Great Union Mass Meeting at Jacksonville.
One of the largest mass meeting ever held in Central Illinois, took [unknown]plack at Jacksonville on Saturday last. The enthusiasm and the crowd strongly reminded one of the campaigns of 1840 and 1860, when the popular storm swept over the nation, bearing the choice of the people into the Presidential chair by popular majorities scarcely ever before known.
A special train from this city bearing Gov. Yates, Maj. Gen. Hooker and staff, Brig. Gen. Cook, Maj. Heffernan and a large number of citizens, arrived at eleven o'clock. Although the day previous had been stormy and unpromising, yet at that hour the Public Square and all the avenues leading to it were crowded with the enthusiastic multitudes. It had been noised abroad that Gen. Hooker was coming, and an immense crowd was at the depot awaiting his arrival. As the cars arrived, an appropriate salute was fired, and a military escort was in readiness to receive him. The General and his party having taken carriages, provided for them at the depot, proceeded to the Public Square, and thence to the residence of M. P. Ayres, Esq., being everywhere received with the heartiest demonstrations of applause.
Arriving on the Public Square, we found the sidewalks and streets already full of people, yet we were told that the delegations had not yet begun to arrive. About half-past eleven, they began to enter the Square, coming in on West State street, in long lines, which extended further than the eye could reach. They poured through the street in a continuous stream, occupying more than an hour in passing a given point.
The profusion of flags, banners, mottoes and devices was unusually rich and varied. First came a band, then the model of a monument which the people of Morgan county propose to erect to the memory of the brave men from that county whose lives have been sacrificed in the war for the Union. This monument bore the following inscription:
"In memory of the soldiers of Morgan county who have fallen in defense of our country."
We learned that it was intended to inscribe upon this monument the name of every soldier from Morgan county, who had thus fallen, but there was not time to do so. Next came wagons bearing large flags, a large train of horsemen, followed by wagons loaded with wood for soldiers' families. The last was a prominent feature of the affairs the number of wagons composing this part of the procession being greater than the whole number in the Copperhead procession at that place a couple of weeks ago. No less than ninety-three loads of wood, we are informed, were deposited for the use of soldiers' families. A large number of young ladies tastefully dressed in national colors, with attendants, also appeared on horseback, in the procession; also two cars, each bearing a number of littler girls dressed in the same colors, and representing the different States of the Union. The following are a few among the many mottoes and devices:
"Shenandoah Harvest — reaped by Early, threshed by Sheridan."
"Chicago Platform — a little pity, but no honor for the soldier."
"Our Peace Maker" — under which appeared a well executed drawing of a sixty-four pounder.
"We are coming, Father Abraham."
"Have you heard from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana."
"Jacksonville Union Club."
A train of cars on a railroad with the following underneath:
"It is dangerous to stand on the Platform. — Geo. B. McClellan, Supt."
"No cessation of hostilities against traitors" — with portraits of Grant, Sherman, Farragut and Sheridan."
"Our way to peace. Crush the rebellion."
"The Copperhead way to peace: let the rebellion alone."
"Concord Union Council."
"War or Submission, by the Eternal."
"We are ready for a free ballot, and don't fear a free fight."
"The only hope of the rebellion — a divided North."
"Our Platform." This was represented by a real platform on wheels, on which was placed a cannon in front with a number of soldiers with muskets and bayonets.
"To stop the war we must defeat the rebel armies. — GEN. SHERMAN."
The following were among the transparencies borne in the procession and again exhibited at night:
"Lincoln and Johnson."
"Oglesby and Bross."
"Little Mac's last great feat." — Little Mac was represented riding two horses, one labeled "Peace" the other "War," with a Union flag in one hand and a secession flag in the other.
"McClellan's Ordnance" — Spades and a pickaxe with the grave of a soldier in the back ground.
"Spades are (no longer) trumps."
"What frightened Little Mac at Manassas — Quaker guns." — represented by logs of wood.
"Leave Pope to get out of his scrape — McClellan's dispatch."
"McClellan invincible in peace — invisible in war."
"I'll push them to the wall — McClellan's dispatch." [A stone wall beyond which were seen bayonets.]
"A good thing to fall back on" — [represented Little Mac confronted by a frog in the swamps of the Chickahominy and falling back in affright with a frog in his rear.]
"The true hero of the Chickahominy — General Joe Hooker."
We have given but a small proportion of the mottoes and devices. It was impossible to procure them all.
At two o'clock the meeting was called to order, when Gen. Hooker having been loudly called for, was introduced and spoke as follows:
GEN. HOOKER'S SPEECH.
