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And we, whom your lives have made blessed,
For Freedom, for God, and the Right.
We are daughters of men who were heroes;
Shall have room for a place in our heart.
Then quit you like men in the conflict,
And conquer, or die where you stand.
Lyrics of Loyalty (edited by Frank Moore, New York, 1864), 325–326.
79. Stand for the Union (1863)
BY EDWARD EVERETT
Edward Everett, type of the trained and polished public man, was at different times clergyman, educator, editor, orator, statesman, and diplomatist. In 1861 Everett * advocated the policy of compromise, but when compromises failed he devoted his waning strength to appeals to crush the rebellion. This speech was delivered at the inauguration of the Union Club in Boston. - For Everett, see Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 1864–1865, pp. 101-170. — Bibliography as in No. 75 above.
ND now the great question which we have to settle is, Shall this mighty aggregate of prosperity perish, or shall it endure? Shall this imperial heritage of blessings descend unimpaired to our posterity, or shall it be ignominiously, profligately, thrown away? Shall the territory of the Union, late so happy under the control and adjustment of the National and State governments, be broken up into miserable fragments, sure to be engaged in constantly recurring border wars, and all lying at the mercy of foreign powers, or shall it preserve its noble integrity under the agis of the National government? . . . Better at whatever cost, by whatever sacrifice, settle the question at once, and settle it forever.
For remember, my friends, that, in this desolating war, the govern
ment and loyal people of the country are the party assailed, and that they are clad in the triple armor of a just cause. . .
We often hear it said that measures of compromise . . . would, in the winter of 1860-1861, have been accepted by the South, and would have prevented the war, and that similar measures, if now tendered, would restore the Union. I have no belief of either. Never since the war broke out has there been the slightest intimation that the South would treat with the United States, on any other basis than the recognition of the Confederacy and the dismemberment of the Union. . . .
. . . War is justly regarded as one of the greatest evils that can befall a nation, though it is not the greatest, and of this great evil civil war is the most deplorable form. . . . I want words to express the sorrow with which from the first I have contemplated, and unceasingly contemplate, the necessity laid upon us, to wage this war for the integrity of the Nation. I recoiled from it to the last. Few persons, I think, have entertained visions more glowing of the amount of blessings stored up for the latest posterity in the perpetual Union of the States. I had seen them already expanded from sixteen States and four million inhabitants, which were the numbers at the time of my birth, to a family of thirtyfour States and a population augmented eightfold; and reason and imagination were alike tasked to find a limit to the natural growth of the country. But numbers and space are but the relation of material things. I saw exemplified in this Western world, long hidden, and late revealed, the idea of a form of government as nearly perfect as our frail nature admits, prodigal of blessings to the millions now on the stage, and promising a share in the same rich inheritance to the millions on millions that should follow us. I grew up beneath the shadow of our beautiful flag, and often, when I have seen it floating on distant seas, my heart has melted at the thought of the beloved and happy land whose union was emblazoned on its streaming folds. On a hundred festive and patriotic occasions my voice has dwelt - would it had been more worthily on the grateful theme; and my prayer to Heaven has been, that it might be hushed in death, rather than it should be compelled to abandon that auspicious strain. Not without deep solicitude I saw the angry clouds gathering in the horizon North and South; and I devoted the declining years of my life, with a kind of religious consecration, to the attempt to freshen the sacred memories that cluster round that dear and venerated name which I need not repeat, memories which had survived the multiplying causes of alienation, and were so
well calculated to strengthen the cords of the Union. To these humble efforts, and the time and labor expended upon them, truly a labor of love, I would, as Heaven is my witness, have cheerfully added the sacrifice of my life, if by so doing I could have averted the catastrophe. For that cause, I should have thought a few care-worn and weary years cheaply laid on the altar of my country.
But it could not be. A righteous Providence in its wisdom has laid upon us even upon us the performance of this great and solemn duty. It is now plain to the dullest perception, that the hour of trial could not be much longer delayed. The leaders of the Rebellion tell us themselves that they had plotted and planned it for an entire generation. It might have been postponed for four years or for eight years, but it was sure in no long time to come; and if, by base compliance, we could have turned the blow from ourselves, it would have fallen with redoubled violence on our children.
