Democratic Theory vs. Democratic Practice — The Vandeveer Resolutions.
Before the election, Democratic leaders and candidates were loud in their professions of earnest support of the war. They clamored for its more vigorous prosecution. They even went so far as to claim that the next Congress (on the assumption that it would be Democratic) would be "the real war Congress." In their State convention held in this city on the 10th day of September last, they professed to "hail with satisfaction the recent declaration of the President of the United States that his object is to save the Union the shortest way under the Constitution." They were especially indignat if judging them by their conduct instead of their professions, any one should charge them with disloyalty.
Their professions at least, were complimentary to the loyalty of the people whose votes they were anxious to influence. They were successful. Through such professions they obtained a majority in the present Legislature. But now they have thrown off all disguise. The war is prosecuted, as heretofore, "for the restoration of the Union;" it is prosecuted by just such means as President Lincoln said in his letter to Horace Greeley he would employ if convinced that it would prove the means to preserve the Union — "the shortest way under the Constitution" — the very means which Democratic orators and editors professed to approve.
The whole object of the Democratic majority in the Legislature since that body assembled seems to have been to justify the charges and predictions of those who, before the election, accused them of disloyalty. Professing to venerate the Constitution, they seek for pretexts and expedients to violate it. They attempt to disgrace the Governor by refusing to him the common courtesy of ordering his message printed; but, in doing so, only disgrace themselves, and acknowledge their inability to meet the very arguments which they denounce with so much virulence. They attempt to hamper him in the discharge of his official duty, by enacting unconstitutional laws, because he has employed his official authority patriotically in aid of the General Government. Was ever a loyal and trusting people more shamelessly betrayed? That they are conscious of this betrayal, let the earnest and indignant condemnation of vast assemblages in various parts of the State give assurance.
But if anything were needed to give stronger assurance of the disloyal purposes of the so-called Democratic leaders, the resolutions offered by Mr. Vandeveer, in the Senate on Thursday, should be sufficient. Here is a proposition for an armistice with a people who have inaugurated a war and are still prosecuting it; for the dissolution of the Union. In view of the fact that the rebels themselves make no request for an armistice, and avow their determination to accept of no terms short of an acknowledgment of their independence, such a proposition can only be made in their interest, and for the purpose of insuring their success.
It may make little difference in the conduct of the war, whether these resolutions are adopted or not. The rebellion will be crushed in spite of them — though they increase the difficulty by offering encouragement to the rebels. But to those politicians who support it, it will make a vast difference. Their future may be written in a single sentence. They betrayed the people and they received a traitor's doom.
But what will the hundred and thirty-seven thousand loyal soldiers of Illinois — those who are yet to return either triumphant or foiled by the machinations of northern traitors, and to influence if not control, by their votes the destines of the State — what will they say to their betrayal into the hands of their enemies? These men are even now being betrayed into the hands of the rebels by those who give aid and encouragement to those rebels without the honesty to take up arms on their side. Every Union soldier who loses his life in concequence of the encouragement given to the rebels to persevere in resistance and thus prolong the war, is murdered — absolutely murdered — by these allies of treason. Brave, loyal men are being sacrificed even now, and already the voice of execration is coming up from the army against the murderers. Let them beware!