of minister to Spain. He was recalled in 1869, and died at Dover, New Hampshire, November 19, 1873.



[ocr errors]

R. PRESIDENT,—I was very much in hopes, when

the message was presented, that it would be a docu

ment which would commend itself cordially to some. body. I was not so sanguine about its pleasing myself, but I was in hopes that it would be one thing or another. I was in hopes that the President would have looked in the face the crisis in which he says the country is, and that his message would be either one thing or another. But, sir, I have read it somewhat carefully. I listened to it as it was read at the desk, and if I understand it, and I think I do, it is this: South Carolina has just cause for seceding from the Union; that is the first proposition. The second is that she has no right to secede. The third is that we have no right to prevent her

from seceding. That is the President's message, substantially. He goes on to represent this as a great and powerful country, and that no State has a right to secede from it; but the power of the country, if I understand the President, consists in what Dickens makes the English constitution to be a power to do nothing at all.

Now, sir, I think it was incumbent upon the President of the United States to point out definitely and recommend to Congress some rule of action, and to tell us what he recommended us to do. But, in my judgment, he has entirely avoided it. He has failed to look the thing in the face. He has acted like the ostrich, which hides her head and thereby thinks to escape danger.

Sir, the only way to escape danger is to look it in the face. I think the country did expect from the President some exposition of a decided policy, and I confess that, for one, I was rather indifferent as to what that policy was that he recommended, but I hoped that it would be something; that it would be decisive. He has utterly failed in that respect.

I think we may as well look this matter right clearly in the face, and I am not going to be long about doing it. I think that this state of affairs looks to one of two things; it looks to absolute submission, not on the part of our Southern friends and the southern States, but of the North, to the abandonment of their position,-it looks to a surrender of that popular sentiment which has been uttered through the constituted forms of the ballot-box, or it looks to open war.

We need not shut our eyes to the fact. It means war, and it means nothing else; and the State which has put herself in the attitude of secession so looks upon it. She has asked no council, she has considered it as a settled question, and she has armed herself. As I understand the aspect of affairs, it looks

to that, and it looks to nothing else except unconditional sub mission on the part of the majority.

I did not read the paper-I do not read many papers—but I understand that there was a remedy suggested in a paper printed, I think in this city, and it was that the President and the Vice-President should be inaugurated (that would be a great concession !) and then, being inaugurated, they should quietly resign! Well, sir, I am not entirely certain that that would settle the question. I think that after the President and Vice-President-elect had resigned there would be as much difficulty in settling who was to take their places as there was in settling it before.

I do not wish, sir, to say a word that shall increase any irritation, that shall add any feeling of bitterness to the state of things which really exists in the country, and I would bear and forbear before I would say anything which would add to this bitterness. But I tell you, sir, the plain, true way is to look this thing in the face see where we are.

And I avow here, I do not know whether or not I shall be sustained by those who usually act with me if the issue which is pre sented is that the constitutional will of the public opinion of this country, expressed through the forms of the constitution, will not be submitted to, and war is the alternative, let it come in any form or in any shape.

The Union is dissolved and it cannot be held together as a Union if that is the alternative upon which we go into an election. If it is pre-announced and determined that the voice of the majority, expressed through the regular and constituted forms of the constitution, will not be submitted to, then, sir, this is not a Union of equals; it is a Union of a dictatorial oligarchy on one side and a herd of slaves and cowards on the other. That is it, sir, nothing more, nothing less.

« PreviousContinue »