Gentlemen of the General Assembly:
The duty of addressing the assembled Legislature of the State again devolves upon me amid events painful to every patriot. A most causeless, yet most gigantic, civil war still continues to ravage the land. To-day many a desolate hearth-stone mutely appeals to Heaven for protection to the widow bereaved, the child made fatherless, the brother or sister stricken with the sorrow that no earthly hand can soothe. To-day the enemies of our country, of its unity, its nationality, and its glorious old flag, proudly defy the constituted authorities, and with fire and sword, with all the dread enginery of war, are madly striving to tear down that magnificent temple of constitutional liberty which the hands of our patriot fathers so carefully raised, and the stones of which are cemented with their blood.
Amid such shocking scenes, amid calamities, which, a few short years since, it had not entered into human imagination to conceive, it is with a deep sense of the responsibility of my position, that I proceed to the task before me. Under ordinary circumstances, it well becomes us to be modest of our own merits and abilities. But when compelled to witness the agonies of our country, writhing in the very throes of dissolution, individuals become dwarfed in stature and the soul of the proudest and bravest pauses awe-struck at the march of events.
Under such extraordinary circumstances, then, as those which now surround us, does it doubly become us to look less to our own proud hearts for strength, and more to the sustaining power of that God, who ever disposes of all that man proposes.
Still, amid all the frightful calamities attendant upon war, and doubly so upon one waged by two sections of a common country, there are some sources of consolation, not altogether dried up. Our State has nobly stood by the Constitution and the Union. She has not faltered for a moment in her devotion. She has sent her sons in thousands, to defend the flag and avenge the insults heaped upon it by the traitor hordes who have dared to trail it in the dust. On every battle-field she has poured out her blood, a willing sacrifice. And she still stands ready to do or die in the glorious cause. She has also sent out the angel of mercy, side by side with him who carries the flaming sword of war. On the gory battle-field, amid the dying and the dead, in the hospital, among the sick and wounded soldiers of our State, may be seen her sons and daughters ministering consolation, and shedding the presence of a benign charity, which knows no fear; which dreads not the pestilence that walketh by night or the bullet of the foe by day.
In all these things Illinois has made herself the admiration, and excited the generous envy of her sister States, who have remained true to the Union. And in them we find consolation amid so much national affliction.
In the three departments of industrial progress — agriculture, manufactures and commerce — there has been a most remarkable development, and this notwithstanding the war has diverted so large a proportion of the most effective and most skilled labor of the country from its ordinary fields of usefulness.
Early in the history of our national disturbances, it became a matter of serious solicitude to the patriot, to know whether the agricultural resources of the loyal States could meet the draft which must, of necessity, be made upon them by the organization and long-continued maintenance of a large army.
Intelligent agriculturists, representing that system of labor, which under all circumstances and in every condition, has proven itself thoroughly loyal to good government, at once comprehended the full measure of their responsibility and the vital importance of their trust. So far as this State is concerned, the results are of the most gratifying character. New life, industry and intelligence
5have pervaded every branch of agricultural production. Inventive skill, by its many improvements in machinery for farm culture, has almost entirely compensated for the withdrawal of one-third of the manual labor hitherto employed. The production of the old staples, corn, wheat, beef and pork, has not been sensibly diminished; while cotton, tobacco and molasses have assumed an importance among our annual crops, heretofore unknown. Of the last named an abundance has been produced the past year to supply the demand for home consumption, and, from experiments already made, I have reason to hope that our dependence on other portions of the world for SUGAR, will, in a few years, entirely cease. In anticipation of a diminished supply of other fibres for manufacture, the growing of wool, to which our broad prairies are so admirably adapted, has received a strong impetus. Many thousands of sheep have been added to our flocks, by purchases abroad, and it is confidently believed our next annual clip will fall little, if any, below that of either of the older States.
It is stated, on good authority, and believed to be true, that Illinois, for the past two years, has sent away food enough to supply ten millions of people; and that the surplus now on hand is equal to the amount sent off in any one shipping season. This immense production, with the evidence it affords of the extent of our resources, even in their present condition of limited development, is largely referable to the influence exerted and intelligence diffused through the medium of our state and county agricultural and horticultural organizations. The great mass of our people are and must remain, from choice or necessity, tillers of the soil. Upon the prosperity of the producing classes must depend, in either peace or war, the well-being of every other material interest of the country. They mainly fill, from their own numbers, the ranks of our armies and then maintain them in the field.
Congress, at the last session, extended to this great interest a national recognition, by the creation of a new department, especially designed to promote and foster it. Is it necessary to add that all legislation, state or national, which has for its object to afford aid and encouragement to the producing classes and dignify labor, is, in a government constituted like ours, eminently wise and proper?
For further information on this subject, I will refer you to the report of the agricultural society, now awaiting your order for publication.
6If the reports of this society could be published annually, the information to our farmers would be worth far more than the cost to the State.
Another of the most striking evidences of our prosperity, is the great increase in population and business of our principal cities and towns. Thus, during the past two years, our metropolitan capital has added nearly twenty-seven thousand to her population, rising from one hundred and nine to over one hundred and thirty thousand. Nearly all the other cities in the State have also largely increased in population.
The total value of the real and personal property of the State cannot fall short of a thousand millions of dollars. The census of 1860 places it at $871,860,282. This exceeds that of states much older than ours. Thus, Missouri is set down in the last census returns at only five hundred millions, and Kentucky at about six hundred and sixty millions.
An examination of the census of 1860, just published, shows with what rapid strides Illinois is outstripping all the other states in agricultural products. Ten years ago behind many of them, she is now contesting the palm for the first in almost every one of the staples. She now produces twice as much corn as any other state — almost twice as much wheat; in neat cattle, the first; in hogs, but little behind Ohio; and in the value of live stock of all kinds, she is already the second state in the Union. And here it is proper to add, that the valuation of property by our county assessors is by no means a proper criterion, as it is well known to be, in many cases, very variable, and in all absurdly low. The question arises whether it would not be better, for the interest of the State abroad, to have the assessments higher and the taxes lower. And also, whether some measures may not be devised for the equalization of assessments throughout the State.
In population the State has also increased in a very rapid ratio, rising from the seventh state in the Union, in 1850, to the fourth in 1860, leaving behind in the race many of her older sisters.
7Thus, in 1820, Illinois had a population of but 55,162, and Missouri 66,517, and in 1860 the population of Illinois rose to 1,711,951, while that of Missouri only reached 1,182,612. By examining the last census returns, we shall see that no State has made such rapid strides in population and wealth as our own. In ten years, at our present rate of increase, we will be the third state in the Union. In twenty years we will be the second, if not indeed the first in population, and the third in wealth. Such progress, unprecedented in the growth of states or empires, opens up a future to the vision of the political economist, pregnant with new ideas, as regards the progress of American civilization. In less than half a century, Illinois has sprung out of the wilderness into a full grown civilization, teeming with all the blessings of a most happy and prosperous condition of society, as Minerva is represented in heathen mythology, full robed in wisdom and beauty, leaping from the brow of Jove.
In railroads Illinois is really the first, though, nominally, the second state in the Union. We have now over 3,000 miles of railroads intersecting the State in all directions, north and south, east and west. Ten years since, we possessed in all but ninety-five miles within the entire limits of the State. The cost of construction of all the railroad property in the State, at that period, was but $1,440,507. In 1860, it was $104,944,561. Probably the history of the world does not present such an instance of progress. Were it not for these roads, the war, which closed up the Mississippi river to our commerce, would have fearfully crippled our resources. By these roads we have been enabled to send forward immense quantities of agricultural products to market. Thus the roads and canal centering in Chicago, delivered, in 1861, nearly 60,000,000 bushels of grain, 675,000 hogs, and nearly 60,000 head of cattle. In 1862, I learn that they will have delivered nearly 70,000,000 bushels of grain, 900,000 to 1,000,000 of hogs, and over 170,000 head of beef cattle.
If the commerce of other railroad centers could be obtained, it would doubtless exhibit an amount of business done by all the railroads in the State, which would very far exceed the travel and traffic of the Mississippi river in its palmiest days. So that we have, to some extent, been compensated for the loss of that river
8by those artificial and rival means of communication, which are no doubt destined, in the progress of civilization, to supersede, to a great degree, the merely natural channels of commerce. Many of our citizens, and a portion of the press of the State, have complained of the monopoly of the commerce of our State, which the railroads have possessed, since the closing of the river. But I do not see how it could have been avoided. The same monopoly would have existed, on the other hand, had the railroad communication been interrupted, and that by the river only left open. The only way to prevent all such monopolies of the means of transit, or at least to mitigate their evils, is, by the encouragement of new enterprises, so that by competition we may be able to successfully oppose combinations and monopolies of all kinds. But in the end, all these matters, if left to the inevitable laws of trade and commerce, of supply and demand, will most certainly regulate themselves.
Notwithstanding, however, that the railroads have, to some extent, served as a substitute for river communication, still the loss to the great Northwest, in this respect, is incalculable. Ten millions of our people are, deeply interested in the navigation of the Mississippi. The price of every article of western produce has been reduced in consequence of its, obstruction. Our flour, wheat, corn, cattle, and hogs, are taxed with such rates for overland transportation as materially to reduce the prices at home. Once remove the monopoly enjoyed by the railroads, by bringing the Mississippi into competition with them, and every article of western produce would probably command twice the price it now brings.
From the commencement of the war, I have, strictly kept in view, and, on all proper occasions, earnestly recommended the policy of keeping the great natural thoroughfare of the West unobstructed. I submit, herewith, a copy of the correspondence between the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, with Gen. Scott, upon this subject. In this correspondence the Governors recommended the immediate occupation of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by Federal troops, at Cairo, Memphis, and every important point, with the paramount idea of keeping that river open to the two hundred millions of dollars of our commerce, as a
9means of transportation of our munitions of war, enabling our armies to deal destructive blows upon the enemy from various bases; also, as a means of strengthening our own positions and giving aid and protection to the Union sentiment of the slave states bordering upon them, by having present a sufficient force to protect loyal men in the expression of their sentiments, and in their property.
There can be no doubt, that in the multitude of enterprises demanding the attention and efforts of the administration, it has too long delayed this. It is a source of mortification to all western men, that the Mississippi should have remained so long obstructed, when every man of us at the West, has felt, and still feels, that it can be opened whenever western valor is appealed to and brought to the accomplishment of that object. Indeed, it is not only an immense loss to the whole Northwest, but directly touches the pride of her loyal people.
We have now reason to hope that the administration will boldly and effectually press forward the enterprise. At the same time, from all our Legislative bodies, from the press, and the people, should go up a united expression, demanding that, throughout its entire length, the Mississippi shall remain unobstructed to our commerce, our gunboats, our troops, and our munitions of war.
Notwithstanding that our State has not more than entered upon the first division of the three grand departments of industry, into which civilization naturally divides itself, namely, agriculture, still some considerable advances have been made in manufactures. Many centers, destined in the future to become great emporiums of industry and art, have been established. The crude elements of manufactures and the mechanic arts exist in profusion all through our State. All that is needed is the plastic hand of skilled labor to fashion them into articles of use and luxury. Our coal mines are more extensive and richer than those of any other state, or even nation, in the world. The geological survey of the State discloses the fact that the value of the coal bed underlying the county of Perry alone, at the low price of one dollar and fifty cents per ton, amounts to three billions and two hundred and fifty-nine millions of dollars. Our lead mines are inexhaustible. We also,
10possess beds of iron ore and other mineral treasures, as yet, but partially developed, and which only await the combined industry, skill and capital of civilized man to make them useful to society. Illinois is, thus, not a merely agricultural State. On the contrary, it possesses more than is common to other States, of those elements which go towards building up agriculture, manufactures and commerce, in such a beautiful and perfect proportion of parts, that one necessarily rests upon and sustains the other, and all combine to present a picture of the only true civilization — that in which employment exists for every individual, according to his ability, and the bent of his genius. In truth, Illinois, more than any other State, presents all the elements of national greatness. Massachusetts is famous for manufactures, New York for commerce, Pennsylvania for coal, Ohio for hogs, Missouri and Indiana for corn, Virginia for wheat. But Illinois is famous for all combined. She rivals New York in her commerce, Pennsylvania in her coal, Ohio in her hogs, Missouri and Indiana in their corn, and Virginia in her wheat crop; and it only rests with ourselves to rival Massachusetts in her manufactures, for we have the elements of them in boundless profusion. As a merely agricultural State we shall always remain in an infantile and undeveloped condition. As a merely manufacturing State, without agriculture, we would possess no basis upon which to sustain life. While without commerce, means of communication, railroads, etc., we could never unite both agriculture and manufactures in the indissoluble bonds of a unity, that at the same time admits of an indefinite variety.
We should encourage manufactures and the mechanic arts by every possible means not absolutely injurious to other interests. In the end such encouragement brings its reward with it. By so doing we create a home market for our agricultural products, vary those products in an almost indefinite degree, and thus create new fields of labor and open up additional channels of trade and commerce. It has been often well said that he who makes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before is a benefactor to the human race. How much more, he who creates a new means of employment for hundreds and thousands of his fellow men?
