May 2, 1863

Macomb Journal
May 2, 1863

The Steps of Despotism.

            The future historian of this country will perhaps find it a difficult task to identify precisely where and when the present administration took its first step toward the destruction of constitutional liberty and the consequent establishment of a military despotism.  A thorough sifting of the public archives, and a keen analysis of the motives of our rulers may be necessary to this end; whether the disarming of the people of Missouri, the prohibition of voting unless the ballot were cast for the administration, the suppression of newspapers for exercising the constitutional right of the freedom of the press, the abrogation of the writ of habeas corpus, the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of citizens in violation of all law, — which of these was the first step toward the inauguration of a French or Austrian despotism in our land, and how far the President was merely a tool in the hands of the traitorous conspirators in and out of his cabinet, or whether he was the most cunning knave in the entire band who are now striving to destroy the last vestige of constitutional liberty in this country, are tasks which the future historian will have to solve.  We shall not attempt it.  But after two years of this conduct and this progress on the “royal road to Despotism,” there can now be no difficulty in marking the steps that are taken.  The last one is contained in a late order issued by Gen. Hascall at Indianapolis.  The General, after stating his determination to enforce Order No. 88 issued by Gen. Burnside, says that he has proof that its provisions are violated by well meaning men, led astray by newspapers and public speakers.  He goes on to say:

“All newspapers and public speakers that counsel or encourage resistance to the conscription act, or any other law of Congress passed as a war measure, or that endeavor to bring the war policy of the government into disrepute, will be considered as having violated the order above alluded to, and treated accordingly.  The country will have to be saved or lost during the time that this administration remains in power, and therefore he who is factitiously and actively opposed to the war policy of the administration is as much opposed to his government.”

We shall not now question Gen. Hascall’s sincerity and honesty in issuing the above order.  He may be sustained by the administration, and he may not be.  But its attempted enforcement will lead to evils tenfold more aggravated than those which he is apparently seeking to destroy.  If the administration sustain his position, it will be the boldest and longest step which it has yet made toward the destruction of constitutional liberty in the United States.  The same flimsy pretext which Gen. Hascall assumes to justify this order, will authorize the issuing of another to prevent any ballots being cast at our elections for any man who does not endorse the “war policy of this administration.”  When this shall be submitted to the subjugation of American citizens will be complete, and the destruction of their rights under the Constitution as effectual as it would be under the infamous despotism of Austria.

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            The republicans say they are in favor of enforcing the law.  It depends, however, on what law it is.  If it is a law to drag men into the army, tearing them away from their homes and subjecting them to all kinds of suffering, because they happen to be poor, then the republicans are in favor of enforcing it rigorously.  But if it is a law to keep negroes out of the State and prevent them from becoming pests and burdens upon every community, then the republicans are not in favor of enforcing it.

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            The war does not appear any nearer an end than it was two years ago, when the President called out 75,000 men to destroy the rebellion in ninety days.  The administration has vigorously pursued the policy of “how not to do it.”

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            Copperheads. – It is rumored that Lincoln will soon issue a proclamation calling in all the old copper cents, upon the ground that they are used to give aid and comfort to the enemy, being used by the Democrats for copperhead breast pins.  The Secretary of the Treasury has under the consideration the propriety of altering the design upon the nickle cents – erasing the Indian that now occupies one side and placing in its stead the bust of a “free American of African descent,” as being more distinctive of the object and policy of the administration.

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→ Almost every week this spring we have had enquiries made by farmers for boys to work for them.  There are a number of boys in town, who would be much the gainer in morals and industrial habits by working this summer in the country.  If any of them will report to us, we may be able to find them a place, at reasonable wages.

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Notice – Foreign Mails. – From and after the 1st day of May all postages due on unpaid letters received from foreign countries in the mails dispatched to this country from Great Britain, Ireland, France, Prussia, Hamburg, Bremen, or Belgium, will be collected in gold or silver coin.
J. E. Wyke, P.M.
P.O. Macomb, Ill., April 30, 1863.

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→ People who want to buy dry goods etc., at the lowest terms, will call upon Mr. Tinsley, north side.  They will find a full stock of goods, from the silken outfit of the bride to the commonest articles of every day wear, at his store.

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→ Ladies and gentlemen who wish to obtain choice plants and trees to ornament their homes, gardens, and farms, can obtain such now at the Randolph house, where a full assortment is furnished by O. W. Hoff, of the Home Nurseries.  Oh! fathers and mothers, do not fail to beautify home, the dearest spot on earth to the child.  Make it a home that your children will look back to with honest pride, which will serve as a stimulus to greater improvement in civilization.  Make home beautiful and pleasant, and home will be happy.

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→ Our friend of the Peoria Mail asks us “how we could be so foolish” as to stop at the City Hotel, Chicago.  We rent there at the request of a friend who supposed the house was a decent one.  We were both badly deceived.  We have since learned that it is the general resort of thieves, pickpockets, blacklegs, prostitutes, niggers, etc.  We rather count it an hour that our general demeanor was obnoxious to the keeper of such a set of dirty scalawags.

