Democracy of Williamson.
On Saturday, the 18th July, 1863, the democracy of Williamson county assembled in mass meeting at Marion; whereupon Judge David Norman was appointed president, James Barbour and Geo. W. Akin vice presidents, and William E. Hearn and Allen Scurlock, secretaries.
On motion of Capt. Cunningham, the chair appointed the following named gentlemen a committee on resolutions, viz:
Hon. James M. Washburne, Col. Jas. Pulley, J. B. Walker, J. J. Allen, L. H. Spencer, F. Doty, Thomas Scurlock.
After the retirement of the committee, Hon. Wm. J. Allen was loudly called for. He came forward and addressed the meeting in one of the best speeches of his life.
Judge Allen remarked that he knew quite as well as any one present the circumstances surrounding the democracy of Williamson; that a battalion of soldiers were in town, and many in his presence; that those who had manliness enough to claim their constitutional rights had been threatened; but all this should not deter him from expressing his honestly entertained sentiments. These are no times for men to fear and tremble, although the rod of despotism and anarchy might be held over their heads. Judge Allen said the Williamson county democracy had been maligned and aspersed more by the pimps and minions of those in power, than their brethren in any other portion of the state. The reason for this he could not understand. Have we not, said he, always obeyed the law, fulfilled all of our obligations to our country, and discharged our duties faithfully as good citizens? True, said he, we believe in the doctrine announced by Secretary Seward to Minister Adams, that the people are justified in separating the administration from the government. We can criticize and denounce the one with perfect consistency, so long as we cling with unfaltering devotion to the other. This belief of ours may have had the effect of bringing down upon us the persecution we are now undergoing, for it has been recently announced at least semi-authoritatively, that "the administration is the government. Such a vile heresy as this he could never sanction. Better be abused, misrepresented, better suffer and die if necessary, than abandon or falter in the support of the legacy left us by our fathers, the constitution of the United States. He was devotedly attached to the Union with the constitution as its law, and would make every sacrifice to maintain it. The judge then went into an elaborate argument with reference to the rights of the states and the powers of the general government, and showed to the entire satisfaction of the large crowd present the encroachments of the latter upon the former. He denounced arbitrary arrests, the suppression of the freedom of speech and of the press, and all the lawless and unconstitutional acts of those in power. He indignantly denied that the democratic party had any other object in view than the preservation of the government intact, but in order to do this, he maintained it was necessary for the people, at the ballot-box, to hurl from power the cormorants, corruptionists and despots who now, under the semblance of federal authority, are endeavoring, as he honestly believed, to destroy the liberties of the people. He exhorted the people to peace, to the obedience of law, to abstain from everything calculated to produce irritation or excitement; to sacrifice much, in fact everything except their government and their right under it, but to maintain these at all hazards. But it is impossible to give anything like a faithful account of Judge Allen's speech. It was able, eloquent and patriotic, and found a heartfelt response in the bosoms of the hundreds of democrats in attendance. At the conclusion of Judge Allen's speech the committee on resolutions made the following report, which was unanimously adopted:
The democracy of Williamson county, Illinois, in mass meeting, resolve —
1. That the action and resolutions of the democratic mass meeting, held at Springfield on the 17th ultimo, meet with our cordial approval.
2. We stand by our oft repeated doctrine, since our international troubles set in, that the Union formed by our fathers, with the constitution as its law, must be preserved; but we have despaired of this consummation while the present corrupt, wicked and imbecile administration remain in power, and it is therefore our duty, in view of the love we have of our country, to use every effort to displace, by the use of the ballot-box, those now exercising national authority.
3. We believe, that should the true democracy of the country legally obtain control of the government, some other arbitrament than that of the sword would prove effectual in settling our troubles.
4. In our opinion, every means should be put forth, consistent with genuine patriotism, to cure the nation of "the mad deliriums of a war fever," with which it is now so seriously afflicted, and we invoke the aid of all country-lovers to assist us in the effort.
5. That the democratic party still clings with unyielding faith to the great principle that the people are capable of self-government; that our constitution was formed, not to confer life, liberty or the right to pursue his own happiness, upon the citizen, but to secure these rights to the citizen, and to protect him in the enjoyment of the same; that the liberties of the people are of far greater value than any particular government, since the people, if left free, can make or change their government as their interests may require; but if they lose their liberties, self-government is at an end, and either monarchy or military despotism follows as a necessary consequence.
On motion, a committee of seven was appointed by the chair, to act as a democratic central committee for Williamson county.
On motion, the proceedings of this meeting were ordered to be published in the State Register, Chicago Times and other democratic papers.
On motion, the meeting adjourned.
DAVID NORMAN, President.
GEO. W. AIKEN, Vice-Presidents.
W. E. HEARN,
ALLEN SCURLOCK, Secretaries.