In 1861, in the City of Chicago, a single point of manufacturing enterprise in the State, $6,537,000 were invested in the buildings and machinery of the various branches of mechanical and manufacturing industry. In these establishments articles to the value of
11$17,000,000 were produced, while eleven thousand persons were provided with employment. These figures will doubtless be increased, rather than diminished, by the returns of the past year. The census of 1860 gives the capital invested in real and personal estate in the manufactures of this State, at $27,700,000; the value of raw material of such manufactures, at $33,000,000; and the value of the annual product, at $56,750,000. The number of establishments is 4,100; the number of persons employed, 24,370. In productions of manufacture, Illinois is already the seventh state in the Union.
At the close of the last session of the Assembly a bill was passed appropriating one thousand dollars for the benefit of the State Library, with an amendment, abolishing the Geological Survey. I considered it my duty to withhold my approval of this bill, on account of the amendment, and I trust to your wisdom for a reconsideration. The special reasons for my action in this matter will be stated in a separate veto message. And I wish, now, merely to call your attention to the importance of such a thorough scientific and practical survey of the State, as shall exhibit the full extent of our natural resources, our coal lands, our lead and iron mines, our building materials, marbles, and limestones, our salt and mineral springs, and to the advantage of making them more generally known, and of calling the attention of enterprising men to the exploitation of our wealth. These explorations would show to the world that we have not only broad acres of fertile land, facilities of commerce, and the elements of manufacture, but that we, also, strive to develop our resources to the best advantage, with all the aids of science, and a full knowledge of their extent and value. Our State is, generally, supposed to be merely grain growing, and dependent, for all time to come, upon other states for the manufactured articles which it consumes. This opinion was forcibly brought to my notice some time ago, while traveling in the cars, with the governors of Pennsylvania and Ohio, through the former state. On meeting a large coal train Gov. Curtin remarked: "There is the wealth of Pennsylvania. In Illinois, I suppose, you count your wealth by the bushels of wheat and corn, and you in Ohio by the weight of your pork." "Yes," I replied, "but the day will soon come when we, in Illinois, will, besides our golden harvests
12of grain, raise as much pork as Ohio, and turn out as much coal as Pennsylvania. While your coal is high up in rugged mountains, scarcely accessible to the iron horse, and remote from the centers of manufacture, ours is easily accessible, close to railways and navigable rivers, in the midst of districts of surpassing fertility."
Illinois, in the year 1860, was the fourth state in the Union, in the number of bushels of coal produced. I predict that our State will before long be the commercial center of the Union, as it is the geographical. From the report of the State Geologist, it will appear that this prediction is more than likely to be fulfilled. He estimates the amount of coal in a single county, which is not favored beyond many others, at over two thousand millions of tons, enough to form a permanent source of wealth and undreamed of development. Should we, then, abolish a survey which invites the manufacturer and mechanic and teaches us such lessons of future greatness and points out the way of attaining it? The proud position which our State has attained in the Union demands that we should not now lag behind our sister states, but, with an enlightened policy, foster an undertaking which reflects high credit upon the State, while it is calculated to advance our material prosperity; and even at the present time, when all our energies are strained to put down a gigantic rebellion, it would be unwise to withhold a comparatively small appropriation, and thus stop the work and cause the loss of a large portion of the valuable material already collected.
Accompanying, I submit a short report of progress by the State Geologist, from which it appears that during the last year the survey has been vigorously prosecuted. Quite a number of counties have been examined, and detailed geological maps executed of several of the explored districts. Several colleges and scientific institutions have been furnished by the survey, at their solicitation, with collections of duplicate specimens, forming a most welcome addition to their means of information.
A lengthy report of the State Geologist, of considerable scientific value, embodying the labors of the present State Geologist, the assistants, and of several prominent scientific gentlemen, who aided him in special departments, up to the end of 1860, was submitted at the last regular session of the Legislature, which failed to make any disposition of it.
For a view of the condition and prospects of the Normal and Common schools of the State, and of the invincible arguments by which their maintenance and improvement are supported, you are referred to the masterly report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. I have examined that report with profound interest and attention. It reveals the gratifying fact that the great interests of education have suffered far less, from the stormy events which have marked almost the whole period which it embraces, than could reasonably have been expected. Indeed, the present condition of the public schools is, in several important particulars, more prosperous and hopeful than ever before, while the number of students in the Normal University is considerably larger than at any former period.
Most if not all of the amendments of the last session of the General Assembly, have been found to work well, while the effects of grading county certificates and granting life certificates to teachers of distinguished merit, have been particularly auspicious. But I do not propose even a synopsis of the Superintendent's report. I merely solicit for it the earnest consideration which the magnitude of the themes presented, and the great force and convincing ability with which they are discussed, so justly entitle it, and to recommend a continuance of that enlightened and liberal policy with reference to free schools, which has already done so much for the honor, of the State, and the fruits of which are to be enjoyed by ourselves and future generations.
Your attention is, also, called to an act of Congress donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, approved July 2, 1862.
By this law there is granted to the several states, upon the conditions specified therein, an amount of public land, (to be apportioned to each state in the ratio of 30,000 acres for each senator and representative in Congress, to which the states are respectively entitled by the apportionment under the census of 1860,) the interest arising from the sales of which lands shall be inviolably appropriated
14by each state, for the purpose of the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture, and the mechanic arts, and military tactics, without excluding other scientific studies.
One of these conditions is, that no state shall be entitled to the benefit of the act, unless it shall express its acceptance thereof, by its Legislature, within two years from the date of its approval by the President.
The eminently worthy objects of this munificent donation will unquestionably meet with your warm approval and indorsement. The agricultural interests of our great State are far in advance of all others, and every measure which tends to the development of our resources, the advancement of agricultural knowledge, and improvements in our mechanical arts should receive our encouragement and support. I commend, therefore, this subject to your careful and earnest consideration, and recommend that the necessary laws be passed to avail our State of this grant.
The reports of the various State benevolent institutions at Jacksonville — for the blind, insane, and deaf and dumb — have not yet reached me. When they are presented, I shall submit them to the General Assembly. I recommend that the usual appropriations for these institutions be made as heretofore, on the grounds of obvious necessity and charity. Provision should be made in all well-regulated communities for persons so unfortunately mentally or physically afflicted as to be unable to maintain themselves.
By reference to the report of the Penitentiary Commissioners to the Auditor of Public Accounts, which will be laid before your body, it will be seen that the total expenditures to this date in the construction of the penitentiary amount to $752,352 85. It will further be observed that of the appropriation of $226,093 48, made by the last General Assembly, to carry on the work, there has been expended $223,725 43 up to this date; and that additional work, amounting to $116,388 00 has also been done; for which the Commissioners have issued to the contractors their acceptances,
15payable when the Legislature should make an appropriation to cancel the same.
In their report, the Commissioners have set forth in detail what seem to be well-founded reasons for the course they have pursued. They likewise present a carefully prepared estimate of the amount that will be required to complete that work. From all the information I have been able to obtain upon the subject, it would appear that the appropriation made by the last General Assembly has been judiciously and economically expended; and that the estimates for the, final completion of this important work are reasonable and just.
I, therefore, respectfully recommend that the necessary appropriations be made to pay the Commissioners' acceptances and complete the work.
The last General Assembly enjoined upon the Commissioners the duty of presenting to the present Legislature a system for the future control and management of the penitentiary. In pursuance of that requirement, they have prepared and will present for your consideration a bill, embodying some of what they deem to be the most desirable features of the systems governing such institutions in other states. This is a subject which ought to, as I doubt not it will, receive your most careful consideration.
The State, at a large expense, has now nearly finished one of the most extensive and complete penitentiaries in the world, embracing all the modern appliances for the safety and well-being of the convict. It now devolves upon you to adopt such a system for its future management as shall be in harmony, as well with the vast outlay of money by the State in the erection of so extensive a work as the most approved methods of conducting penal institutions. I bespeak such attention to the views of the Commissioners, embraced in their reports to the General Assembly and the Auditor, as their careful study of the whole subject would seem to merit.
As these important public buildings will undoubtedly soon be located at some points in the West, and the various states will enter into a natural and proper rivalry therefore, I cannot too strongly urge you to memorialize Congress upon the subject, and to present the strong claims and superior advantages which our State possesses.
Most surely we can hold out every inducement — capacious harbors, navigable rivers, water-power, material for building ships and manufacturing arms, coal, railroad facilities and connections — and whatever else is necessary in these public works in as great abundance, as cheaply, and of as good quality as any other state in the Union.
Congress has now under consideration the subject of the enlargement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, so as to allow the transit of steamboats and vessels of war from the Mississippi to the Lakes. As a great military measure, enabling us to concentrate our military force from the South and the Valley of the Mississippi upon the Lakes, or to send our fleets from the Lakes down the Mississippi, to meet any emergency of the country, this work cannot be excelled in importance. Considered in its bearing upon the commercial, manufacturing and agricultural interests, it is of the utmost magnitude. But not only this, it would be another bond of union between the North and the South, the East and West, bringing all into closer relations, by increased inter-communication over this great continental thoroughfare. I therefore recommend to the General Assembly that Congress be earnestly memorialized to construct this great national work.
In this connection, I submit, herewith, a letter from the President of the Central Railroad, of date December 3,1862, for a union of the waters of Lake Erie and the Hudson river, by the enlargement of the Erie Canal to dimensions large enough to float lake vessels through, without breaking bulk. I think this a subject also worthy of being brought to the attention of Congress. The State of Illinois has a deeper interest in the construction of both these last named works than any other State, because her capacity for production is boundless, and every year she has a surplus far beyond her local wants. All she wants to give value to her present surplus, to increase her future production ten-fold, and in every conceivable manner to add to her wealth and prosperity, is WAYS TO MARKET.
It is with regret I mention that the Illinois Central Railroad Company has failed to pay the State, both the June and December installments of the seven per centum proceeds of the road, due
17in December, 1861, and June, 1862. The Auditor has caused a suit to be instituted against the company, which is now pending. The road being a north and south one, seems to have been much embarrassed by the blockade of the Mississippi, reducing largely its receipts from the southern end of the road, and also from the fact that it has been required to afford military transportation to the United States at one-third less than the average rate allowed to other roads. Two points of difference have arisen between the president of the company and the State authorities. The company claims the right to have audited against the State the sum of $116,719 08 for military transportation, partly ordered by the State authorities. They do not claim that this sum can be legally set off against the seven per centum gross proceeds due the State. The president disavows any such claim. He claims, however, that the United States refuses to pay this amount until the Board of Army Auditors have audited the claim against the State, as the accounts of other roads have been audited.
On the other hand, it has seemed to me that, as by the terms of the charter, the road was "to be free to the United States;" and, as the company had entered into a contract with the United States, as to terms of transportation, and stipulated for compensation for rolling stock, and additional expense incurred, growing out of increased demand upon the capacities of the road, that the claim of the road, for its transportation account, was properly chargeable to the United States and not to the State. I have interposed no objection to the Board of Auditors certifying to the performance of the service and the correctness of the account, but could not see that the State should charge herself with the debt and wait the pleasure of the Government for reimbursement. It is not clear that the claim, once audited against the State, would not become a legal set-off against the seven per cent. gross proceeds due the State. In such case, the United States failing to reimburse in time, the State would, to that, amount, be unable to purchase interest paying State indebtedness, to which purpose the seven per centum of the gross proceeds is to be specifically applied, as directed by the terms of the charter of the road.
The other point of difference, and now pending by friendly reference to the Supreme Court, is this: The president of the company claims the right to report, as the gross earnings of the road, the amount received in currency reduced to a specie basis, or a
18discount equal to the difference in the market value between paper and specie. I cannot controvert the equity of this claim, in so far as the company may have actually and necessarily sustained loss in paying out the currency or buying exchange, because the company could not be expected to refuse the common currency of the country in the payment for transportation, received by other roads; and because, also, so far as currency was received, that would be "gross proceeds," of which seven per centum would be due the State in currency, and not in specie without discount. But, while I could not deny the equity of the discount claimed, I did not believe that, as an executive officer, I would have the right, without special authority from the Legislature, to allow the discount, because it would devolve upon me a judicial duty to determine what the discount actually had been, from day to day, in the fluctuations of value. The report of the president is required by the charter to be verified by affidavit, and I think it would be just to the Central Railroad, if the General Assembly would confer upon me the power to settle with the company, allowing it the discount actually sustained, as verified by the oath of the president. It would be proper, I think, also, for the General Assembly to pass a declaratory law, authorizing the company to receive the common currency of the country, and requiring exact accounts to be kept from day to day of losses actually sustained, verified by oath, and that the State should collect seven per centum of the amount received in dollars, first deducting the amount of such losses.
It is to be said, in behalf of this company, that they have most promptly, willingly, and uncomplainingly responded to all the calls of the Government in the transportation of troops; and very many cases have come to my knowledge, in which they have, transported our sanitary stores, and nurses, and moneyless sick and wounded, without expense. Indeed, from the best information I can get, it may be said, of all the roads of the State, that they have promptly met the calls of the Government, in its present emergency. So far as abuses may have occurred, in all cases, I suppose, they have been without the approval of their chief officers.
It is proper to state, that in no event can the State lose its seven per Centum of the proceeds of the road, because the 24th section of the charter provides that "the State shall have a prior lien
19upon said road and branches and all the appurtenaces and stock thereof, for all penalties, taxes, and dues, which may accrue to the State from said corporation, as provided herein; which lien of the State shall take precedence of all demands judgments, or decrees against said corporation."
