"Knights of the Golden Circle," or "Reorganizing Democracy."
Elsewhere we copy from the Carbondale Times a Democratic paper, published in Southern Illinois, an article affirming the existence in that section of the State of such an organization as the "Knights of the Golden Circle." The writer, though loth to believe the charges against certain prominent individuals, and demanding proofs of their innocence or complicity, says, "of the existence of the order we have never had any doubt, because we have heard men assert that they were members of it." It may be considered almost certain that it has its adherents in other sections of the State also.
The only difference of opinion on the subject seems to be in regard to its objects. The writer in the Times says that all "Knights" with whom he has talked, "claimed that the only object they had in view was the re-organization of the Democratic party." Whether the Democratic party was believed to have become corrupt, and was to be re-organized in order that it might be purified at the same time, or was to be perverted to the ends of treason, must be judged by the character of those attempting to re-organization.
The existence of an order in the South, bearing the name of "Knights of the Golden Circle" was proved beyond a doubt months ago. It is said to have originally had for its object conquest in the direction of Mexico and Central America, but on the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency, it became a chief instrument in fomenting and organizing rebellion against the authority of the Government, and for the establishment of a Confederacy based distinctly upon the principles of negro slavery. The leaders in the rebellion are leading and controlling members of this organization, and the rapid and unexpected spread of the views of secession in the Southern States was due to the influence of the order. What then, must be the character and influence of the association in the North, receiving as it does, its principles and inspiration from those in open rebellion against the Government? Bearing such relations to the rebellion, it can readily be perceived that the proposed "re-organization of the Democratic party" — if that were the object — by such means, would not have the effect to render that party more patriotic, or unite it in support of the government. Its only effect has been to enable a mere minority of that party, by reason of their complete and thorough organization, to control the party through its conventions and caucuses. It is a singular fact that leaves a damning stigma upon the party, that none but professed Democrats (or those who, in uniting with this organization became such) are members of the "Knights of the Golden Circle." This stigma, however, should not attach to members of the Democratic party as such; but only to those who are in complicity with the attempts to subvert the whole party to the ends of treason, whether it be as "Knights of the Golden Circle" or simply as Democrats who raise no protest against such subversion, and use no efforts to purge there party of the elements of treason.
That many Democrats do unhesitatingly condemn this unpatriotic and treasonable association, is true. It is, doubtless, equally true that many who have been seduced into the organization, discovering its treasonable tendencies, have promptly withdrawn form it and washed their hands of its corrupt designs. None have been more positive in their assertions of the existence of such an organization than the better class of Democratic newspapers. Yet, we have Democratic newspapers in our midst, exercising a wide influence, which have no word of condemnation or rebuke for organized treason within their party; but which either continually ignore it, or endeavor to shield it from public reprehension. Such, we regret to say, is the character of the newspapers which support the nominations of the Vallandigham State Convention.