Another opportunity is now before you,and I discard all etiquette and smother all resentment for past neglect to come before you once more to implore you to act; to urge you by every consideration of duty, of patriotism, of humanity to nerve yourself to the accomplishment of as high a purpose as was ever within the reach of a man; that purpose being no less then the preservation of the liberty of a people; the means nothing more nor less than the performance of your plain official duty.
If you will act in this crisis the past will be forgiven and forgotten, and your name will yet shine as conspicuous on the page of history as that of any one who will be identified with these times. If you will not act, my tack in this effort will have been in vain, and you may forget if you can that any voice ever whispered in your ear that your arm could save your country and would not. Again I beseech you to rise to the occasion, and unflinchingly to perform the great work before you. The worst result that can befall you will be to make you rejoin your old friends at the head of your people.
Let me develop the ideas I want to convey. To this end let me review the past for a moment.
1st. Have not your people been betrayed and sold by men in whom they reposed trust? Have not senators and representatives in the Kentucky Legislature unblushingly advertised their authority to raise troops from Kentucky for the was while they were members of the Legislature, knowing that such conduct is in violation of the constitution which they were sworn to observe and protect? Have they not, with their commissions in their pockets, participated in maturing and passing legislative enactments as infamous in their designs as they were unusual and arbitrary in their provisions-intended to coerce the free people of Kentucky into obedience to Lincoln's usurpations?
These men, sir, availed themselves of the fact that Confederate State troops were upon the soil of Kentucky to call upon the men of Kentucky to enlist under them in the service of the United States. They appealed to the emotions of an ardent but miscalculating patriotism, while knowingly they pandered, for sordid lucre, to the designs of unscrupulous public men who are in power in the Government of the United States. What has been the result? That the young men, who enlisted last fall under these apparently fervid and patriotic appeals, have been betrayed and committed by the operation of enlistment to the service of a master and a cause in their very souls they abhor.
The circumstances of the State are now changed. No foot of an invader now "pollutes the sacred soil" of Kentucky; but the enlistment of those poor fellows is not changed; they cannot now return to their families, their homes, or their ordinary avocations. They are enlisted in Lincoln's service "for three years or during the war." If they desert, they will be shot; if they are mutineers, they will be shot; if they refuse to advance with the army of the United States to the unholy war which is now just opening upon the Southern States, they will be put to death as traitors to their country.
They are now Lincoln's soldiers "for three years or during the war," and cannot go or come except as he orders them. And it is these Kentuckians that the Northmen will place in front, bayonet in hand, to carry desolation over the face of the Southern country, and to fill the South with the lamentations of the widow and the orphan.
What vengeance should be in store for such unparalleled perfidy?
Do you suppose the crafty and designing men who inveigled those poor fellows into such a service under such false pretenses did not understand