The out-break of the present unprecedented rebellion found us with a circulation of bank notes, under our banking law, of over $12,000,000; secured by State and United States stocks to the amount of over $13,000,000. About three-fourths of this sum was made up of stocks of the southern states. Of course, so fast as these states threw off their allegiance, and arrayed themselves under the banner of rebellion, confidence in their credit, in a great measure, was destroyed, and their stocks rapidly depreciated in value. From ninety and one hundred cents on the dollar, they soon fell to forty and fifty.
Whenever the securities of any bank, by this depreciation, fell below the amount required by law, the Auditor gave the necessary notice, requiring the owner to make up the deficiency, and failing to do this, it was at once placed in liquidation, and the assets sold. This result could not have been foreseen or provided against. The direct consequences of a war, in any country, are, to disturb its financial operations. The channels of trade are obstructed and changed, a speculative feeling and new demands produce a revolution in prices and exchanges, and a general derangement in all the great interests of trade and business is sure to follow; regularity and permanence are succeeded by fluctuation and change.
The loss at the time, to our citizens, from this failure of securities, was immense; but it could not have fallen upon them at a time when they were better able or prepared to sustain it. Uninterrupted prosperity, unequaled in the history of any state or nation, had characterized and attended all the material interests of our people. Unparalleled harvests, the rewards of their industry, had filled their granaries, and brought to our farmers rich rewards. As great as the loss was, such has been the appreciation in gold, (for which the bonds sold,) that those who have been able to hold their bills until this time will be able to realize their par value, in many cases far in excess of it.
The amendments which "were made to the General Banking Law, at the last regular session of the Legislature — designed to prevent the issue of any more circulating notes to the banks, exceeding three times their actual cash capital, and absolutely prohibiting any issue except in cases where an actual and bona fide capital of at least $25,000 exists — seem to have answered the intended purpose. It is believed that the circulation of our existing banks is well secured. I suggest, however, to the Legislature the expediency of further legislation in relation to the custody of the bonds. In my message to the Legislature, at its opening session, of 1861, I recommended "that provision be made against illegal transfers or removals of bonds from the custody of the State Treasurer, by the use of a stamp or seal, or other identification, which would prevent their being negotiated." As this is the only great risk the bill-holders run, I suggest whether it would not be well to require an absolute transfer, by indorsement upon the bonds, of the securities deposited for circulation, to the State, and a provision for their cancellation, and the issuing of new bonds when said securities should be taken up by the bank or Auditor, for purpose of sale, under the provisions of the law. I understand such provision exists in some of the states — in one, where I am told that, previously thereto, securities had been abstracted from their depository. So great has been the injury to the people of this State from losses on securities deposited for circulation, (though, I am happy to say, no loss has occurred in this State, from the fault of any custodian of such securities,) that no precaution for the protection of the public should be omitted.
The subject of the currency is one of the most intensely interesting to the people of the State. The circulating medium controls and regulates all our industrial interests. In war and peace it is the great engine that moves both men and merchandise, distributing, as it does, the very life blood of the body commercial and industrial. Any sudden change in the currency of the State or nation is to be deprecated, because its effects are felt through all the ramifications of commerce, and even society itself, for good or evil. If the results be beneficial, they are most generally counterbalanced by great wrongs inflicted on some portions of the community or some branches of business. If they be evil, the whole community suffers to such a degree as to completely paralyze every branch of industry. I would consequently recommend great care and prudence
21in all your action looking to this most important subject as the interests of the entire State are involved therein. We are also living in times of great political changes, the like of which had not before been experienced, and such as have in all times involved great financial perturbations. The secession of the revolted states cost our people millions of dollars through the depreciation of their stocks held as security for the circulation of our banks. Now, however, I am happy to state, only the stocks of our own State are used. Thus, it behooves us, not only from motives of interest, but from the instinctive feeling of loyalty existing in the breast of every true patriot, that we should take especial pains in preserving the currency of our State on such a basis of solid security as will make it the pride of our own and the admiration of every other people.
I do not know of a more appropriate period than the present for calling your attention to the propriety, and indeed necessity, of a more uniform system, as between the states, in respect to matters of currency, and many other subjects of general legislation. Such uniformity would tend to more closely knit the states together.
It will strike any person at all conversant with monetary affairs, that a currency of uniform value throughout the entire country is greatly to be desired. It tends to the more perfect regulation of our system of trade and commerce, obviates ruinous differences in the rates of exchange, and makes it the interest of the whole people to uphold and protect the representative of value, whatever it may be. Every man who holds a five dollar treasury note has so much interest in upholding the common country. I have no doubt had a uniform currency existed throughout the Union, previously to the breaking out of the rebellion, our relations would have been so interwoven as to have rendered it difficult for the traitors to have consummated, to the extent now unfortunately existing, the secession of the revolted states. The initiative upon this subject could be happily taken by our State in recommending to other state legislatures some basis for a currency to be adopted as nearly as may be with a view to bring about the uniformity so much to be desired.
Since the last regular meeting of the Legislature, in addition to the payment of interest, the following amount of State indebtedness has been liquidated, viz:
|With the State debt fund, principal and interest,||$38,260 06|
|With the Illinois Central Railroad fund,||20,140 93|
|Interest stock paid under Governor's proclamation, since January 2, 1861,||12,000 00|
The amount and specifications of the remaining debt on the 1st day of December, 1862, were as follows:
|Illinois bank and internal improvement stock, due after 1860,||$31,000 00|
|Illinois internal improvement stock, due after 1870,||42,000 00|
|Illinois and Michigan Canal stock for N. C. R. R., due after 1860,||3,400 00|
|Internal improvement scrip, payable at the pleasure of the State,||21,293 39|
|Liquidation bonds, payable after 1865,||243,890 21|
|New internal improvement stock, payable after 1870,||1,970,966 84|
|Interest bonds of July, 1847, payable after 1877,||1,322,985 33|
|Interest stock of 1857, payable at the pleasure of the State,||737,223 59|
|Three certificates for arrears of interest,||1,363 83|
|Refunded stock (coupon bonds,) (see exhibit,)||1,951,000 00|
|Normal University bonds, due after 1879||65,000 00|
|Thornton loan bonds, due after 1879,||171,000 00|
|Balance canal claims, Thornton loan,||14,624 61|
|War bonds due after ($50,000 for revenue purposes,)||2,050,000 00|
|Illinois and Michigan Canal bonds, payable in New York,||$1,856,100 00|
|Illinois and Michigan Canal bonds, payable in London,||1,777,822 23|
|Interest certificates canal stock, unregistered,||19,713 38|
|Canal scrip,||4,039 02|
|Macallister & Stebbins bonds,||53,958 94|
|Total debt,||$12,337,381 37|
The receipts into the treasury for revenue purposes for two years, ending November 30, 1862, including the amount of the two mill tax and other funds transferred to the revenue, in accordance with the act of February 8, 1861, and the amount of said funds paid directly to the credit of revenue by virtue of the same act, together with the receipts of revenue from all other sources, as appears from the report of the Auditor, is $1,775,239 87.
Of this amount there has been paid out in the same period for the ordinary and contingent expenses of the State government, as shown by the Auditor's report, the sum of $864,007 04.
For special appropriations, including the carrying on of the works of the new penitentiary at Joliet, and improvements of various kinds constructed at the State charitable institutions at Jacksonville, the further sum of $531,271 83.
There has also been paid the further sum of $5,263 81, in redemption of warrants issued previously to December 1, 1860.
The above sums, paid out, amount in the aggregate to $1,400,542 68, leaving in the treasury, on December 1, 1862, $374,697 19.
On the first day of December, 1860, the treasury was completely drained of revenue, as can be seen by reference to the reports made to the last General Assembly.
The amount of interest fund received during the two years covered by the reports of the Auditor and Treasurer is $1,153,419 36.
This amount, with the sum of $259,424 90, on hand December 1, 1860, and $286,292 15 transferred from the revenue fund for the purpose of payment of interest on the public debt, as authorized by the act of February 8, 1861, makes, in the aggregate, $1,699,136 41.
From this sum has been paid the interest accruing upon the funded debt of the State, amounting to $1,338,153 41.
This leaves in the hands of the Treasurer on December 1, 1862, the sum of $360,983.
Of this amount some $334,911 97 will be required to meet the installment of interest due January 1, 1863. Also a further sum of $410,164 92 will be required to meet the installment of interest due July 1, 1863.
This latter amount is, however, subject to variation, on account of the fluctuations in the rate of sterling exchange. The basis used in the calculation is 11 per cent. premium for exchange when purchased with coin.
The reason that a larger amount will be required for the July installment of interest than for that falling due in January is because the interest on a part of the sterling canal bonds is payable annually, instead of semi-annually, as is the case with other bonds issued by the State.
The laws, governing the levy and rates of the tax for interest purposes, now in force, authorize the Auditor to levy, for the payment of interest on the debt, other than the "War Loan," a tax not exceeding one and one-half mills on the dollar of taxable property. The Auditor is also authorized and required to levy (in addition to the foregoing) such a rate of tax as will produce an amount sufficient to pay the interest on the "War Loan."
The taxes levied by the Auditor under these laws are one and one-half mills on the dollar for general interest purposes, and one-half mill on the dollar for interest on the "War Loan."
The first of these rates is the highest allowed by law. The last is presumed to be sufficient for the purpose of paying the interest on the "War Loan," no more than a sufficient rate for the payment of which interest can be legally assessed.
An examination of the statements contained in the Auditor's report, showing the amount of property assessed in the State, and of the statements showing the proportion collected of the taxes levied, will demonstrate clearly that the receipts of interest tax at the highest rates of levy now authorized will fall considerably short of the amount of interest to be paid. I presume that no change in the rates of tax for this purpose would be necessary, if reliance could be placed on the prompt payment of State taxes by the Illinois Central Railroad, as the fund derived from the payments of said company, together with all other surplus funds in the treasury, is by law made subject to the payment of interest. The experience of the past year shows that this source of revenue cannot, with certainty, as to time, be relied on. It therefore seems necessary that a higher rate of taxation should be authorized for payment of interest on the public debt. It will be for your honorable body to determine the proper rate to be authorized. My own opinion is that not less than three mills on the dollar of valuation will be found sufficient.
In view of the entire withdrawal of gold and silver, and the substitution of United States Treasury currency as a circulating medium, I cannot but deem it my duty to recommend the passage of laws authorizing the collection of State and other taxes in the national currency. The difficulty, amounting almost to impossibility, of obtaining coin at any rate of premium places it out of the power of the mass of the tax payers to discharge their obligations to the State Government in any other than the currency they, themselves, are required to receive for their labor and productions.
I am clearly of opinion that the effort to collect taxes in coin would only result in certain failure. I would, therefore, recommend this subject as one demanding your immediate attention. It is important that whatever action is had in the premises should be at the earliest possible date, the tax books being now in the hands of the collectors.
There is gold enough in the treasury, accruing from the interest tax, to pay the interest due January 1, 1863. There is also sufficient, including interest, revenue and Central Railroad funds, to pay that falling due in July, 1863. The revenue now collected to pay interest will also not be needed till the 1st of January, 1864. At that date, if foreign bondholders will not receive the Treasury notes, and if these notes will not command the amount due at par, it would perhaps be better to convert them into gold at a discount, if the credit and best interests of the State should demand it, rather than attempt the impossible task of collecting the taxes in gold and silver. Should the taxes have to be paid in gold and silver it is certain that the rates which our farmers and mechanics would have to pay for the precious metals would be ruinous.
The Legislature, at its called session, appropriated, for war purposes, the sum of $3,550,000, as follows:
|For the purchase of arms||$500,000|
|" expenses and pay of the ten regiments called into State service||1,000,000|
|" Executive contingent war fund||50,000|
|Under the act creating a war fund||2,000,000|
|Making, as above,||$3,550,000|
Under these several appropriations the Legislature only provided for the issuing of bonds to the amount of $2,000,000, and bonds have been issued and sold to that amount.
Notwithstanding the necessity of the sale of these war bonds at a time of great financial embarrassment, and when bonds from nearly every other state were thrown upon the market, the amount realized therefore was largely above their value in the New York market.
The condition of this account, in the aggregate, is as follows:
|Amount received from the sale of bonds||$1,767,395 00|
|" received from United States, reimbursements of expenditures,||1,841,129 08|
|" refunded to the treasury, on erroneous allowance,||565 43|
|" returned to the treasury, undisbursed for State troops||1,707 08|
|By amount of Auditor's warrants on this fund, paid and canceled,||3,595,695 26|
|Leaving now in the treasury||$15,101 33|
Amount of warrants yet outstanding, is $303,616 52.
Besides paying to the United States the quota of the direct tax assessed against the State of Illinois, there yet remains due to the State, from the United States, for expenditures embraced in the foregoing statement, and now pending for adjustment, the sum of $779,998 00.
The amount of claims for which warrants have not, as yet, been issued, will not change the relative result.
It will be thus seen, although it was undoubtedly the intention of the Legislature to increase the State indebtedness to the amount of these, war appropriations, that from the funds arising from the bonds sold, a debt of the State to the United States of $1,146,551 has been liquidated, and that when the State shall have been fully reimbursed for claims yet unadjusted, the whole cost of the war to our State, from discount on bonds and all other expenses, outside of the direct tax laid upon us by the general government, aforesaid, up to this time, is less than half a million of dollars.