Let us, then, meet it like men. It must needs be that offences shall come, but woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh. Let us show ourselves equal to the duty imposed upon us, and faithful to the trust to which we are called. The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of the Constitution and the Law, of civilization and freedom, of man and of God. Let us engage in it with a steadiness and fortitude, a courage and a zeal, a patience and a resolution, a hope and a cheer, worthy of the fathers from whom we are descended, of the country we defend, and of the privileges we inherit. There is a call and a duty, a work and a place, for all; - for man and for woman, for rich and for poor, for old and for young, for the stout-hearted and strong-handed, for all who enjoy and all who deserve to enjoy the priceless blessings at stake. Let the venerable forms of the Pilgrim Fathers, the majestic images of our Revolutionary sires, and of the sages that gave us this glorious Union; let the anxious expectation of the Friends of Liberty abroad, awakened at last to the true cause and the great issues of this contest; let the hardships and perils of our brethren in the field, and the fresh-made graves of the dear ones who have fallen; let every memory of the past and every hope of the future, every thought and every feeling, that can nerve the arm, or fire the heart, or elevate and purify the soul of a patriot, rouse and guide and cheer and inspire us to do, and, if need be, to die, for our Country!
Edward Everett, Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston, 1868), IV, 557-588 passim.
CHAPTER XIV-THE SOUTHERN PEOPLE
80. In the Confederate Congress (1862-1863)
BY REPRESENTATIVE REUBEN DAVIS (1889)
For Davis, see No. 58 above. - Bibliography: Channing and Hart, Guide, §§ 204,
HUS dawned upon Richmond and the South the morning of the 22d of February , appointed for the ceremonial of inauguration and the meeting of the two houses of Congress. . .
I have been often spoken of as a man of an over-sanguine temperament, prone to see things through the medium of my hopes rather than of my fears, but I will confess that at this time I could not be accused any undue cheerfulness of spirit. Every step taken up to that time had been, as I thought, defeated by tardiness of movement and inadequate preparation, and I could discover no indications of an improved system for the future.
In a conversation which I had about this time with Mr. Benjamin, the secretary of war, he said to me, “There is no doubt that the Southern Confederacy will be recognized by England in ninety days, and that ends the war." I asked him if he would not, in the mean time, make vigorous preparations, and endeavor to drive the enemy out of Ten
He replied that it was wholly unnecessary. I then said that even if recognition by England was certain, and that it would certainly end the war, there might be grave questions to be considered, and grave consequences to be provided for. As for example, if the peace should be declared, each party would, of course, claim all the territory held when the war closed. Was Mr. Benjamin prepared to give up Tennessee and Kentucky?
His answer was, "We shall hold from the Memphis and Charleston Road south, and the Northern States can keep what is north of that
line." I was astonished by this reply, and told him plainly that if we could hope for no better result than he promised, I, for one, would rather go back in the Union without further bloodshed.
Speaker Bocock was prompt in reporting committees, and I was put upon the military committee. . . . After a few days, I discovered, with sincere regret, that I could not honestly declare myself in harmony with the other members of the committee or with the administration. There was a radical and irreconcilable difference in our views upon all the questions and measures of the war. This sprang from the fact that I was for a bold, aggressive policy, while they advocated caution and delay.
I believed that our only hope was to concentrate all the forces we could raise into two great invading columns, and then boldly carry the war into the enemy's country. I argued that it depended largely upon which side took the initiative steps, which section should be invaded, wasted, and destroyed.
Other members of the committee were confident that the war would be ended in ninety days, and they were opposed to what they considered useless expense. The cry of the demagogue rang long and loud, "The poor people must not be taxed." This is a favorite watchword for those who court popularity, and I have heard it used with some success both before and since that time.
Realizing this condition of affairs, I made application to the House to be relieved from further connection with the committee, upon the ground that I was an obstacle to its progress. I was excused, and had not afterwards any connection with any committee. . . .
. . . In the fall of 1863 a bill was introduced into the House, exempting from military service any man who owned twenty negroes. It was referred to a committee, and reported back favorably, and a speech of half an hour in length made in support of the bill.
I replied in a speech of the same length in opposition.
I then called for the ayes and noes. The call was granted as a favor to me, and, perhaps, in some derision of the foreseen result. I was very earnest in my opposition to the bill, and warned the House that to pass such a measure would be to disband the army. My vote was the only one cast against it, the House voting for it with some clamor and vociferation. There was some laughter over my isolated stand-point, but I said, “Laugh on, my merry gentlemen, in a short time you will laugh on the wrong side of your faces !"