Address to the President of the United States.
Held to take measures for the more active support of the Government, at Altoona, Pennsylvania, on the 22d day of September, 1862.
After nearly one year and a half spent in contest with an armed and gigantic rebellion against the national Government of the United States, the duty and purpose of the loyal States and people continue, and must always remain as they were at its beginning, namely to restore and perpetuate the authority of this Government and the life of the nation. No matter what consequences are involved in our fidelity, nevertheless this work of restoring the Republic, preserving the institutions of democratic liberty, and justifying the hopes and toil of our fathers, shall not fail to be performed.
And we pledge, without hesitation to the President of the United States the most loyal and cordial support, hereafter as heretofore in the exercise of the functions of his great office. We recognize in him the Chief Executive Magistrate of the nation, the Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of the United States, their responsible and constitutional head, whose rightful authority and power, as well as the constitutional powers of Congress, must be rigorously and religiously guarded and preserved, as the condition on which alone our form of Government and the constitutional rights and liberties of the people themselves can be saved from the wreck of anarchy or from the gulf of despotism.
In submission to the laws which may have been, or which may be duly enacted, and to the lawful orders of the President, co-operating always in our own spheres with the national Government, we mean to continue in the most vigorous exercise of all our lawful and proper powers, contending against treason, rebellion, and the public enemies, and whether in public life or in private station, supporting the arms of the Union, until its cause shall conquer, until final victory shall perch upon its standard, or the rebel foe shall yield a dutiful, rightful and unconditional submission. And, impressed with the conviction that an army of reserve ought, until the war shall end, to be kept constantly on foot, to be raised, armed, equipped, and trained at home, and ready for emergencies, we respectfully ask the President to call for such a force of volunteers for one year's service, of not less than one hundred thousand in the aggregate, the quota of each State to be raised after it shall have filled its quotas of the requisitions already made both for volunteers and for militia. We believe that this would be a measure of military prudence, while it would greatly promote the military education of the people.
We hail, with heartfelt gratitude and encouraged hope, the proclamation of the President, issued on the 22d instant, declaring emancipated from their bondage all persons held to service or labor, as slaves in the rebel States, whose rebellion shall last until the first day of January now next ensuing. The right of any person to retain authority to compel any portion of the subjects of the National Government to report against it, or to maintain its enemies, implies, in those who are allowed possession of such authority, the right to rebel themselves, and therefore the right to establish martial or military government in a state or Territory in rebellion implies the right and the duty of the Government to liberate the minds of all men living therein, by appropriate proclamations and assurances of protection, in order that all who are capable, intellectually and morally of loyalty and obedience, may not be forced into treason as the unwilling tools of rebellious traitors.
To have continued indeffinitely the most efficient cause, support and stay of the rebellion, would have been in our judgment, unjust to the loyal people, whose treasure and lives are made a willing sacrifice on the altar of patriotism — would have discriminated against the wife who is compelled to surrender her husband, against the parent who is to surrender his child to the hardships of the camp and the perils of battle, in favor of rebel masters permitted to remain their slaves. It would have been a final decision alike against humanity, justice, the rights and dignity of the Government, and against sound and wise national policy.
The decision of the President, to strike at the root of the rebellion, will lend new vigor to the efforts and new life and hope to the hearts of the people. Cordially tendering to the President our respectful assurances of personal and official confidence, we trust and believe that the policy now inaugurated will be crowned with success, will give speedy and triumphant victories over our enemies, and secure to this nation and this people the blessing and favor of Almighty God. We believe that the blood of the heroes who have already fallen, and those who may yet give their lives to their country, will not have been shed in vain. The splendid valor of our soldiers, their patient endurance, their manly patriotism, and their devotion to duty, demand from us and from all their countrymen, the homage of the sincerest gratitude and the pledge of our constant reinforcement and support. A just regard for these brave men, whom we have contributed to place in the field, and for the importance of the duties which may lawfully pertain to us hereafter, has called us into friendly conference.
And now, presenting to our national Chief Magistrate this conclusion of our deliberations, we devote ourselves to our country's service, and we will surround the President with our constant support, trusting that the fidelity and zeal of the loyal States and people will always assure him that we will be constantly maintained in pursuing with the utmost vigor this war — for the preservation of the nation life and the hopes of humanity.
A. G. CURTIN.
JOHN A. ANDREW.
ISRAEL WASBURN, Jr.
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.
O. P. MORTON.
(By D. G. Rose, his representatives.)
F. H. PIERPONT.
N. S. BERRY.