Your attention is called to a law of Congress, passed August 5, 1861, imposing a direct tax upon real estate of $20,000,000. This sum was apportioned by the provisions of said act to the states respectively — the portion of the State of Illinois being $1,146,551 â . The 53d Section of said act, provides, "That any state or territory and the District of Columbia, may lawfully assume, assess, collect, and pay into the treasury of the United States the direct tax, or its quota thereof, imposed by this act upon the state, territory or District of Columbia, in its own way and manner, by and through its own officers, assessors and collectors; * * and any such state, territory or district, which shall give notice by the Governor, or other proper officer thereof, to the Secretary of the treasury of the United States, on or before the second Tuesday of February next, and in each succeeding year thereafter, of its intention to assume and pay, or to assess, collect and pay into treasury of the United States the direct tax imposed by this act, shall be entitled, in lieu of the compensation, pay per diem and per centage, herein prescribed and allowed to assessors, assistant assessors and collectors of the United States, to a reduction of fifteen per centum on the quota of direct tax apportioned to such state, etc. * * And provided further, that the amount of the direct tax apportioned to any state, etc., shall be liable to be paid and satisfied, in whole or in part, by the release of such state, etc., duly executed, to the United States, of any liquidated and determined claim of such state, etc., of equal amount against the United States."
In pursuance of these provisions, on the 18th of January last, I gave, the necessary notice to the Secretary of the United States treasury, that the State of Illinois would assume and pay its quota of said direct tax imposed on said State, and "that the mode of such payment will be by executing a release of an equal amount of the liquidated and determined claims of said State of Illinois against the United States, according to the 3d provision of said 53d section of said act."
On the 31st day of September, 1862, I received an official notice from the Treasury Department, that "the sum of $974,568 67 has been carried to the credit of the State of Illinois, in liquidation of her quota of the direct tax imposed on the State by act of Congress,
28approved August 5, 1861, less fifteen per centum. The amount saved to the State by this mode of payment, is $171,983.
In pursuing the course above indicated, in addition to the above sum, there were saved to the State the expenses of a called session of the Legislature, and the salaries of a host of new officers, or a large increase of the compensation of those already in existence, and the people relieved from the burden of this tax.
It will be necessary for the Legislature to pass the requisite enactment, approving and confirming my action in the premises.
By a subsequent act of Congress, approved July 1, 1862, the collection of this direct tax is suspended, after the first levy, [assessment] until the 1st of April, 1865, and no further action will be required until that time.
In pursuance of the law passed at the last special session of the Legislature, I submit, herewith, a statement of the items of expenditures, and the amounts allowed out of the contingent war fund appropriated at said special session.
It will be seen that payments from this fund have been made for the uses and purposes following, to-wit:
|For pay of clerks, etc., in Governor's office||$4,041 90|
|" " " assistants, etc., in Adjutant General's office.||8,732 71|
|" " " assistants, etc., in Quartermaster General's office||6,610 00|
|" " " assistants, etc., in Commissary General's office||4,398 00|
|" " " members Medical Board||4,604 40|
|" " " assistants in Ordnance Department||550 00|
|telegraphing, messengers, commissioners, agents, and incidental expenses||20,851 62|
The greater number of our troops have been called into the field before their regimental organizations were completed, and before they were properly armed and clothed. To perfect the records of the Adjutant General's office, to render relief to the sick and wounded, and to remedy many evils complained of, I dispatched
29messengers to the different camps, empowered to collect the necessity statistics, and to report upon the condition of our soldiers, and also to render immediate service to them. The services rendered by these messengers were invaluable.
It is a lamentable fact, that in every great battle which has been fought many wounded have been left for whole days without any one to minister to their wants.
I was also compelled to draw against this fund, for the purpose of paying expenses of messengers who were sent to Washington for the purpose of procuring acceptance of troops, obtaining arms, clothing, and adjusting the claims of the State for disbursements out of the war fund, etc. These services were of vital importance and could not be dispensed with.
In February last, with the news of the battle of Fort Donelson, came a demand from the officers and men of our brave army for surgical aid and hospital supplies. I immediately repaired to the scene of the late conflict with such assistance and supplies as I could procure for the relief of the sick and wounded.
Being fully satisfied, from most alarming representations, and from my own observations, that there were great suffering and destitution among our troops, and that the hospital department of the army was entirely inadequate to the wants of our soldiers, and that, especially after a battle, their privations were greatly increased from the want of proper medical stores and hospital supplies, I determined, on the part of the State, with the concurrence of the other State officers, to render, as far as possible, the assistance so much needed.
When the terrible, but glorious, battle of Shiloh was fought, with the least possible delay, I organized a large corps of surgeons and nurses, and with the steamer Black Hawk, proceeded to Pittsburg Landing. The wounded were in the most frightful condition. Many hundreds had been lying for days without having their wounds dressed. Many had died without even having been carried to their tents, and many were suffering from disease caused by want and exposure. They were without supplies or attention. Some were taken by us from the banks of the river, exposed to a hot sun, and many had to be left without transportation, and in the care of agents and nurses, to provide for them as best they might.
Being able to bring away but a very small portion of the wounded from our own State, I directed the Adjutant General, on
30my return, to proceed again on the same errand, taking with him arms and clothing. The same necessity continuing to exist, I, again, with surgeons and sanitary stores, liberally supplied by our fellow-citizens, visited the Tennessee river. Haying hitherto only taken those sick and wounded found in the immediate vicinity of the battle field, I was met on this occasion, with the following appeal from Dr. G. W. Stipp, Brigade Surgeon, at Hamburg:
"May 8th. — There are some two or three hundred sick and broken down Illinois soldiers at this hospital, who ought to be sent to some of the hospitals north. Ohio, Indiana, etc., are sending boats to take their men away. Now, sir, if you can send a steamer to this point, she can be loaded in a day with sick, feeble and worn out boys. Old men, and some middle aged soldiers, if taken proper care of for a short time, could be returned to duty and the balance discharged. Would it not be well for you to visit this hospital and see the condition, of the men?"
Having already loaded one boat, I procured another, the City of Alton, which was loaded at this point.
The reports of the officers in charge of these hospital steamers show that, under these auspices, over 1,200 sick and wounded Illinois soldiers were transferred from scenes of misery and suffering to the comforts of northern hospitals and homes.
The following letters from Dr. Charles McDougall, the veteran United States Medical Director at Pittsburg Landing, exhibit the appreciation and benefit of these services:
"Governor: — I have the honor to gratefully acknowledge the timely aid received from your patriotic State, in the floating hospitals for the accommodation of her gallant and brave sons, now prostrate from disease and wounds received in the battle of Shiloh.
"It will be my duty, as it is my pleasure, to co-operate with the distinguished medical gentlemen of your State now here to relieve the suffering sick. I am, etc."
"Governor: — I beg leave to renew the expressions of my obligations to yourself and the distinguished surgeon, Professor Brainard, as also the ladies and gentlemen of your mission, now on the elegant steamer, City of Alton, chartered by the State of Illinois to take to their homes the sick of your gallant State, for their efficient aid and hearty co-operation with the medical department in providing for the wants of the sick and wounded from the battle field of Shiloh."
Besides the aid thus rendered in conveying our sick and wounded to hospitals, my agents, then and since appointed, have assisted in providing for the transportation and wants of many thousands.
31Many battle fields have experienced the kind ministrations of our surgeons and nurses.
In the performance of these duties heavy expenses were necessarily incurred, (accounts for which and vouchers therefor being on file,) and their being no other fund from which to draw, and deeming my authority ample in the premises, payments for these objects were disbursed from the contingent war fund, the eminently humane results fully justifying the appropriation.
The inability of the government to clothe, arm, subsist, transport and pay the troops — the difficulty of getting the accounts of the State adjusted and reimbursements from the United States, created the necessity of frequent journeys to Washington by myself and agents, as it was found impossible, in the immense pressure upon the departments, to accomplish much without persistent personal application. It was at length found necessary to adopt the plan of other states and appoint a State agent there. Hon. Thomas H. Campbell, formerly State Auditor, since deceased, was appointed, and gave his constant and laborious attention in the adjustment of the accounts of the State.
In the discharge of these and other duties of the executive department it is proper to mention that exemption from mistake is not claimed. Doubtless errors were committed; very often there was but little time for reflection, a multitude of things all pressing for attention at the time. Expenses were incurred; but at the time they were deemed indispensable and usually upon demand from the army, through officers, agents or letters, pressing hard for such articles as were indispensably necessary to the sick and wounded. I can now look back and see that much more of suffering could have been relieved and many necessaries and comforts have been furnished our troops, without complaint from a great and noble State. At all events, I feel quite sure no one outside of the administration can have any fair idea of the magnitude of the task and the embarrassments it has encountered on every hand.
Congress, on the 24th of December, 1861, passed an act requiring the President to appoint not exceeding three persons for each State, to visit the volunteers in the field and receive, "from time time to time, their respective allotments of pay to their families or friends." The law required that said commissioners should receive no pay from the treasury of the United States. I have been
32unable to see why the Government should depart from the usual course of remuneration in this case, when, most certainly, the service required is one of the most difficult, responsible and useful character. Satisfied of the great importance of this service I have kept in correspondence with the two commissioners, who entered upon this service for Illinois soldiers, and know that they have devoted most laborious efforts to the proper discharge of their duties in conveying thousands of dollars to the needy families of the poor soldier.
I deem it my duty to recommend that proper compensation be allowed to said commissioners, at least for the time they have been absent from their homes in carrying out the objects of their benevolent missions.
Upon the subject of the organization of the Militia of the State, I cannot add to the recommendations of January, 1860, except to urge a thorough revision of the laws now in force. These laws seem to have been passed more with reference to an organization for a time of peace than one expected to cope with the stern realities of actual warfare. The efforts which have been made for organization under these laws have failed; and I cannot see that any organization will be entirely successful which does not provide those under militia training with tents and other camp equipage, and, which does not also furnish subsistence during the time that the troops are required to remain in their camps of instruction. The United States would, I think, furnish arms, ammunition, etc., and should the troops be called into the field, reimburse the State for necessary expenses incurred. Under an organization of this kind Massachusetts had, at the commencement of the rebellion, six thousand of the best disciplined and equipped troops in the world, and was enabled to send them into the field upon very short notice.
At the commencement of the rebellion serious apprehensions were entertained of the occupation of Cairo by the rebels. There have also been some inconsiderable raids into the state by guerrilla parties. It is also believed, from the appearance of considerable bodies of cavalry from the Kentucky side of the river, that incursions would be made into the State but for the precautions in having our own troops posted on this side of the river to repel them. The attention of the Legislature is called to the subject of providing
33against any emergency which might arise, involving necessary protection to our citizens and the proper defense of the State.
It is also suggested to the Legislature that provision should be made for drafting in all cases in which it may be necessary to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and supply any deficiency in the ordinary militia organization. Indeed, cases may arise in which the State, unprovided with laws to draft, might be absolutely powerless, and the most serious consequences ensue. In these revolutionary times it is imperatively important that such amendments should be made to our present laws, as will enable the State to call out its full strength of militia upon the shortest notice.
The subject of military education, in the present condition of our country, with a war of vast proportions and consequences full upon us, is of such vital importance that I would be derelict in the discharge of my duties were I to fail to urge upon you its careful consideration.
While it is true that no nation on earth can so readily adapt itself to a state of war, or display all those qualities of courage and endurance, which constitute true heroism, it is also true that greater attention is paid to military training and to the encouragement of military schools in almost every other nation than in ours.
We have hitherto relied upon the intelligence of our people, the general diffusion of knowledge among us, and the beneficent character of our free institutions to save us from the calamity of war; and have sought rather to acquire knowledge in the arts of peace than to attain that military skill, which, in other countries, is taught systematically in schools and universities.
It has been the enlightened aim of our statesmen to conduct the affairs of the government for the promotion of the institutions of peace. It had also been confidently hoped that such had been our advance in civilization that war could be avoided. But nothing can demonstrate the fact that the last resort may sometimes be absolutely necessary, more than the present unwarranted and causeless rebellion. Under such circumstances it seems of vital importance that the soldier should be trained in a soldier's duties, and that especially
34the officers should have sufficient military knowledge to lead their troops to victory with the least possible loss of life. If when war comes it shall require months to train officers and men in the arts of war we cannot reasonably hope for success against a well instructed and well-drilled and disciplined enemy. A knowledge of mathematics, the uses of machinery, military drawing, modes of attack and defense, knowledge of artillery, etc., are of immense importance, if not indispensable, to the officers of our army.
In no way can we be so well prepared for war as in knowing how to meet it, and in becoming familiar with warlike preparation. It has been supposed that some system of military education can be devised in connection with our free schools, which, while it will reach all classes, will in a great degree accomplish the desired object without any material increase of the public burthens.
Many of our colleges and seminaries, within the past year, have organized, and attached thereto, military departments. I have been frequently solicited to furnish arms for the purpose of drill. I recommend that some provision be made on an economical scale to meet demands of this sort.
While I would oppose the building up of military academies by the general government, to a greater extent than is required for the education of those officers attached to the regular army, I would, on the other hand, give every encouragement to the inclinations of our people, as a State, in this direction, and stimulate every enterprise having for its object a general system of military training, and the diffusion of military knowledge.
I call your attention to what I regard a serious disadvantage to the service. It has been the practice of the army of the Potomac and heretofore of the army of the West, instead of brigading troops from the same State under the command of its own generals, to so brigade them as not to have more than one or two regiments from the same State in a brigade. The tendency of such a course is to destroy local ties and attachments, and to weaken the feeling of state pride and of responsibility to their friends and neighbors at home, which would animate brigades constituted only of regiments from the same state, and commanded by state commanders. In thus dividing our regiments, placing Illinois men under commanders from other states, they lose their identity, and feel that
35if they achieve glory it will not redound to themselves or their state.
