May 9, 1863
Democratic Constitutional Associations
Basis of Organization.
At the request of a number of political friends, we present below a declaration of principles, which may be adopted in organizing Democratic Constitutional Associations. No one can gainsay their correctness, nor deny the imperious necessity which exists for prompt action in accordance with these sentiments.
To cultivate and disseminate sentiments of intense attachment to our whole country.
To maintain the Constitution “as the palladium of our political safety and prosperity.”
To elevate to high political station only men of well known and sterling integrity, who revere the Constitution as their highest political authority.
The institution of slavery being local in its character, the responsibility of its continuance and management rests exclusively with the States where in it exists.
The war power of the General Government, in case of rebellion, is limited to its suppression, and cannot rightfully be exercised for any other purpose.
The sovereignty of each State being absolute, except so far as limited by the Constitution of the United States, therefore State laws cannot be abrogated by the General Government, nor suspended by it except in case of military occupation consequent upon invasion, or rebellion within its limits.
It is justly held to be the duty of State Executives to protect the personal rights of citizens guaranteed by the National and State Constitutions.
We feel impelled by every motive of patriotism to maintain the General Government in its three co-ordinate branches, as defined in the Constitution.
As American citizens we claim the right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of the Ballot Box, submission of all persons to the decisions of the Judiciary, and the subordination of the military to the civil power.
“The war in which we are now engaged should not be waged in a spirit of conquest or subjugation, nor for overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of any of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity and rights of the several States unimpaired.”
That we will oppose the election to any office within the gift of the people of any person in political connection or sympathy with abolitionism, secessionism, or fanaticism of any kind.
→ The administration is squandering thousands of dollars a day on the vagabond negroes which it has collected about the various camps of the army. They are fed and transported hundreds of miles into the northern States. While this is going on, we hear of nothing being done for the families of men in the South who have become outcasts in consequence of their adhesion to our government. Negroes who have done nothing to entitle them to the bounty of the government are watched and cared for with parental anxiety; while the poor white men who have been beggared in striving to preserve the Union from destruction are left to shift for themselves and still become the prey of spoilsmen. – This is the way our republican administration rewards its friends.
The “S.B.’s” are correctly called in Indiana, the “Stabbing Brothers,” because they have a kind of fraternal way of stabbing the reputation of their neighbors by slander, of stabbing their financial interests by stealing, and of stabbing their bodies because they will not vote right. The name is appropriate. Let them be “Stabbing Brothers” hereafter.
→ The name of Liberty must be very odious to the federal authorities, and also to the tory abolitionists. If this be not so, why do they make such a fuss about Democrats wearing breastpins with “liberty” inscribed thereon? Persons have even been arrested in this State for no other crime. We rather think that this is a free country.
“Seed is Fruit.”
No one can forget the devoted adherence of the leading men of the republican party to the higher law doctrine, in the days when they had no control of the administration of the government. This higher law, which they so persistently inculcated in their papers and speeches, was the right of an individual to disobey any law that he might think was wrong; and with a large portion of that party their action did not rest there, but they counseled and organized active resistance to the enforcement of the law. This pernicious doctrine, this most wicked heresy in a government based on the positive support of the people, impregnated all the active men in their party. They scoffed at Democrats for obeying the law, and ruthlessly invaded the sanctity of the courts of justice in order to resist its execution. The seed which these destructive politicians then sowed, we regret to see, is becoming fruit. The moral and natural consequence of this republican teaching is now seen in various parts of the country, in the attempts of individuals to resist obnoxious laws. Although the accounts of these disturbances are no doubt greatly exaggerated, yet there is there enough in them to excite grave apprehension in the minds of all citizens who desire the preservation of peace and order. The entire futility of all individual efforts at resistance to the power of the government requires no argument or illustration; all history shows that it brings additional evil, rather than lightens any burden. There is a peaceful and constitutional way to repeal obnoxious or oppressive laws, and it is certainly the part of wisdom and patriotism to pursue that method, at least so long as its exercise is left free and unrestricted. When our rights to the ballot shall be interfered with, it will then be time enough to resort to the bullet, and show to the world that “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”
Meeting at Abingdon. – The Democracy of Abingdon had a large and enthusiastic meeting on Wednesday. Senator Richardson addressed them at length, showing the corruption and oppression of the republican legislation, the incapacity for that party to administer the government successfully, and the great danger that exists of the liberties of the people being destroyed and a ruthless military despotism established in this country. The speech was well received, despite the barking of a few abolition tories, who sought to divert attention from the speaker’s arguments. Mr. Richardson believes that a thorough discussion of political questions should now be had, and were it not for sickness in his family he would engage at once in the work. He hopes to be able, however, in the course of a few weeks to respond to the many calls made upon him.
→ The city election on Monday resulted in rather more than the usual republican victory. Their candidate for Mayor has about forty majority, and they have gained an aldermen in the first ward. We lost a number of votes in consequence of recent changes of residence, and but little interest in the election was taken by the Democrats, while the republicans were thoroughly organized and worked as if something important was at stake. We trust the result of this election, although unimportant in itself, may have the effect to impress the Democrats of our town with the necessity for a thorough and active organization. It will not do to slumber any longer.
→ The fine weather this spring has enabled the farmers of this part of the State to sow a large breadth of wheat. It has come up well, and now promises a good crop. The weather also has been favorable for preparing the ground for corn, and a number of farmers planted a large portion of their fields last week, and many more will finish this week. Apple trees give promise of an abundant crop, and those who have peach trees are looking forward to one more feast of this delicious fruit this fall.
→ We are indebted to Mr. S. C. knight, of Scotland, for a jug of most excellent sorghum syrup. A better article need not be desired by anybody.
PLANT NOW FOR THE SOLDIER. – Will not every farmer and gardener set aside a patch for onions in the garden and an army acre for potatoes on the farm? Trifling would be the labor and expense, and great the good accomplished thereby. Top onions ripen soonest.