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people assembled for the highest national purposes that can actuate man; can show hundreds of thousands able in strength to carry any battle that ever was fought, and yet separating with the tranquillity of schoolboys. You have stood by me long-stand by me a little longer, and Ireland will be again a nation.
W. E. RUSSELL.
Address at the Democratic National Convention.
Chicago, July 9, 1896.
["Governor Russell was extremely fortunate in the time of his political activity. [He was mayor of Cambridge, Mass., 1885-1888, unsuccessful candidate for governor of Massachusetts, 1888-89, and governor, 10 1890-92.] The Democratic party had had a revival, and a revival under its best form. Under the leadership of Cleveland it promised the country an administration the object of which should be, not the advantage of partisans, or of certain classes, but of the Nation. Russell was believed to be a man of the same stamp as Cleveland, whose personal friend he became.
In the spring of 1896 Mr. Russell declined to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago, and refused to be thought of as a candidate for the Presidency. Later he decided to attend the Convention, hoping to be able to exert some influence. It was probably the most painful experience of his life. He had been a Democrat from 20 his childhood up. His father held an honorable place in the party as well as in civic life, and from him young Russell learned the lesson of party loyalty, and doubtless learned to honor the party in him. He was a partisan, but he loved his party as no mere partisan could do. He saw it assuming the position in which the best hopes of the country 25 could be placed upon it. His patriotism and his partisanship became He went to Chicago to find his dearest hopes disappointed. The politicians who had unwillingly followed the lead of Cleveland till they secured power, turned against him in Congress, and thwarted his most cherished plans. Now, in the Convention at Chicago, they were wild 30 with joy because they could cast him off forever, Russell found the
party that had been his hope and his pride stooping to alliance with the most extravagant elements of American politics, and for the sake of success adopting the most perilous financial heresy — [ free coinage of silver].
He strove vainly, [in the discussion of the report of the committee 5 to draft a platform] to check the disastrous plunge of his party into disgrace and ultimate failure.
The Convention listened but swept on in its mad career. He wrote to his wife :- 1 -I had no idea how hard and distasteful this task would be. I have but one comfort in it. I know that I have done my 10 duty with fidelity.'" Memoir of W. E. Russell, C. C. Everett, Publications of Colonial Society of Massachusetts, V, pp. 89-92.]
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THIS CONVENTION: I have but one word to say. The time is short for debate upon the merits of this issue. I am conscious, painfully con15 scious, that the mind of this Convention is not and has not been open to argument and reason. (Applause and cries of "That's right!")
I know that the will of its great majority, which sees fit to override precedent, to trample down rights, to attack the 20 sovereignty of States, is to be rigidly enforced. I know that an appeal will fall upon deaf ears. There is but one thing left to us, and that the voice of protest, and that voice I raise, not in bitterness, not questioning the sincerity, the honesty, of any Democrat; that voice I utter with a feeling of 25 sorrow, and, mark me, my friends, the country, our country, if not this Convention, will listen to our protest. (Applause and cheers.) I speak for one of the smallest States of this Union, not great in territory or population, not prominent in her material resources, but glorious in her history, great in 30 her character, in her loyalty to truth, in her devotion to principle and duty and the sacrifices she has willingly made for independence, liberty and her country. (Great applause and cheering.) That State has taught us, her children, to place principle above expediency, courage above time, and patriot35 ism above party, — (Applause). And in the cause of justice and of right, not to flinch, no matter how great the majority or how overbearing may be its demands.
I speak, and I have a right to speak, for the Democracy of my Commonwealth. (Applause.) I have seen it for a generation in darkness and defeat, following steadfastly the old principles of an abiding faith. I felt it when it was rejected and proscribed. It mattered not to us. We knew 5 that its principles would triumph, and we lived to see the day when we planted the banner of Democracy for three successive years victorious in that stronghold of Republicanism and protection. (Applause.)