Another point. In the early stages of the war, the patriotism of our citizens was so great that in each call our quota was more than full and thousands of Illinoisans entered the service in Missouri and other states. There is a strong desire on the part of all such to be recognized as Illinois troops, and the department at Washington has only partially responded to their wishes in this behalf. I desire to suggest to the General Assembly, that a memorial to the President and Congress, for a change in these last particulars, would, perhaps, meet with their favorable consideration.
Here is another subject, in respect to which, I believe, the interests of the service would not suffer. That is for the General Assembly to petition Congress to amend its law of July, 1861, so as to confer upon each regiment and company in the service the election of its own officers. In consequence of the remoteness of the army, I find the greatest difficulty in exercising the power of appointment, even to my own satisfaction. It involves the necessity of deciding frequently upon ex parte statements. While endeavoring to adjust the scales as impartially and equally as I can, between Republicans and Democrats, I find that each complains that the other is unreasonably favored; which fact may be considered some evidence of impartiality. I must be permitted to claim that I have been fortunate in my appointments, from the fact that in no single state have the officers so generally distinguished themselves, or in which there have been so many promotions to the higher ranks, as in our own. Further, almost every colonel in the service, has proved himself worthy of promotion. Nothing has so far occurred in the conduct of our officers or men to show that many, if any, great mistakes have been committed in the exercise of the appointing power. But at the same time, I have the utmost confidence in the judgment and patriotism of the men composing the various regiments, and I could not fear that the power might be safely entrusted to them, if Congress can be prevailed upon to amend its law by taking the appointing power from the governors of the different states, and leaving the elections to the officers and men of the regiments. The Executives would then be relieved of a most laborious and unthankful service, which
36consumes much time which could well be devoted to other great duties devolving upon them.
I desire to call especial attention to the importance of an enactment, making provision for taking the votes of the volunteers of the State in actual service. The fact that a man is fighting to sustain his country's flag should not deprive him of the highest privilege of citizenship, viz: the right to take a part in the selection of his rulers. The soldier should be allowed a voice in the nation for the existence of which he is placing his life in peril. The reason which has excluded the soldier in the regular army does not apply to the soldier in the volunteer service. The regular loses his state identity, and, to a certain extent, local citizenship. The volunteer, on the other hand, does not. He still continues to be a son of Illinois, fighting under his state flag as well as the stars and stripes. A force of one hundred and thirty-five thousand volunteered to the field from our State. Of this number it is safe to say one hundred thousand are voters. And if they were not legally voters previously to enlistment, that act ought certainly to make them so. No man more justly owns the rights of citizenship than he who voluntarily takes up arms in defense of his country and its dearest rights. These men have as deep an interest in the selection of the representatives who are to a great extent to control and direct the destinies of the country, as any other class of persons. The Secretary of War most justly decided that he who votes must bear arms. Shall not the Legislatures of the different states respond by saying: "And who bears arms must vote?" I see nothing in our constitution which prohibits the enactment of such a law. On the contrary, section 5, of article III, of that instrument, provides that "No elector shall be deemed to have lost his residence in this State by reason of his absence on business of the United States or of this State." Justice demands that this provision should be carried out in its letter and spirit. Past legislatures, not anticipating the present anomalous condition of national affairs passed no enactment by which it can be legally carried into effect. A law can be framed without difficulty, providing for taking the votes of the soldiers in active service, at least for the most important offices, viz: State officers, representatives in Congress, and members of the Legislature. In the election of these officers, the soldier, although away from home, takes as much, if not more, interest than the citizen actually on the spot. He reads the newspapers, receives letters from his friends, and in fact understands the issues of the day as well as, if not better than, the man for the defense of whose home he has taken up arms.
It may be objected, that great difficulty and expense would necessarily be created in taking the vote of the army in the field. But I submit that nearly all the difficulty and expense would be obviated by the following simple and effective plan: The three field officers, or in their absence, the three ranking officers of each regiment of infantry or cavalry, and three highest commissioned officers, or those acting in their places, of each battery of artillery, or each company or squadron of infantry or cavalry on detached service, might be made the inspectors of the election, with power to appoint the proper person clerk of the election, so that the vote may be taken on the day fixed by the constitution.
As early as September 10, 1862, a letter of mine was published, in answer to one inquiring the cause of a certain arrest, in which I stated that I had not advised that, or any other arrests, or been consulted as to the propriety of their being made; and also, stating that the power ought to be exercised only in extreme cases. The subject is one full of difficulty. On the one hand it is plain to be seen, that in time of war, the power to arrest summarily is often absolutely necessary and justifiable, if upon no other, upon the paramount and all-controlling plea of national self-preservation. The utterance of treasonable words, the discouragement of enlistments, or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in anyway, are undeniably sufficient grounds for arrest. A traitor or spy in a loyal state, in time of war, as justly deserves to be arrested and hung, or shot, as the same class of persons in disloyal states. The assault upon the life of the state is the highest crime known to the law, and should, especially in times like the present, be most rigorously and summarily dealt with.
On the other hand, my democracy is such as to teach me to entertain the highest regard for the rights of the individual, believing that every man, whether he be white, yellow, red, or black, is entitled to liberty, and should be sacredly protected
38in the enjoyment of his person and property, and in the utmost liberty of speech and action, consistent with loyalty to the Government. These are the rock-founded principles of our Government, to be sacredly guarded and preserved. It is indeed cause of gratulation, that the people are disposed to scan closely every infraction of personal liberty. We should guard jealously, as the apple of our eye, that protection to personal rights which has been a shining characteristic of the Anglo-saxon race, from the period at which it emerged from heathenish barbarism, down, through all the stages of progress, till, under our form of government, it culminated in the full light of civil and religious liberty.
Hence, I think that arrests should be made only in extreme cases, in which there can be no doubt as to the propriety and necessity therefor; that the reasons should be given to the prisoner and the public, unless plainly to the injury of the public service; and in all cases it should appear that individual malice or party reasons had not prompted thereto. While I have not examined the question, in order to decide how far the President may go in making arrests in a state not declared to be under martial law, yet it would seem, that as the delay for proclaiming martial law could not in any case be great, it ought to precede the exercise of this power of arrest. This would seem necessary, from the fact that military power begins where the civil law fails to afford redress, and the distinction where the one ceases and the other begins should be clearly defined. Indeed, it would seem that, in a time of war, martial law might be properly proclaimed in every state where there was evidence that traitors and spies would openly or secretly give aid to the enemy, relying upon the chances of delay and appliances of ingenious counsel for escape under civil process. Surely there should be in every loyal state a determination, that no traitor shall outrage the sentiment of the country, and set at defiance the constitution and laws of so good a government as ours, by giving aid, either in word or deed, to the rebels who would overthrow it. Most certainly would an administration entitle itself to the condemnation of the country, and to the infamy of history, which suffered treason to stalk defiantly in our midst, without rebuke and summary punishment.
For details in the raising, equipment, arming, supplying and sending troops into the field, I refer you to the report of the Adjutant General, to whose untiring labors, and able and faithful cooperation, I acknowledge myself deeply indebted, in, the management of the military affairs of the State. His report also includes the reports of the Quartermaster General and Commissary General, who have been most untiring and efficient in the management of their several departments.
The following summary will convey an idea of the important part which the State of Illinois and her troops have performed in the war:
On the 15th of April, 1861, the State was called on for six regiments of infantry. The same day proclamation was made, and on April 16th, General Order No. 1, Adjutant General's office, was issued, calling for these regiments, Springfield being designated as the place of general rendezvous.
Under this call the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th regiments were organized, and mustered into the United States service, on the 25th, 26th, 29th, and 30th days of April. These troops were subsequently organized into a brigade, and, under the orders of the Secretary of War, ordered to Cairo during the same month.
Before the completion of the organization of these regiments, and on the 19th of April, Brig. Gen. R. K. Swift, 6th division of the State militia, was ordered to proceed to Cairo and hold that point. Six companies of infantry, and four batteries of artillery promptly responded, and on the 22d, Gen. Swift, with a force of about one thousand men, arrived at Cairo. This fact is to be mentioned as highly creditable to the patriotism and promptness of the citizens of Chicago; for, in the space of two days after the telegram from Washington, ordering our troops to occupy Cairo, Chicago was sending off trains bearing her citizen soldiery, armed, equipped and supplied with all necessary subsistence, thus preventing, as I trust we ever shall prevent, the tramp of traitor feet upon the sacred sod of Illinois.
These forces served a few days, until relieved by the six regiments, when those of them which did not enter the three months service, were discharged. The service rendered to the State by this force was of the utmost importance.
At the special session of April, 1861, ten regiments of infantry were authorized. (See Laws). They were immediately raised, consisting of the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th 21st, and 22d, and tendered to the Government. The War Department declined at first to accept more than six of them, but subsequently, after strong solicitation, accepted the remaining four.
In June the War Department authorized the acceptance of one battalion of light artillery, and one regiment of cavalry. And, in July it authorized the acceptance of thirteen regiments of infantry, one additional battalion of artillery, and three additional regiments of cavalry. Under these orders, the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32d, 43d, 46th, 48th, 49th, and 50th regiments of infantry, the 1st, 2d and 3d regiments of cavalry, and eight companies of artillery, were raised.
In addition to this, several regiments, called independent regiments, were authorized by the War Department, and in August full authority was given to accept all who were willing to enlist.
Under these various orders, the recruiting was so rapid, that during the year 1861, (in addition to thousands, who in May and June were refused acceptance, and left the State to enter the service,) fifty regiments of infantry, ten regiments of cavalry, and one regiment of artillery, were organized and mustered into service.
On the 3d of December, 1861, the Secretary of War, by General Order No. 105, directed that no more regiments, batteries, or independent companies should be raised by the governors of the states, except upon special requisition of the War Department, but that those forming would be completed, or the men assigned to regiments then in the field; and the entire recruiting service for regiments in the field was taken from the governors of the states, and transferred to superintendents appointed by the War Department. At that time the State had sent to the field about forty thousand men, and had in the camps of instruction seventeen thousand. During the month of December, these troops in camps were organized, and afterwards sent to the field, as fast as they could be armed and clothed; and included infantry to No. 65, thirteen cavalry, and two regiments of artillery.
On the 17th of May, the State was called on for another regiment of infantry; and on the 25th of the same month, the Secretary of War called the entire militia force of the State to the defence
41of the National Capital. Two days afterwards the call was revoked.
Five regiments of three months volunteers were immediately organized, to wit: 67th, 68th, 69th, 70th, and 71st. The 67th, 69th, and 70th, were assigned to duty in guarding rebel prisoners in this State; the 68th was sent to Washington, and the 71st to Columbus.
On the 7th of July, 9 more regiments of infantry were called for, and on the 4th of August our quota of 300,000 militia was called out. It was provided also that unless our quota should be raised by the 15th of the same month a draft would be ordered. On application to the War Department we were informed that our quota of 300,000 was 26,148, but that as we had furnished 16,978, in excess of our proportions on previous calls, our quota on first call of 300,000 would be 9,170, to which adding 26,148, would make our total quotas under both calls 35,318. In a few days afterwards, however, it was decided that although we had raised this 9,170 surplus on previous calls, yet we were not to be credited with it on last calls. To raise, therefore, 52,296, was the work of a few days. One-half of these forces were to be volunteers for three years, and the other militia for nine months. The former would be entitled to bounty and premium, and the latter would not.
Application was made to fill both quotas for three years, and allowed by the War Department. No extension was asked by this State, although the time was extended until the 22d of August, but before that time arrived our quota under both calls was filled with our five thousand surplus.
Since the filling of these calls, several regiments of cavalry and batteries of artillery have been authorized.
The State has furnished as follows:
|First the infantry regiments under call of April, 1861,||6|
|Three months regiments under call of May, 1862,||6|
|Three years regiments,||118|
Beside these regiments, two regiments of cavalry are organizing, four additional batteries have been sent to the field and three more are organizing, making a grand total of 135,000 men.
In addition to all these calls made upon the State, on the 14th of August the Secretary of War telegraphed that 34,179 men were required to fill up our old regiments. In anticipation that our quotas would not be made by voluntary enlistments, the Secretary of War had, on the 9th of that month, ordered an enrollment of the entire militia to be made, and regulations for drafting were adopted. It was also ordered by the War Department on said 14th of August, "that if the old regiments should not be filled up by volunteers before the first day of September, a special draft will (would) be ordered for the deficiency."
On the 23d of August, general militia order, No. 1, was issued from the Adjutant General's office, directing the enrollment of the militia force of the State to be made. In accordance therewith, enrolling officers, commissioners and surgeons, as directed by the War Department, were appointed. The expenses of enrollment are to be paid by the General Government. The enrollment has been nearly completed, but in view of the probabilities that no draft will be made at present, the draft commissioners and surgeons were in September directed to proceed no further in the discharge of their duties, until further ordered.
It will be seen from the above summary, that the loyal people of Illinois have promptly responded to every call of the government. Even when the last call for 600,000 was made, and when the government, having no expectation of raising the number by volunteering, provided for supplying the deficiency by draft, Illinois came proudly forward and was almost the only State which promptly furnished her whole quota of volunteers. She thus escaped the necessity and mortification of a draft.
