Formerly the people of Kentucky proclaimed neutrality, and asked that it should be respected. I want you now at least to refuse to abandon that position for one of active hostility to the Southern States.
Do not suffer the armies of the free States to pour over Kentucky to make war upon the South.
Will they find no resistance from you? The answer to this question will solve the problem whether you will act; whether you will redeem yourself; whether you will rejoin your friends or consort with their enemies; whether your sentiment of friendship for the South is a living faith or an empty sound, meaning nothing. To avow an intention to resist an invasion of Kentucky, and to thank the forces of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois for coming to your assistance, was one thing; to connive at or assist their invasion of the Southern States and to make Kentucky the fulcrum from which they will make leverage to effect the success of such invasion is quite another thing. Your mind will take the distinction without elaboration by me.
The lines of conduct proper to the pursuit of the one or the other are too distinct to require comment. I know you do not sympathize with those who are actively hostile to the Southern Confederacy; but this want of sympathy is not sufficient. I want you to act, and to act as Governor of Kentucky; and so to act as to prove incontestably that you do not intend to suffer the Federal power, after planting its feet upon the prostrated figure of Kentucky, to make her the platform from which to strike at her Southern neighbors.
Such action on your part, bold, comprehensive, and decided, will operate such a diversion in favor of the Southern States, now pressed, as to discomfit the invaders of Southern homes and afford to the planting States room to recover themselves for the future and more protracted struggle. It will instantly roll back the clouds which now hover upon us, and the star of success will again shine brightly over our horizon.
The part I propose to you is clearly within the line of your official duty, for it is pursuant to the resolutions of the General Assembly last adopted for the state of things now recurring, and in any event it can have no more unpropitious solution than to deliver you to your old friends and at the head of a majority of the people of Kentucky; for I know that a large majority of them feel right if they only had the boldness to act right. All they now want is the leader, and you hold that place officially. I pledge my life that if you have any difficulty in the task thousands of as gallant spirits as ever breathed will rush to your assistance without count of the risk.
The effect of such a move will be at least to emancipate the Southern-rights men to Kentucky, and give to her as a State some elasticity of spirit, which seems now to be so crushed as to be gone forever.
Your simple proclamation that Kentucky shall not be the passway for armies intending to invade the South will probably do the work. If that fails, you will be committed to the suppression of all courier routes through the State, of all depots of armies, munitions of war, and of troops. If the answer to you shall be that the neutrality of Kentucky will not be respected, but that armies will pass through her borders to subdue the rebellion (as they term it), them you must assert the sovereignty of the State, and, if need be, divide your people into classed, for the State right and against it. This may bring about an expression from the people of their determination. At the worst you will only have to rejoin your friends after nobly performing your high duty on the occasion. It will only bring on an issue in the State which