Address by Hon. James C. Allen, Democratic Union Candidate for Congress for the State at Large.
A Withering Exposure of Abolitionism.
The Usurpations of Power Denounced.
THE CONSTITUTION SUFFICIENT IN WAR AS IN PEACE.
A Protest against the Africanization of Illinois.
Judge Allen, the democratic and union candidate for congress from the state at large, delivered the following speech, before an immense audience in Chicago, on the 10th instant. The assembly was called to order by Hon. S. S. Hayes, City Comptroller, who proposed as chairman of the meeting His Honor the Mayor, F. C. Sherman, which nomination was received with applause, and, being confirmed, Mr. Sherman came forward and said:
Gentlemen — I will now introduce to you Judge Allen, candidate for congress for the state at large. [Applause.]
Hon. J. C. Allen then advance to the front amidst a perfect storm of applause. When quiet was restored he proceeded to speak as follows:
Mr. President and fellow-citizens of Chicago — As a candidate for congress from the state at large, I am before you to-night for the purpose of presenting my views upon such political questions as now agitate the public mind.
You will pardon me, before I proceed to the discussion of any of these questions, if I make a few allusions personal to myself. I am a stranger to most of you; and, aspiring to the office for which I have been nominated, it is proper that you should understand the position I occupy in relation to the great questions that now press heavily upon the public mind. The spirit of the republican press of Illinois has made it necessary, in my judgment, for me to allude to some things here which I would not notice at home, or in that position of our state in which I am best known. But few public men have been permitted to occupy public positions without being assailed by some of the party presses of the country; and I have thought it fit to allude here to the course pursued by some of the republican papers of Illinois, since my nomination, that I may set myself right before the citizens of Chicago upon some of the great questions now being agitated.
There seems to have been a studied effort upon the part of some republican papers to mislead the public judgment as to my position in relation to the war in which our country is now unfortunately engaged. It has been charged that I am an anti-war candidate; that I have been making anti-war speeches in this canvas; that I am a secessionist in sentiment; that I am a rebel, and deserve to be treated as such; and, after having exhausted the vocabulary of ugly names, they at last called me a tory. [Laugher.] In reply to all of which I desire to say that I am not an anti-war candidate for congress; [applause] that I have not, during this canvas, or at any other time since the commencement of hostilities, made an anti-war speech, [applause] or uttered an anti-war sentiment; [continued applause] that I have not, since the secession of the southern states or before, ever uttered or advocated secession sentiments; [applause] that I am not a rebel; but, on the contrary, am faithful to the constitution and the union. [Long and loud applause.] And I pronounce these charges here, to-night, to be false in their inception, and false in their intent, and I hold myself responsible to the authors of these charges of falsehood. [Cheers.] I would not think it necessary to indulge in these remarks, fellow-citizens, in the section of the state where I live; my position and my views are known there. But the men who make these charges are either willfully ignorant of the facts (and they ought not to be so, because they can have rebutting evidence,) or they are actuated by feelings of malice and hatred and a desire to mislead the public judgment in reference to my position. I was a peace man, my fellow-citizens, before the commencement of hostilities. [Applause.] I would have taken either one of the great peace propositions that were presented and urged upon the congress of the United States, for the adjustment of the difficulties between us and our southern friends. I would have been content with the proposition introduced by a republican member of congress, Mr. Kellogg, of your own state. I would have been content with the propositions introduced by the venerable senator for Kentucky. [Cheering long and loud.] And I would have been perfectly content with the propositions introduced by our own lamented Douglas. — [Deafening and long continued cheering.] And, if the efforts of the men who are now charging me with being a disunionist and against the war — if they had been as earnest in support of these measures as I was, and had the republican party come up like men and stood by them, this war would have been averted, and we would have been a glorious, a happy, and a united people. — [Applause] But they scorned the offer of a settlement; they voted down this proposition; the country is now involved in civil war, and the friends of these measures are denounced as traitors. I repeat that I was the friend of either one of these compromises which would have been favorable and satisfactory to both sections of the country, and would have maintained its peace and its glory. But when they were defeated, and war or submission to the demands of the seceded states was the only alternative, I was for vindicating the power of my government by the