But not alone in prompt response to the government, but also in glorious achievements in the field, have the Illinois troops vindicated the loyalty, upheld the honor and reflected glory on the State. Every flash of telegraphic fire has blazed with the luster of grand achievements and heralded tidings of noble deeds and high daring. The State has furnished a large part of the effective fighting force of our western army, as well as several splendid regiments and gallant soldiers to the army of the Potomac. In not only one, or a few, but in every engagement the Illinois troops have come out of battle with bright wreaths of glory around their brows. They have never hesitated in the hour of conflict or quailed in the face, of danger. If in one or two instances, they have been compelled
43to surrender with other troops, in every case they have escaped the blame attached thereto, displayed the loftiest courage, and been the last to yield their weapons to the foe.
The list of promotions of the commanders of Illinois regiments to generals and major generals for gallant conduct, is a long one. But not only commissioned officers, but non-commissioned and privates of the various regiments have established a well earned reputation for effective and dauntless courage. So that it may be truthfully said that Illinois leads the column of loyal states. The name of our State is synonomous with lofty courage and great achievement. In no instance has it been said that our brave troops are inferior to any in the service. Patient, obedient, vigilant, brave, they are ever ready for any service however difficult or perilous, whether in the camp, on the march, or in the field. Many, alas, too many, gallant spirits have sealed their devotion to their country with their lives. Wallace, Hogg, Applington, Davis, Thomas H. Smith, Irwin, Kilpatrick, Raith, Tupper, White, Ross, Thrush, and McCullough, and others of the noble dead, are names long to be remembered. They are of the flower of the State; her chosen sons who fell with their faces to the foe. "Leaving in battle no blot upon their names," their heroic deeds look calmly and proudly forth from their "death beds of fame." And many a rude hillock on the banks of the Cumberland, the Tennessee, the Potomac, the Yazoo, and the great Father of rivers, marks the spot where the humbler, but no less brave, patriotic and noble-hearted soldier of Illinois mingles his late manly form with its mother earth. Not less religiously are their memories kept green in the hearts of the narrower circles of relatives and friends, who knew them well in life and sincerely mourn them in their premature, yet glorious deaths.
In this connection, I recommend to the Legislature that a work be prepared and published, containing a record of every regiment, the prominent battles and skirmishes it has participated in, the name of every soldier, the fact of his having been wounded or killed in battle, as the case may be, etc. Such a record would be of priceless value to our State, and for all time would remain the most glorious history of the part she has taken in the war for the defense of the Union, that could possibly be written. It would he a household work.
It would be improper, in a Communication like this, not to refer to the immense benefits which have been conferred upon the army by the contributions and efforts of individuals in supplying it with stores necessary to the health and comfort of the soldiers. Indeed, could the people be fully informed how vast have been these efforts and contributions, they would feel a degree of pride for their State which no, other subject could excite, unless it be the prowess and manly endurance of the sick and wounded for whom they have been made. Almost every village and neighborhood have been the theaters of these efforts. Large-hearted men have paid liberally in money and stores of various kinds, while noble-souled women have plied their busy fingers in preparing garments and such articles of food as were deemed indispensable. Soldiers' aid societies have been formed in every part of the State, and their agents have ever been on hand covering battlefields with ambulances, and supplying the hospitals with beds, bandages, and all needed appliances for sick and wounded soldiers. Among these humane agencies, it will not be considered a disparagement of any other, to name, with profound respect, the Sanitary Commission of Chicago, under the direction of its able, faithful, and most efficient President. The operations of this commission have been upon a scale of the largest usefulness, drawing its supplies not alone from the citizens of Chicago, whose contributions have been on a scale of munificence unexcelled by any city in the Union, but also from every portion of the State.
I deem it my duty to refer more particularly to this subject, because, notwithstanding so much had been done and was doing in this great work, yet so large was our army, so large was the number of our wounded in our numerous bloody battles, so extensive were the ravages of disease and death consequent upon exposure, new modes of living, unhealthy localities, etc., and so utterly unable was the United States Government to supply so many at the right time, that constant appeals for relief from the army, and from the agents already in the field, came to me constantly. The appeals were made to me as Governor of the State, and I deemed it my duty to lend the aid of the State, so far as it was in my power, by sending succor and comfort to the brave men who had gone forth from their kindred and homes, and periled health, property, life, and all, for their country.
45On the 20th of August, 1862, I established an agency, in the nature of a State Sanitary Bureau, and directed the State Commissary General to take charge of this department, to whom all communications and packages should be addressed. I also despatched an agent to Cairo, to receive, and forward from there, all packages sent to his care. I then addressed a circular to the people of the State of Illinois, soliciting them to forward their contributions. As proof of the liberal response of the people, both in money and needed stores, I refer you to the very interesting report of the Commissary General.
In connection with the foregoing, I desire to call your attention to the important consideration, that while the war lasts, the necessity of these benevolent efforts will not cease to exist. I have no hesitation in saying that this great sanitary enterprise should receive the strong encouragement of the General Assembly, and be made, to some extent, the subject of legislative action.
Should this General Assembly continue the Bureau now established, with proper safeguards and checks, it would be the means of immense relief to our sick and wounded, and would, in some small way, pay the debt we owe them for their great sacrifices. It would at least be a well merited token of regard from the people of a great state to their brave sons. It would add but comparatively little to their burthens. An agent could be most usefully employed in accompanying every regiment, for the purpose of taking care of the sick, burying the dead, marking the spot of burial, and corresponding with friends and the government at home, as to the sanitary wants of the troops; and I call your attention to a copy of a resolution, herewith submitted, of the Board of Supervisors of Vermilion county, requesting the appointment of a sanitary agent, to transmit stores to the various armies and hospitals where soldiers from that county may be located. It has been suggested that each county should have an agent appointed by the state to report periodically to the head of a State Bureau. I have addressed a letter to the various chaplains, urging the importance of these matters. They and the other officers and the soldiers, in many instances, no doubt, give such attention as their various duties will allow; but it is evident that
46very much in addition could be done by a person charged with the special responsibilities of these duties. It would perhaps be difficult in any law to provide for the innumerable modes in which relief can be and ought to be afforded; and, it is, therefore, that I make the recommendation, as above, and that a sufficient sum be placed under the control of the head of that bureau, for the purpose of carrying out these sacred objects.
In connection with this subject, I must also refer to the very interesting reports of state sanitary agents, who have been visiting various hospitals, and other places where large numbers of our sick and wounded are confined. These suggestions are of the deepest interest to all concerned in the welfare of the soldiers. The greatest benefit has ensued from their labors in visiting the hospitals, cheering the soldiers, writing letters for them, supplying them with comforts of apparel and food, and pointing out any abuses which, in most cases, were promptly remedied.
Many of the States have created the office of Surgeon General, giving such an officer supervision of the medical corps of the State and superintendence of the supplies of proper medicines, for the government hospitals, etc. Such an officer might act in conjunction with the sanitary bureau, and be authorized to employ such aid as may be necessary in taking care of the sick and wounded, providing for transportation of supplies of the sanitary department, procuring discharges, passes and transportation of sick, furloughs for wounded and other needed assistance.
After most careful reflection I am led to recommend to the General Assembly the erection of a hospital or soldiers' home. In such an institution, our sick and wounded could be within the reach of their friends at home, whose anxiety and vigilance would secure for them from the United States officers in charge, comfortable lodging, food, clothing and proper medical attendance.
In my visits to the sick and wounded, I have found an overpowering desire among them to be taken to their own State, where they would be within reach of their friends. I found the dying also breathing out the vain wish that they might be allowed to draw
47their last breath upon the soil of the State, which had the first claim upon their affections, and for which they were then laying down their lives.
I therefore recommend that the State of Illinois make provision for a soldiers' home in the State, to be sustained, if practicable, by the General Government. But, in any event, I recommend the establishment of such an institution at some accessible point in our State. Nothing could more inspire the gratitude or stimulate the patriotism of our gallant countrymen in the field, or prove a nobler monument of the States' paternal regard for her loyal sons than such an institution as this.
I feel it my duty also to call the attention of the General Assembly to the subject of bounties. I believe the State of Illinois should be behind no other in the liberal remuneration of its troops.
They have surely deserved as much in this regard as those of any other State. Very many of them are poor, and have large and helpless families. Those in more prosperous circumstances have sacrificed much in happiness and loss of business and property, in going to the war. In the event that the General Assembly shall provide for such bounty, it would, it seems to me, be eminently proper to adopt some measure for refunding to the counties the bounties which they so generously paid to their soldiers, or in some equitable mode to relieve them, pro tanto, of the amount required to be raised towards this object. Perhaps the best mode of providing the means for this bounty, would be to provide for the issue of twenty year bonds, which would only devolve the necessity of a tax to meet the interest.
I am aware that in making these various recommendations, the debt of the State will be considerably increased. Still, while I am disposed to counsel the utmost economy in all other objects of expenditures, I feel it a matter of sacred duty, a question of State pride, to evince at least reasonable liberality to the men who have so nobly served the State, and shed upon it, by their heroic prowess, a name and glory which are to be the priceless heritage of our children for all time to come. As I have said, the debt of the State is small, compared with our immense resources. We have, also, the sure prospect of being, twenty years hence, when the principal of the bonds would mature, almost the first State in
48the Union, in the amount of its taxable property, and in wealth and power.
The proceedings of the late Constitutional Convention, may be held up, not only as a justification of expenses already incurred, but as an example to be followed upon this subject by this General Assembly. That convention, by resolution, authorized the expenditure of $500,000 for the relief of our soldiers in the field. It is true, that having no legislative power, the act was a nullity, and bonds issued under such authority would have been worthless in the market. Yet the passage of the resolution may be taken as the animus of that body, and as evidence of what they would have done had the power existed. The question of power does not arise in your case. I leave the whole subject in your hands, not doubting that you will give to it the grave consideration which its high importance demands at your hands; not doubting that when all that we hold dear of life, liberty, property and happiness is seriously imperiled, our hearts will fully and gratefully go out to those who have risked all to leave them to us and those who come after us.
I hope this General Assembly will send its potent voice to Congress, demanding an increase of pay to the private soldier. His present pay is only $13 per month, or $156 per year, a sum totally insufficient to support him and his family at the present high rate of every Article of family consumption, at least fifty per cent. higher now than when the war commenced. Thirteen dollars per month is no better pay now than seven dollars would have been two years since. It will be economy in the Government to increase the pay, or desertions, already numerous, will become still more so. No soldier can bear the thought that his wife and children is in destitution and suffering. I recommend a strong appeal by this General Assembly to Congress, for this most important and humane object.
The several appropriations of the last session were disbursed, as will appear from the reports of the officers having charge thereof. Other appropriations will be required to carry on the State government for the ensuing biennial term. In ordinary times, the
49amount set aside for the Executive department, would have been ample, but in the extraordinary demands of business, and the great increase of official duties, it has not been sufficient. I have frequently been compelled to dispense with necessary and important services for the want of means. The want of the requisite assistance in the departments immediately connected with the executive has necessitated unusual and burdensome labors upon all those employed therein. All that is required, however, is an appropriation which will be sufficient for the purpose, having in view the extraordinary demands continually to arise during the pendency of the war.
The recent partial reverse of our arms at Fredericksburg has caused some to look with despondency upon the prospect of the suppression of the rebellion. Such should not be the case. The most successful armies in the world have met with reverses. The battle at Fredericksburg seemed to be almost a necessity. The public sentiment would no longer brook delay. The demoralization of the army, and the exhausted patience of the country, demanded a forward movement at all hazards. The battle at Fredericksburg has established the important fact that the Grand Army of the Potomac is not wanting in will or courage, and that upon an equal field our triumph would be sure and glorious. It can certainly be no cause of exultation to the enemy that he has maintained his ground when fighting against direct assault from behind impregnable fortifications. That a way will be found to dislodge him, I have no fears.
My faith in ultimate triumph is stronger now than ever, because I believe that the administration has settled upon the true, the only policy under which it is possible to achieve success. That policy consists, first, in a more vigorous prosecution of the war — second, in the Proclamation of Emancipation. A sickening despondency occasioned by painful delays has been preying fearfully upon the heart of the nation. But true, loyal hearts beat with quicker pulsations when the Administration, freeing itself from the incubus which seemed to weigh it down, resolved upon the policy hence-forward to "move upon the enemy's works."
To the timid, conservative mind the inauguration of the policy of Emancipation may have seemed rash, and the clamors raised against it may have had their effect in recent elections; but this effect was temporary. Time will abundantly prove that this policy
50was dictated by a just and wise statesmanship, and that it will be followed by a successful termination of our troubles.
There are but few, even among the politicians, who openly avow that they are opposed to Emancipation in the abstract. The pretense is, that it is unconstitutional. I freely confess that in peace times there existed no power to issue a Proclamation to free the slaves. In peace, when all the people obey the constitution and laws, neither Congress nor the President could interfere with slavery. Any attempt to do so would be an unauthorized and flagrant usurpation of power. In such case the jurisdiction of each State over all its domestic institutions would be ample and complete. The right of intervention was never claimed in such a case. On the contrary was persistently denied by the President and the party which elevated him to the Presidency.
