Congress, reeking with the blood of the South and jubilant in the possession of usurped power, will adopt his recommendation?
We are in the midst of a sea of difficulties. Many acts have been done in the South to which we were bitterly opposed as a people, and which we who have adhered to the Union in spite of perils and dangers could not justify or palliate; but the Union men East Tennessee are not now and never were Abolitionists. The Union men of East Tennessee are not now and never have been committed to the doctrines of incendiarism and murder to which Mr. Lincoln's proclamation leads. What then is the part of duty in the trying circumstances which surround us? Is it to belie all our past professions and to sustain Mr. Lincoln's administration right or wrong? Is it to justify a man whom we had no agency in elevating to power not only in abandoning the Constitution of the United States but in repudiating the Chicago platform his inaugural address and messages to Congress, in which the absolute right to slavery in the States where it exists was distinctly and unequivocally conceded? Or is it, in view of his many violations of the Constitution and this crowning act of usurpation, to join that side which at present affords the only earthly hope of successful resistance?
I am aware, my countrymen, that you will find difficulties in bringing your minds to the same conclusion at which my own has arrived. Many wanton and unauthorized acts of cruelty and oppression have been perpetrated among you, which, instead of changing your opinions, have only been calculated to aggravate and intensify a heroic principle of endurance. Many of these acts have been committed in remote places, without the knowledge or approbation of the authorities at Richmond or of those who have held the supreme command in East Tennessee, and under such circumstances that you have felt it dangerous to complain. Gradually and slowly these outrages have at last become known, and in the very recent proclamation issued by Major-General Jones you have the assurance that your complaints will be heard and the most energetic measures adopted to remedy the evils to which you have been subjected. Let not then a sense of private and present wrongs blind you against the enormities already perpetrated and still more seriously contemplated by Mr. Lincoln's administration. If a majority of the Republican party have been sincere in their professions of a determination to respect the right of slavery in the States, and if the light of freedom is not utterly extinguished in the North, may we not hope that a spirit of resistance will be aroused in that section, which, combined with the efforts of the South, will hurl Mr. Lincoln from power and even yet restore peace and harmony to our distracted and divided country? But if, through fear or any other cause, Mr. Lincoln's infamous proclamation is sustained, then we have no Union to hope for, no Constitution to struggle for, no magnificent and unbroken heritage to maintain, no peace to expect, save such as with the blessing of Providence we may conquer. The armies which have been sent near you to tantalize you with hope have been withdrawn, and with cool audacity Mr. Lincoln virtually tells you that you have no rights. No alternative remains but to choose the destiny which an arrogant and unprincipled administration forces upon us.
It is almost unnecessary to declare to you that I adhered to the Union amidst good report and evil report, suffering and danger, while it was in my power to support it, and that, when my efforts were paralyzed and my voice silenced by causes beyond my control, I have cherished the hope that all might yet be well; but "the last link is broken" that