The Meeting Last Night!
The meeting last night at the representatives hall was one of the largest local gatherings ever convened in the city. The hall was filled to utmost capacity, comprising people of all shades of partisan opinion, developing the deep-seated feeling which prevails among all classes in regard to the dreadful crisis in which the country is plunged.
Hon. S. M. Cullom called the meeting to order, and nominated for chairman, his democratic colleague in the last legislature, Hon. N. M. Broadwell, who, on taking the chair, eloquently explained the object of the meeting, depicting briefly the condition of the country, and urging the existing crisis as one in which partisan differences should be ignored, and that all should join in common cause in behalf of the flag of the Union. Mr. Broadwell's brief address was hailed with tumultuous applause by the immense assemblage. When he concluded,
Col. King called for "three cheers for the stars and stripes," which were given — three times three,
When, on motion the following vice presidents were nominated and unanimously chosen:
J. S. Bradford, J. K. Dubois, Wm. Lavely, Robert Irwin, John Williams, B. S. Edwards, William P. Grimsley, H. C. Meyers, G. A. Sutton, G. B. Simonds.
On motion the following secretaries were nominated and unanimously chosen by the meeting: W. H. Bailhache, George W. Teasdale and H. Bristol.
Mr. C. A. Keyes moved the appointment of a committee to report resolutions expressive of the views of the assemblage in regard to the existing crisis. The chair appointed the following: Charles A. Keyes, E. L. Baker, C. H. Lanphier, N. W. Matheny, H. G. Reynolds, E. B. Hawley, B. S. Watson.
Loud calls were then made for Hon. John A. McClernand, who took the stand. He spoke of his previous course in connection with the disputes growing out of the slave question, the angry discussion of which has led to the present state of the country. He differed with the administration in its views upon that subject. He had ever held this position, but now that it had resulted in a conflict between rebels and the constituted authorities of the Union, he was for the government, for the Union and its flag. Col. McClernand's discourse abounded in telling points, appealing to the patriotism of his hearers, and showing that partisan differences should not stand between the patriot and his duty to his government. He was loudly applauded from time to time, during the delivery of his speech, showing that his audience were of one mind, and that was to stand by the government in its resistance to rebellion.
After Mr. McClernand concluded Mr. Charles A. Keyes reported the following series of resolutions, from the committee appointed for that purpose:
Resolved, That the Union of the states, in the spirit of the constitution, and the just administration and observance of its laws, are indispensable to the preservation of the liberties and happiness of the people.
Resolved, That the Union of these states was intended by them all to be a perpetual Union; and that no power is reserved to any state to withdraw from the compact, except in manner prescribed by the constitution.
Resolved, That the attempt now being made to dissolve the Union and destroy the government by the array of military force — the seizure of arsenals and public property — the firing upon and capturing the forts and ships of the government — the shedding of blood, and the dishonoring of the national flag is revolutionary and treasonable; and, if successful, will reduce the nation to anarchy, demoralization and endless civil wars.
Resolved, That it is the duty of the government to maintain its constitutional authority throughout its entire jurisdiction, by all proper means of peaceful compromise and conciliation; and, when these fail, by all the military power at its command.
Resolved, That the Mississippi river is a great national highway, in which the states of the Northwest have a right which they will not suffer to be disturbed or impaired, by the attempted jurisdiction of any state or power whatever.
Resolved, That it is the duty of all patriotic citizens of Illinois, without distinction of party, or sect, to sustain the government through the peril which now threatens the existence of the Union; and of our legislature to grant such aid of men and money as the exigency of the hour and the patriotism of our people shall demand.
Resolved, That while we recognize the duty of thus sustaining the government, and preserving the constitution, we shall continue to seek a restoration of peaceful relations between the states; and we earnestly recommend that a national convention be called for a final adjustment, in a constitutional manner, of the difficulties now disturbing the peace and endangering the liberties of our beloved country.
The report was adopted with shouts of unanimity, cheer upon cheer going up in support of the principles and policy or the resolutions.
These resolutions cannot fail to meet the approval of men of all parties not willing to concede to secession the right to ride rough-shod over the loyal states of the Union, and to dictate terms to the country to suit the ambitious designs of its leaders, and lay the Union, the constitution and the laws at the feet of rebellion. They simply maintain the duty of the government to perform its constitutional functions, to assert its power and its duty to protect the property of the United States, to vindicate Illinois' rights in the national highways, and to point out the constitutional mode by which the vexed questions at issue could and should be settled, bringing our dangerous and ruinous strife to a peaceful issue.
The patriot not besotted by partisan or sectional prejudice, cannot but admit that the pro positions of the report covers the only practical ground by which peace can be achieved, and each section secure its constitutional rights. More than this the loyal states cannot concede, in justice to their own immediate interests. We trust that the administration will maintain its authority and resist rebellion in manner comporting with the spirit of these resolutions. They do not point to aggression — to subjugation, but to the maintenance of the governmental authority and the rights of the states, by peaceful means, with sterner means if these are not available, leaving to a national convention the final arbitration of the questions which divide us.
After the adoption of the resolutions Senator Trumbull was loudly called for. He took the stand, and in brief remarks, reviewed the circumstances which have culminated in the present state of things, and appealed to his audience to sink the ascerbities of the past, of party strife, while the country is menaced by rebels to its authority. He urged that it was the duty of the masses to prepare against aggression from the secessionists; that if they threatened or looked to the capture of Washington, that the national government should be enabled, not only to resist this, but to retaliate by a movement on the seat of secession power. He now ignored all issues in their partisan aspect, and hoped for the union of men of all parties for the preservation of the Union. Mr. Trumbull's remarks were received with marked attention, and were warmly applauded.
Mr. Wyatt, of Logan, followed with pertinent remarks in behalf of the Union cause.
The meeting as constituted, its purpose and its results, are significant of the state of public feeling at the capital of Illinois. There was no exhibition of sectional enmity, no disparagement of our southern brethren, but it was a dignified, popular demonstration, evincing the deep interest which our community feel in the struggle in which the country is engaged, and their grief at the evils which it brings, and their heart-felt desire to avert the calamities which its continuance threaten. While they feel thus they show their determination to stand by their country — come weal, come woe.