I am for the Constitution of my country, and desire to see it sustained in its true spirit and according to its honest and fair interpretation. I may not be able to appreciate highly the wisdom of the provision for the return of a fugitive slave to a bondage from which he is escaping, as an independent proposition; yet because it is in the constitution and was one of its compromises, in consideration of which the free states got the Jeffersonian Ordinance of 1787, because it is in the constitution, and because the constitution was in every other respect so perfect, because it is the work of our fathers, and the organic law of the nation, I have been and still am willing to see its every provision enforced and maintained, in the protection of every right claimed by those who submit to its authority. I have always stood ready with my vote, my voice, and, if need be, my life, to protect every section in the enjoyment of all its rights. If the seceding states had remained quiet, and not assailed the government, not trampled in the dust the very constitution which secured them the uninterrupted enjoyment of their cherished institution, there would have been not only no right, but no disposition, to have proclaimed emancipation. But they have overthrown this constitution and established for themselves a new one, therefore they can claim no rights under the old. After years of deliberate premeditation, and secret preparation, they perpetrated the act of secession, they denied their allegiance to the constitution, set up an independent government, despoiled the nation of its money, its arms and munitions of war, seized upon our forts, insulted our flag, fired upon our soldiers at Fort Sumpter, plunged our hitherto peaceful people into sanguinary fratricidal
51war, filled every homestead with grief, and covered the land with two hundred thousand fresh made graves. From the outset until now they have been invoking the aid of foreign bayonets to butcher our citizens, and to carry out their wicked purpose to overthrow the constitution; they have throughout conducted the war upon principles of barbarity disgraceful to the blackest annals of savage warfare.
The seceding states have forfeited all right to the protection of their slaves, or even their own lives, under the constitution, and the people of the loyal states are released from any constitutional obligation to protect them in any right whatever. A ferocious and bloody internecine war, brought on by the wicked and infernal machinations of the rebels themselves, has changed all the relations of the government and all the obligations of the constitution to them.
The propriety of the proclamation is still further vindicated upon the higher ground of national self-preservation. Though slavery was entirely beyond the reach of the government in time of peace, yet the government in the exercise of its belligerent rights has not only the power, but it is its bounden duty to preserve unmutilated its territory, and to weaken, cripple and crush out, by all available means, a rebellion aiming to undermine its national existence.
That the President has forebone long, before taking this final step, was to have been expected of one who had so often denied the right of intervention in the domestic institutions of the states; but when the seceding states themselves made the issue — slavery against the government — resorted to arms to overthrow the constitution, and to carve out of our dismembered territory an oligarchy, the chief corner stone of which was to be slavery as a perpetual institution; and when also it cannot be denied that slavery is the principal element in support of the rebellion; I maintain, under all the circumstances, the proclamation was not only justifiable but inevitable. And if in time of war the government can take the life of the enemy without the ordinary process of law provided for by the constitution, a fortiori, can it not deprive the enemy of his property and emancipate his slaves?
Indeed, it seems that Providence had protracted this war and subjected our people to frequent humiliations and reverses, for the purpose of making the destruction of slavery inevitable. If the
52first impressions entertained by the President and the nation — that the levy of seventy-five thousand men was sufficient to intimidate the rebels into submission; if our arms' in the first instance had been everywhere triumphant; if the Grand Army of the Potomac had driven back the rebels at Manassas, had taken Richmond, and planted the flag upon the capitol of every state, and we had everywhere been victorious by land and by sea, crushing the enemy as it were within the contracting folds of a fearful Anaconda, and the enemy had returned to the rightful authority of the government; then undoubtedly the Union would have been restored with the same blistering curse of slavery to rest upon us forever in the future, as it had been in the past, a perpetual element of strife and heart-burning. Under such a state of things the necessity would not have arisen under which slavery could have been constitutionally abolished. But now the necessity of emancipation is forced upon us by the inevitable events of the war, and is made constitutional by the act of the rebels themselves; and the only road out of this war is by blows aimed at the heart of the rebellion, in the entire demolition of the evil which is the cause of all our present fearful complications. It is now made palpably striking, that if slavery should be left undisturbed, the war would be protracted until the loss of life and national bankruptcy would make peace desirable upon any terms. Hence slavery must be removed. Thus the rebellion which was designed to perpetuate slavery and plant it upon an enduring basis, is now, under a righteous Providence, being made the instrument to destroy it, and to consummate peace upon the solid and enduring basis of universal liberty.
It is now but too plainly the policy of our government to strike a fatal blow at what we know and what the confederates themselves claim to be the chief element of their strength.
George W. Johnson, the secession, provisional governor of Kentucky, in his message of November 26, 1861, says:
"The presence of the negro race adds greatly to the military spirit and strength of the Confederate States. They till our grounds, while our sons fight our battles; and our ordinary pursuits are scarcely interrupted by the war."
That he is right in his view, I ask you to look at the fact that the south has a population of about five and a half millions of whites who are devoting all their energies to the prosecution of the rebellion, and about three and a half millions of blacks, who are at work upon their farms and in their shops, supplying the
53white population with everything required to subsist the rebels in the army and their families at home. If we emancipate the slave, call him off from raising supplies on the farm and in the shop, we would thus drive the rebel home to support and protect his family, reduce largely his effective fighting force, very soon bring him to terms of submission, and the war to a close; and the nation by the kind Providence of Almighty God would stand forth redeemed and disinthralled from the curse of slavery.
The workings of the policy of emancipation to this end are already visible. "Events" are significantly "casting their shadows before." Each successive day of the rebellion only hastens this glorious consummation. Western Virginia is already another star upon our national banner. Missouri may already be numbered as among the free states. In Kentucky and Tennessee the rebels are reaping the fruits of their rebellion in the hourly escape of their slaves! They are making terms with their slaves for their services after the first day of January upon the basis of paid labor. And from all reports from those states the indications plainly are, that it will neither be to the interest nor the desire of their people longer to continue an institution from which they can reap only perpetual troubles. The same causes are strongly operating in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana; and indeed almost every slave state begins to see and feel that the tenure by which slave property is holden is a very loose and uncertain one. The administration justifiably holds out emancipation as a punishment to the rebels for their treason; and the slave is only too glad to seize upon the first opportunity to taste the sweets of freedom, and eagerly to lay hold of the hope held out to him of liberty for himself and his posterity forever.
In auxilliary co-operation with this great movement upon the tide of events, it is worthy of notice that the present administration has faithfully enforced the statutes against slave piracy, and prosecuted to conviction and punishment dealers in the slave trade. It has made a successful treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade. It has passed a homestead bill, insuring the settlement of the territories with a free population. It has written freedom on the face of our broad territorial domain, by prohibiting slavery forever therein. It has abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, so that no slave shall again clank the chain of human bondage in face of the Capitol. It has entered into diplomatic relations with Hayti and Liberia. It has crowned the whole by
54the Proclamation of Emancipation. Thus we have before us the cheerful picture of a speedy termination of the war by the adoption of the right policy, by the removal of the cause of our sanguinary strife, and a saving adjustment of our difficulties upon the permanent basis of a similarity of institutions, and it is to be hoped a speedy and mutual forgiveness of past wrongs and injuries. We are permitted to hope that among the results of this war the negro question, so long the pestilent source of clamorous controversy, will be banished forever from the arena of party polities, and that parties will hereafter be divided upon great material issues and interests, which in this nation are vast enough to challenge the genius and ambition of the loftiest statesmanship in their proper and well directed development, and which, if they do not so excite the passions of men, will afford a far more interesting and profitable discussion to the people. And upon this happy consummation it cannot be doubted that the civilized world will hail our redemption with joy; and that the country, relieved from the moral, social and material depression of slavery, under the life-giving and energizing power of free labor, and free institutions, will march onward in the race of national progress to the highest pinnacle of power, prosperity and grandeur.
I am not deterred, by the humbug clamor of the day, from saying that I subscribed to the much ridiculed proposition of the President — that there can be no hope for permanency and solid peace "with one half the country free and the other half slave" — that two antagonistic forms of society cannot, among civilized men, co-exist and endure. The one must give way or cease to exist — the other become universal. But this antagonism once removed, and the people of all the states having the same institutions and the same system of labor, and brought together in business and social intercourse by the vastly increased means of international communication through railroads and telegraphs, as well as by rivers and roads, unity of the parts, however remote and locally diversified, will be produced, and lasting peace and prosperity secured. It has been proposed, even in the North, to secure this homogeneousness by the introduction of slavery into every state of the Union. This would be a retrograde step. A far, nobler and better policy, and altogether a more stable basis of prosperity, and more congenial to the civilization of a Christian age, would be "to proclaim liberty throughout the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof."
In the new policy of emancipation, thus inaugurated, I feel that
55it is of the utmost importance to meet and silence the prejudice which, for partisan purposes, is attempted to be excited against the alleged injurious effects of emancipation. It is not to be overlooked that there exists a degree of prejudice in the minds of the people, upon the subject of giving freedom to the slave, to which politicians appeal with fatal injury to the cause of that enlightened progress which has been so Providentially placed within the reach of the present generation. A grand opportunity is presented to us, by the logic of events. By a wise and Christian policy, we blot out a mighty wrong to one class of people now in bondage, and secure lasting peace and happiness to another.
I am sure of two things: First — that when slavery is removed, this rebellion will die out, and not before. Second — I believe and predict, and commit the prediction in this State paper to meet the verdict of my successors in office and of posterity, that the change brought about by the policy of emancipation will pass off in a way so quietly and so easily, that the world will stand amazed that we should have entertained such fears of its evils. During the war, there will be necessarily some suffering among so many slaves thrown out of employment, and many, perhaps large numbers of them, will seek a temporary refuge in the free states, and every man who has a human heart within him, will treat them kindly; but with the return of peace, the demand for labor in the South will be greatly increased, and there will be an exodus not only of these fugitives, but of the free colored population to the South. The demand for labor in the South will be greatly increased by the subdivision of large farms into numerous small ones, in the hands of a much larger number of owners; also by the reclamation of immense regions of fertile country in all our Southern states, waiting only the plastic touch of free labor, the settlement of which has been retarded by the existence of slavery, tending, as it always has, and necessarily always will, to discourage the immigration of free white citizens. No reasonable fears of competition with the free labor of the Northern states need be entertained, because the emancipated slave will have protection and employment upon the soil which he has heretofore cultivated in bondage. Emancipation does not increase the number of negroes by an additional one. There will not be a single acre of land less for cultivation, but a great deal more will probably be cultivated; there will be the same and an increasing demand for the culture of cotton, tobacco, sugar, and rice, for which the, negro is peculiarly
56adapted; the southern climate will remain unchanged, congenial to his constitution; and it is in the highest degree improbable that the negro will leave the state of his nativity, where his labor is in demand, where he understands, better than any one else the business to be done, and where the climate is adapted to him, to seek the cold climates of the North, to face the strong competition of northern, skilled free-labor, to encounter the prejudice against his color, and the pauperism and neglect which would meet him on every hand.
As to the state of society South, it is difficult for me to see how a population, basking in the sunlight of freedom, and breathing its pure air, with all the opportunities for education opened to them, and all the incentives of freedom, and to a higher elevation, can be more dangerous than the same population in the worthlessness and degradation of hopeless bondage. At the same time, the effect upon the poorer classes of the white population, and upon the slave states at large, would be immediate and marked, as is most plainly proved by the far greater prosperity of the free over the slave states. We have but to look at contiguous free and slave states, with similar soil and climate, and of equal capacities, separated only by a narrow river or mere imaginary line, to find vigor, freshness, and prosperity, in the former, and stationary sluggishness or slow progress in the latter.
But again, the prospects for colonization are brighter than ever before. Negotiations are now pending with states of South America, not unlikely to be successful, and opening new and inviting homes to the colored race. Colonization to Liberia may not, so far, have justified the country's anticipations; yet it is not unreasonable to suppose that under the new incentives of freedom, and conditions ameliorated by remunerated labor, the colored people will go in numbers largely increasing from year to year, till there will be a mighty exodus of the greater portion of that population. When the Government shall have opened commercial relations, and a regular trade with Africa and regions nearer the tropics, there is no reason why the negro may not seek the land of his fathers, or some region further south, as certainly and readily as millions of foreigners from Britain and the continent now seek these United States. I know not the designs of Providence towards this people, but of this I feel sure, that no distant period will have elapsed, when not only the North, but the South, rejuvenated in every material and social interest, will rejoice in
57emancipation, though now, to the latter it may seem an intolerable injury.
For a vindication of the Government against any charge of unfairness to the seceding States, it is important, briefly, to consider a few historical facts. It is undoubtedly true that, from its institution down to the rebellion, there have been no acts of hostility by the Government towards the seceding States. On the contrary, the greater part of this time, the latter have had the ascendancy in our national councils, and been, in fact, the pets of the Government. They have had not only the largest share of the offices, but also shaped the policy of the Government. For them Texas was admitted into the Union, with its slavery; for them the war was waged with Mexico. In 1850, California was denied admission into the Union, because another star of freedom would thereby be added to the constellation of states, and would secure additional free-state Senators and Representatives; for them the fugitive slave law was passed and enforced; the Missouri Compromise, in 1820, was first passed to secure the admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state, and afterwards, in 1854, it was repealed, because it inhibited the extension of slavery north of the parallel of 36 deg. 30 min., north latitude. Kansas, was invaded and her citizens murdered, to secure the admission of another slave State. The Dred Scott decision, which overturned the precedents of every court in the civilized world, and proclaimed the abhorrent doctrine that slavery might lawfully go into any state or territory, was also made in the interest of the South. All freedom of utterance, for years past, was crushed out in the South by intolerant mob law. The same intolerance, bold and defiant, infected the capital in all its circles, social and political, crushing out even the utterances of the Senate chamber with the bludgeon and the bowie-knife. This spirit, growing more and more offensive and defiant, finally culminated in open rebellion, upon the pretext of the election of the present Chief Magistrate, by the vote of the people, fairly and constitutionally expressed. The rebel states then proceeded, against all warning and without cause, to lay their unhallowed hands upon our temple of liberty, to overthrow and destroy the constitution which so long nursed and protected them. Who, then, can dare to claim for them the protection of that constitution, or plead the inviolability of their state institutions under that constitution? Shall we hesitate, in view of the great crime and wickedness of
58this rebellion, to exterminate from the face of the earth the evil which is the cause of the wild storm of war, ruin, and desolation, which now confronts us on every hand.