These victories were for the great principles of a national 10 party. They were her protest against sectionalism, and against fraternal government, which, either by force or by favor, should seek to dominate a dependent people. This was then the democracy of South Carolina and of Illinois, and bound us together from ocean to ocean. (Applause.)
We did not think that we should live to see the time when these great Democratic principles which have triumphed over Republicanism should be forgotten in a Convention and we should be invited under new and radical leadership to a new and radical policy; that we should be asked to give up 20 vital principles for which we have labored and suffered; repudiate Democratic platforms and administrations, and at the demands of a section urging expediency, be asked to adopt a policy which many of us believe invites peril to our country and disaster to our party. (Applause.)
In the debates of this Convention I have heard one false note from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I answer it, not in anger, but in sorrow, and I appeal to you, my associates of the Massachusetts delegation, do I not speak the true sentiment of my State (cries of "Yes" in the Massa- 30 chusetts delegation), and answer for our party, when I declare that they and we utter our earnest, emphatic and unflinching protest against this Democratic platform? I have heard from the lips of some of the old leaders of our party, at whose feet we younger men have loved to learn its principles, that the 35 new decline was the bright dawn of a better day. I would to
God that I could believe it! I have heard that Democracy was being tied to a star, not the lone star, my Texan friends, that we gladly would welcome, but to the falling star, which flashes for an instant and then goes out in the darkness of 5 the night. (Applause.)
No, my friends, we see not the dawn, but the darkness of defeat and disaster. Oh, that from this great majority, with its power, there might come the only word of concession and conciliation! Oh, that from you there might be held out the 10 olive branch of peace, under which all Democrats united could rally to a great victory!
Mr. Chairman, I have finished my work of protest. Let me, following the example of the Senator from South Carolina, utter the word of prophecy. When this storm has sub15 sided, when the dark clouds of passion, of prejudice, have rolled away, and there comes after the turmoil of this Convention the sober second thought of Democrats and of our people, then the protests we of the minority here make will be hailed as the ark of the covenant faith when all Demo20 crats united may go to fight for the old principles and carry them to triumphant victory.
ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.
Delivered at the Georgia State Convention.
["The convention assembled on the 16th of January. The number of members was two hundred and ninety-five. On the 18th, a resolution was passed, by a vote of one hundred and sixty-five ayes to one hundred and thirty noes, declaring it to be the right and the duty of the State to withdraw from the Union. On the same day they appointed a committee to draft an Ordinance of Secession. It was reported almost
immediately and in a single paragraph declared the repeal and abrogation of all laws which bound the Commonwealth to the Union, and that the State of Georgia was in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignity which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.' The debate on the ordinance elicited many warm expressions 5 of Union sentiments and it was on this occasion that Alexander H. Stephens made the [following] speech. Robert Toombs and his party were, [however,] strong enough to give to the ordinance, when it came up for a final vote, two hundred and eight ballots against eighty-nine. Civil War in America, B. J. Lossing, Vol. 1, p. 178.]
MR. PRESIDENT: This step of secession, once taken, can never be recalled; and all the baleful and withering consequences that must follow, will rest on the convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war, which this act of yours 15 will inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvest shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land; our temples of justice laid in ashes; all the horrors and desolation of war upon us; who but this Convention will be held re- 20 sponsible for it? And who but him who shall have given his vote for this unwise and ill-timed measure, as I honestly think and believe, shall be held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and probably cursed and execrated by posterity for all coming time, for the wide and 25 desolating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now propose to perpetrate? Pause, I entreat you, and consider for a moment what reasons you can give, that will even satisfy yourselves in calmer moments — what reason you can give to your fellow-sufferers in the calamity that it will bring upon 30 us. What reasons can you give to the nations of the earth to justify it? They will be the calm and deliberate judges in the case; and what cause or one overt act can you name or point, on which to rest the plea of justification? What right has the North assailed? What interest of the South has been 35 invaded? What justice has been denied? And what claim founded in justice and right has been withheld? Can either