January 24, 1863
Revolution in the North.
The man who has watched the events of the last few weeks must be satisfied that the spirit of insubordination to Constitution and laws – the spirit of revolution – is not confined to the South. The natural congeners of accession, who are known as abolitionists and frequently as republicans, have been guilty of rebellion as wicked and as deplorable in its probable consequences, as that of the southern people. In fact, the republic-abolition rebellion against the Constitution has been made without a shadow of provocation. While these northern rebellions were committed by unorganized parties, the consequences were not viewed as alarming. But since Congress has become a revolutionary body; since the President has deliberately approved of an “original, independent act of revolution,” as Mr. Bates termed the secession of West Virginia; and since the republican members of several State Legislatures have banded together to defeat the will of the people and to obstruct or destroy the machinery of State and National Governments; it is high time for the country to take alarm. What is the significance of all these things? If they do not point to a conspiracy among the leading republicans to rule or ruin the country – to a determined and joint effort to accomplish their objects, even though it be at the expense of constitutional and of individual liberty – if it be not for these things, it is hard to imagine the reasons of their conduct. Such universal delinquency from moral duty – such perversion of official integrity – and such treason to the Constitution and the people – can scarcely be the result of accident. The conviction forced on our mind is that of a wide-spread conspiracy to destroy all opposition to the administration, either by means of civil revolution or of a sanguinary military despotism. It behooves the people – the honest, patriotic yeomanry of the land, not to slumber at ease, when the very edifice of their liberty is being demolished and the palladium of their rights destroyed. More loudly and more constantly and more earnestly than ever should the maxim of Jefferson ring in our ears and sink in our hearts, that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
The Mississippi not to be Opened.
A New York abolition paper, which is in the pay of the administration, declares that the opening of the Mississippi is purposely delayed by the presidential despot, in order to enforce the carrying of western produce over certain railroads owned by eastern capitalists. The paper says, “certain interested monopolists, who have large money investments in western railroads, have interfered in the matter.” Think of that, farmers of the West! – Your government is in the hands of imbecile and corrupt men, who are controlled so that soulless scoundrels may rob you of the products of your industry. When the Mississippi river was open, flour was shipped from St. Louis to New York by railroad. This makes a loss to the farmer of about forty cents on every bushel of wheat he sends to market. And the owners of the roads which are thus eating up the substance of our people have sufficient influence over the cringing, sneaking, truckling wretch invested with the presidential office, to thwart or delay all efforts at opening the great river of the West to the commerce of the very people whose farms are drained by its waters. This is the way the people of the West fare at the hands of the republicans of the East. They must be hewers of wood and drawers of water for the purse-proud-authors of our country’s ruin. We believe the design of the administration is to bleed the West a year or two longer and thus surrender the right of free navigation to the Mississippi, and if possible prevail upon the Southern Confederacy to lay a heavy tariff on western products. Then they fancy we shall forever tributary to the East. We shall see! We do not believe that the expedition under Gen. Sherman was intended to open the Mississippi, but simply to quiet the West.
Letter from the Editor.
Springfield, Jan. 13. – In the House to-day the speaker announced the standing committees. Mr. Reid is made chairman of the committee on manufacture and agriculture. This is in accordance with the “fitness of things.” Mr. Reid is one of the most attentive and discreet members of the House, and the people of McDonough may congratulate themselves on being represented by so efficient and sensible a member. If all were like Mr. Reid the public business would be attended to and the effervescence of gas, now so abundant in the chamber, would be speedily stopped. Over one hundred bills were introduced in the house, and the members, or most of them, have each a hat-full left.
In the Senate, Mr. Lindsay introduced a joint-resolution to memorialize Congress to repeal all duties on imports. It was referred to the committee on Federal relations. Mr. Berry’s resolution in regard to railroad extortions was passed to-day, and a bill introduced by Mr. Mason, “appointing railroad commissioners, with their powers and duties,” was read and referred. This bill is an important one, and its adoption will serve to check the oppressive passenger and freight tariffs which many of the railroads have been imposing on the people.
Jan. 14th. – The bill adopting an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, by which the Congress is prohibited from interfering in the institution of slavery in any of the States, was put on its passage in the Senate to-day. It received the vote of every democrat and one republican. (Mr. Peters of Vermillion.) The other republican senators voted in a body against it. The amendment will probably not amount to much, but the vote shows the animus of the republican leaders in this State. Were the amendment now adopted, the administration at Washington would probably pay no more regard to it than they do to the Constitution generally.
A joint resolution appointing a committee to inquire what legislation is necessary to prevent the immigration of negroes into this State has passed both houses. In the Senate, six republicans voted against it.
The secretary of State informed the Senate to-day that but three annual reports have been received from the railroad companies of this State, and these were prior to 1857. The general railroad law requires an annual report from each railroad company, showing the amount of business transacted, the passage and freight tariffs, etc. The neglect to perform this requirement is somewhat singular.
The House this afternoon has been debating the bill assessing a docket fee for the judges on all suits hereafter commenced in the circuit and supreme courts. Its fate is uncertain.
Jan. 15th. – The most important business before the Senate this morning was a joint resolution, introduced by Mr. Green, directing the State Treasurer “not to pay out any more specie on auditor’s warrants during the present month, unless otherwise ordered.” The resolution passed both houses. During the debate in the Senate, the republican side gave out an inkling of their purpose to insist that the interest on the State bonds should be paid. This was insisted upon by Mr. Mack, with great earnestness, he declaring that any other course would be “disgraceful and dishonorable to the State.” In opposition to this theory of the republicans, the people will be at a loss to discover what good reason there is for treating the State’s creditors any better than individual creditors are treated. The holders of Illinois bonds are eastern capitalists, the very men who have forced the people to take “greenback” in payment of their dues. Why should not these gentry be paid off, not in their own coin, but in their own currency? What divinity doth hedge them in that should shield them from shaving and faring like other men? For one, I am decidedly in favor of “shielding the poisoned cup to their own lips.”
In reply to a resolution of the Senate, Mr. Starne, State Treasurer, reported the following bonds on hand when he took possession of the office, on the 12th inst. [statements obscured]
If any one should inquire how these greenbacks came into the State Treasury, I must say that I don’t know. They may have got in there in some legal way; but for one, I don’t see it.
Jan. 16th. – The congressional apportionment is attracting no little attention. A number of bills for the purpose have been prepared, and doubtless others will yet be formed. – Quite a number of congressmen and would-be congressmen are here looking after the interests of “the dear people,” and more of them will soon flock to this central point of legislation and “fixing of things.” I would not at all intimate that these gentlemen are looking after their own political aggrandizement, or that each man wants a district so framed that he will have a clear field for the next nomination. The districts should be made to a fair representation and to suit the people instead of the politicians, and a departure from this sound rule will be inevitably followed by disastrous consequences.
A bill was introduced by Mr. Green, providing for the payment of the interest on the State bonds (except the sterling bonds which are payable in English coin) in legal tender currency. After an animated discussion, it passed by a vote of 18 ayes to 5 noes. The republicans voting for it are Allen, Funk, Lansing, Richards, and Ward; the opponents of the bill were all from that side of the house.
The committee on elections have at last done J. G. Madden the honor to report that he was not entitled to a seat in the Senate, which was unanimously concurred in.
In the house of representatives, the printing of the Governor’s message was debated nearly all day. Without coming to a vote on the question, the house adjourned.
The docket-free bill, referred to in a former letter, has been approved by the Governor and is now a law.