February 14, 1863
What They Expect.
The Chicago Post says a gentleman of Chicago, recently returned from Washington, reports that while there he had a conversation with a distinguished republican senator of the United States, — representing one of the Western States, — and that the senator frankly declared that he had no hope of suppressing the rebellion while the republicans were in power, that his only hope, and he thought the only chance now remaining to whip the south was, that if Lincoln could hold things as they are until the Democrats get in power, the latter will offer terms of peace to the rebels; when, if the rebels decline treating for peace, as he supposes they will, he thinks the Democracy will then take hold of the war and clean the rebellion out in a few months! Coming as this does from the ablest republican senator from the West, and perhaps the ablest senator in the body, we think it a fair confession that the republicans have not the capacity to deal with the rebellion, and as a fair confession that if the Democracy had been in power they would have wound up the rebellion long ago.
The Meeting Last Saturday.
Immense Turn Out of the Democratic and Conservative Masses.
Resolutions, Speeches, etc.
A convention of the Democratic party of McDonough county, pursuant to public notice, assembled at 1 o’clock P.M., on Saturday, the 7th inst. The meeting was called to order by Judge Chandler. On motion, Hon. J. S. Baily was appointed Chairman, and W. T. Head and John Hungate secretaries. On motion, of J. C. Thompson, the chairman appointed a committee of seven to report resolutions for the consideration of the meeting, as follows: J. C. Thompson, J. M. Campbell, S. A. White, Joel Pennington, T. Mustain, C. Eby, and J. S. Holliday.
On motion, the meeting adjourned from the hall to the public square, where the assemblage were addressed by Mr. Abbott in a few brief and eloquent remarks. When J. C. Thompson, Esq., from the committee, reported the following resolutions, which were enthusiastically adopted by the meeting:
Resolved, That we are in favor of the preamble and resolutions introduced in the Senate of our State by the Hon. Mr. Vandeveer, chairman of the committee on federal relations, which are as follows:
WHEREAS, the Union has no existence separate from the federal constitution, but being created solely by that instrument, it can only exist by virtue thereof; and, when the provisions of that constitution are suspended, either in time of war, or in peace, whether by the north or the south, it is like disunion; and
WHEREAS, the federal government can lawfully exercise no power that is not conferred upon it by the federal constitution, the exercise, therefore, of other powers, not granted by that instrument, in time of war as well as in time of peace, is a violation of the written will of the American people, destructive of their plan of government and to their common liberties; and
WHEREAS, The constitution cannot be maintained, nor the Union preserved, in opposition to public feeling, by the mere exercise of coercive powers confided to the general government, and that, in case of differences and conflicts between the States and the federal government too powerful for adjustment by civil departments of the government, the appeal is not to the sword by the State or by the general government, but to the people, peacefully assembled by their representatives in convention; and
WHEREAS, The allegiance of the citizens is due along to the constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof, — not to any man, or officer, or administration; and whatever support is due to any officer of this government is due alone by virtue of the constitution and laws; and
We do therefore declare, That the act of the federal administration in suspending the right of habeas corpus, the arrest of citizen not subjecting to military law, without warrant or authority; transporting them to distant States; incarcerating them in political prisons without charge or accusation; denying them the right of trial by jury, witnesses in their favor, or counsel for their defence; withholding from them all knowledge of their accusers, and the cause of their arrest; answering their petitions for redress by repeated injury and insult; prescribing in many cases, as a condition of the release, test oaths, arbitrary and illegal; in the abridgment of freedom of speech and of the press, by imprisoning the citizen for expressing his sentiments; by suppressing newspapers by military force, wholly incompatible with freedom of thought and expression of opinion; and the establishment of a system of espionage by a secret police, to invade the sacred privacy of unsuspecting citizens; declaring martial law over States not in rebellion, and where the courts are open and unobstructed for the punishment of crime; in declaring the slaves of loyal, as well as disloyal citizens, in certain parts of States, free; the attempted enforcement of compensated emancipation; the proposed taxation of the laboring white man to purchase the freedom and secure the elevation of the negro; the transportation of negroes into the State of Illinois, in the defiance of the repeatedly expressed will of the people; the arrest and imprisonment of the representatives of a free and sovereign State; the dismemberment of the State of Virginia, erecting within her boundaries a new State, without the consent of her Legislature, — are each and all, arbitrary and unconstitutional, a usurpation of the legislative functions, and a suspension of the judicial departments of the State and federal governments; subverting the constitution, State and federal; invading the reserved rights of the people and the sovereignty of the States, and, if sanctioned, destructive of the Union, establishing, upon the common ruins of the liberties of the people, and the sovereignty of the States, a consolidated military despotism.
And we hereby solemnly declare, that no American citizen can, without the crime of infidelity to his country’s constitutions, and the allegiance which he bears to each, sanction such usurpations. Believing that our silence will be criminal, and may be construed into consent, in deep reverence for our constitution, which has been ruthlessly violated, we do hereby enter our most solemn protest against these usurpations of power, and place the same before the world, intending thereby to warn our public servants against further usurpations. Therefore,
Resolved, That the army was organized, confiding in the declaration of the President in his inaugural address, to with that he had no purpose directly, or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existed, and that he believed that he had no lawful right to do so, and that he had no inclination to do so; and, in the declaration of the federal congress, to wit, that this war was not waged in any spirit of oppression or subjugation, or any purpose of overthrowing any of the institutions of any of the States, and that inasmuch as the [?] policy of the administration is the organization of the army, has been at war with the declarations aforesaid, culminating in the emancipation proclamation, leaving the fact patent that the law has been inverted from its first avowed object to that of subjugation and abolition of slavery, a fraud, both legal and moral, has been perpetrated upon the brave sons of Illinois, who have nobly gone forth to battle for the constitution and the laws, and while we protest against the continuance of the gross fraud upon our citizen soldiers, we thank them for that heroic conduct on the battlefield that sheds imperishable glory on the State of Illinois.
Resolved, That we believe the further prosecution of the present war cannot result in the restoration of the Union, and the preservation of the constitution as our fathers made it, unless the President’s emancipation proclamation is withdrawn.
Resolved, That while we condemn and denounce the flagrant and monstrous usurpations of the administration and encroachments of abolitionism, we equally condemn and denounce the ruinous heresy of secession as unwarranted by the constitution, and destructive alike of the security and perpetuity of our government, and the peace and liberty of the people; and, fearing as we do, that it is the intention of the present congress and administration, at no distant day, to acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy, and thereby sever the Union, we hereby solemnly declare that we are unalterably opposed to any such severance of the Union, and that we never can consent that the great northwest shall be separated from the Southern States comprising the Mississippi Valley. That river shall never water the soil of two nations, but, from its source to its confluence with the gulf, shall belong to one great and united people.
Resolved, That peace, fraternal relations and political fellowship should be restored among the States; that the best interests of all and the welfare of mankind require that this should be done in the most speedy and most effective manner; that it is to the people we must look for a restoration of the Union and the blessings of peace, and to these ends we shall direct our earnest and honest efforts; and hence we are in favor of the assembling of a national convention of all the States, to so adjust our national difficulties that the States may hereafter live in harmony, each being secured to the rights guaranteed respectively to all by our fathers; and which convention, we recommend, shall convene at Louisville, Kentucky, or such place as shall be determined upon by Congress or the several States, at the earliest practical period.
Resolved, further, therefore, That to attain the objects of the foregoing resolution , we hereby memorialize the congress of the United States, the administration at Washington and the Executives and legislatures of the several States, to take immediate action as shall secure such an armistice, in which the rights and safety of the government shall be fully protected, for such length of time as may be necessary to enable to people to meet in convention aforesaid; and, we therefore earnestly recommend to our fellow citizens everywhere to observe and keep all their lawful and constitutional obligations, to abstain from all violence, and meet together and reason each with the other upon the best mode to attain the great blessings of peace, unity and liberty.
Resolved, further, That the scheme for raising and arming negro regiments and mustering them into the service of the United States is an outrage on the soldiers now in the army and a disgrace to the American people, and only calculated to help preserve insurrection in the southern States, and thereby destroy the last hope of a reconstruction of the Union.
Resolved, further, That we are utterly and totally opposed to any and all secret political societies whatsoever, — whether it be the Knights of the Golden Circle (if there be such an organization), or any other secret political society – of any sect or party in the United States.
After the adoption of the resolutions the Hon. L. W. Ross was introduced to the meeting by Hon. J. S. Baily. Mr. Ross entertained the audience with a speech of about two hours. He was listened to throughout with great attention, and was frequently interrupted by bursts of applause from the assembled multitude.
J. S. Bailey, Chairman.
W. T. Head,} Secretaries.