force of arms. [Applause.] I was for teaching the secessionists of the south that our government has power enough left to vindicate its honor and its rights upon the field of battle. [Continued applause.] Immediately after the proclamation of the president of the United States calling for volunteers, I addressed my fellow-citizens in my own county and told them that all hope of an amleable arrangement was passed, and, since the president had called, it was our duty to stand by him in defence of the government and our rights. That is the sort of an anti-war man I have been. [Laughter.] But while I felt it to be my duty to stand by the president of the United States and by the government in the prosecution of the war, as an American citizen, I felt that I was not bound to say everything which the president did was right. [Long applause.] I felt that I was not so much a slave as to meekly how in submission to all he did. (Continued applause.) I claimed then, and I claim now, the right, as an American citizen, to express my opinions fully and freely upon all measures of public policy advance by the president. (Cheers.) I told my friends that I would not unnecessarily be pressing my objections to his course, except in cases where I felt it necessary. And now, being a candidate for congress, my fellow-citizens expect to know my views upon the subject. I shall speak them fearlessly, no matter who may be affected. (Applause.) — My allegiance, my fellow-citizens, is to my government, and not to Abraham Lincoln. (Voice, "good,") He is, for the time being, an agent of the people, to administer the affairs of the government and nothing else. (Applause.) I owe, as a citizen, respectful obedience to his authority; my allegiance to the government requires that I should yield obedience to the laws under the constitution, and to him, only when he exercises that authority in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and laws of my country. (Cheers.) But it is said, my fellow-citizens that the democratic party is secession, is traitor, is tory, is anti-war! Gentlemen, I deny it; (applause) and now to the evidence.
The first time the democratic party has spoken in an authoritative voice or manner since the commencement of this war, was when the democratic party assembled through her representatives at Springfield in September last, in the convention at which I received the nomination as candidate for congress from the state at large and there, as a party, through their representatives speaking the voice of the democratic citizens of Illinois, they proclaimed to the people of Illinois, and of the world, their position in reference to this question of war. I find that those who are charging the democratic party with being tory, secession and anti-war, studiously refrain from publishing the resolutions of the party defining its position upon that subject. I propose to read the first resolution adopted unanimously by that convention, to see whether there is treason, either patent or cover in that resolution. It is as follows:
"Resolved, That the constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof, are, and must remain, the supreme law of the land; and, as such, must be preserved and maintained in their proper and rightful supremacy."
That used to be considered very loyal doctrine by all parties in this country.
"That the rebellion now in arms against them must be suppressed; and it is the duty of all good citizens to aid the general government in all legal and constitutional measures necessary and proper to the accomplishment of this end." [Applause.]
That is the position of the democratic party! It is pledged to aid the government in the prosecution of this war; in subduing this rebellion; in putting down this insurrection, by all legal and constitutional means.
Gentlemen, is that not pledge enough? Would you ask the democratic party to pledge itself to every measure which the president of the United States might, in his judgment, see fit to adopt to suppress the rebellion? (Voices, "no," "no," "never.") Our republican friends go that whole figure, my fellow-citizens. (Laughter.) It is not enough that we pledge ourselves to stand by the president and by the government in all constitutional and legal means, but we are required to pledge ourselves to stand by the president in all unconstitutional and illegal means. (Voices, "never," "never.")
The truth is, my fellow-citizens, strange as it may appear, that we even find men in these latter degenerate days, who curl their lips when you talk to them about the constitution of the country. We have been taught to regard it as our shield; we have been taught to regard it as a sort of political bible; we have been taught to look to it for that protection which we claim as citizens, and for the preservation of those civil and religious rights, of which we, as a people, have been in the past so proud to boast. (Applause.) When you take away from us that constitution, when you take away from us the protection which it throws around our citizens, when you take away that to which we have looked as our guard in the hour of trial, and protection in the hour of danger, you take away from us all of this government which is worth having. (Applause.) You strip us of all the protection that we have, and you leave us at the mercy of the tyrant of the hour. (Applause.)