In view of all these facts, I demand the removal of slavery. In the name of my country, whose peace it has disturbed, and plunged into fearful civil war; in the name of the heroes it has slain; in the name of justice, whose highest tribunals it has corrupted and prostituted to its basest ends and purposes; in the name of Washington and Jefferson, and all the old patriots who struggled round about the camps of liberty, and who looked forward to the early extinction of slavery; in the name of progress, civilization, and liberty, and in the name of God himself, I demand the utter and entire demolition of this heaven-cursed wrong of human bondage — this sole cause of the treason, death, and misery, which fill the land. Fear not the consequences, for the Almighty will uphold the arms of the hosts whose banners are blazoned with the glorious war-cry of liberty. Fear not foreign intervention, for the civilized nations of the world will hail with delight the unfurled banner of universal emancipation. We need not, it is true, expect sympathy from the privileged classes of Europe, because they seem to have an inveterate hatred against our liberal institutions. But the masses of Europe will sympathize with a nation which, for eighty-five years, has been the asylum for the down-trodden of every land, and which is now offering up the flower of its people to subdue a treasonable slave oligarchy. Let foreign nations stand advised that we have little dread of their intervention; that, though in the travail of an exhausting war, we are better prepared to encounter it now than ever before; and that nothing could more firmly knit together all parties in the loyal States, and give steadfastness to their purpose to be united and free, than the uncalled-for intermeddling of any foreign power in our domestic troubles. In that event, instead of one million, three millions of armed men would rally to the standard, and overwhelm with speedy ruin all traitors at home, and all enemies from abroad. Then henceforth, in the management of this war, let our watchword be emancipation; emblazon it on every banner; shout it at the head of our charging columns and victorious legions; let it be "our pillar of cloud by day, and our pillar of fire by night;" then our arms shall be successful, and we shall solve the problem of the ages — that there is inherent energy enough in a government of the people to vindicate itself and survive all the throes of political and
59civil revolution. Slavery removed, and we shall have peace — solid and enduring peace — and our nation, entering upon a new career, will leap with a mighty bound to be the greatest and freest upon the face of the earth.
I have hope for my country, because I think the right policy has been adopted. There remains but one other thing to make my assurance doubly sure; and that is, I want to see no divisions among the friends of the Union in the loyal states. Could I know that the people of the free states were willing to ignore party, and resolved to act with one purpose and one will for the vigorous prosecution of the war and the restoration of the Union, then I should have no doubt of a happy end to all our difficulties.
The secessionists have hoped for success upon three grounds. First, upon our supposed inferior valor; second, upon foreign aid; and, third, upon a divided North. The two first have failed them. They now despair of any foreign intervention, and on many battle fields the cool, determined bravery of our Northern troops has proved an over-match for the fiery, impetuous valor of the South. But can I truthfully say that their strongest hope and main reliance, a divided North, has failed them?
To prove that this point is worthy of consideration, and that the fate of the Republic is connected with it, let me refer a little to history.
At the Charleston Convention, in May, 1860, the democratic party, which so long swayed the destinies of America, became divided upon the slavery question. The radical, pro-slavery secession party adopted the views of Breckinridge; while the friends of the Union, in that party, followed the lead of Douglas. It is now worthy of notice that the leaders of both these parties looked upon this question of division among the people of the North as the decisive one. Mr. Breckinridge looked upon the probability of such a division as a bright omen for disunion; and Mr. Douglas contemplated such division with fear and trembling for the Republic.
Mr. Breckinridge, in a speech in the U. S. Senate, on the first day of August, 1861, said:
"Fight twelve months longer, and the already opening differences between New England and the North-west will develop themselves. You have two confederacies now. Fight twelve months, and you will have three; twelve months longer, and you will have four."
On the first day of May, in the city of Chicago, Mr. Douglas said:
"I know that they (the secessionists,) have expected to present a unified South against a divided North. The conspirators have been led to the hope that in the Northern states it would be a party question, producing civil war between democrats and republicans, and the South, being united, would step in with their legions and help destroy the one and then conquer the victor. The scheme was bloodshed and civil war in every Northern state."
Mr. Douglass, further said, "I am a good partisan hater and fighter, in time of peace; but you will find me as good a patriot when the country is in danger. * * * It is your duty to lay aside party creeds and party platforms. Then I appeal to you, my democratic friends, do not let mortification, growing out of a defeat in a partisan struggle, convert you from patriots to traitors to your native land. Whenever our government is assailed, when hostile armies are marching under rude and odious banners, the shortest way to peace is the most stupendous and unanimous preparation for war."
I quote these words, because now the elements in this dark and dangerous hour most to be dreaded, springs from divisions in the Northern states, growing out of ambitions and strifes for individual and party ascendency. Mr. Douglas plainly foresaw the danger, and leaped the wide chasm of party to save his country.
Immeasurably important to our country is it now that there should be but one party, and that for the Union. In peace times, I confess myself to being a partisan, strong, relentless, unforgiving; but when the country is in such imminent peril, I try to know no party, save my country. In the appointments I have made to office, I have endeavored to confer them as nearly equally as possible, upon republicans and democrats. Whenever I see a man, be he a republican or democrat, who is ready to bring a good, honest heart, and a strong vigorous arm to the support of the Government, and lay aside all to save his country, then, irrespective of old party associations and affiliations, I will take him by the hand as a brother, and bury forever in the tomb of human forgetfulness all memory of former wrong.
If the members of this General Assembly, and the press and people of Illinois, in the spirit of lofty patriotism, could lay aside every thing of a party character, and evince to the country, to our army, and, especially to the secession states, that we are one in
61heart and sentiment for every measure for the vigorous prosecution of the war, it would have a more marked effect upon the suppression of the rebellion than great victories achieved over the enemy upon the battle-field. For, when the North shall present an undivided front — a stern and unfaltering purpose to exhaust every available means to suppress the rebellion, then the last strong prop of the latter will have fallen from under it, and it will succumb and sue for peace. Should divisions mark our councils, or any considerable portion of our people give signs of hesitation, then a shout of exultation will go up, throughout all the hosts of rebeldom, and bon-fires and illuminations be kindled in every Southern city, hailing our divisions as the sure harbingers of their success. We must stand by the President, and send up to him, and to our brave armies in the field, the support of an undivided sentiment and one universal cheer from the masses of all the loyal states. The stern realities of actual war have produced unanimity among our soldiers in the army. With them the paltry contests of men for political power dwindle into insignificance before the mightier question of the preservation of the national life. Coming into closer contact with Southern men and society, the sentiments of those who looked favorably upon Southern institutions have shifted round. They have now formed their own opinions of the proper relations of the Federal Government to them, which no sophistry of the mere politician can ever change. Seeing for themselves slavery and its effects upon both master and slave, they learn to hate it and swear eternal hostility to it in their hearts. Fighting for their country, they learn doubly to love it. Fighting for the Union, they resolve to preserve, at all hazards, the glorious palladium of our liberties.
Can we consent to send a keen and fatal pang to the heart of every Illinois soldier, now fighting for his country, by ill-timed party strife at home? Will we dampen his hope, cool his ardor, paralyze his arm? While our brave boys are in the field, exposed to snows and storms, often without tents, sleeping these cold nights upon the frozen earth, undergoing long and wearisome marches, suffering, bleeding, dying upon the battle-field, or upon the roadside, and in hospitals scattered over the land, far away from home, wife, children and friends, can we consent to fritter away precious time, in these dark and eventful hours in petty contentions for place, and party ascendancy?
That I may relieve myself of the charge, by any one, of attempting to cast censure on any particular party, here let me say, that, as Commander-in-chief of the army of this State, I know that the troops of Illinois are composed of both republicans and democrats; I cannot say definitely in what proportions, but I can say that both are largely represented, and that I have found no reason whatever to complain of either.
It also affords me great pleasure to say that I believe there is no considerable portion of any party in the State of Illinois in favor of a dissolution of the Union. I have been in a position where I could judge, and must condemn, as uncharitable, the judgment of some friends, and say to them, that traitors, men who would pull down the pillars of this fair fabric of American independence of ours, are "few and far between." Indeed, I assert that any party in Illinois would soon meet with overwhelming popular condemnation, in the attempt to divide our blood-cemented Union by any imaginable boundary lines, under any pretenses, however plausible they might be.
I regret that appeals are being made to the masses by a few public presses in the country for separation from New England. Not a drop of New England blood courses my veins; still I should deem myself an object of commisseration and shame if I could forget her glorious history; if I could forget that the blood of her citizens freely commingled with that of my own ancestors upon those memorable fields which ushered in the millenium dawn of civil and religious liberty. I propose not to be the eulogist of New England; but she is indissolubly bound to us by all the bright memories of the past, by all the glory of the present, by all the hopes of the future. I shall always glory in the fact that I belong to a republic in the galaxy of whose stars New England is among the brightest and best. Palsied be the hand that would sever the ties which bind the East and West.
There are differences of opinion as to the best mode of restoring a peaceful reunion and the healthful authority of the government; but I do not for a moment tolerate the idea that any considerable portion of either party, would upon any compromise or terms whatever, consent to a dismemberment of the Union. Even opposition to the policy of the Administration does not necessarily imply opposition to the Union. But here I desire to make a remark, to which I invite the patriotic consideration
63of the members of the General Assembly. It certainly is not unreasonable for the party, which has been placed in power under all the forms of constitutional usage and requirements, to ask at the hands of the opposition, during the term of its administration, a tolerant support of the measures which it adopts for the restoration of the Union, leaving the question of party supremacy be determined at the regularly recurring elections. Our ship of state is on the stormy wave, amid the rocks and breakers. If we stop to decide whether we shall have a new captain she will go under before we have decided. Let every man be at his post, on quarter-deck and prow, at helm, sail and rope, fore and aft, and all say to the captain, "we will see you through. Let's save the ship."
The accumulated horrors of this dreadful war have led the minds of the people to think of peace, and every true patriot and philanthropist ardently desires peace. But it has its difficulties. It is not desirable without it can be honorable, solid and enduring. There is no probable compromise which can secure it. The rebels will submit to no compromise short of a dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of a Southern Confederacy. On the other hand, the people of the loyal States will submit to no adjustment short of the submission of the rebels to the rightful authority of the Government, and the unconditional union of the States. The rebels demand the right to go off with three-fourths of our broad territory; the people of the loyal States will never yield a single acre.
To those who, in view of the calamities of the war, may suppose that any division of our territory can secure peace, let me put the interrogatories: Where would be the boundary line; and once established, what guarantee is there for a continuance of peace? A division of this country into several different nationalities means nothing more nor less than perpetual and destructive war; an unceasing conflict for supremacy; a never ending struggle for the empire of the continent, at a cost of millions of treasure; and oppressive taxes upon the people to keep up separate governments and maintain standing armies. Such is now the condition of the different nationalities of Europe, whose immense exactions have in the last twenty years driven millions of their poor to seek our shores as an asylum. Instead of peace, it would be as if this nation were to make its last will and testament, and bequeath internecine and bloody war as a legacy — an inheritance for the dwellers in the land for all time to come. War, then, might be expected to become the
64occupation of the people. The questions of the navigation of our rivers, of boundaries, tariffs, commercial regulations, escape and capture of slaves, pride and jealousies embittered by the remembrance of former feuds, and numerous other causes, would engender and keep up bloody and perpetual wars, until at last all that was worth living for, all that was lovely in the land, would be blotted out and but few evidences left of the greatness and glory of a once happy and united people.
I can think of no peace worth having, short of crushing out the rebellion and the complete restoration of the authority of the Government. The only way to honorable and permanent peace is through war — desolating, exterminating war. We must move on the enemy's works. We must move forward with tremendous energy, with accumulated thousands of men and the most terrible enginery of war. This will be the shortest road to peace and be accompanied by the least cost of life and treasure in the end.
If our brave boys shall fall in the field, we must bury the dead, take care of and bring home the sick and wounded, and send fresh battallions to fill up the broken ranks and to deal out death, destruction and desolation to the rebels. We might talk of compromise, if it affected us alone, but it would affect our children and our children's children, in all the years of the future. The interests to be affected are far reaching and universal as humanity and lasting as the generations of mankind. I have never had my faith in the perpetual Union of these States to falter. I believe this infernal rebellion can be, ought to be and will be, subdued. The land may be left a howling waste, desolated by the bloody footsteps of war, from Delaware Bay to the Gulf, but our territory shall remain unmutilated — the country shall be one, and it shall be free in all its broad boundaries, from Maine to the Gulf and from ocean to ocean.
In any event, may we be able to act a worthy part in the trying scenes through which we are passing; and should the star of our destiny sink to rise no more, may we feel for ourselves and may history preserve our record clear before heaven and earth, and hand down the testimony to our children, that we have done all, perilled and endured all, to perpetuate the priceless heritage of Liberty and Union, unimpared to our posterity.
January 5, 1863.