Fellow-citizens: — I am not here to speak. I am here to meet this vast assemblage under an invitation from your noble Governor, but not, except in feeling — except in sympathy, to participate in your celebration. I came into your State a few days ago, and every step I have taken in it has filled me with amazement. I have been curious to see more. I have desired to see you on an occasion like the present. I have wanted to know how, you felt in regard to the war, and how you were going to act in November next. I wanted to know whether you were going to stand up for your soldiers in the field, or to abandon them. I wanted to know whether you were going to fight it out, and preserve our honor and our country, or whether you were going to give it up [Cheers, and cries of "Never."] I know it. I knew it before I came here. I knew from the conduct of your soldiers in the field, that they had a power behind them — a power greater than that they presented in the field. [Loud cheers.] I knew they were the representatives of a noble and patriotic people. I know full well, from the vast numbers here, how you are going to vote and to act. I know that in the great Northwest you are going to stand by your country. You do not know, you cannot tell, how thankful I am to find you in this condition. There is nothing so gratifying to the men who are fighting your battles as to know that you are supporting them at home, and everywhere I go in this State, I see nothing but evidences of patriotism and devotion of our common country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your indulgent expressions towards myself. I thank you ten thousand times. I am glad I am here to-day to see so many of you; and I hope that in November next I shall hear form you, and that you will follow the example of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. But I know you will, and that you will not only follow it, but that you will declare, in a voice which will make all our enemies tremble, that you are for the Union now and through all time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you, and thank you again, for your kindness to me.
Throughout the speech, the gallant General was interrupted by frequent and enthusiastic applause, and at its close he resumed his seat amidst a perfect whirlwind of cheers. Wherever he went during the day and evening, he was received with continual applause, and thousands pressed forward to grasp his hand. It was such an ovation as a hero might well be proud of.
After Gen. Hooker had concluded, Gov. Yates was introduced and delivered a most convincing and powerful speech, occupying about two hours. It was received with frequent demonstrations of the most enthusiastic applause. Hon. W. P. Kellogg was the next speaker at this stand. His speech, like that of Gov. Yates, was well received, holding the audience in a densely packed crowd around the stand.
Only one speaker's stand had been prepared, but soon after Gov. Yates commenced it became evident that this was totally inadequate to the wants of the crowd — less than half being able to hear. Another stand was improvised near the Court House, from which Judge McLean, of McHenry county, Col. Roberts and other gentlemen addressed large crowds. And yet large numbers were still unable to approach either stand close enough to hear, though the crowd was densely packed around each.
At a late hour in the afternoon the meeting adjourned, many of the people having stood patiently for four or five hours. At seven o'clock it again assembled to witness the display of fire-works, the torch-light procession, &c. The crowd at night seemed to have lost nothing of its proportions from the afternoon, though there were many persons present from a distance of twenty or thirty miles. Fireworks were let off from the buildings on the different sides of the Public Square, while a torch-light procession paraded the principal streets, the whole making a brilliant display. Chinese lanterns, globes, &c, were suspended from the trees in the Public Square, giving to the scene a fairy-like appearance.
Hon. A. M. Knapp, the Union candidate for Congress in the 10th district, delivered the principal speech at the main stand. It was replete with keen humor and sound argument, and called out the heartiest applause from the audience. Speeches were also delivered at the other stand by gentlemen whose names we did not learn. At ten o'clock, the hour the Springfield train left, the meeting was still in progress. A. M. Swan, Esq., was addressing a crowd which seemed but little diminished even at that late hour.
The Springfield Glee Club was present and contributed much to the enjoyment of the occasion by their soul stirring songs.
This demonstration has encouraged the Union men and startled the Copperheads. The former are now confident of carrying Morgan county, though there has been a majority of several hundred against them for some years past. Mr. P. Ayres, the Union candidate for Represetative, is canvassing the county thoroughly, and is making scores of friends. His prospects of success are most encouraging. Col. Smith, Union candidate for State Senator, is also actively canvassing the district with encouraging prospects.
An incident in connection with Gen. Hooker's visit we cannot omit to mention. As he was riding through the streets, he met the procession above described. Observing the loads of wood for soldiers' families; and supposing they were brought to town for sale, he inquired where people could find a market for so much wood. He was informed that this was a part of the procession, and that the wood was intended for the families of soldiers. "My God!" exclaimed the gallant hero who had faced danger unblenchingly on a hundred battle-fields, as tears gathered in his eyes, and ran down his cheeks, "what a people you are! You not only furnish the men to fight the battles of the country, but you take care of their families while they are gone."
Altogether the meeting proved a success far beyond what was expected by its most sanguine friends.