Изображения страниц



Democratic party had, since 1826, uniformly commanded overwhelming majorities. That district, at the western extremity of the State, hemmed in between West Tennessee, Southern Missouri, and that portion of Illinois widely known as 'Egypt,' and traversed by the great Southern rivers Tennessee and Cumberland, had, in fact, for more than a quarter of a century, been alien from Kentucky in character and sympathies, as it proved itself in this case. The residue of the State elected only Unionists to Congress, by a popular majority of almost three to one.

the 'State-Rights' apostles of the Bor- | Democrat, in a district where the der-State school contemplated Secession, and everything pertaining thereto, primarily, as means of perfecting and perpetuating the slaveholding ascendency in the Union as it was. Hence, we have seen Gov. Magoffin' protest against the secession of South Carolina and the Cotton States, not as a treasonable repudiation of their constitutional duties, but as a chimerical futility, and as a betrayal of the slaveholding Border States into the power of the 'Black Republicans.' Kentucky, as we have shown,' nine weeks after the reduction of Fort Sumter, gave an aggregate of 92,365 votes for Union to 36,995 for Secession candidates, in choosing, at a special election, her representatives in the XXXVIIth Congress, while, as yet, no Federal soldier stood armed on her soil, and while her Legislature, Governor, and most of his associate State officers, were the Democratic compatriots of Breckinridge, Burnett, and Buckner. Only a single district elected a Secessionist, by four-sevenths of its total vote; and he its old member, who had hitherto received far larger majorities, running as a *See pp. 340-41.

P. 496.

• Pollard, in his "Southern History," fully admits, while he denounces and deplores, the hostility of Kentucky to the Rebel cause-saying:

"It is not to be supposed for a moment that, while the position of Kentucky, like that of Maryland, was one of reproach, it is to mar the eredit due to that portion of the people of each, who, in the face of instant difficulties, ard at the expense of extraordinary sacrifices, repudiated the decision of their States to remain under the Federal Government, and expatriated themselves that they might espouse the cause of liberty in the South. The honor due such men is, in fact, increased by the consideration that their States remained in the Union, and compelled them to fly their homes, that they might certify their devotion to the South and her cause of independence. Still, the justice of history must be maintained. The demonstrations of sympathy with the South on the part of the

This majority was very nearly maintained at her regular State election (August 5th), when-Magoffin being still Governor, Buckner commander of the State Guard, and the local offices mainly held by 'StateRights' Democrats, with the recent Union rout and disaster at Bull Run tending still further to unmask and develop all the latent treason in the State-a new Legislature was chosen, wherein Unionism of a very decided type predominated in the proportion of nearly three to one.*

States referred to-Maryland and Kentuckyconsidered either in proportion to what was offered the Lincoln Government by these States, or with respect to the numbers of their population, were sparing and exceptional; and although these demonstrations on the part of Kentucky, from the great and brilliant names associated with them, were perhaps even more honorable and more useful than the examples of Southern spirit offered by Maryland, it is unquestionably though painfully true, that the great body of the people of Kentucky were the active allies of Lincoln, and the unnatural enemies of those united to them by lineage, blood, and common institutions."

Those who love and honor the name of Henry Clay will thank the author of the "Southern History" for the following undesigned but richly

merited homage to the character and influence of that great man:

"It is eertainly defective logic, or, at best, an

A determined Union Legislature | having thus been elected but not yet assembled, Gov. Magoffin, feeling that his time was short, and that any further mischief to the Union cause at his hands must be done quickly, addressed to the President of the United States, by the hands of two 'Commissioners,' the following cool epistle :


“President of the United States: "SIR: From the commencement of the unhappy hostilities now pending in this country, the people of Kentucky have indicated an earnest desire and purpose, as far as lay in their power, while maintaining their original political status, to do nothing by which to involve themselves in the war. Up to this time, they have succeeded in securing to themselves and to the State, peace and tranquillity as the fruits of the policy they adopted. My single object now is to promote the continuance of these blessings to the people of this State.

portion of Kentucky. This movement was panies, regiments, etc., consisting of men preceded by the active organization of com

sworn into the United States service, under officers holding commissions from yourself. Ordnance, arms, munitions, and supplies of war, are being transported into the State, and placed in large quantities in these camps. In a word, an army is now being organized and quartered within the State, supplied with all the appliances of war, without the consent or advice of the authorities of the State, and without consultation with those most prominently known and recognized as loyal citizens. This movement now imperils that peace and tranquillity which, from the beginning of our present difficulties, have been the paramount desire of this people, and which, up to this time, they have secured to the State.

"Within Kentucky, there has been, and is likely to be, no occasion for the presence of military force. The people are quiet and tranquil, feeling no apprehension of any occasion arising to invoke protection from the territory be left free from military occupaFederal arm. They have asked that their tion, and the present tranquillity of their communications left uninvaded by soldiers. They do not desire that Kentucky shall be required to supply the battle-field for the contending armies, or become the theater of

the war.

