The Greene-Davis Pow-Wow of Saturday Night.
Treason is at a discount at the State Capital. Those legislators and would-be United Senators who have come up fresh — very fresh, indeed — from the people, thinking that the surest way of obtaining notoriety was to preach treason, and who, by their utterances and their actions have fully justified every charge of disloyalty that has been brought against the Greene-Davis Democratic party, are beginning to find that treason does not rule the State Capital, and will not rule Illinois.
We have already given faithful reports of their meetings of Monday and Thursday nights. The leaders essayed a repetition of their performances again on Saturday night, but the result was, to the last degree, farcical and ridiculous. The great Union demonstration of Friday evening — tremendous both in numbers and in enthusiasm — was over. That had proved an eye-opener to the marplots who were striving to aid the cause of the rebellion by sowing dissension in the North, and opening a base and cowardly "fire in the rear" upon the soldiers of the Union in the field. The Democratic caucus had been held, and the politicians who had disgraced the State and desecrated the capitol, by spouting scarcely dissembled treason, had retined disgusted with their ill-success and, it is to be hoped with their own infamy. Even Merrick — the irrepressible Dick — "My Maryland" Dick — who applauded the "sanctified treason" of Jeff. Davis and his compeers and denounced President Lincoln for having resisted the efforts of the traitors of the South, to divide the Union, who had never before been known to sacrifice the smallest opportunity to make a speech, — even he had subsided, and with a supreme disgust for the party which while applauding his treason had proved itself, too cowardly to vote for him, he had resolved never to offer his cheap wares for sale again except under the benign rule of Jeff. Davis.
Marshall, Goudy, O'Melveny, and Ficklin who had vied with each other in denouncing the Government: who had striven to prove that they were the very best of Union men by counselling a separation of the West from the East: and that they were as good war Democrats as anybody, by urging an armistice and the withdrawal of our armies from the South — they also had left the field.
The responsibility of entertaining the crowd on Saturday night devolved upon two gentlemen. Considering the fact that the crowd was not large — it scarcely filled one third of the Hall — that responsibility was not great.
The first speaker was Mr. S. S. Hays, of Chicago. His speech was devoted to the consideration of the questions of the tariff and free trade, and bore evidence of having been originally delivered about the year 1840. The only points about it that were modern were a repetition and adoption of Jeff. Davis' charges against General Butler, and an occasional denunciation of the President.
But the whole thing fell stale, flat and insipid upon his audience. Mr. Hay's idea was that we should repeal all tariff laws and push off New England, as an inducement to the South to return to the Union; but failing in that — which he seemed to think almost as certain as he thought that the South would achieve its independence — in order that we might live in peace and good fellowship, with our "misguided Southern brethren." The audience were disappointed. They expected to hear bald, bold utterances of treason, such as characterized the speeches of the previous evenings. Instead of that, they only had treason by implication. — There was no applause, unless by chance, the word "nigger" was uttered — a dead oppressive silence followed the conclusion of every sentence. After occupying an hour and a half, Mr. Hays subsided.
At this stage it was expected — as the Register had stated, that Judge Duff (of "Old Capitol" distinction) would speak — that that gentleman would be called out. But not a voice was raised for Duff. Mr. Linder was called out, however, and did his best to furnish the farce so much demanded after Mr. Hays' heavy acting. Mr. Linder was on all sides at nearly the same moment. He treated his audience to a dissertation on dogs, women and negroes, all of which constituted central figures in his idea of home. — Like Ethan Spike, who was in favor of the Maine Liquor Law, but opposed to its execution — he was in favor of the emancipation proclamation, but opposed to its execution: that is to say, he favored the first proclamation which was the proclamation of freedom, but disapproved the second, which only designated the States and sections of States to which the first should apply. He favored the first proclamation because he thought it would frighten the rebels into submission; but as it didn't have that effect, he was in favor of backing down, and thus giving them to understand that we should always submit, provided they wouldn't. And, yet, strange to say, he professed to be in favor of carrying on the war. He drew a "picture of blood," to follow from servile insurrection, which would be awful indeed if it should ever occur — but which, if it should ever occur, would be the fault of the people of the South themselves, who think more of prosecuting the rebellion than of protecting their own homes, as they have abundant power to do. Somehow Mr. Linder totally neglected to advise the rebels to cease their rebellion and return to their homes, and thus prevent the very thing he professed to dread — and left us in doubt as to whether he wished them to cease their rebellion at all or not. In a manner which elicited applause from his secession hearers, he maintained the broadest liberty of speech — but afterwards added the provisio that their speech should be sensible and loyal, which brought forth applause from the other side. Altogether he managed, very skillfully, to make a speech without committing himself to either side.
After he had concluded, a feeble effort was made to induce speakers of the Merrick stamp to take the sound, but resulted in a miserable failure. Treason being palpably at a discount. Mr. Hacker moved that the meeting adjourn sine die, which prevailed, the audience being already in great part outside the hall; and thus ended a series of meetings which will entail lasting and unmitigated infamy upon those who participated in them.