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→ Farmers, see here!  Custom made plow shoes just received and selling very low at J. M. Browne & Co.’s, south side of square.

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Copper Lightning Rods. – Mr. J. K. Smith, the agent for these invaluable lightning rods, will be in this county in a week or two, prepared to put up these rods on dwellings and barns.  It is well settled that copper is a better conductor of electricity than iron, while the cost is about the same.  Those who go to the expense of protecting their buildings from lightning will of course procure the best and most efficient conductors.

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Removal of the Depot. – We understand there is another movement to have the railroad depot moved up to within a reasonable distance of town.  We hope it may be successful.  The depot should be located just east of the crossing of Lafayette street, to secure the best accommodation of travel and business.  Strangers passing through town will then form a favorable opinion of it, which is not likely to be the case at present.

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→ There is to be an election for Mayor and Aldermen next week.  The republicans have already made secret nominations for these offices, and have called a meeting on Saturday night to go through the farce of publicly ratifying them.

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→ Our old friend, James Brown, has again taken charge of Brown’s Hotel, in this city.  Under his management, it will be the popular stopping place of all travelers who love good cheer, whose business or pleasure may lead them to spend a day or two in our city.

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Democratic Meeting in Walnut Grove Township.

            The Democrats of Walnut Grove township held a meeting at the center school house, April 25th, 1863.  D. J. Dungan was elected president and R. F. Anderson, secretary.

Jesse Arbogast, A. W. McKee, J. Larkin, B. Robinson, Perry Phillips, Dr. Emory, and S. Lindsey, were appointed a committee on resolutions, who reported the following:

WHEREAS, War rages with unexampled fury in the United States, brought on by the agitation of the slavery question by the abolitionists of the North, and a disloyal element in the South; and

WHEREAS, The federal government can lawfully exercise no power that is not conferred upon it by the federal Constitution, therefore the exercise 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, and destructive alike of their plan of government and their common liberties; and

WHEREAS, The Constitution cannot be maintained nor the Union preserved, in opposition to public feeling, by the mere exercise of the coercive powers confided in the general government; that in case of differences and conflicts between the States and the federal government too serious for adjustment by the civil departments, the appeal is not to the sword, but to the people and their will expressed at the ballot box; and

WHEREAS, we declare that the acts of the administration, in suspending the writ of habeas corpus; the arrest of citizens not subject to military law, without warrant or authority, transporting them to distant States, incarcerating them in political prisons, without charge and denying them the right of trial, to lie there and rot without redress; the abridgement of the freedom of speech; the establishment of a system of secret police to invade the sacred privacy of unsuspecting citizens; the proposed taxation of the laboring white man to purchase the freedom and secure the elevation of the negro; the transportation of negroes into Illinois, in defiance of the organic law of the State.  No American citizen can, without the crime of infidelity to his country’s Constitution, sanction such usurpations of power.  Therefore,

Resolved, That we, as free and independent American citizens, most heartily indorse the language of Wm. H. Seward, to wit: “In this country especially it is a habit not only entirely consistent with the Constitution, but even essential to its stability, to regard the administration at any time existing as distinct and separate from the government itself, and to canvass the proceedings of the one without a thought of disloyalty to the other.”

Resolved, That while we condemn and denounce the flagrant and montrous 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 prosperity of our government, and the peace and liberty of our people.  And fearing as we do, that it is the intention of the administration at no distant day to acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy and thereby complete the severance of the Union, we do hereby declare that we are unalterably opposed to any such severance of the Union, and we never can consent that the great Mississippi shall ever water the soil of two nations.

Resolved, That peace, fraternal relations, and political fellowship should be restored among the States.  The best interest of all and the welfare of mankind require that this should be done in the most speedy and effective manner.  We would favor the most vigorous prosecution of the war, had we any satisfactory assurance that it is carried on for the sole object of restoring the Union.  But we do prefer compromise rather than war.

Resolved, That we are utterly and forever opposed to any and all secret political societies, whether K. G. C., U. L, or S. B., which we denounce as utterly wrong and dangerous to the peace and happiness of the people.

Resolved, That we, as constitutional and law abiding men, do hereby denounce all the epithets and nicknames thrown out against the Democratic party, such as tories, traitors, etc., to be flagrant falsehoods, emanating only from foul and polluted demagogues, who thus seek to divert public attention from their own dastardly conduct.  If persisted in by the abolitionists, it will create a feeling of indignation and retaliation that will bode no good to the peace and order of this community.

Resolved, That we will sustain our soldiers in the field in all their social, political, and military rights, and while we are proud of their capacity and glory in their achievements, we heartily sympathize with them in their privations and sufferings, and protest against their being compelled in the army to associate with negroes.

Resolved, That inasmuch as Abraham Lincoln is sworn to support and enforce the Constitution, we feel bound to stand by him and his administration in all their constitutional acts; but no farther.

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