State of Kentucky, and in the name of "Now, therefore, as Governor of the the people I have the honor to represent, and with the single and earnest desire to avert from their peaceful homes the horrors of war, I urge the removal from the limits of Kentucky of the military force now organized and in camp within the State. If such action as is hereby urged be promptly taken, I firmly believe the peace of the peo

"Until within a brief period, the people of Kentucky were quiet and tranquil, free from domestic strife, and undisturbed by internal commotion. They have resisted no law, rebelled against no authority, engaged in no revolution; but constantly proclaimed their firm determination to pursue their peaceful avocations, earnestly hoping that their own soil would be spared the presence of armed troops, and that the scene of conflict would be kept removed beyond the bor-ple of Kentucky will be preserved, and the der of their State. By thus avoiding all occasions for the introduction of bodies of armed soldiers, and offering no provocation for the presence of military force, the people of Kentucky have sincerely striven to preserve in their State domestic peace, and avert the calamities of sanguinary engage


"Recently, a large body of soldiers have been enlisted in the United States Army, and collected in military camps in the central

inadequate explanation, which attributes the subserviency of a large portion of the people of Kentucky to the views of the Lincoln Government to the perfidy of a party or the adroitness of its management. However powerful may be the machinery of party, it certainly has not the power of belying public sentiment for any considerable length of time. The persistent adhesion of a

horrors of a bloody war will be averted from a people now peaceful and tranquil.


The President, declining to receive Magoffin's Commissioners otherwise than as private citizens, returned this terse and pungent reply to their mas ter's request:

large portion of the Kentucky people to the Northern cause must be attributed to permanent causes; and among these were, first, an essential unsoundness on the Slavery question, under the influences of the peculiar philosophy of Henry Clay, who, like every great man, left an impress upon his State, which it remained for future even more than contemporary generations to attest."


"WASHINGTON, D. C., Aug. 24, 1861, "To his Excellency, B. MAGOFFIN,


plaining that she had suffered in her commerce and property from the acts of either; but more especially that a

"Governor of the State of Kentucky: "SIR: Your letter of the 19th inst., in which you 'urge the removal from the lim-Federal force had recently been orits of Kentucky of the military force now organized and in camp within that State,' is


"I may not possess full and precisely accurate knowledge upon this subject; but I believe it is true that there is a military force in camp within Kentucky, acting by authority of the United States; which force is not very large, and is not now being augmented.

"I also believe that some arms have been furnished to this force by the United States.

"I also believe that this force consists exclusively of Kentuckians, having their camp in the immediate vicinity of their own homes, and not assailing or menacing any of the good people of Kentucky.

"In all I have done in the premises, I have acted upon the urgent solicitation of many Kentuckians, and in accordance with what I believed, and still believe, to be the wish of a majority of all the Union-loving people of Kentucky.

"While I have conversed on the subject with many eminent men of Kentucky, including a large majority of her members of Congress, I do not remember that any one of them, or any other person, except your Excellency and the bearers of your Excellency's letter, has urged me to remove the

military force from Kentucky or to disband it. One other very worthy citizen of Kentucky did solicit me to have the augmenting of the force suspended for a time.

"Taking all the means within my reach to form a judgment, I do not believe it is the popular wish of Kentucky that the force shall be removed beyond her limits; and, with this impression, I must respectfully de

cline to remove it.

"I most cordially sympathize with your Excellency in the wish to preserve the peace of my own native State, Kentucky; but it is with regret I search for and cannot find, in your not very short letter, any declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the preservation of the Federal Union.


The Legislature convened September 3d, but was not fully organized till the 5th, when Magoffin submitted a Message based on the assumption of Kentucky's proper and perfect neutrality between the belligerents North and South of her; com

ganized and encamped in the heart of that State without the permission of her lawful authorities-(Beriah Magoffin, to wit;) whereupon he proposed to so amend an act of the late Legislature as to enable the Military Board to borrow money for the purchase of arms and munitions for the defense of the State, etc., etc. He desired the Legislature authoritatively to request all Military organizations within the State, not under her authority, to be disbanded forthwith; and complained of the introduction of arms by the Federal Government and their distribution among private citizens, which-considering that the incipient Rebels obtained a large proportion thereof, and in due time carried them off to the camps of the Secession forces-was unreasonable. On the main question at issue, he said:

"Kentucky has meant to await the exhausting of all civil remedies before she will reconsider the question of assuming new external relations; but I have never understood that they will tamely submit unconditionally to the aggressions of the North; that they renounce their sympathy with the people of her aggrieved sister States; nor that they will approve of a war to subjugate the South. Still can I not construe any of their votes as meaning that they will prosecute a coërcive war against their Southern brethren. They meant only that they have still some hope of the restoration and perpetuation of the Union; and, until that hope is blasted, they will not alter their existing

relations. Their final decision will be law

to me; and I will execute every constitutional act of their representatives as vigilantly and faithfully as though it originated with myself."

These few words elicited no sympathetic response from the Legislature, fresh from the people, and imbued with

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »