the fraud they were perpetrating? It is a leading and equitable maxim that fraud vitiates everything it touches. It is the solemn duty of the public authorities of the State to proclaim that fraud, and to protect those men against any effort to compel them to march farther than your borders or to engage in a war of invasion against the Southern States.
Do you suppose those Kentucky men, who were so enlisted, intended to become the instruments of Abraham Lincoln to dig the graves of their own constitutional liberty, or to desolate the fields of the Southern country, or to abolish the distinction which exists between the white and the black races? Never! They have been duped and defrauded and betrayed, and they will throw down their arms whenever we meet them, or will turn them upon the dastard hordes who seek to conquer us because they want our lands and envy our prosperity. I shall never believe that Kentucky has given birth to men who will prefer to mate with the Yankee in his career of conquest over our altars and our homes rather than with the brave spirits who will die to defend them.
Yet in what does such a Kentucky soldier differ from the Abolitionist from Massachusetts who is serving in the Army of the United States? Do they not sleep at the same camp-fire, eat from the same mess-pan, draw pay from the same treasure? Are they not commanded by the same officers and used to carry forward the same nefarious policy?
When Abraham Lincoln or one of his captains insolently treads under his feet the constitutional rights of a Kentuckian or a Tennessean, does he not use the bayonet of one of these Kentucky soldiers to enforce his usurpation as readily and as effectively as that of his mercenary from Massachusetts? He does; and no man can draw a sensible distinction between these soldiers. They are clad in the same uniform and they serve the same master, and that master usurps the rights they were born to, and compels them to become the instruments of his spoliation upon their privileges and their very birthright. I repeat, that if the Kentuckian who has entered such a service engaged only to repel an invasion of Kentucky, it is the duty of the Chief Magistrate of the State to prevent the consummation of such a fraud upon him whenever he shall exhibit a disinclination to serve beyond your border.
But suppose he is indifferent and so base as to have no preference as to his field of service; will you, as Governor of Kentucky, now that your State is no longer invaded, permit her territory to be made a passway for the armies of the United States, while they wage a cruel and unnecessary was upon your Southern neighbors? Will you stand an idle spectator of the deployment of vast columns upon the plains of Kentucky to deluge the South in blood and to devastate Southern fields? Are you willing to take your position in the same historic niche with Dennison and Morton and Yates? Can you listen to the vandal tread of these Northern battalions and still think you have no active duty to perform? Can you hope that history will omit your name from her page as particeps criminis in all the spoliation to ensure?
Do not deceive yourself. As you now decide, the verdict in your case must be recorded. It is this change in the circumstances of the State which produces the difference in your official obligation, and calls upon you now to act on a different line from that which heretofore you have pursued.
Formerly the act of the Legislature raised troops to resist an invasion of Kentucky. I want you now to discountenance an invasion of Southern States through the borders of Kentucky.