It, gentlemen, would rather have half a union with the constitution than all the union without any constitution. (Loud cheers.) It is the constitution that has protected our rights in the past, and it is the union under that constitution that has given us our power. You destroy the one and you destroy the other. Take away from us the constitution and its guarantees, and you leave us nothing fit to live for, civilly speaking, in this country.
Then the democratic party in this resolution has pledged itself to aid the general government in all constitutional and all lawful measures for stopping the rebellion and for restoring the union. There are no two constructions to be placed upon that resolution, my fellow-citizens. — It was written in plain English, that all who read may understand; and it is so plain that the veriest enemy of the democratic party, in the republican press of Illinois, has not been able successfully to attack either that or any other resolution adopted by that convention. (Cheers.) They have contented themselves with calling us hard names and endeavoring to excite prejudice against the democratic party and throw suspicion upon its loyalty. This, I repeat again, is the first authoritative declaration of principle made by the democratic party, through their representatives assembled at Springfield, since the war commenced; and I endorse that resolution. (Applause.) It meets my views, (applause) and I am prepared to stand by it in this canvass.
These are no times, fellow-citizens, to be dodging any of these questions. That man is the best friend to his government, to his country, who resolutely speaks out for the right and stands by the constitution. (Cheers.) It is charged by the republican press; it is charge by republican orators, and more particularly by my honorable competitor, of Peoria, Mr. Ingersoll, the nominee of the republicans for congress from the state at large, that we do not go far enough when we pledge ourselves to stand by our government in the prosecution of this war in all our government's attempts in accordance with the constitution and laws of the country. (A voice, "He is a democrat." Aye, the republican party is full of just such democrats as he is. (Laughter.) — The republican party has been full of them ever since it has been in existence. (Continued laughter. A voice, "His brother got a colonelcy.") — He says we must go further, that if the constitution does not confer upon the president all the powers necessary to put down this rebellion, — that if, in the opinion of the president, the constitution does not confer the power necessary to subdue this rebellion, he has a right to suspend a portion or all of the constitution, and resort to such means, as in his judgment, are necessary to subdue the rebellion.
Now, gentlemen, I made this point upon him the other day, and some good republican friends of mind told me after the speech, that they thought I was mistaken; they did not think the republican party would be guilty of nominating a man who would make such a fool of himself as to say things of that sort. (Laughter.) They had not been indoctrinated into this new doctrine which they not promulgate. That there maybe no mistake about this, I propose to read a brief extract from his speech delivered in Chicago on the 27th of September, a few days after he was nominated for the office which he and I are now running for. I do not read from a democratic report of his speech; I read from the Chicago Tribune. [Derisive laughter.]
"So I say we must adopt whatever measures are necessary to crush this rebellion and save the country. I am not the judge of what is necessary, nor is any man here the judge. The president is the appointed judge, and when his mandate has gone forth every man is bound to obey. Abraham Lincoln is commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States. As such he possesses the power necessary to crush this rebellion. I care not what you name the measure; if it becomes necessary, that is the only question, and the man who does not respect the mandates of this supreme general when the country is in a death grapple with rebellion, is a traitor and deserves a traitor's doom. The president in such a time, I believe, is clothed with power as full as that of the Czar of Russia over this question, and the question of its exercise is for him and his constitutional advisers to determine. The Chicago Times is not the judge. If it is necessary, perhaps it is just as well for the people to become familiar with this power and the right to its exercise now as at any other time. If the president should determine that in order to crush this rebellion the constitution itself should be suspended during the rebellion, I believe he has the right to do it."
[The reading of the above extract was interrupted by frequent hisses and outbursts of derision.]
That, gentlemen, is an extract from his speech made on the 27th of last month, as published in the Chicago Tribune — and no good republican can deny that authority. [Laughter.]